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Microsoft Patents GPU-accelerated Window Manager

By - Source: USPTO | B 87 comments

Could Windows 8 be getting a GPU-accelerated window manager?

Microsoft received a patent that explains a "compositing desktop window manager".

The patent was confirmed on November 15 and was filed about a year ago as an update to a 2007 patent. According to Microsoft, the compositing desktop window manager (short CDWM) would draw "the window to a buffer memory for future reference, and takes advantage of advanced graphics hardware and visual effects to render windows based on content on which they are drawn." The initial idea for such an approach dates back to a 2003 patent application and includes ideas for Windows Vista and its DWM / Aero Glass interface, which required, in comparison to Windows XP, a substantial bump in GPU horsepower.

However, using a GPU for general purpose applications is much more popular and realistic today as many more powerful graphics chips are deployed in mainstream computing systems than was the case when Vista was launched. According to the patent, application software directly accesses the CDWM via an API, which connects the application to a subsystem programming interface as well as an interface object manager and theme manager. A legacy subsystem is still present as a fallback option. A unified compositing engine (UCE) that acts as a link to a 3D graphics interface, such as OpenGL or Direct3D, is part of the invention.

The timing of the patent application suggests that the technology is not tied to the development of Windows 8 and the update could simply address inaccuracies. One indication for this thought is also a patent drawing that shows windows that combine different geometric shapes such as rectangles and ovals - which is not something that is pursued by Microsoft today. However, much more advanced GPU acceleration could help Microsoft tremendously with the deployment of Windows 8 on entry-level computers, including ARM systems.

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Top Comments
  • 23 Hide
    amk-aka-Phantom , November 18, 2011 4:04 AM
    As much as I hate patents for concepts, I'd rather see Microsoft acquiring them than Apple.
  • 11 Hide
    gaborbarla , November 18, 2011 4:16 AM
    Watch out, someone might patent the air that they breathe.
  • 10 Hide
    de5_Roy , November 18, 2011 4:32 AM
    can't help but think linux distros have had gpu accelerated window managers before microsoft had.
    but imo ms made a well-timed move patenting this after processor gfx has become more powerful and will get more powerful as time goes on.
Other Comments
  • 23 Hide
    amk-aka-Phantom , November 18, 2011 4:04 AM
    As much as I hate patents for concepts, I'd rather see Microsoft acquiring them than Apple.
  • 4 Hide
    Ragnar-Kon , November 18, 2011 4:11 AM
    amk-aka-PhantomAs much as I hate patents for concepts, I'd rather see Microsoft acquiring them than Apple.

    Yeah Apple and Microsoft (or any other company) are one in the same in my book. Build it, THEN you can patent it. Patents for ideas just doesn't make sense.

    And by the way, I understand that GPU acceleration can provide great improvements in many programs, but I'm just not seeing GPU-accelerated Window Managers being one of those programs that will benefit.
  • 11 Hide
    gaborbarla , November 18, 2011 4:16 AM
    Watch out, someone might patent the air that they breathe.
  • 3 Hide
    Anonymous , November 18, 2011 4:18 AM
    @ragnar
    companies sell their stuff on Multiple Small Features. go play in standard linux and youl understand what the patent keeps out, and how microsoft/ios gets people then.
  • 9 Hide
    Anonymous , November 18, 2011 4:21 AM
    Linux has done this for years.
  • 3 Hide
    Anonymous , November 18, 2011 4:22 AM
    @gaborbala
    Are you an idiot? This is not a patent for a rectangle, this is a proper patent.

    if you read you would see this opens a world up for new shapes/styles/themes. and this can impact a product immensely.

    This is the first patent ive seen in a long while that made sense, this technology is unique to MS and they designed it. now if they implement it soon then who knows we might just get Aero+ theme or something.
  • 10 Hide
    de5_Roy , November 18, 2011 4:32 AM
    can't help but think linux distros have had gpu accelerated window managers before microsoft had.
    but imo ms made a well-timed move patenting this after processor gfx has become more powerful and will get more powerful as time goes on.
  • 5 Hide
    sinfulpotato , November 18, 2011 4:32 AM
    Ragnar-KonYeah Apple and Microsoft (or any other company) are one in the same in my book.

    Apple uses its patents to force people out of the market, Microsoft wants royalties.
  • 1 Hide
    tofu2go , November 18, 2011 5:02 AM
    Wait a minute... GPU accelerated window manager? 2003 patent? Mac OS X has had Quartz Extreme, which added GPU acceleration to the window manager, since version 10.2 released in 2002.
  • 6 Hide
    spookie , November 18, 2011 5:21 AM
    tofu2goWait a minute... GPU accelerated window manager? 2003 patent? Mac OS X has had Quartz Extreme, which added GPU acceleration to the window manager, since version 10.2 released in 2002.


    de5_roycan't help but think linux distros have had gpu accelerated window managers before microsoft had.but imo ms made a well-timed move patenting this after processor gfx has become more powerful and will get more powerful as time goes on.


    they might have had it long ago...but clearly they never patented it
  • -5 Hide
    amk-aka-Phantom , November 18, 2011 5:21 AM
    Quote:
    Linux has done this for years.


    ROFL, problem is that your Linux doesn't support any GPUs properly...
  • 8 Hide
    tofu2go , November 18, 2011 5:37 AM
    spookiethey might have had it long ago...but clearly they never patented it


    Which is a good thing! It would mean that anyone is free to use the idea, and this patent would be nullified by prior art if it ever went to court.
  • -3 Hide
    cucu , November 18, 2011 6:23 AM
    WTF they stolen this .and now they pretend and want evrybody to pay them to use that tehnology MDF. the whole windows system is an stolen product from 3.1 to 8. again MDF. i hope they burn in hell.
  • 0 Hide
    eddieroolz , November 18, 2011 7:30 AM
    Microsoft's on a roll lately!

    Of course, there always has to be some Linux fanboys that will praise just how much better Linux is. It's kind of old, you know.
  • -3 Hide
    shompa , November 18, 2011 8:01 AM
    Apple have had GPU accelerated windows system since OSX 10.2 with Qurtz extreme/Core image. It took only 10 years for MSFT to implement the same idea.
  • 2 Hide
    cucu , November 18, 2011 8:07 AM
    Fun boy or not this is the fact, look at android they do the same thing ther to!!!
  • -1 Hide
    amk-aka-Phantom , November 18, 2011 8:21 AM
    Quote:
    WTF they stolen this .and now they pretend and want evrybody to pay them to use that tehnology MDF. the whole windows system is an stolen product from 3.1 to 8. again MDF. i hope they burn in hell.


    Stolen from... who? :D 

    Quote:
    Apple have had GPU accelerated windows system since OSX 10.2 with Qurtz extreme/Core image. It took only 10 years for MSFT to implement the same idea.


    Yeah... you know why? Because so far, Windows was so great that it didn't need it :kaola:  Meanwhile, I'm still waiting for Apple to steal implement SLI/Crossfire, acceptable interface and a bunch of other useful things. Microsoft focused on more widespread and useful features and won.

    Just you wait, in a few years MS will tear Apple apart and this time nobody will rescue them with a timely investment. The only thing that saddens me about it is that MS will simply take the advantage of Apple's dumb customers and satisfy their lack of intelligence mixed with desire to "use hi-tech gadgets" instead of educating people about technology.

    Quote:
    Microsoft's on a roll lately!

    Of course, there always has to be some Linux fanboys that will praise just how much better Linux is. It's kind of old, you know.


    + 1

    Quote:
    Linux has done this for years.


    Let me be more specific: you might mean Compiz... yes, it's one of the best windows managers out there. However, the GPU support is very poor on Linux. I recently had to deal with an AMD E-350 based box and there's practically no support for its hyped IGP. I had to do quite a few tweaks to get Compiz running more or less smoothly. So that also kills another myth about how AMD CPUs are magically shining under Linux :D 
  • 4 Hide
    Vladislaus , November 18, 2011 8:22 AM
    amk-aka-phantomROFL, problem is that your Linux doesn't support any GPUs properly...

    What? Almost all Nvidia, ATI and Intel GPUs have linux support. VIA and SIS also have a few GPUs that have linux support. Linux may have issues with hardware support, but the GPU isn't one of them.
  • -5 Hide
    amk-aka-Phantom , November 18, 2011 8:31 AM
    Quote:
    What? Almost all Nvidia, ATI and Intel GPUs have linux support. VIA and SIS also have a few GPUs that have linux support. Linux may have issues with hardware support, but the GPU isn't one of them.


    1) No one cares about SIS/VIA, they won't be used in an environment where you want a fancy desktop manager.

    2) ATI - see above. Their APUs don't work properly.

    3) nVidia - using one myself and no matter whether I use an open-source or proprietary driver, the boot screen doesn't work; why? Modern nVidia/AMD cards' frame buffer is not supported properly or some BS like that, none of the 9000 "fixes" found on the net work.

    Seriously, somehow Windows always works with any new hardware made after its release, but Linux always needs a new kernel or a fix or some other nonsense to get it running.

    EDIT: 4) Sandy Bridge needs a kernel update unless you're using H61 chipset OR your kernel is the one used in Ubuntu 11.04 or higher. Another pathetic example of HW support fail - somehow, Windows 7 works fine with SB IGPs out of the box or just needs a quick driver installation. Before you say something stupid about how Linux kernel DOES contain the drivers and therefore updating a kernel = installing new drivers, let me remind you that installing drivers is much, much faster.
  • 2 Hide
    cucu , November 18, 2011 8:51 AM
    Support or not for ATI and NVIDIA, but code was and is there!!! from years ago.
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