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Debian 12 Picks Up Ubuntu’s Triple Buffering Patch for GNOME

Debian 12 “Bookworm” plans for Ubuntu’s Triple buffering patch for a faster GNOME experience.

Among some good news on the Debian 12 features, another exciting and useful change is now landed. The Triple buffering patch for the GNOME desktop from Ubuntu is now merged in Debian 12.

If you recently tried the Ubuntu 22.04 LTS “Jammy Jellyfish”, you must have felt the “smoothness” of the GNOME desktop. The animations, gestures, minimize, maximize – all of them a little smoother and no “lag” whatsoever.


The triple buffering code developed by Ubuntu, which dynamically switches between double and triple buffering when needed.

The code utilises GPU without making it sit idle while drawing the other frames for your desktop. It enables the pre-rending of two frames instead of one (as in double buffering). Hence, the better performance of your GNOME desktop for Intel integrated graphics boards, Raspberry Pi 4 and others.

You can learn more about this interesting concept in this excellent article.

Unfortunately, the recently released GNOME 43 couldn’t merge this code back. Hence, those distros separately package GNOME 43 from the source don’t have this feature.

For example, Fedora workstation users won’t have this feature to enjoy a much faster desktop experience. The reason is the nature of the change and associated testing required for this merge request (MR). As of publishing this, the MR is still open without any milestones.

Debian 12 & Triple Buffering

That being said, Debian now has this change – thanks to the recent mutter 43 package, which is added to the debian unstable for version 12 “bookworm”.

[ Jeremy Bicha ]
   * debian/tests/libmutter-11-dev: fix a reference to mutter-10
 mutter (43~beta-3) experimental; urgency=medium
   * Add patches from Ubuntu:
     - Support-Dynamic-triple-double-buffering.patch
     - backends-native-kms-crtc-Don-t-compare-gamma-values-on-un.patch
       + Avoid memory errors when comparing gamma values
     - wayland-data-device-Allow-any-drag-timestamp....patch
       + Allow any drag timestamp as drag start serial
   * debian/libmutter-11-0.symbols: Add new symbols from triple buffering patch
Triple buffering code lands in Debian 12
Mutter patch featuring this change

Hence, when Debian 12 releases in 2023, you will surely have the triple buffering patch with the GNOME desktop.

So, if you want to try it out, you can install the unstable edition using these steps.

In addition, if you want to enable the unstable repo in your existing Debian installation, follow the below steps. Be very careful since it may break your system. I would recommend you try it on a virtual machine.

  • Open the sources.list file.
sudo nano /etc/apt/sources.list
  • Then update the file with the unstable branch as follows.
deb [repository address] unstable main contrib non-free
# deb-src [repository address] unstable main contrib non-free
  • Save and exit. Then from the terminal, run the below.
sudo apt update
sudo apt full-upgrade

This is a piece of excellent news for Debian users, and I hope GNOME upstream merges this soon for everyone’s benefit, including Fedora, Arch and other distros.

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