Missing letters in spice client session with KVM guest

Bug #1261916 reported by intherye on 2013-12-17
This bug affects 24 people
Affects Status Importance Assigned to Milestone
xserver-xorg-video-qxl (Fedora)
Fix Released
xserver-xorg-video-qxl (Ubuntu)
Nominated for Trusty by Alberto Salvia Novella

Bug Description

Host: Xubuntu 13.04
Guest: Xubuntu 14.04 with qxl graphics

When connecting to a KVM guest via Spice client characters are not displayed (in graphical mode), to such extent that messages become unreadable/guest becomes unusable.

This bug was reported and kind of resolved for Red Hat/Fedora: https://bugzilla.redhat.com/show_bug.cgi?id=974198
The mentioned workaround to add kernel parameter nomodeset worked for me up to now.

Proposed resolution: Upgrade Debian/Ubuntu package to an up-to-date upstream release.

ProblemType: Bug
DistroRelease: Ubuntu 14.04
Package: xserver-xorg-video-qxl 0.1.1-0ubuntu2
ProcVersionSignature: Ubuntu 3.12.0-7.15-generic 3.12.4
Uname: Linux 3.12.0-7-generic x86_64
ApportVersion: 2.12.7-0ubuntu2
Architecture: amd64
CurrentDesktop: XFCE
Date: Tue Dec 17 21:42:35 2013
InstallationDate: Installed on 2013-12-13 (4 days ago)
InstallationMedia: Xubuntu 14.04 LTS "Trusty Tahr" - Alpha amd64 (20131213)
SourcePackage: xserver-xorg-video-qxl
UpgradeStatus: No upgrade log present (probably fresh install)

Description of problem:
There are missing letters in various screens of anaconda in the Fedora 19 TC3 build. See the attached screenshots.

Version-Release number of selected component (if applicable):
Fedora 19 TC3
anaconda 19.30.5-1

How reproducible:
every time

Steps to Reproduce:
1. Use the netinst ISO image to build a virtual machine:
  virt-install --name=test-machine101 --ram=1024 --vcpus=2 \
    --graphics=spice --noautoconsole \
    --os-type=linux --os-variant=fedora18 \
    --network=network=default,model=virtio \
    --cdrom=/var/lib/libvirt/images/Fedora-19-TC3-x86_64-netinst.iso \
2. Navigate the anaconda hub and spokes

Actual results:
letters are missing, e.g., in the Software Selection spoke, the GNOME Desktop group description is
  " NOME is a highly intuitive..."
where did the G in GNOME go?

and in the Installation Source spoke, the ISO file Verify button is " erify" and the Updates section is " pdates"

Expected results:
all the letters in the words are visible

Additional info:

Created attachment 760799
hub screenshot

Under Software Selection, the "D" is missing in "Cinnamon esktop"

Created attachment 760800
installation source spoke screenshot

1. The ISO file Verify button is missing the "V"
2. The Device name is " irtio Block Device (5 MB "
3. Updates is " pdates"
4. in Additional repositories, the Proxy URL field is "Pro y RL:"
5. the checkbox above it says "This RL efers to a mirror list"
6. Usename field is " sername:"

Created attachment 760802
software selection spoke screenshot

I'm not even sure what the column titles are; they read
  " a e E e"
  "A -O Se e e E e "


there are more errors on the screens such as "Books and uides" and " NOME 2"

It's probably all the characters that are underlined to denote that they're the character to use for alt+(character) keyboard combinations? Or something like that?

This seems bad enough to call a blocker, though I don't know what criterion I'd go for immediately.

Created attachment 760803
disks spoke screenshot

Select the device(s) yo 'd li e to install to. They ill e left nto ched ntil yo clic on the main men 's Be in Installation tton.

This might be a virt problem with spice. I tried again with VNC and I cannot reproduce the problem.

  virt-install --name=test-machine101 --ram=1024 --vcpus=2 \
    --graphics=vnc ...

I've tested a few more times with VNC vs Spice and it only happens with Spice, so I'm moving this to virt-manager (but I suppose it could be xorg-x11-drv-qxl or some other virt component). I guess this might not be a blocker after all?

CCing Ajax and airlied for the xorg-x11-drv-qxl angle. I'll see if I can reproduce this here with Spice/qxl.

FWIW I can't reproduce this with my usual test VM (which I've been using for many releases, so its xml definition is relatively old). On an F19 host, with the guest using Spice/qxl, booting F19 Final TC3 netinst ISO and going to the Software Selection spoke, I don't see any problems. All characters render fine.

Created attachment 761390
missing letters from Live image

I tried today on different host, also running Fedora 19 with latest packages, and I used Fedora-Live-Desktop-x86_64-19-TC3-1.iso live image and I'm experiencing missing letters here too as seen in the attached screenshot.

This may be unrelated, but I'm also seeing a bug with the mouse cursor registering clicks a few pixels to the left of the actual cursor when using Spice graphics. This makes it difficult to scroll with the narrow scroll bars from the Adwaita theme. See bug 974662

Confirmed and this is not limited to Anaconda but running live as well.

+1 blocker

I'm still not seeing it, so there's clearly *some* config issue of some kind here. Are you guys actually using the qxl driver?

Stock default being used with virt on F18
( virt-manager-0.10.0-0.5.gitde1695b2.fc18.noarch )

Which has...

Model: QXL
RAM: 64 MB
Heads: 1

Are you guys booting 64-bit or 32-bit images?

I live on the 21 century so I use 64bit...

Download full text (6.1 KiB)

I'm using all 64-bit, both host and guest. And I'm seeing it on two different systems.

I currently have installed on one host, my laptop:

~]$ rpm -qa | egrep -i 'virt|qemu|spice|qxl' | sort

And, as mentioned above, I create the VM with:

virt-install --name=f19tc3 --ram=1024 --vcpus=2 \
    --graphics=spice --noautoconsole \
    --os-type=linux --os-variant=fedora18 \
    --network=network=default,model=virtio \
    --cdrom=/var/lib/libvirt/images/Fedora-19-TC3-x86_64-netinst.iso \

which creates this:

~]$ virsh dumpxml f19tc3
<domain type='kvm' id='7'>


And the /tmp/X.log from the Anaconda environment confirms it's using QXL graphics:

[ 14.026] (==) Matched qxl as autoconfigured driver 0
[ 14.026] (==) Matched qxl as autoconfigured driver 1
[ 14.026] (==) Matched vesa as autoconfigured driver 2
[ 14.026] (==) Matched modesetting as autoconfigured driver 3
[ 14.026] (==) Matched fbdev as autoconfigured driver 4
[ 14.026] (==) Assigned the driver to the xf86ConfigLayout
[ 14.026] (II) LoadModule: "qxl"
[ 14.026] (II) Loading /usr/lib64/xorg/modules/drivers/qxl_drv.so
[ 14.098] (II) Module qxl: vendor="X.Org Foundation"
[ 14.098] compiled for 1.14.1, module version = 0.0.0
[ 14.098] Module class: X.Org Video Driver
[ 14.098] ABI class: X.Org Video Driver, version 14.1

I also noticed this in my X.log:

[ 14.230] qxl_kms_surface_create: Bad bpp: 1 (1)
[ 14.231] qxl_kms_surface_create: Bad bpp: 1 (1)
[ 14.231] qxl_kms_surface_create: Bad bpp: 1 (1)

This error comes from a recent commit to the qxl driver:
  qxl: add KMS support v1.2

So, with that clue, I restarted my virtual machine and added "nomodeset" to the kernel command line options, and I'm not seeing any missing letters! The graphics all look fine.

It's also curious that it's only text that's missing: all other widgets -- scroll bars, radio buttons, check boxes, etc -- look just fine.

Furthermore, I opened another bug last week about the mouse cursor registering clicks a few pixels away from the actual pointer when using Spice/QXL; see bug 974662. This bug is also fixed when using nomodeset!

Re-assigning to qxl so relevant folks can weigh in.

*** Bug 974040 has been marked as a duplicate of this bug. ***

Discussed at 2013-06-17 blocker review meeting: http://meetbot.fedoraproject.org/fedora-blocker-review/2013-06-17/f19final-blocker-review-6.2013-06-17-16.01.log.txt . Accepted as a blocker per criteria "The installer must be able to complete an installation using all supported interfaces" and "The release must be able host virtual guest instances of the same release." - if you're affected by this bug, installation becomes a game of chance unless you already know the installation interface intimately.

We reserve the right to change the decision if further data suggests it's less severe or widespread than we thought. X devs, we'd really appreciate your input on what may be causing this, and why some people see it (Jeff, Lukas, Jan, Johann) but others don't (me, Kamil). All testers seem to be testing x86_64 images on x86_64 hosts using qxl/SPICE graphics.

xorg-x11-drv-qxl-0.1.1-0.9.20130514git77a1594.fc19 has been submitted as an update for Fedora 19.

Note that this fix just missed TC5, but should make the next build. I could throw together a live image with the fix in it tomorrow, perhaps.

Just wanted to note this is a workaround, since the fix is disabling composite support.

Is it enough to fix this for F19 or do we need to fix this in F18 as well?

I updated to xorg-x11-drv-qxl-0.1.1-0.9.20130514git77a1594.fc19 in my VM and it seems to be working well so far.

Package xorg-x11-drv-qxl-0.1.1-0.9.20130514git77a1594.fc19:
* should fix your issue,
* was pushed to the Fedora 19 testing repository,
* should be available at your local mirror within two days.
Update it with:
# su -c 'yum update --enablerepo=updates-testing xorg-x11-drv-qxl-0.1.1-0.9.20130514git77a1594.fc19'
as soon as you are able to.
Please go to the following url:
then log in and leave karma (feedback).

we don't have KMS support in f18 so if you see it there its a different bug,

and yes its a workaround, but composite support makes no sense with gnome-shell running anyways, and I think composite support in UMS mode needs a lot more work as well.

Jeff, could you add positive karma to the update?

Per Jeff's confirmation in c#27, setting VERIFIED.

xorg-x11-drv-qxl-0.1.1-0.9.20130514git77a1594.fc19 has been pushed to the Fedora 19 stable repository. If problems still persist, please make note of it in this bug report.

intherye (intherye) wrote :
Maarten Lankhorst (mlankhorst) wrote :

This has to be fixed by the debian spice maintainers first. We pull our package directly from them.

Changed in xserver-xorg-video-qxl (Ubuntu):
status: New → In Progress

It renders the system temporarily or permanently unusable.

Changed in xserver-xorg-video-qxl (Ubuntu):
assignee: nobody → Maarten Lankhorst (mlankhorst)
importance: Undecided → Critical
Maarten Lankhorst (mlankhorst) wrote :

Seems like they simply disable the composite op because it doesn't work right for them.


Can you rebuild with that patch?

Changed in xserver-xorg-video-qxl (Ubuntu):
status: In Progress → Incomplete
Harry Coin (hcoin) wrote :

This problem happens 'out of the box' using nothing more xubuntu trusty iso installed on two systems, one running virt-manager and the other hosting vms. So far, so good.

To reproduce: try a standard xubuntu amd64 install on a vm guest using qxl as the video driver and spice as the display system. Somewhere during the install questions to do with disk use, every second or thid letter randomly just disappears. "Removing firefo " a few dozen times,. Removing kpart redisplayed a few dozen times. The 'Thank you we'd love to hear about your experiences' screen has title "In ta".

Trusty / qxl / spice on vm guests is compeltely unusable.

Harry Coin (hcoin) wrote :

"Installation has finished. ou can continue testing ubuntu now," (should be 'You' and 'Xubuntu'. The two buttons are titled 'Continue esting' and 'Restart ow'. The icons on the home screen have changed to 'rash' 'ile system' 'ome' nad 'Install ubuntu 14.0'.

Looks to be a strange bug to do with highlighting letters for keyboard shortcuts --- sort of. There are strange little graphics artifacts here and there as well. There must be something else going on too since the updated messages listing what was being installed or removed repeated bits of earlier messages while displaying nothing of what presently was being installed or removed.

Harry Coin (hcoin) wrote :

If the graphics drivers on the system running spice viewer are relevant, it's the nvidia 304-updates. I mention this because the nature of the 'visual static' or 'visual artifacts' seems to change when moving from one to another multi-head monitor. However the missing letters remain unchanged no matter the monitor, no matter whether ending and restarting virt-viewer and virt-manager.

nadrimajstor (ipejic) wrote :

This issue exists in 0.1.1-0ubuntu4 also.
Detail that is missing throughout redhat-bugs #974198 (and the possible explanation why some experience this issue and some might not) is that bug is somewhat guest resolution sensitive.
For me 640x480 and 800x600 works fine. However, 1024x768 and above will trigger the bug regardless of compositing (having it turned on will trigger the bug sooner).

nadrimajstor (ipejic) wrote :

Issue is accompanied by lags/cpu spikes of X server that could last for a few seconds.
For the sake brevity adding a screenshot.

Ubuntu QA Website (ubuntuqa) wrote :

This bug has been reported on the Ubuntu ISO testing tracker.

A list of all reports related to this bug can be found here:

tags: added: iso-testing
Lyn Perrine (walterorlin) wrote :

I can reproduce this on ubuntu with unity as a guest when using a resolution above 1024x768 in a guest in ubuntu 14.04 and with a daily iso of 15.04. I have only reproduced this in lubuntu if I installed a composite manager compton and set resolution above 1024x768. Lubuntu 14.10 vms in spice did not immediatly trigger the bug with high resolution. killing compton and logging out and the display turns back to normal.

Charlie Ott (charlieott) wrote :

reproduced on openstack kvm w/ qxl driver, 64MB vram, ubuntu 14.04 mini iso, with apt-get install xubuntu-desktop. verified qxl Xorg package is installed.

Yo (yleduc) on 2015-04-10
Changed in xserver-xorg-video-qxl (Ubuntu):
status: Incomplete → Confirmed

@ Maarten Lankhorst

Feel free to reassign you to this bug if you start working on it again.

Changed in xserver-xorg-video-qxl (Ubuntu):
status: Confirmed → Triaged
assignee: Maarten Lankhorst (mlankhorst) → nobody
Fabian Kantereit (fabi2607) wrote :

I could reproduce the error on a Debian based qemu-kvm host, running a Lubuntu guest with qxl/spice. After increasing the resolution several letter disappeared from the LXDE menu (e.g. w, u, p).

However, I could work around the Issue by deactivating text anti-aliasing in LXDE.

Christian Rpunkt (apollo2k) wrote :

Debian Testing works fine for me but Ubuntu not :(

I tested 14.04 and 15.04 with Unity and Ubuntu Mate

vvro (vvro) wrote :

Will it ever get fixed?

Launchpad Janitor (janitor) wrote :

This bug was fixed in the package xserver-xorg-video-qxl - 0.1.4-3ubuntu1

xserver-xorg-video-qxl (0.1.4-3ubuntu1) wily; urgency=medium

  * Resync on Debian, grabbing new upstream release 0.1.4 (LP: #1474154).
  * Take some patches from Fedora.
    + debian/patches/qxl-kms-disable-composite.patch: Fix graphical glitches
      by disabling COMPOSITE extension. (LP: #1261916)
    + debian/patches/no-surfaces-kms.patch: Should fix crashes.

xserver-xorg-video-qxl (0.1.4-3) unstable; urgency=medium

  * Team upload.
  * debian/control:
    - xserver-xspice: Drop dependency against xserver-xorg-video-qxl, this
      is not needed anymore now that spiceqxl_drv.so is not shipped in that
    - xserver-xspice: Add ${xviddriver:Depends} to the dependencies to ensure
      that we have the proper ABI.
  * debian/rules: Generate the "xviddriver:Depends" substvars for the
    xserver-xspice package.
  * debian/control: Add libudev-dev to the build-dependency for the linux

xserver-xorg-video-qxl (0.1.4-2) unstable; urgency=medium

  * Team upload.
  * Renable Xspice
  * Bump debhelper compatibility to 9
  * debian/control: Bump Standards-Version to 3.9.6
  * debian/control: Use canonical Vcs URL to please lintian

xserver-xorg-video-qxl (0.1.4-1) unstable; urgency=medium

  * Let uscan verify tarball signatures.
  * New upstream release.
  * Add patch from rhbz#1201877 to use libpciaccess instead of raw port I/O,
    fixing FTBFS on arm64. Thanks, Adam Jackson!

xserver-xorg-video-qxl (0.1.1-2) unstable; urgency=medium

  * Remove Liang Guo and Cyril Brulebois from Uploaders.
  * Back to source format 1.0.
  * Stop building/shipping Xspice (closes: #738744, #729054, #729053)
  * Use verbose build rules.
  * Add patch to fix misdetection of xextproto.

xserver-xorg-video-qxl (0.1.1-1) unstable; urgency=low

  [Michele Cane]
  * New upstream release.

  [Liang Guo]
  * Ignore tests in debian/source/options

 -- Iain Lane <email address hidden> Mon, 03 Aug 2015 14:35:38 +0100

Changed in xserver-xorg-video-qxl (Ubuntu):
status: Triaged → Fix Released
Changed in xserver-xorg-video-qxl (Fedora):
importance: Unknown → Medium
status: Unknown → Fix Released
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