Red Hat SPICE protocol reaches version 0.6.0

In July reported about the roadmap of SPICE, the high-performance remote protocol that Red Hat acquired from Qumranet in September 2008 and turned into an open source project in December 2009: apparently, SPICE won’t hit its first production-ready version before H2 2011 even.

The new stable release, 0.6, which is not compatible with 0.4 clients, has been released at the end of August.
It introduces a few new features:

  • Surfaces
    The older spice protocol drew directly on the frame buffer. The surfaces work lets the driver draw on an offscreen surface, and then use that surface as a source when drawing.
    This is a requirement for an efficient implementation of an X driver, as offscreen pixmaps are a very common thing in X. It is also very useful for Windows 7, as it lets Windows use a surface for every toplevel window which leads to much reduced redrawing and thus bandwidth use.
  • WAN optimization
    Photo-like bitmaps compression with a lossy algorithm, addition of an entropy-based compression layer over GLZ.
  • Support for ARM7 (the one used by the iPhone 3GS and 4, for example)
    SPICE is being ported on ARM architectures and recently landed on a Nokia N900

Compared to the tentative list of features expected for this release, it seems that the project had a few delays. Nonetheless this version will be included in the upcoming Fedora 14 Linux distribution, expected in November.

The next stable release, 0.8 is expected in February 2011.

Thanks to for the news.