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Collabora Brings VR Support to Linux Desktop Environments, Sponsored by Valve

Collabora today announced a new open-source project that promises to enable Linux-based desktop environments and window managers to be aware of VR (virtual reality).

Sponsored by Valve, the xrdesktop project is developed by Collabora and designed to integrate into existing desktop environments like KDE and GNOME, making them running in virtual reality (VR) runtimes. It does that by rendering windows in 3D space, allowing users to manipulate them with VR controllers and headsets.

“This integration of xrdesktop into the window managers enables mirroring existing windows into XR and to synthesize desktop input through XR actions. xrdesktop can be run as a dedicated scene application, but it also features an overlay mode, where desktop windows are overlaid over any other running VR application,” explains Collabora’s Lubosz Sarnecki.

Integrates into your favorite Linux desktop environment

Collabora says that the xrdesktop project is designed to integrate directly into your favorite Linux desktop environment, thus eliminating the need for using a dedicated compositor for running in VR. This also means that xrdesktop will work out-of-the-box with your existing setups, but for now only the KDE and GNOME desktop environments will be supported.

However, Collabora ensures users that future releases of its xrdesktop project will work with any desktop environment or window manager designed for the Linux desktop. xrdesktop can also be used as a dedicated scene application and comes with an overlay mode to enable desktop windows to be overlaid over an existing VR application.

Under the hood, the xrdesktop project is powered by a set of Glib-based libraries and an in-house built Vulkan renderer. The software is written entirely in C and does not come with a standalone window manager, which means that it can only be integrated into an existing one. xrdesktop is available for testing right now in KDE and GNOME from its GitLab page.

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