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The State of X.Org

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the marks-the-spot dept.

X 618

An anonymous reader writes "Phoronix has up an article looking at the release of X Server 1.4.1. This maintenance release for X.Org, which the open-source operating systems depend upon for living in a graphically rich world, comes more than 200 days late and it doesn't even clear the BugZilla release blocker bug. A further indication of problems is that the next major release of X.Org was scheduled to be released in February... then May... and now it's missing with no sign of when a release will occur. There are still more than three dozen outstanding bugs. Also, the forthcoming release (X.Org 7.4) will ship with a slimmer set of features than what was initially planned."

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I think i know (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23745971)

It's in X state

Re:I think i know (0, Offtopic)

The_Wilschon (782534) | more than 6 years ago | (#23746073)

It's because they're trying to see new vistas.

Anything else out there? (5, Interesting)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 6 years ago | (#23746037)

Is there anything else out there? Why is there such a lack of interest in X.org, when so many other projects depend on it. Most of the big projects have been moving quite quickly, making a lot of headway in the past couple of years. What's holding x.org back?

Re:Anything else out there? (4, Informative)

jeiler (1106393) | more than 6 years ago | (#23746085)

Probably the complexity of the issues involved, and the ever-expanding environmental requirements X is being written for.

Re:Anything else out there? (5, Funny)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 6 years ago | (#23746093)

I agree. I recently discovered the xfree86 project. It seems like a good alternative to x.org.

Re:Anything else out there? (0, Redundant)

Pienjo (10175) | more than 6 years ago | (#23746177)

Eh, you *did* know that X.Org started as a not-so-friendly fork of XFree86, partly because XFree86 got stale due to internal problems, right?

Right!?

Re:Anything else out there? (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23746233)

*whoosh*

Re:Anything else out there? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23746223)

You must be joking, how can I mod this as funny?

Re:Anything else out there? (5, Informative)

Kjella (173770) | more than 6 years ago | (#23746257)

Uh, a strange thing to say but your posting history seems normal so...

In February 2004, with version 4.4.0, The XFree86 Project adopted a license change that the Free Software Foundation considered GPL incompatible. Most Linux distributions found the potential legal issues unacceptable and made plans to move to a fork from before the license change. At first there were multiple forks, but the X.Org fork soon became the dominant one. Most XFree86 developers who were already annoyed at other issues in the project also moved to X.Org.
In short, x.org was xfree86 but that project is practicly dead. Pretty much everyone worth mentioning have migrated from xfree86 to x.org and while x.org may be moving slow, xfree86 has almost stopped dead. Going back there would do little to nothing to bolster X development. Tbe question is rather why there's so little work overall (or so it claims, I don't have enough knowledge to say) since the competition is basicly non-existant.

Re:Anything else out there? (5, Insightful)

Yetihehe (971185) | more than 6 years ago | (#23746305)

Tbe question is rather why there's so little work overall (or so it claims, I don't have enough knowledge to say) since the competition is basicly non-existant.
Wow, you have just answered your question in the same sentence.

Re:Anything else out there? (5, Insightful)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 6 years ago | (#23746405)

Open source does not work like big business. It doesn't stagnate because there's no competition. It stagnates because people don't want to work on it. There isn't much competition for the Linux Kernel either. That doesn't slow down it's development.

Re:Anything else out there? (5, Insightful)

pebcak (773787) | more than 6 years ago | (#23746503)

There isn't much competition for the Linux Kernel either.
You mean like FreeBSD, OpenBSD, NetBSD, Darwin and OpenSolaris?

Re:Anything else out there? (1)

bsDaemon (87307) | more than 6 years ago | (#23746575)

[Free, Net, Open]BSD, Solaris and Darwin aren't exactly competing for the same user base as Linux is.

Re:Anything else out there? (5, Funny)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 6 years ago | (#23746659)

Smelly hippies?

Re:Anything else out there? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23746839)

That's the truth. We recently finished migrating all our clusters from Debian over to FreeBSD 7. Getting 15-20% better performance out of the same hardware with rock solid reliability was a no-brainer.

Re:Anything else out there? (5, Interesting)

Kjella (173770) | more than 6 years ago | (#23746523)

Wow, you have just answered your question in the same sentence.
The Linux kernel for example, is completely without competing forks that I know of, yet seems to be making good strides. xfree86 was going slow, and even after the x.org revival things again appear to be going slow. With a lot of people focusing on the desktop performance of Linux, why isn't this project interesting? A lot of other projects seem to be progressing nicely even without the competition breathing down their necks. I wonder if part of the reason is that the code is X11 licensed, which is fairly close to BSD so you don't have even LGPL protection of your code. If Stallman is looking for a non-(L)GPL project to replace, maybe he should drop the Hurd and start working on a GPL'd X instead...

Re:Anything else out there? (5, Interesting)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 6 years ago | (#23746329)

First, I believe your parent post was a joke. Second of all, the reason most open source projects go stagnant seems to be for a couple reasons. First, the code is an ugly mess, and nobody wants to work on it. Second, internal conflict about where the project is going, so nothing gets done, or every new feature or bug fix becomes a big argument, about how it should be done. Thirdly, very boring project subject matter. The last one seems to be the big killer. There could be a nice open source Outlook/Exchange replacement. It wouldn't be inherently hard to build, but it seems that nobody is interested in doing it. Most of the stuff that gets a lot of attention is the stuff that developers are interested in building.

So that's what the ??? stands for (0, Redundant)

Kugrian (886993) | more than 6 years ago | (#23746807)

Thirdly, very boring project subject matter.


1. This
2. That
3. Very boring project subject matter (???)
4. Profit

Re:Anything else out there? (2, Insightful)

daffmeister (602502) | more than 6 years ago | (#23746413)

Whooosh!

(GP was joking, I think he knows the history)

Re:Anything else out there? (-1, Redundant)

Kjella (173770) | more than 6 years ago | (#23746837)

If it's a joke, it should be funny. To me it sounds like a somewhat uninformed post about the state as it was a few years ago, when xfree86 and x.org were real alternatives and distros where in the process of migrating. I don't expect everyone to keep very close track on one particular subsystem of Linux (or rather, running on top of Linux to be technically correct), not even on slashdot. Yes, suggesting you use the old ways as in "use hammer and chisel" can be funny, but when I just go "uhh.... sure you could do that, but it's not a very good solution" I don't see what's funny. I think the funny mods are more like "hey check this guy out, he hasn't got a clue what he's talking about" rather than "hahahaha, good one!". I keep trying to read it as a joke, but even if you tell me it's supposed to be I don't find the punchline.

Re:Anything else out there? (3, Insightful)

moosesocks (264553) | more than 6 years ago | (#23746335)

I'm guessing that X.Org inherited an absolutely terrifying codebase from xfree86.

Simply getting xfree to compile was a chore, even on the (few and far between) stable releases.

Personally, I'm still unconvinced that X is a particularly "good idea." 15 years later, and the promises of simplicity and compatibility are still unrealized, as every single implementation of the protocol has suffered from numerous problems. Perhaps it would be best to start from scratch, and revise X11 to be a more realistic/practical specification.

Even back in 1994, it was being called [art.net] the Iran-Contra of user-interfaces.

Quartz? (1)

krischik (781389) | more than 6 years ago | (#23746917)

Personally, I'm still unconvinced that X is a particularly "good idea." 15 years later, and the promises of simplicity and compatibility are still unrealized, as every single implementation of the protocol has suffered from numerous problems. Perhaps it would be best to start from scratch, and revise X11 to be a more realistic/practical specification.
Me too. Only I voted with my money and went from SuSE Linux to Mac OSX. Maybe it is time for some new technology and why not get inspiration from the best and try to clone Quartz [1]?

Martin

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quartz_(graphics_layer) [wikipedia.org]

Re:Anything else out there? (4, Funny)

ewoods (108845) | more than 6 years ago | (#23746875)

Glad that was modded as funny. Wow.

X.org should scrap the network transparency cruft. It's never worked well, been a slow performer and is used by a small portion of the user population. It's been supplanted by better tools such as vnc and nx (better as in faster, easier to use, more widely accepted). Scrap that and it would make X.org a lot easier to maintain and use. It doesn't have to implement everything in the protocol specification and that's one thing that could go the way of the dodo.

Re:Anything else out there? (3, Insightful)

FudRucker (866063) | more than 6 years ago | (#23746153)

RE:"when so many other projects depend on it."

is that a good thing? it is not! i think applications that require an x-window-system should be just agnostic enough to allow for the older alternative to xorg, [eg] http://www.xfree86.org/ [xfree86.org]

Re:Anything else out there? (1)

Gazzonyx (982402) | more than 6 years ago | (#23746377)

For better or worse, we (the Communities) are stuck with the X windowing system. However, I wish that we could cut ties and run from X in all its forms. It's such a backwards and ugly protocol... unfortunately, it's Good Enough.

Re:Anything else out there? (5, Interesting)

fireboy1919 (257783) | more than 6 years ago | (#23746345)

I have a theory.

We're using X as our windowing system because it's what we have, and we need it. But I don't think anybody (or not many people) really *believe* in it.

That is to say, I doubt anybody takes a look at it and says "this is it! This is the way we should do Windowing!" And so the followup, "...and if it this thing worked, then it'd be more awesome."

What people actually say when they start looking at it looks more like this.
"Okay! X.org is a good project! I think maybe I'll contribute my time to it! Hold on...what is this? Why does it have all these features that nobody cares about? Why the nonstandard build system? What's with all the crazy legacy code? This thing is way too complex for me to spend my time on, and what I learn won't transfer to any other work. I'll pick something else."

Re:Anything else out there? (2, Informative)

Foske (144771) | more than 6 years ago | (#23746353)

I think the main thing that holds back X (either .org or free86) is the legacy mess. What we see as X is actually a combination of the graphics drivers and a windowing system.

There used to be the KGI project trying to seperate them and stabilizing the interface for the drivers, now Fedora is trying it again with kernel level mode setting, and I think this is something we need to clean up the mess.

Furthermore the windowing system is so generic and bloated that it is a nightmare to maintain. Even basic features are extensions already ...

Oh and of course: X is not sexy... hacking window managers is on the other hand...

Leaves the question: what does X need ? What should X focus on in the near future ?

Re:Anything else out there? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23746385)

hehehe. Year of the Linux desktop my a$$...
How can something try to go against Windows if it doesn't even have a GUI system worth of been called that...

Re:Anything else out there? (4, Insightful)

Jellybob (597204) | more than 6 years ago | (#23746571)

Ahhh, because Windows' display manager is truly amazing.

Now, let me just open an application on another machine, and show it on this one's X server... hmmm... what's that - I need to be running Windows 2008 Server, and have a terminal server license?

How about running multiple display managers, so that I can have more then one person using the machine with seperate monitors and input... no. Thought not.

I could go on, but I think you'll get the point.

Re:Anything else out there? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23746703)

Ironically, when I was first discovering linux, I ran into a lot of confusion with the two features you mentioned because of VNC - I wasn't used to VNC opening it's own X server window (coming from a Windows environment), and there's very poor VNC support on linux because of X tunnelling...

Re:Anything else out there? (2, Insightful)

VincenzoRomano (881055) | more than 6 years ago | (#23746421)

There are few points here.
Developers need (new) money.
Developers need (new) ideas.
Developers need (update) documentation.
It could be also time for a brand new project, but those points still hold true, in my opinion.

Good enough (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23746441)

To a large extent it's good enough. Many remaining issues are with more obscure drivers (via, I'm looking at you) and with high-performance 3D.

There's really been plenty happening, too. Look at EXA, the composite extensions, etc. For something as fundamental as the core graphics engine it's not doing too badly.

I'll admit I'm personally hoping to see more enthusiasm for moving mode setting back into the kernel, but that's not really all that big an issue how it is.

Re:Anything else out there? (5, Interesting)

Enleth (947766) | more than 6 years ago | (#23746485)

It's a HUGE, and I mean, REALLY HUGE codebase that deals with hell lots of different concepts (graphics, input, networking, ...) that requires a good deal of understanding to modify it properly. Yet, there are less than 30 (!) active developers. That's probably one of the most under-manned Open Source project out there, proportionally to its size. And it's, again, because it's complicated as hell and nothing can be done about this - it's just the way a windowing server has to be.

I've tried to help the project two years ago, I did dome work on input hotplugging and while not much of the code I wrote finally made it to the upstream (Daniel Stone, the man behind the input subsystem, finally decided for a different solution than what I was thinking about - maybe that was a good decision, I'm not the one to judge), I could experience myself how difficult developing X is. Besides skills and experience, you need to be able to keep track of such a big structure mentally, all the time. Not every programmer can do that, even skilled and experienced.

And, no, you can't always abstract everything out and make a nice, clean structure for the code to adhere to. Maybe the X code could be a bit easier to modify, but just a bit. Trying to force that, you would end up with an Xserver counterpart of GNU Hurd, if you know what I mean...

Re:Anything else out there? (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 6 years ago | (#23746819)

Is it really the way a windowing system "has to be". I doubt it. There's no reason the graphics system and drivers have to be anywhere close to the same project as the window manager. Do we really need network transparency? Or would using something like VNC serve us well enough. It wouldn't be quite as cool, but it would probably remove quite a bit of complexity from the code.

You Are (1, Troll)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 6 years ago | (#23746553)

So rather than help with the X.org that's letting you look at this post right now, you're trying to get everyone to drop it? Why don't you spend a little time actually doing something to make X.org better, even if only for your own desktop's good?

X.org is an open project. It's as good as its developers. The fact that millions of people's daily computing depends on it, but developers don't fix bugs very much, is the fault of the community.

"X.org" is you. Lift a finger to help sometime. That gives you the right to complain when you don't like it. Otherwise, you're just a mouthy freeloader like everyone else, except the too few who actually do something.

Re:Anything else out there? (1)

MrMr (219533) | more than 6 years ago | (#23746741)

Well, I could always go back to sunview [wikipedia.org] I guess. But getting the gui out of the kernel was a pretty good idea in the 1980's. Nothing is holding x.org back, except that it already has the functionality that is needed since before the current programmers were able to fill their diapers.

first (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23746039)

first post

Re:first (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23746867)

Said it before. WHY is there no "-1 Wrong" moderation option?

Finally, developers' ignorance and childish (3, Insightful)

BattleCat (244240) | more than 6 years ago | (#23746067)

selfness show up on large scale. Jumped Linux ship two years ago in favor of MacOS X, never looking back, starting to get job done, instead of another OS/DE fight won.
While I was long-time subscriber to xorg-devel and other related MLs, every holy war fought there was nailing X coffin slowly but surely. Do they still sing "network transparency out of the box" mantra every time someone suggests changing architecture ?

Re:Finally, developers' ignorance and childish (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23746201)

Do they still sing "network transparency out of the box" mantra every time someone suggests changing architecture ?
That's the complaint you're going to go with? Seriously? Something that degrades gracefully into the ideal solution (shared mem and unix sockets) for a local-only graphics server?

There's a LOT wrong with X.org right now, even mentioned in TFS. I personally wish they would put a lot more work into the transition to evdev and HAL, so we can get rid of xorg.conf and finally make strides to being as user friendly as "the other" OSes.

But network transparency? You're fighting the wrong battles here.

Re:Finally, developers' ignorance and childish (5, Insightful)

kaiman (234281) | more than 6 years ago | (#23746401)

But network transparency? You're fighting the wrong battles here.
That is so true. Using Macs myself since a couple years. I have a recent MacBook Pro (mostly occupied by my wife) and an iBook G3 left for my stuff. While I can ssh into the MacBook Pro and do command line stuff fast, I so wish I could simply

    export DISPLAY=skarabrae:0.0

and get actual work done fast!

Network transparency is *the* feature of X.

Re:Finally, developers' ignorance and childish (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23746339)

Internally, X11 running in local mode works the same way as Apple's window server - using shared memory and local sockets. Hell, even Windows Vista works this way (except using Windows IPC mechanisms instead of Unix ones).

Everyone who suggests changing the architecture of X by removing network transparency is arguing from a position of ignorance. There isn't a faster mechanism for doing a GUI server without either building the windows server into each app (allowing only one app at a time), or building the window server into the kernel (bad idea).

Re:Finally, developers' ignorance and childish (2, Informative)

BattleCat (244240) | more than 6 years ago | (#23746587)

Ok. Let's get this straight:
1. X wire proto is ugly. fscking ugly and so fscking low level I don't even know what to compare it with. Pushing ugliness faster via unix domain sockets (which are, presumedly, zero-copy on Linux ) (does anyone know about FreeBSD/Solaris implementation of UDS ? ) does not help in improving overall picture.
2. Changing protocol to work with higher level blocks (client-based widgets with server-backed structures) will probably break network transparency (since instead of low-level user IO and graphics resources, they'll need to work with complicated scenarios and behaviours)
(Keith Packard integrated client-side fonts relatively smoothly, but it was relatively easy task (relative to introduction of client-side widgets, of course)).

Re:Finally, developers' ignorance and childish (4, Informative)

siride (974284) | more than 6 years ago | (#23746801)

No windowing system has anything resembling widgets on the server-side. It's all done in client-side libraries, where that kind of stuff belongs. The server-exposed interface just provides the mechanisms needed for implementing widgets. That part is fine and doesn't need to change.

As for the protocol, only a few parts are actually poorly designed. Grabs need to be reworked as they can result in subtle race conditions and lock-ups. There's a lot of old cruft that nobody uses that could go away, but isn't really causing a problem by remaining in the protocol. The main historical problem was Xlib, which did a lot of stupid things with the protocol, resulting in reduced performance, especially over the network. XCB fixes that, although no toolkits have been ported to pure XCB yet (and it may be a while).

Ultimately what's going to be happening is the move towards Composite/EXA, OpenGL and DRI(2) for everything, which should negate a lot of the existing problems with X's rendering infrastructure. Again, the lack of manpower is going to prevent these projects from making much forward progress.

Re:Finally, developers' ignorance and childish (3, Informative)

diegocgteleline.es (653730) | more than 6 years ago | (#23746739)

Internally, X11 running in local mode works the same way as Apple's window server - using shared memory and local sockets.

It doesn't uses shared memory, I think. There's a "shared memory" extension, but there's not a "shared memory transport" for the X11 protocol. Sun's propietary server has a shared memory transport, and it was said that they'd opensource and port it for X.org, but so far nothing has happened. It'd be an interesting thing to have, i think - today, when an application wants to display a image in the server it must send the whole image to the server (the protocol is network-oriented so it can't send a "reference" like a file, it has to send the whole data of the image). If the client app keeps the image in its memory after sending it to the server, the image is using 2x its memory size (one in the server, one in the client). With a shared memory transport, client and server could shared the memory that the image is using. Or so I've heard.

Re:Finally, developers' ignorance and childish (1)

diegocgteleline.es (653730) | more than 6 years ago | (#23746581)

Do they still sing "network transparency out of the box" mantra every time someone suggests changing architecture ?

They sing "not breaking the compatibility with all the graphical applications out there".

What's the problem? (5, Insightful)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 6 years ago | (#23746071)

It's Open Source -- unlike proprietary software, we're not at the mercy of a company to dictate the release schedule or fix bugs if they get around to it. If bugs aren't fixed, it's because we failed to fix them.

Re:What's the problem? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23746391)

It's Open Source -- unlike proprietary software, we're not at the mercy of a company to dictate the release schedule or fix bugs if they get around to it. If bugs aren't fixed, it's because we failed to fix them.
It's a little like saying that we're not at the mercy of hospitals, because we can always cure the diseases ourselves...

Re:What's the problem? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23746557)

No, it's not. If this was a site for doctors, then it might be. However, we're all (primarily) software developers. That means that we have the know how to actually fix bugs and add features (whether we want to spend the time/energy is a totally different matter, obviously here we didn't).

I don't know about you, but I sure as hell don't know how to cure diseases.

Re:What's the problem? (3, Interesting)

cjjjer (530715) | more than 6 years ago | (#23746855)

Maybe not at the mercy of a company, but a team of core developers that don't want to do it any more. Now tell me which is worse?

And don't try and throw the "oh we can do it ourselves crap". The issue here is maybe the casual developer has contributed are you saying that this casual developer now has to work on it full time so the project can move forward?

Not likely to happen.

One of the problems facing OSS is the people who move it forward are the ones who live, breath and feel passionately about the project (99% of the time the core developers), take away those people away and the project usually dies no matter how popular it is.

Phoronix will pay to fix X (4, Informative)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 6 years ago | (#23746081)

From the article:

At Phoronix we are even willing to offer -- cash and/or computer hardware -- bounties for having X.Org release schedules met and bug lists being cleared out.

Re:Phoronix will pay to fix X (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23746271)

From the article:

At Phoronix we are even willing to offer -- cash and/or computer hardware -- bounties for having X.Org release schedules met and bug lists being cleared out.
1. Clear bug list by deleting all unfixed bugs from tracker.
2. Release new version of X.Org, exactly the same as the old version.
3. Profit!!!!

Re:Phoronix will pay to fix X (2, Interesting)

BattleCat (244240) | more than 6 years ago | (#23746291)

Heh. "At Phoronix", my ass.
Once I badly needed one particular bug (proper video init on laptop resume) fixed . Asked about probable fix timeframe/schedule of this bug on lkml , most responses were in form "it's free, we're doing it in our spare time, so don't ask when" . Then I tried to determine if any amount of money can help, asked developers if they can pricetag bugfix/patch and how to pay them - there was no definite answer at all. Children , playing in their sandpit and bearing no responsibility for their code at all, unmotivated and unmotivateable by anything but most basic urges .

Re:Phoronix will pay to fix X (3, Insightful)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | more than 6 years ago | (#23746395)

Once I badly needed one particular bug (proper video init on laptop resume) fixed . Asked about probable fix timeframe/schedule of this bug on lkml , most responses were in form "it's free, we're doing it in our spare time, so don't ask when" . Then I tried to determine if any amount of money can help, asked developers if they can pricetag bugfix/patch and how to pay them - there was no definite answer at all. Children , playing in their sandpit and bearing no responsibility for their code at all, unmotivated and unmotivateable by anything but most basic urges .

Yeah, doesn't it suck when people are safe and happy enough that they can't be bribed, and they just sit around labouring to use their talents according to their own interests and desires and sharing the things they create?

I hate that. These people need to have some shit ripped away from them so they can be bought and sold like everyone else. How else am I going to solve my problems?

Re:Phoronix will pay to fix X (5, Insightful)

The Ultimate Fartkno (756456) | more than 6 years ago | (#23746521)

Bribery? I completely fail to see your logic here.

BattleCat needs to have a bug fixed. He approaches coders who, for free and in their spare time, code.

"Hey there, coderman. I see that you do this sort of thing for free and for fun, but what would you say to doing that coding thing that you love to do, hitting this one bug that I really need fixed, and ending up with all the satisfaction that you normally get from your work and a shiny nickel on top of it?"

"ZOMGBRIBERYYOUCALLOUSBASTARD!"

Really? Is that what you call bribery? Where I come from, bribery entails a breach of ethics. All BattleCat wanted was to add a little icing to the job that people were already doing for free in an effort to have something fixed that was a priority for him. That's about as straight-up, ethical, and non-bribery a way to get things done as I can imagine.

Re:Phoronix will pay to fix X (0)

Lobster Quadrille (965591) | more than 6 years ago | (#23746795)

Bribery may be a bit much, but the point stands. For some reason, that bug wasn't a high priority. They are under no obligation to fix it, no matter how much he offers to pay.

He can always hire another coder to fix it. Ideally, he'd then send a patch to the original team, but again, he's under no obligation to do so either.

Re:Phoronix will pay to fix X (1, Insightful)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | more than 6 years ago | (#23746833)

If someone is going to pursue a task because the task is its own reward, and you entice them to pursue a different task that isn't its own reward by offering them money, that's bribery.

If someone is going to pursue a task because the task is its own reward, and you attempt to relieve them of outside pressures and distractions by offering them money so they can focus on the task they already intended to do, that's support.

If someone is comfortable, safe, secure and happy, you won't be able to control them with bribery, but you might be able to assist them with support.

The fact that you don't perceive anything wrong with living in a world that normalizes the first example is a testament to how far we have collectively fallen. In my opinion.

Re:Phoronix will pay to fix X (2, Funny)

kunwon1 (795332) | more than 6 years ago | (#23746545)

If I give you five bucks, will you go away?

Re:Phoronix will pay to fix X (1)

Lobster Quadrille (965591) | more than 6 years ago | (#23746751)

Children , playing in their sandpit and bearing no responsibility for their code at all,
Huh.

I can understand your frustration, but if you didn't read the box [wikipedia.org] , please don't complain.

'THE SOFTWARE IS PROVIDED "AS IS", WITHOUT WARRANTY OF ANY KIND...IN NO EVENT SHALL THE AUTHORS OR COPYRIGHT
HOLDERS BE LIABLE FOR ANY CLAIM'

Re:Phoronix will pay to fix X (1)

ishmalius (153450) | more than 6 years ago | (#23746363)

I would estimate 10 full-time -qualified- programmers for at least a year, plus capital and overhead costs. Is Phoronix willing to pay $2M? And this isn't enough to fix it, only to assist those already working on it. I will never understand why people so undervalue the work that is contributed to free software projects, the difficulty of the work involved, and the skill required to accomplish it. Also, please never link to that over-loud and busy site again.

I don't like this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23746089)

Too slow release cycles of Xorg can slow down the adoption of Linux in the desktop market.

I don't know whats stopping them from fixing the bugs in it.

Re:I don't like this (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23746181)

Jews.

Re:I don't like this (4, Insightful)

debrain (29228) | more than 6 years ago | (#23746183)

I don't know whats stopping them from fixing the bugs in it.

The salient question would be: What's stopping us from fixing the bugs in it.

Duh (5, Funny)

Gazzonyx (982402) | more than 6 years ago | (#23746275)

Mostly the time we spend posting on Slashdot.

Re:I don't like this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23746355)

Mexicans?

Re:I don't like this (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23746777)

The number of people able to fix these problems are numbered...

Slow release cycles aren't bad for core projects (1)

Alwin Henseler (640539) | more than 6 years ago | (#23746519)

Too slow release cycles of Xorg can slow down the adoption of Linux in the desktop market.
As someone once said: "operating system kernels should be boring". I agree. It's user-visible applications (and full distributions) that should evolve quicky, to add new functionality as it becomes available.

But not low level code like Xorg. These kind of projects should focus on stability and reliability, in other words, make sure that whatever they release, is working and well tested. If that means a new feature (or bugfix?) needs more time for testing, I'm all for taking that time.

Because such core projects are used as the basis for many others, it also means that any shortcoming in it may hang around for a long time in projects that use it. The usual approach seems to be "let core projects move quickly, and have downstream projects apply their own fixes". I think that's a bad approach. Quality-wise, the lower-level you get, the more stable/reliable (boring if you will) code should be. New features & fixes should be added downstream, and then slowly make their way back upstream, similar to how changes for Debian testing make their way back to Debian stable.

Re:Slow release cycles aren't bad for core project (1)

siride (974284) | more than 6 years ago | (#23746859)

But user-level applications need features in the kernel and the windowing system to do a number of modern things. We can't just have X go into maintenance mode if we want user-level applications to progress.

Furthermore, if we take your approach of having downstream do all the hip new features, we end up in distro hell. Each distribution with its own special implementations for new features, all incompatible with other distros (or nominally compatible), all requiring huge distro-specific patchsets, that have to be maintained independent of upstream. Yeah, that's been done before and it was universally agreed to be a bad idea. Most people these days would prefer that most stuff goes and stays upstream, to prevent gratuitous incompatibilities between distros and forks and such.

Haven't really noticed any reduced quality .. (3, Interesting)

Idimmu Xul (204345) | more than 6 years ago | (#23746095)

From the article:

What do you think about X Server 1.4.1, X.Org 7.4, and the X.Org release quality in general? Are these delayed and much drawn out release cycles a barrier to the greater adoption of Linux?

I've been using Ubuntu for 4 years now and it's pretty much shielded me from any lack of quality in the releases. Probably if I spent more (unnecessary) time under the hood it would expose issues but I've been living in a very blind 'trust Ubuntu' atmosphere where things pretty much just work (ok, lets not mention the recent key generation problem :)

In short, I guess the only people that might find the quality lacking are the developers and maintainers, and anyone specifically in the graphics industry? Not your average desktop user..? Or am I being naive?

Free Playstation 3, Wii and XBox 360 [free-toys.co.uk]

Re:Haven't really noticed any reduced quality .. (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 6 years ago | (#23746239)

You could probably say the same about any software system. Unless it's really bad. A lot of people say windows is pretty bad. I don't run into too many bugs most of the time. A couple here and there, but nothing major.

Re:Haven't really noticed any reduced quality .. (5, Insightful)

RobBebop (947356) | more than 6 years ago | (#23746245)

I agree wholeheartedly. The current release of X is suitable and works well for me.

The "upgrade every year" mentality is the wrong one to have. They missed their date? Okay, that's fine. As long as they don't buckle under the "release schedule" mentality compromise quality. I may be naive, but I don't know any reason they would want to push/rush their next release.

Re:Haven't really noticed any reduced quality .. (4, Informative)

siride (974284) | more than 6 years ago | (#23746337)

It's not that they missed their date because they were busily fixing bugs and adding new features; they missed it because they're just not doing that much right now. There's no management, there's very little direction, and there's really not that much going on at all. That's not a good thing.

Re:Haven't really noticed any reduced quality .. (1)

RobBebop (947356) | more than 6 years ago | (#23746443)

If things are stagnant and they need to recruit new developers, then the title of this article should be "Devs needed to contribute to X.org for Critical Design Improvements". Until I see *that* on the /. headline, I am content to assume that the stability of the project has enabled the old group of developers to work on projects that are currently more deserving of there time.

Re:Haven't really noticed any reduced quality .. (3, Insightful)

andrewd18 (989408) | more than 6 years ago | (#23746317)

I've been living in a very blind 'trust Ubuntu' atmosphere where things pretty much just work
On the one hand, this is why I dislike Ubuntu. It doesn't require that the user learn much about how the system works. They plop the CD in the tray and it takes care of them, breeding a generation of Linux users that barely have an idea how to file a proper bug report.

On the other hand, I realize that Ubuntu is a good thing for Linux adoption because Linux needs a critical mass of people using it before it can start making inroads into the home and gaming markets. That critical mass is much larger than the number of people interested in --funroll-loops, so a system that's plug-and-play is important.

I think I'm starting to understand kind of how the 70's computer geeks felt when their friends came over asking for help with their Windows boxes.

Re:Haven't really noticed any reduced quality .. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23746497)

I think I'm starting to understand kind of how the 70's computer geeks felt when their friends came over asking for help with their Windows boxes.
Umm...Windows? 70's?

Re:Haven't really noticed any reduced quality .. (2, Funny)

andrewd18 (989408) | more than 6 years ago | (#23746639)

Umm...Windows? 70's?
Ummm... Average US lifespan of 75 years?

Re:Haven't really noticed any reduced quality .. (1)

M1FCJ (586251) | more than 6 years ago | (#23746853)

Well, the best thing about Ubuntu is - now I can get on with the work I'm supposed to do as opposed to tinkering with things here and there! It was fun way back - now I want to stop bothering about why the graphics card doesn't work or why the network layer is kaput and start coding and compiling and building. That's what these nicely packaged stable distributions provide - and just because of that I love Ubuntu and CentOS/RHEL.

Typical of Microsoft (5, Funny)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 6 years ago | (#23746117)

Oh, wait.

Gots to pay people... (4, Insightful)

tjstork (137384) | more than 6 years ago | (#23746209)

People aren't going to work on X because a lot of developers want to make new stuff, not fix up someone's old junk. So, the only way to get them to do it is to pay them. There's not enough money for that. Bounties are nice and all, but you really need to have a foundation with big money coming in to get the people to actually work on this stuff.

With maturity is this a problem (2, Interesting)

Neil Watson (60859) | more than 6 years ago | (#23746221)

Xwindows is one of those nice things that just work. With such dependabilty it is all that important the we get our instant gratification with superficial features like transparent windows? The X.org group made great strides after the fork from XFree86. Can we really expect them to keep that pace?

Lazy Developers (2, Insightful)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 6 years ago | (#23746235)

X.org is an open project. It's as good as its developers. The fact that millions of people's daily computing depends on it, but developers don't fix bugs very much, is the fault of the community.

"X.org" is you. Lift a finger to help sometime. That gives you the right to complain when you don't like it. Otherwise, you're just a mouthy freeloader.

Re:Lazy Developers (3, Insightful)

sfraggle (212671) | more than 6 years ago | (#23746459)

By that logic, Windows sucks because I never applied to work at Microsoft.

Re:Lazy Developers (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 6 years ago | (#23746827)

No, because your money paying for Windows employs people at Microsoft means you're doing your part. And because Microsoft is paying people to write bad code means they're screwing up their part.

See the difference between proprietary and closed software?

Re:Lazy Developers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23746845)

No. Windows sucks DESPITE you (and lots of other people) contributing financially.

X.org release cycles suck because not enough people are contributing to meet expectations.

Re:Lazy Developers (3, Insightful)

heartless_ (923947) | more than 6 years ago | (#23746477)

Awww and people wonder why Linux isn't mainstream. I'm sorry to inform you, but X.org is one of the fundamental hurdles to be cleared before Linux can even dream of climbing out of the hole it is in. I am a huge Linux advocate, but ignorant people blaming missed release cycles on the "community" is just stupid. There are developers and users, and if the developers want to go open source they damn well need to accept that fact. Just as the user accepts that their open source project of choice may not be updated (sounds familiar huh). We're in the same boat, but don't for a second blame users for developers short comings, open source or not.

Re:Lazy Developers (2, Insightful)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 6 years ago | (#23746921)

How many bug reports have you even bothered to file with X.org? That's what makes a user part of the community. Not just using the software for free, which just makes you a user.

You don't understand open source projects at all. You think they just mean that you can get whatever you want for free. Do something to help and then your whining will mean something.

Well, excuuuse me! (5, Funny)

Chemisor (97276) | more than 6 years ago | (#23746627)

Well, excuuuse me! Blame the community. I would blame the code instead. I happen to be one of those few people who actually wanted to contribute something. Specifically, there was this bug where the server would crash after a VT switch, so I thought I'd take a look. Have you seen the X.Org tree? It's not just huge. It's unreadable. I honestly didn't even know where to start. Documentation was minimal. If you wanted to trace one of your Xlib calls, you wouldn't be able to. There are modules, but they don't seem to have any clear purpose. There are libraries that are wrappers around something which is a wrapper around something else. Try and find the real code! I dare you! Even just building the damn thing is a major ordeal. With the current XOrg tree from git, I can't do it at all. Yes, that's right: I can't even compile it, and that ought to be the simplest thing you can do with a project. You want to know why I'm not helping the XOrg project? Because it's a pile of steaming crap, that's why, and I have better things to do with my time than trying to build a windowed skyscraper out of it.

Re:Well, excuuuse me! (2, Interesting)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 6 years ago | (#23746851)

The code's low quality is the fault of the community, too. Who do you think wrote that complex code?

If you're that savvy, why not spend a little of your time patching that existing code to factor out some of the unnecessary complexity? Instead, you're spending your time yelling at me on Slashdot, which does precisely nothing.

ID games? (4, Funny)

couch_warrior (718752) | more than 6 years ago | (#23746251)

Clearly X.org is being held up because it is the new game engine for "Duke Nukem Forever"....

Paid developers? (5, Interesting)

siride (974284) | more than 6 years ago | (#23746269)

Aside from Keith Packard and Dave Airlie, and maybe one or two others, how many paid full-time X developers are there? Watching the mailing list, it seems like there's a couple of volunteers, some people who submit the occasional patch but otherwise work on Qt, or GNOME or whatever, and then the core listed above. I think there just isn't enough manpower right now and the distros, instead of fixing that problem, just maintain their own patchsets and do a "good enough" job to make X work smoothly for their releases, and leave it at that. Clearly, nobody wants to make X a priority and it shows. The Wiki is almost never up to date, it's nigh on impossible to build a working X system from git, even with the couple of half-arsed build scripts available from the mailing list (for my part, I have never been able to get it to build completely, and not for lack of trying or ability). The mailing list is full of academic arguments over color specs and other pointless things, or people asking for help. There used to be a lot of discussion on how to improve X and also, how to get things done. That no longer happens. What the distros and Linux companies need to do is get more people working directly on X and get serious about making X a serious project. It's not just some option piece of software that nobody has to care about. It's only one of the most important aspects of desktop Linux. And it just makes no sense to me that no distros are really spearheading X development. If they don't take the time to make this an issue, X will continue to atrophy, further limiting Linux's potential in the market.

Re:Paid developers? (1)

Jellybob (597204) | more than 6 years ago | (#23746687)

The mailing list is full of academic arguments over color specs and other pointless things

Color specs are not a pointless thing when you're developing a display manager, which could potentially be used for color critical work.

In some environments (photo editing, movie making, etc.) knowing that what you see on the screen is exactly what you'll get in the finished article is essential to the quality of your work.

Re:Paid developers? (5, Informative)

axxium.us (1305805) | more than 6 years ago | (#23746749)

What the distros and Linux companies need to do is get more people working directly on X and get serious about making X a serious project.
Hi. I am the X11 maintainer for Zenwalk Linux. While I can't fix it all myself I have been updating the wiki and fixing documentation with the available time that I have to commit to it. I agree and think that if each GNU/Linux distribution had at least one developer helping in what we he/she can it would make a significant improvement.

That what's wrong with Open Source (2, Funny)

DrYak (748999) | more than 6 years ago | (#23746279)

Pfff !...

Those pesky open-source project. Always speaking about their wonderful communist idea, but never able to ship software on schedule, always dropping features or postponing them to the next release. Never working hard enough to meet their users' expectations.

They should take example on legitimate hard-working commercial corporations like.. uh... Microsoft for exa...
No, wait !

As good as Xorg is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23746463)

As good as Xorg is, when will they finally get rid of all the jerkiness in the rendering? Anyone who has used a Mac has seen how smooth it can be, but when I go back to Linux running Xorg, it just seems like it has no finesse. Don't get me wrong, Xorg has plenty going for it. I'd just like to see my desktop rendered without the jerkiness.

Re:As good as Xorg is... (1)

jones_supa (887896) | more than 6 years ago | (#23746925)

Very true. Even today you can see flicker here and there, most visible when moving or resizing windows. It's not a major pain in the ass but I would have thought they would have ironed it out already.

end user assholes. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23746549)

A lot of the developer's time seems to be taken up with dealing with real assholes on the devel lists. "Upgrade to 7.3, it fixes everything you're complaining about". Repeat x10 as the same asshole poster asks the same question, slightly rephrased, as if he'll hit on some magic phrasing that'll make it possible to use bleeding-edge xorg features with xorg 6.9.

Really, the xorg-devel list is snowed under with inane questions and support requests that should be going through the distros.

How about fixing bugs instead of adding new ones? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23746661)

It's indeed in a bad state.
Adding bugs like keyboard input causing server halts (when there is a window grabbing them) and needing years to fix them. On the other hand adding all that compiz, dbus and/or hal stuff noone needs for working...

Please... fix or replace (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23746763)

X is SO FREAKING SLOW. I hate hate HATE using gnome/kde and having to watch windows outline themselves, paint their innards, and then draw controls. Less stupid useless compiz bullshit and more SPEED.

Of course, from the looks of this story there's no hope for that.

What exactly is X.Org missing ? (1)

Loibisch (964797) | more than 6 years ago | (#23746791)

I was already wondering during the original 7.3 release phase what exactly needed development and fixing so badly in X.Org. Sure it's an underlying system that every graphical distro out there is one way or another based on. But what eactly would be the killer feature or change that everyone wants for X.Org 7.4 (or 7.5)? Right now it seems to me X.Org is pretty much working "good enough" and people seem to be out of ideas on how to do any groundbreaking work with it. No surprise at all that there's not much development interest left anymore.

I might be wrong and the X system might need a general overhaul for one reason or another. I'd be glad to be pointed the right way to see why we need a quicker development cycle for X.Org.

Re:What exactly is X.Org missing ? (1)

Mr. Picklesworth (931427) | more than 6 years ago | (#23746927)

One interesting bit of reworking is MPX, or Xinput2, which has recently been merged with the main xorg tree. Instead of having one arbitrary cursor that every program mindlessly expects to exist, we can have a different cursor for each input device.

It makes tons more sense! Just a shame they didn't think of that early on; it's going to take time to migrate, and I bet the ammount of code going to legacy support is nightmarish...
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