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Re: Upcoming Qt switch to OpenGL ES on arm64

Andy: explicitly CCing you because I think it answers part of a question you 
did but in another part of the thread.

El viernes, 23 de noviembre de 2018 06:58:13 -03 Steve McIntyre escribió:
> On Fri, Nov 23, 2018 at 03:27:57AM +0300, Dmitry Eremin-Solenikov wrote:
> >Can you build two packages and allow user to select, which one he wants to
> >install? Or those packages will be binary incompatible?
> That's a good question, yes. It'w ahst I was wondering too.

And that's a perfectly valid question, one we did in 2015, Ubuntu tried out 
(as Dmitry pointed out) and did not work.


Short story: really *too* complicated and error prone.

Long story:

Please first check this image:


That's almost all of Qt for 5.10 (we have now new submodules, so I need to 
update it).

The Desktop/GLES decision is done at the root of the graph, qtbase. This 
decision changes the API/ABI of libqt5gui5, one of the libraries provided by 

So, as the API/ABI changes then we would need to (probably) ship two set of 
headers and (for sure) two different libraries, let's say libqt5gui5 for 
Desktop and libqt5gui5gles for GLES.

But it doesn't ends there. The whole graph you saw is actually the *entire* 
Qt. Upstream provides it either as a big fat tarball or as submodules. We took 
the submodules route because building the whole tarball as one would take 
literally days in slow arches. And a single mistake could be disastrous.

Now whatever switch is applied to qtbase it's "inherited" by the rest of the 
submodules. So if we ship two versions of libqt5gui5 then we would probably 
need to ship two versions of the libs provided by qtdeclarative, which is 
affected by this switch.

This waterfall schema means *multiple* libraries would have to start doing 
this two-binaries thing, as Ubuntu devs discovered. But remember that Qt is 
really a set of submodules, so in any later version any submodule could start 
using this switch for something. So whatever change could mean yet another set 
of binaries with a transition with multiple rebuilds of the big part of rdeps 
of Qt... no, we don't want to enter that mess.

So we either keep the status quo of keeping arm64 in Desktop GL or switch to 
GLES. The question is: which use case gives more benefit for our users for the 
next stable release?

> >> So far I personally know 0 people with an arm64 board with PCI slots,
> >> while I know many with arm64 boards with hardware GLES support.
> >
> >I'm working with big arm64 iron, so for me a server arm64 board with PCIe
> >slots (and thus PCIe graphic cards) and on-board Aspeed "VGA card" is more
> >common compared to GLES-enabled arm64 SoC.

How many Qt-based applications do you use there? Which ones use OpenGL?

> Yeah - it depends exactly on your background. There's a small (but
> growing) set of arm64 desktop users, and it would be unfortunate to
> cut them off.

Let's be fair: I live almost at the end of the world, probably at very least 
600 km away from the next DD and in a country in which buying new hardware 
it's not exactly the easiest thing (my current machine, currently the only one 
I have working, is now 10 years old...). So yes, as Steve says, it depends on 
your background.

But even here in this place I have seen *a lot* of "cheap" arm64 boards. Yes, 
the RPI3[+] is ubiquitous. And having to render Open GL stuff by CPU is 
precisely not the fastest thing around.

But on the other hand most PCI video cards out there can do both GLES and 
Desktop OpenGL. So an arm64-based motherboard which needs nice graphics could 
surely use GLES.

Yes, might not be the best thing out there, but: how many of you are using it 
to render OpenGL stuff with Qt?

And again: you *can* convince me that we better not do the switch, that's 
exactly why we created this thread: we wanted fellow Debian users/developers 
to share their thoughts (and it's working!).

So, again: which of the two flavors is the one that benefits more of our user 

She got her good looks from her father. He's a plastic surgeon.
 -- Groucho Marx

Lisandro Damián Nicanor Pérez Meyer

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