[winswitch] Xpra for thin clients

Antoine Martin antoine at nagafix.co.uk
Fri Sep 12 04:13:46 BST 2014

On 12/09/14 09:29, Elliot Hallmark wrote:
> I just want to check in and make sure I am thinking correctly.  My aim is
> to serve hardware opengl accelerated applications to thin clients.
> I wanted to use nvenc from a gtx 660, but this requires a developer key.
Those keys exist. I haven't tested them myself with GTX6XXs, only with
GTX7XXs, but I believe others have.
> So, for a prototype before investing in a $2000 grid card ( k1 and k2
> support nvenc through xpra without a dev key), I will use the x264 encoder.
If you want to use a pro card to avoid the license key issue, there are
cheaper options than the grid cards.
The NVENC chips on those cards are not faster than in the consumer cards
(if anything slower because of the lower clock and older architecture),
the only benefit of the grid cards is that they have multiple chips per
card. (4 in a K1, 2 in a K2)
> Clients will run a stripped down linux that only runs xpra client in full
> screen, ultimately with a python based application or session selector
> interface.  Server will serve applications (potentially virtualized
> desktops) at the full screen resolution of the client.  The server will
> render applications on the gtx 660 before encoding.
If I understand this correctly, you want to use xpra to serve a full
desktop instead of individual windows?
That would work but it would be less efficient than letting the clients
manage the windows themselves.
>   I believe this
> requires some hacking to make each application in a common X session (ie
> :100.1, 100.2, etc) inorder to "share" the gpu.
I'm not sure I understand this part.
If you want multiple server sessions getting accelerated OpenGL
rendering, you should look at VirtualGL.
If you want to share the NVENC encoding chip for multiple server
sessions, then it is just a permission issue on the video device.
> I can do the last bit with X, ie I had two monitors displaying seperate
> hardware accelerated programs (like minecraft) from a single gpu through
> creative use of xorg.conf, so I'm assuming it can happen with xpra too.
This sounds like a client-side setup.
> Has anyone done this before? Any heads up would be appreciated.
Hope this helps!

> Thanks,
>   Elliot
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