3D Desktop Support

This support statement discusses the currrent state of 3D composite desktop support with the Exceed products and suggests several solutions / workarounds for common issues.

Problem

Exceed (with Exceed 3D) does not work well with GNOME 3.8+ or other 3D composited desktop environments. The session may fail to launch and the connection will consume a large amount of network bandwidth. The same problems affect all remote X servers.

Exceed onDemand™ cannot launch GNOME 3.8+. This problem affects all X servers based on older versions of the X.Org codebase.

Explanation

3D desktop environments such as GNOME are designed to work with direct OpenGL rendering, and either fail or suffer from poor performance over a remote connection. Failure occurs due to the desktop using OpenGL capabilities that are not available remotely. Poor performance is a result of sending uncompressed bitmaps of the entire 3D desktop over the network via X11 protocol.

Exceed TurboX (ETX) includes a server-side proxy that compresses the X11 traffic before sending it across the network. The proxy can be installed on the same server as the 3D desktop to avoid flooding the network connection between the proxy and desktop host. In addition to compressing the display, the proxy can also skip frames to reduce the overall bandwidth required for remote display.

The reason that GNOME 3.8 does not work with EoD is unrelated to performance. This issue is caused by GNOME 3.8's use of unsupported X protocol extensions (XFIXES 5.0 and XInputExtension 2.2) which are not available in EoD's older X.Org server codebase. A short term solution for EoD will not be possible; however, these extensions are available in ETX, which is based on the latest X.Org codebase.

Solutions

There are several recommended solutions / workarounds for this issue:

Option #1

Use a 2D desktop environment and display manager. Desktop environments like MATE and Cinnamon are GNOME-like alternatives that offer the same familiar interface but with excellent remote performance. Display managers like gdm2, mdm and LightDM also work remotely and do not require the Exceed 3D add-on. If you require a full Linux desktop, this is the best solution.

Note: Once the 2D desktop environment is installed, you will need to select it from the XDMCP login screen.

Example: Installing MATE and LightDM on CentOS 7

#Install MATE
sudo yum install epel-release
sudo yum groupinstall "MATE Desktop"

#Install LightDM
sudo yum install lightdm
systemctl disable gdm.service
systemctl enable lightdm.service

#Add the following to /etc/lightdm/lightdm.conf to enable XDMCP
[XDMCPServer]
enabled=true

Option #2

Run applications directly rather than XDMCP (desktop) sessions. Both Exceed and Exceed onDemand allow you to define an Xstart (.xs) file to launch one or more applications on the same host. Xstart files will significantly improve the performance of your remote sessions, even when running on machines that have a 3D desktop environment installed. You can also run remote applications on a GNOME 3.8 machine using Xstart files.

Option #3

Upgrade to Exceed TurboX (ETX). ETX provides fast remote access, central administration and deployment options, enterprise scalability, and central, web-based access for both large enterprises and small organizations. ETX is based on the latest X.org server, and includes the necessary extensions to support a remote GNOME 3.8 session. Some limitations and additional configuration may be required for 3D desktop support - please contact your local sales or support office for assistance. Also, be sure to check out our online ETX demo at: https://etx11demo.opentext.com/etx/


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