FIX - Firefox "Smooth Scrolling" tearing + youtube video tearing

Ok, just another annoying issue on Ubuntu Mate 18.04 make me investigate and found an easy fix, that might help others in this forum.

On Firefox I have a really annoying screen tear when scrolling, after Firefox introduce “Smooth Scrolling” couple of releases before. An I observe the same thing in Youtube video playback, and couple of days ago It start to … me and ask myself where is the problem?

The video card is Quadro 2000 is old, not very performance for this days, but is not … , and what the hack is a simple Youtube playback, or text scrolling in Firefox, for a video card that you can do professional CAD work for low-medium assemblies.

So with this learn myself what a screen tear means, vsync, g-sync, free sync,… install and test Chromium, check in Windows…until I open another one of my system with a worse card, a Quadro FX580 (witch I intend to replace) and somehow found that it work smoothly (same Ubuntu Mate), and said what the hack, how is this possible, older generation, and low entry video card work better …


Control Center -> MATE Tweak -> Windows and select “Marco (Compton GPU Compositor)” instead of Marco (Adaptive Compositor)" to solve this … so happy playing…

I don’t remember this issue on 16.04, and I just notice it with that smooth scrolling in Firefox witch is not for a long time introduced, so maybe this issue is present only on 18.04, I don’t know, I just investigate this in last 2-3 days, as this issue it get stuck in my eyes :smiley:


Oh, My, God, I LOVE you.
I thought it was just me! & such an easy fix.
Thank you Mircea!

Making the value of layers.acceleration.force-enabled to true in about:config solves the tearing issue. It’s easier.:slight_smile:


I wish that was true for my old MacBook! It does make Firefox render some things faster, though. Compton does solve the tearing, but it causes other issues, so I prefer Marco (adaptive) most of the time…

I’m using Marco (Compton GPU compositor) and changing that config solved the tearing problem on Firefox. :slight_smile:

Both Firefox and Chrome have posed some problems in this release. I’ve shifted to Chrome for some of these reasons. :confused:

OK @elcste you are right, I discover that on some of the system this setting is as you say , bring issues

  • On my main system with Quadro 2000 (installed proprietary nvidia driver - WebGL frame rate is 4 times faster) I observe issue on running Caja (not tested with nouveau), sometime is fast, sometime loading a folder it take couple of seconds, and selecting with mouse sometime is slower or selecting something up or down from mouse position, bot on the other side the entire desktop is a little bit slow in a positive sense, everything run “smoother”.
  • On a intel on cpu video this setting can render sometime the entire PC unresponsive if using the browser so you can’t do anything couple of seconds because nothing works.

Changing mentioned setting on some other system with AMD video card or on intel cpu video there is no difference, or just different but same issue.

Using Cromium is better on system where I tested, as tearing on scrolling does not exist because no “smooth scrolling” on system with smooth scrolling mouse ,and youtube video the tearing is in same place somewhere on top of the screen, visible only if I switch to full screen playing.

I observe that on my main system switching back and forth from GPU to adaptive and back to GPU will solve the issue par example in Caja, so for now I use the GPU mode to further testing, to see if I can leave it as my main setting…

Linux software works Ok no matter what system you use…
On Linux Desktop unfortunately things are not the same, different system different issues, different desktop environment, different … so the only perfect desktop for now remain Micosoft Windows :smiley: , but I prefer Mate :slight_smile:

And by the way testing video card performance under Linux with open source or proprietary driver I do it very quick with…

Thanks for this. It will come in handy.

Does anyone else think that this would make a really cool screensaver? Or am I just hungry?

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On Linux Mint, the layers.acceleration.force-enabled property is by default false in Firefox, just like in UM, but no screen tearing happens there(I used to use LM when I started using Linux in general).

This varies from distro to distro, obviously due to the modifications that are done in Firefox.

Changing that property to true solves tearing, but it causes sudden freeze and halt in Firefox, which is worse and more frequent than in Chrome. I’ve always used Marco(Compton GPU Compositor), but it didn’t change or solve the issue.

I had to switch to Chrome for that.

So, how i fixed the screen tearing on Nvidia proprietary driver:

Check if your V-sync is active:

sudo cat /sys/module/nvidia_drm/parameters/modeset If the output is Y then it is active, if N do the following:
create a new file

sudo nano /etc/modprobe.d/nvidia-drm-nomodeset.confand insert the line:

options nvidia-drm modeset=1


sudo update-initramfs -u

Then check again with:

sudo cat /sys/module/nvidia_drm/parameters/modeset

Have a nice day to all!

Thanks Apollonius, your fix totally sorted a tearing problem with BBC iplayer - cheers.

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My first solution, that one with Marco Adaptive Compositor, tested and is not very stable on my system.

But I found another Solution after I install KDE Neon, when I change my mother PC in the spring. As I don't want to use KDE Desktop on my system, because of quite a lot of usability issues.
After I install It, it amaze me, how a low spec PC function amazingly fast compare with my 6 core Xenon Quadro K4000 workstation. So initially I was thinking is the effects that KDE has that makes it run smoother. But no, the entire desktop have better hardware acceleration, and it run smoother than Mate Desktop. And I compare again, using a live USB stick on my main workstation, the feeling, and conclude on this, as the desktop run faster like you just change to a bleading edge PC.

So test the Screen Tearing in Mate 19.04 vs Kubuntu 19.04 (default config on both). Mate has screen tearing in Browser, KDE not. And adding the speed of the desktop .. KDE is not bad at all, if I can pass the usability issue..
Another interesting option is Lubuntu with LXDE witch I have it installed on My Tablet. It really impress me, have better usability than Kubuntu/KDE Neon. Lubuntu Team fixed all the usability issues that exist in KDE default desktop. This desktop really starts to compete with others.

Even with all this Mate remain my favorite ... but for future all depend by future speed/ tearing and other issue fixing and hope that Mate will continue to progress... as is a top desktop, it has the right features, right design, right usability, and it only needs some small technical staffs fixed...

Found in the end the best solution

  • instead of
    Control Center -> MATE Tweak -> Windows and select “Marco (Compton GPU Compositor)”
    I chose
    Control Center -> MATE Tweak -> Windows and select “Compiz (Advanced GPU accelerated desktop effects)”

And it looks like for now (Mate 19.04) both speed and video tearing fixed. Until now now issue like I have with Compton, so Compiz option is the best.

I avoid using this option, because I chose it couple of years ago and it crashed my desktop, and I was put to solve it from terminal after search for a reverting solution on internet.
Right now, amazing me how KDE works on my mother desktop, it put me to investigate again, and on internet and this forum get to this solution ... and why this is the best for now..... but testing.... hope no issue (Like found on Compton - Mate 18.04)...

That's what I had to do. Funny since Compton fixed the issue back when I ran Manjaro Xfce.

There are multiple ways to deal with this, and which one works best is entirely dependent on your hardware and your specific use cases.

To use a real example, I have an HTPC that gets used for streaming video from a NAS, and watching YouTube etc. It's a fairly weak Intel NUC, with Intel graphics. The easy way to "have everything work perfectly" is:

  1. Make sure marco ISN'T using a compositor.
  2. Create a compton.conf that DOESN'T have "unredir-if-possible=true" in it, and is using the GLX backend with GL vsync. (Not going to get bogged down by a full config discussion here).
  3. Add Compton to your Startup Applications.
  4. Done. Everything works, happiness ensues.

That's the EASY way. And while it's easy for some of the people posting here, it's probably much less so for many more of them, especially if they're not used to having to do this sort of thing themselves instead of have it all "just work" out of the box.

If you try unredir-if-possible to scrape out a bit more performance on that machine, or because you want to play a game on it, suddenly nothing works and it all gets a lot more complicated. Firefox's compositor is disabled on that hardware, so you have to force that on in there, and although it works it also raises the NUC's temperature by 6C, which makes the silent fan suddenly very audible. Not good for an HTPC.
VLC goes back to tearing, so you have to force that to use GLX output instead of whatever "Automatic" is choosing. And if you're new to this sort of thing, it's a lot of headaches and wasted time googling and asking around on forums, and so on.

And that's just covering some of the possible solutions, and only for the simple Intel IGP case. Add in discrete graphics cards, which often need absurd configurations of their own (c.f. the modprobe work above for the Nvidia card) and the problem space gets even bigger. This is too complex an issue by far to be able to say "XYZ is the best answer" - because if it was that simple, MATE would do XYZ by default and there wouldn't be thousands of threads all over the net about how much of a PITA it is to get this stuff working. :slight_smile:
(Mind you, I still say MATE should ship with a decent compton config where vsync works "properly" by default, but that's just MHO).

Apologies for rambling as much as I did - hopefully it'll help someone at some point in the future though.

The best fix just landed ... It is Called Ubuntu Mate 19.10 :slight_smile: So Marco compositor get screen tearing fix in this Ubuntu release ...