Librem frame skipping

Not sure if it is hardware, or gnome 3, or wayland, or something else, but I notice that in gnome3/wayland after the machine has been running for a bit I get periodic frame skips. It’s noticeable in when I move the cursor around. There is a sub second hang and then the cursor jumps to a new location. Also noticeable when watching video. This happens with an older librem 13 and the librem 15 v3. Need to test with other window managers and without wayland but curious if anyone else has seen this issue or know what could be causing it. Also this is the latest pureos.

This sounds a lot like what I’m seeing:

Mouse Tracking ‘Laggy’ on Wayland, and mouse movements cause frame drops in other OpenGL applications

I’ve seen this almost since day 1 when I bought the Librem 15v3 in March 2018. The bug thread started on 2015-02-23 and continues through 2018-09-13, so this bug is almost 4 years old (3 yr, 7 mo) and is still not fixed.

Apparently the system components are interrelated in such a complex way that it’s difficult to isolate these bugs. So, what’s the prognosis? Another year, 2 years, or another 4? It’s tough enough to have a laptop with these instabilities, but at least at the office I have a couple of backup computers. I can’t realistically consider using a phone that’s this unstable. Maybe Purism needs to reconsider using Wayland until stability is achieved. Canonical reverted from Wayland to Xorg for Ubuntu 18.04 LTS because of Wayland bugs and instability:


I’m seeing the same thing after an update. The whole screen will hang for a quarter second every second. This affects videos, navigating with my mouse, pretty much everything. Did anyone ever find a solution to this? It’s really annoying to have to restart my laptop every time this happens.

I noticed I had an old version of coreboot, so I tried upgrading. I’ll let you all know if it fixes the issue.

Nah, upgrading coreboot doesn’t seem to help.

Since 1 or 2 weeks i’ve got a similar problem with my 13v3. Frame skipping could be the right word or flickering screen. It happens from time to time out of nowhere. First i wasn’t sure if hardwarewise something became lose, but right now i’m pretty sure it was introduced with an os-update.

I’ve been logging in with System X11 instead of Wayland GNOME and that particular issue has gone away. You can do this on the login screen (not the decryption screen) after boot by clicking the gear icon under the password field. I have a couple options in my menu: System X11, GNOME, GNOME on Xorg, and Kodi. I don’t know what Kodi is, but I know the only one that’s been stable for me (more or less) has been System X11. I’m pretty sure regular GNOME is Wayland, so definitely avoid that one if you’re seeing this issue.

I’m having some other issues too at the moment, but I’m not sure that they’re related. Hope that helps.

This is STILL an issue on my Librem 15v3, and it’s related to Wayland, which is just not yet ready. That’s why Canonical dumped it and reverted to for Ubuntu 18.04 LTS.

I’ve noticed that if you use your system for several hours, the “frame skipping”/“mouse lagging” gets worse and worse, and if you don’t log out and log back in you WILL get a total system freeze that’s not recoverable by ANYTHING other than Alt+SysReq+R+E+I+S+U+B. It’s not pretty.

I’ve gotten pretty good at spotting the warning signs, but just a few days ago I had a total system freeze while using Thunderbird. Really pissed me off. I hate to be a party pooper because I love Linux and I want to promote it, but I cannot recommend this system to people who are thinking of moving to Linux. They would experience freezes and then they would tell me I recommended total crap. Well, let’s be honest: it is buggy crap at the moment, and that’s sad. How many years is it going to take for Wayland-based systems to become stable?

By the way, @jonlaing , I’ve found that I don’t have to restart the machine. All I have to do is log out and log back in. Yes, GNOME uses Wayland on PureOS. I tried using for a while, but quite a few programs only worked under Wayland! So, Catch-22. Most of those issues have been solved, but the mouse-lagging is still present.

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Yeah, I’ve ditched GNOME and PureOS altogether. There were just too many issues. The Purism team was really attentive in trying to sort out my issue, but eventually I just concluded that since I’m on Linux, I can chose any distro I want, so no reason to stick with PureOS just because it came with the computer. I’m currently running Manjaro with i3-gaps as my window manager, and I haven’t had a single issue.

I don’t know why everyone is so excited about Wayland. It doesn’t seem ready for prime-time yet.

I have no complaints about Purism’s hardware–it works better than my last Macbook–but the distro leaves a bit to be desired.

By the way, one thing I noticed was that tracker would have some sort of error and then SPAM the logs and try to restart every couple of seconds which would eat up a lot of memory. Disabling tracker solved a lot of my issues, but eventually I still ditched PureOS for Manjaro. Also, folks from Purism recommended turning off automatic update checking, but I had already switched by that point, so I never gave it a shot.

@jonlaing I’ve thought about dumping PureOS as well, but haven’t done it. Interesting that you chose Manjaro, which is also a rolling release distribution. Did you have previous experience with Manjaro? I’ve never used it or Arch Linux, though I’ve read about it. In recent years I’ve mostly used various flavors of Ubuntu, like Xubuntu and Lubuntu, both of which do not use Wayland or the GNOME Desktop. GNOME has gotten a lot better, but it looks they’re going in an Apple-like direction of dumbing down things too much. All the versions of Ubuntu on all the machines I’ve used have been rock solid. I’ll attribute that to more thorough testing.

By the way, I have never had automatic update checking turned on in PureOS. I just do a manual check every day. Not sure about tracker memory hogging, but Nautilus uses it and used to crash a lot until it got fixed.

I’ve only ever used Debian based distros before this. I heard a lot of good things about Manjaro, though, and as a developer, I felt having a rolling release that doesn’t hand-hold too much would be good for me. I’m not quite ready for full Arch, so Manjaro seemed like a good middle ground. I’ve been really happy with it so far.

Most of the Arch docs apply to Manjaro, and Arch’s documentation is really fantastic, and its software library is enormous, especially with the AUR. It’s also the latest version of basically everything, which I appreciate. I know that can have stability consequences, but I felt that I’m comfortably enough in linux that I could roll with the punches. Basically all of my professional life is dealing with unstable software (that I wrote), so I’m really not too perturbed when something isn’t quite working as expected, as long as it’s giving error messages. That said, I haven’t had many problems, and the few I had were quickly sorted out.

It’s definitely not a beginner distro, but it seems like you have quite a bit of linux experience, so it might be fun to try out. I played with it first in a virtual machine, then made a live boot USB to get a better feel for it, and eventually decided I was sold and went through the installation process. For Manjaro it’s pretty straight forward and user friendly, which is a far cry from Arch, as I understand. It does hand-hold through this process, but after that it leaves you alone to do whatever.

The main things I like over PureOS is:

  • Stability seems a little more solid
  • There’s a ton of documentation for it and a fairly big community
  • You can install pretty much anything you can imagine. Seriously, if it’s not in the main repos, it’s almost definitely in the AUR, and with trizen installing from source is a breeze.
  • The base install is very bare-bones, which means the only software on it is either core to the OS, or stuff you installed. It really doesn’t come with very much, which I like.
  • Software seems to work more often. On PureOS I’d sometimes run into problems where a piece of software I installed just wasn’t running correctly and couldn’t diagnose the problem. RetroArch is an example that comes to mind.

Thanks, @jonlaing . I thought the same thing about PureOS at first - that a rolling release would be great for getting the latest and greatest. But continuing instability over the last 10 months caused me to change my mind. It’s fine to have a second computer for a guinea pig (and I have several guinea pig virtual machines), but I want my main work machine to be rock solid.

In amount of software Arch is second only to Debian, which now has over 60,000 packages, so either distro has most anything you’d need. Now that Purism is seriously considering modifying the rolling release schedule, it could get a lot more stable. Because Purism is a company with resources and because I am totally behind their mission, I’m going to ride along with them and see what happens. They just released the Librem 15v4 with a 4K UHD screen, so they’re making some nice stuff. And then the Librem 5 phone is something the world has been needing for a long time. If PureOS gets more stability, that will be great news for the phone as well.