Understanding screen tearing

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MintyO
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Understanding screen tearing

Post by MintyO » Sat Jan 28, 2017 3:08 pm

I'm more on the user -, not on the tinkerer, side when it comes to computers. But generally like to understand things... So, what is screen tearing and what causes it.

I'm running latest xfce and cinnamon editions. Xfce exhibits some minor tearing when scrolling (firefox and chrome) and varying degrees of tearing when watching videos (firefox), none in some and quite substantial some others. Something to do with different codeks? Netflix and Chrome combo seems tear free also.

I read about possible semi-fixes on xfce-forums and elsewhere, but as I'm not really seeking a solution (because I don't have a problem and this is a distro I want to keep nearly "out of the boxy") I didn't really find an understanding why is this happening. Xfce is surely well established DE, so what gives? I'd appreciate some knowledge from my more tinkererly orientated fellow forum members.

- O

PS: As screen tearing is a phenomenon not particular to xfce, I thought this is the best section for this post.
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BobGroh
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Re: Understanding screen tearing

Post by BobGroh » Wed Feb 01, 2017 9:56 pm

I would also like to hear more about this problem. I see 'screen tearing', for example, when moving the cursor around on the Mint 18.1 welcome splash screen.

Bob Groh

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MintBean
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Re: Understanding screen tearing

Post by MintBean » Wed Feb 01, 2017 11:21 pm

I think it's a driver issue and a problem with refresh syncing.

This is quite an issue here in Mint 18, 18.1 Cinnamon. It's a shame that updates introduce these kind of regressions as I enjoyed a total tear-free experience in Mint 17 until an update in the last few months before 18 was released.

What I don't understand is why such a basic issue has been left unresolved for so long. This isn't something limited to Linux Mint.

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WharfRat
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Re: Understanding screen tearing

Post by WharfRat » Thu Feb 02, 2017 12:17 am

Basically it boils down to the monitor not being able to keep up with the graphics card, i.e., there not in sync.

If you google 'screen tearing' you'll get a boatload of information about it.
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MintyO
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Re: Understanding screen tearing

Post by MintyO » Thu Feb 02, 2017 7:52 pm

WharfRat wrote:Basically it boils down to the monitor not being able to keep up with the graphics card, i.e., there not in sync.

....
How my limited brain sees linux:

First you have the deeper workings, kernel. You have graphical interface sitting atop that giving you access to the deeper workings, desktop environment. When you do something, i.e. launch a full screen video, desktop environment pulls stuff it needs from the deep workings, drivers, and uses those with installed programs to do the stuff you want.

Now, if I have same kernel, drivers and software in Mint Xfce and Cinnamon, why tearing only on other? What am I missing or whats wrong with my "linux description"? :oops:
WharfRat wrote:...

If you google 'screen tearing' you'll get a boatload of information about it.
I know and I'm not just trying to get easy answers. I've been using the help of search engine gods many times, even googled screen tearing. Much of the results have to do with fixing problems, much are overly technical. Just thought some kind soul could explain it in simpleton terms.
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Hoser Rob
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Re: Understanding screen tearing

Post by Hoser Rob » Sat Feb 04, 2017 9:06 am

MintyO wrote:
WharfRat wrote:... if I have same kernel, drivers and software in Mint Xfce and Cinnamon, why tearing only on other?....
Xfce and Cinnamon don't use the same compositor, and one may be working better with your hardware than the other. And some of the compositors that some of those DEs use haven't been updated in a while ...

If you're running both DEs on the same machine this can definitely make these problems harder because of settings needed by each DE that don't get stored in your /home folder ... they're lower level. This is just ONE reason why installing multiple DEs is a bad idea.

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MintyO
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Re: Understanding screen tearing

Post by MintyO » Sat Feb 04, 2017 9:14 am

Hoser Rob wrote:
MintyO wrote:
WharfRat wrote:... if I have same kernel, drivers and software in Mint Xfce and Cinnamon, why tearing only on other?....
Xfce and Cinnamon don't use the same compositor, and one may be working better with your hardware than the other. And some of the compositors that some of those DEs use haven't been updated in a while ...

If you're running both DEs on the same machine this can definitely make these problems harder because of settings needed by each DE that don't get stored in your /home folder ... they're lower level. This is just ONE reason why installing multiple DEs is a bad idea.
Separate OS's.
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MintBean
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Re: Understanding screen tearing

Post by MintBean » Tue Feb 07, 2017 9:44 pm

Just got Antergos up and running using the Cinnamon desktop and there's no screen tearing there, so I'm guessing it's a Ubuntu specific issue.

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trytip
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Re: Understanding screen tearing

Post by trytip » Wed Feb 08, 2017 2:02 am

screen tearing is caused by your window manager ... use compiz or compton it has nothing to do with your monitor or how much RAM your graphics has or what drivers you use
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chrisonmint
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Re: Understanding screen tearing

Post by chrisonmint » Wed Feb 08, 2017 2:32 am

trytip wrote:screen tearing is caused by your window manager ... use compiz or compton it has nothing to do with your monitor or how much RAM your graphics has or what drivers you use
When i used LM 17 Xfce, the only way i could avoid tearing was to use compiz. Sadly it wasnt very stable and when compiz crashed you lose all the window borders! easy for me to restart with the terminal, but not family friendly.

I switched to LM cinnamon and things were much better. I did have to turn off the "use smooth scrolling" option in firefox to stop tearing there (often was diagonal tear, visible when scrolling pages up and down).

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trytip
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Re: Understanding screen tearing

Post by trytip » Wed Feb 08, 2017 3:27 am

all i can say is that for me in mint/mate/17.3x64 nvidia-340 control center/desktop settings/windows/marco+compton resolves the issue

but i did have to create a blank .config/compton.conf paste http://twily.info/.compton/compton.conf changed a few lines for my nvidia

i can also use compiz but that has a lot more involvement

both compiz and compton MAY FREEZE (BUT RECOVERABLE) if using smplayer with vdpau and you go to full screen
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