3D Acceleration with Ubuntu guests

There's a trend with some desktop Linux distributions to use more and more "eye-candy" which puts a greater strain on GPU functions offered by hypervisors.

VirtualBox offers 3D acceleration by intercepting OpenGL requests made by the guest vm, and passing then down to the host's OpenGL library to be executed directly by the host. 

To Configure a VM to use VirtualBox 3D acceleration:

  • Make sure you install the Guest Additions into the Linux guest (Host+D);
  • Enable 3D acceleration in the VM settings;

Then simply crank up your linux guest.

But on some platforms, and in some circumstances, the wrong renderers may be used by the guest OS which results in s l o o w w w performance of the guest.  

To check that you're using VirtualBox 3D acceleration on Ubuntu 12/13 type the following command:

/usr/lib/nux/unity_support_test -p 

If you see something like this:

... i.e. the OpenGL Renderer is NOT Chromium, then you are NOT using the VirtualBox OpenGL drivers. This can occur because of a race condition in the guest OS boot process. One workaround is to force the guest to load video drivers earlier in the boot sequence by running the following command:

sudo bash -c 'echo vboxvideo >> /etc/modules'

Once you do this, and then you reboot the guest you should re-rerun: 

/usr/lib/nux/unity_support_test -p  

Which hopefully will result in the Chromium renderers being seen to be used:

And a consequence is that your Linux guest will be faster and smoother.

Hope this helps. 

- FB 

Comments:

any way to check this in Linux Mint 15 KDE?

Posted by Rajesh Raheja on August 24, 2013 at 01:30 AM BST #

@Rajesh: Try running glxinfo and see what the "glx vendor string" is set to.

Posted by Rune on October 10, 2013 at 04:49 PM BST #

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