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The XFree86 Fork() Saga Continues

CmdrTaco posted more than 11 years ago | from the more-details dept.

X 580

Mortimer.CA writes "An article up on OSNews about the XFree story mentioned earlier. Included is: replacing fontconfig with Sun's stsf; XFree86 co-founder David Wexelblat saying that XFree is today obsolete and should be changed; Keith Packard replying, and more."

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fp (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5570949)

fp my arrrrrsssseeeee

Re:fp (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5570988)

I fucking did it! I'm the king of the world! *spunk*!

Re:fp (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5571079)

I had second post on the first war story. And it was anti-american.

So kiss my ass, troll wannabe.

Re:fp (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5571157)

__________p
__(__|_)_e
__/__//_n
_/__//_i
/__//_s

Please try to keep posts on topic. Try to reply to other people's comments instead of starting new threads. Read other people's messages before posting your own to avoid simply duplicating what has already been said. Use a clear subject that describes what your message is about. Offtopic, Inflammatory, Inappropriate, Illegal, or Offensive comments might be moderated. (You can read everything, even moderated posts, by adjusting your threshold on the User Preferences Page) Please try to keep posts on topic. Try to reply to other people's comments instead of starting new threads. Read other people's messages before posting your own to avoid simply duplicating what has already been said. Use a clear subject that describes what your message is about. Offtopic, Inflammatory, Inappropriate, Illegal, or Offensive comments might be moderated. (You can read everything, even moderated posts, by adjusting your threshold on the User Preferences Page)

fork(), not Fork() (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5570954)

fork(), you mean.

Re:fork(), not Fork() (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5571001)

fork you!!!

Re:fork(), not Fork() (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5571010)

No, fork YOU

Re:fork(), not Fork() (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5571018)

No no no, fork YOU you forking fork!!!11

Re:fork(), not Fork() (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5571019)

All this fork()ing is making me want to touch(1) myself.

Helpful tip. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5570958)

And just remember all you anti-war types, you're still an infidel that needs to die in the eyes of a militant islamic terrorist.

Re:Helpful tip. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5571117)

so are you, but what does this have to do with Iraq?

Re:Helpful tip. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5571186)

Baghdad, Saturday, March 22nd, 2003, 4:30 AM:

B____________B
O__/((()))\__O
M_(|(|()|)|)_M
B__\\(())//__B
!____||||____!

Please try to keep posts on topic. Try to reply to other people's comments instead of starting new threads. Read other people's messages before posting your own to avoid simply duplicating what has already been said. Use a clear subject that describes what your message is about. Offtopic, Inflammatory, Inappropriate, Illegal, or Offensive comments might be moderated. (You can read everything, even moderated posts, by adjusting your threshold on the User Preferences Page) Please try to keep posts on topic. Try to reply to other people's comments instead of starting new threads. Read other people's messages before posting your own to avoid simply duplicating what has already been said. Use a clear subject that describes what your message is about. Offtopic, Inflammatory, Inappropriate, Illegal, or Offensive comments might be moderated. (You can read everything, even moderated posts, by adjusting your threshold on the User Preferences Page)

huk (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5570960)

1st post

also, the link is broken

Re:huk (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5571003)

Actually, I beat you with my witty "aaarrrrseee" troll.

Here it is! (4, Insightful)

Gortbusters.org (637314) | more than 11 years ago | (#5571034)

Now, that was an interesting reading in the XFree86 forum mailing list. We get individuals, companies like Sun, SciTechSoft, Red Hat etc. 'fighting' for issues varying from what XFree86 really needs, down to replacing fontconfig with Sun's stsf, XFree86 co-founder David Wexelblat saying that XFree is today obsolete and that needs to be replaced with a direct-rendered model (by retaining backwards compatibility), Keith Packard replying as to why a new organization to handle X is needed, and more.

Our Take: One thing is clear after reading all these messages: a lot of people are not happy with what's happening with the development of XFree86. It is obvious that more discussion is needed to decide what's going to be implemented and what not, and from these emails there, it seems that there was no real/common direction discussed between the interested parties until yesterday. No real communication seemed to exist!

Let's hope that this open forum list will show what people want and need and will 'open' the XFree86 organization in a way that will allow more CVS commits, as the project seems kind of stagnant and doesn't move as fast as it should have, as some Red Hat employees also noted (for example, direct changing of resolution was introduced just a few months ago with RandR extension, while Windows 95 could do that in 1995).

The XFree86 project always looked a bit conservative to me while more development and openess is needed. There is no need for a "new XFree", but there is a need for more development and 'fixing' on the existing codebase.

Re:Here it is! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5571197)

no wonder its slow on updates i heard that only 15 people have write acess to the cvs.it sounds litle on a project with a so massive sorce

The link's bad. (2, Funny)

kwiqsilver (585008) | more than 11 years ago | (#5570961)

From the slashdot.org 'Post Comment' page:
(Use the Preview Button! Check those URLs! Don't forget the http://!)

Re:The link's bad. (-1, Offtopic)

Swix (456262) | more than 11 years ago | (#5571002)

No, sshh...

Its to see who read the article.

I count a couple already that havent RTFA.

Bad Link (0, Redundant)

chrisseaton (573490) | more than 11 years ago | (#5570965)

I know I should RTFA before posting, but the link points to http://slashdot.org/TheXFree86Fork()SagaContinues, and that can't be right.

Re:Bad Link (-1, Flamebait)

dark-br (473115) | more than 11 years ago | (#5571030)

Users tend to be dumb, the problem is when editors ARE dumb.

Re:Bad Link (0, Troll)

Cpt_Kirks (37296) | more than 11 years ago | (#5571082)

Shouldn't that be "when EDITORS are dumb"?

Re:Bad Link (-1, Troll)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 11 years ago | (#5571204)

Umm, actually i think it should be "editors are DUMB"

Re:Bad Link (3, Funny)

lastninja (237588) | more than 11 years ago | (#5571232)

as long as it isn't $EDITOR im fine. don't want to start any flamewars between Emacs and Vi.

XFree Obsolete? (-1, Insightful)

Drakon (414580) | more than 11 years ago | (#5570972)

Naw... I mean, its only using some network transparent model optimized for terminals on a mainframe.... and it has ugly ass fonts... and it has shit write to hardware through TCP ports... and...

Re:XFree Obsolete? (5, Funny)

Omega (1602) | more than 11 years ago | (#5571056)

its only using some network transparent model optimized for terminals on a mainframe....

Psssshht! I mean really! Who wants to setup a thin-client model at their business anyway? I mean saving millions of dollars? What's up with that?!

and it has ugly ass fonts....

Damn straight! Anyone who has zero knowledge about X knows that the fonts are hard coded into the display manager. And that there's no way you can add new fonts to it.

and it has shit write to hardware through TCP ports...

Like, I'm saying, yo! There ain't no client/server interface. When you be sending them X packets to the other computer, you're talking directly to the hardware! That's why every X command is "add ax,bx" and sh*t like that! It's pure assembly, bro!

Everyone knows that the only way to do it is to build a gigantic motherf*cking graphics subsystem into the kernel so that your system resources are halved and your OS crashes every week. Like, that's the ONLY way it should be.

please mod the parent up (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5571069)

I can't. Crap.

Re:XFree Obsolete? (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5571317)

Damn straight! Anyone who has zero knowledge about X knows that the fonts are hard coded into the display manager. And that there's no way you can add new fonts to it.

Yeah, it's soooo easy to do it too.

Everyone knows that the only way to do it is to build a gigantic motherf*cking graphics subsystem into the kernel so that your system resources are halved and your OS crashes every week. Like, that's the ONLY way it should be.

You're biased toward X. It is old and needs to be replaced. You're like the last gasps of a dying regime.

Re:XFree Obsolete? (0)

brendan_orr (648182) | more than 11 years ago | (#5571109)

I'd totally disagree with you about the fonts, on my system the fonts are gorgeous (the TTF ones anyway). Antialiasing is good and things are getting better every release.

Re:XFree Obsolete? (5, Informative)

Shelrem (34273) | more than 11 years ago | (#5571126)

How this got modded up is beyond me. Not only is it not insightful, it's downright wrong!

When communicating to local hardware, there is no TCP/IP anywhere. It communicates over a local socket. It has been implemented with shared memory, and guess what? It didn't perform any better than over a local socket! That's why you don't see shared memory in XFree today.

And i dunno about you, but my fonts look just fine. They're probably the same TrueType fonts you've seen a million times on Windows.

b.c

Re:XFree Obsolete? (2, Insightful)

be-fan (61476) | more than 11 years ago | (#5571241)

and it has ugly ass fonts
>>>>>>>>>
Check out this [gatech.edu] and this. [gatech.edu] The letter shapes, even on the complex Kaufmann font, are incredible. They'll probably look color fringed on a CRT, because I took these with subpixel AA enabled.

hardware through TCP ports
>>>>>>>>>>
Um, XFree86 uses UNIX domain sockets (very fast on Linux) for local connections, not TCP sockets!

404 (0, Redundant)

Tribbin (565963) | more than 11 years ago | (#5570973)

Hmm, bad link

http://slashdot.org/TheXFree86Fork()SagaContinue s

404 File Not Found
The requested URL (TheXFree86Fork()SagaContinues) was not found.

If you feel like it, mail the url, and where ya came from to pater@slashdot.org.

Real Link (0, Redundant)

creative_name (459764) | more than 11 years ago | (#5570980)

Here is the real link to the article on OSNews

Link [osnews.com]

Correct link (-1, Redundant)

StrawberryFrog (67065) | more than 11 years ago | (#5570985)

over here. [osnews.com]

Shameless, I am.

Re:Correct link (0, Offtopic)

Gortbusters.org (637314) | more than 11 years ago | (#5571086)

Shameless, thou art. You missed out on the score 5 informative, and the score 3 interesting. Welcome to the Redundant and off-topic mods.

I'll join ya. :)

I'm waiting for episode 2 (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5570987)

Attack of the Spoons

Bah (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5571131)

Sporks are at WalFart, but YOU WOULD KNOW THAT already because you're the one trying to trick people into buying sporks! //fights with self

http://www.osnews.com/story.php?news_id=3090 (0, Redundant)

Bytal (594494) | more than 11 years ago | (#5570990)

correct link [osnews.com]

All I can say is..... (4, Interesting)

Luke (7869) | more than 11 years ago | (#5570995)

Time for Fresco? [fresco.org]

Re:All I can say is..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5571022)

YEEE HAW! Bring it on baby!

Re:All I can say is..... (1)

Tribbin (565963) | more than 11 years ago | (#5571083)

Who else read freesco too?

http://www.freesco.org/

Re:All I can say is..... (4, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 11 years ago | (#5571151)

No. Not time for Fresco. Time for Fresco is when Fresco is completed (or almost completed). Time for X now. Time for Fresco later. You'll never get anywhere if you release buggy incomplete software before it's ready for use. (Insert cheap shot at MS here).

Re:All I can say is..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5571277)

So, exactly how did MS get their monopoly on the desktop then?

Re:All I can say is..... (2, Insightful)

critter_hunter (568942) | more than 11 years ago | (#5571188)

It looks somewhat interesting - I personally think X11 sucks ass, so any alternative looks interesting - but something about the project really bothers me. I can't find their interface guidelines anywhere.

Now see, the thing that annoys me the most with X11 is the disparate behaviors of common widgets and dialogs. Every toolkit and software author seems to have it's personal take on the matter, and it can become pretty confusing at times. And when I read that Fresco intends to be highly configurable, I hope as hell that they're not making the same damn mistake, and are leaving that kind of power solely in the hands of the user.

Re:All I can say is..... (5, Insightful)

aussersterne (212916) | more than 11 years ago | (#5571228)

Mechanism, not policy. Interface guidelines are the domain of toolkits and environments ala KDE, GNOME, not the domain of the low-level graphics subsystem like X or Fresco.

Re:All I can say is..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5571208)

If you actually think the solution to XFree86 is Fresco, you really need to get out more.

Correct link is... (0, Redundant)

Hortensia Patel (101296) | more than 11 years ago | (#5570997)

...here [osnews.com]

Re:Correct link is... (4, Funny)

Gortbusters.org (637314) | more than 11 years ago | (#5571062)

Another attempt at a score 5 informative! Someone has to break the monotony of this story... I'm going for funny!

The old "no blood for oil" troll (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5571005)

To those who think this war is about oil, answer this question:

If the all the U.S. wanted was Iraqi oil, why didn't we just buy it from Saddam. He's was willing to sell it to anyone who would buy and would be a hell of a lot cheaper than a war.

Re:The old "no blood for oil" troll (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5571267)

because he's willing to sell it to *anyone*. bush wants his hand on the spigot to control whoever else might want to buy.

Except that... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5571332)

Blair announced publicly that the oil fields would go into UN trusts. So much for that.

What's that sound? Oh, it's the tired "war for oil" argument being blown away into oblivion for the last time.

Re:The old "no blood for oil" troll (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5571326)

I agree that the war is probably not all about oil, in fact I have a hard time figuring out what it's about at all. However, if Iraq were allowed to sell oil what makes you think it'd be cheap(er)? I'd imagine they would get back in with OPEC, an arrangement that seems to have suited them just fine for many years. I don't see how that would improve anything from our end, unless that oil were somehow kept out of OPEC (gee, how could we do that?). Now do you see why some people think it's about oil?

Obligatory star wars post: (karma scharma!) (5, Funny)

madmarcel (610409) | more than 11 years ago | (#5571014)

I can't help myself...

"The saga continues..."

"Use the fork() David"

(BTW, expect to bring about introduction of new post-rating: +5 Lame! ;^)

You know what? (5, Interesting)

inode_buddha (576844) | more than 11 years ago | (#5571016)

I have a bad feling that this is goint to be one of those situations where *every* party involved is both right and wrong on some level. Even uglier is the possibility that this could occur on the *same* level. The fact that situations like this could arise in the first place tells me that maybe the architecture of XFree86 (the ideas underlying the code itself) is overly complex for today's needs.

Or another possibility: maybe the way XFree86 is currently implemented by the major *nix vendors is overly complex by default.

Either way, both the situation and the implementation are starting to look really messy.

Re:You know what? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5571321)

Congratulations! You've just described every human undertaking ever!.

Will not turn obsolete (1)

Tribbin (565963) | more than 11 years ago | (#5571021)

The next serie will have auto-detection for the best drivers.

It'll be cleaned and retain optional (modular) backward compatibility.

I think this will be a great step against turning obsolete.

fork() power (3, Insightful)

blitzoid (618964) | more than 11 years ago | (#5571046)

If this leaves the XFree86 project as a more flexable, open, and more modular project, then so be it. I'm all for anything that can improve performance for *NIX GUIs.

From everything I see, it's too late in the game to make a new graphical interface - unless it has a compatability layer to work with X apps. But even then, we'd need to develop it FAST to make sure *NIX doesn't fall behind in the OS game.

Re:fork() power (2, Funny)

SN74S181 (581549) | more than 11 years ago | (#5571147)

... to make sure *NIX doesn't fall behind in the OS game. ...tumbleweeds waft through the view. The lonely wail of a coyote is heard, off in the distance....

Whoa there, cowboy (1)

mccrew (62494) | more than 11 years ago | (#5571262)

XFree86 project as a more flexable, open, and more modular project, then so be it. I'm all for anything that can improve performance for *NIX GUIs

I don't buy your conclusion. While it is considered a good thing to have a flexible, open, and modular system, it usually comes at the expense of performance.

The highest performing systems are virtually always those which are coded specifically to one point, and not for the whole spectrum.

-Steve

Correct link (1, Redundant)

dark-br (473115) | more than 11 years ago | (#5571047)

The correct link for the article is here [osnews.com]

Do you recall Armageddon ? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5571053)

Do you people recall the Armageddon [slashdot.org] textfile that got post on /. several times ? Here a little quote from the text.

well you could easily come up and tell me to simply not use GNOME and let them do whatever they like. Well, you are right with that but things are more complicated nowadays. GNOME is influencing a lot of third party projects such as XFree86 which recently added a lot of GNOME components into their CVS repository. Please know that with the next coming XFree86 version you get a lot of GNOME components without even knowing it. code like, GNOME-XML, pkgconfig, fontconfig, xcursor and xft2 were mainly written by people who're heavily involved into GNOME development. Also the GIMP is maturing more and more into getting the look and feel of a native GNOME application. The CVS version of the GIMP has a lot of GNOME pixmaps inside and they are heavily working on integrate the GIMP into GNOME. If not today but the direction is sure and i fear the day this gonna happen.

And this will happen with an Forked XFREE. It matures more and more into a GNOME dependant piece of Software. Exactly that guy who's responsible adding all sorts of GNOME material to it will now make XFREE mature into some GNOME dependant component.

Havoc Pennington (GNOME) works on XFREE,
Owen Taylor (GTK+) works on XFREE,
Jim Gettys (XFREE) and GNOME FOUNDATION president,
Keith Packard (XFREE) and GNOME developer.

then fork() gnome. its gpl'd. (1)

lizzybarham (588992) | more than 11 years ago | (#5571220)

I have a great deal of respect for the core GNOME team and I disagree on the motives that the GNOME team is headed. Its a good thing for more and more people in the corporate setting to use GPL'd software. Will Ximian or RedHat see a profit because of this? Yes, of course, but so what?

Have you ever been around MS Windows users in the corporate offices? Let me tell you, these aren't the type of people that hack the kernel - in fact, I'd say 95% of them don't know what a kernel is and, more importantly, they don't care.

If computers are to make our lives easier then that includes those for whom computers are not a passion but simply a tool that should enable them to be more productive at the tasks they excel in. Our job as computer professionals is to help them achieve their goals by giving them an easy-to-use, powerful, and non-buggy tool.

Re:then fork() gnome. its gpl'd. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5571311)

I agree with you the GNOME core team are respectful people - the reason why KDE is miles ahead these days.

I also agree that Xfree86 fork may be an interesting option but it has to be done by the right people. Not people that work on 4 projects at the same time. This only leads to major suckage at the end.

Specially I don't like to see the FreeDesktop.org Windowhints applied to Xfree86 as long as they are not confirmed or signed by a reliable organisation otherwise we end in a total disaster with applications supporting them and applications that do not support them. We have big issues with GNOME and MetaCity these days which breaks nearly every second application because the OWN MADE Windowhints are not supported or where the author of the app doesn't care for FreeDesktop.org as legitimate organisation for these things.

Yes many people use the computer as a tool and not as a passion (like a car or like a stamp collection). But these people also don't care for Linux in the first point and probably use Windows or something else. Linux is a freaks System and many people decide to use Linux because of the way it is. There is no need for a corporated organisation such as members or Redhat (which named people mainly are) to totally screw up the whole Linux situation. What these people want can't be found here. They should better go away and fork OpenBeOS or somethign similar because it fit's more into their vision of doing things.

Rob Malda doesn't give a damn about /. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5571055)

I'd say that the average /. poster has a better batting average at creating a correct URL link than he does.

Rob, it's not funny anymore. I know this place is supposed to be casual, but non-spellchecked crap without even a correct link in it just shows you don't give a shit.

STSF Looks Pretty Cool (5, Informative)

jmt9581 (554192) | more than 11 years ago | (#5571063)

I looked at some of the screenshots for stsf [sourceforge.net] and I think that it's pretty sweet. The standard Motif font menu labels are hilarious though, the selectable fonts look awesome and the old motif fonts in the menus look terrible.

Here's some links to the screenshots of stsf running on Solaris 9:

xclock -digital -fg yellow -bgpixmap SolarisLogo.pm -fga 0.5 [sourceforge.net]


LANG=zh_CN.UTF-8 xclock -digital -bgpixmap RicePaper.pm [sourceforge.net]

Re:STSF Looks Pretty Cool (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5571104)

STSF is a badly designed architecture that is only being promoted by a few people at Sun. Sun themselves don't believe in it -- Solaris 9 includes support for Xft.

Anyone can do screenshots. It's providing an architecture that can support a complete desktop that's interesting.

Re:STSF Looks Pretty Cool (3, Interesting)

be-fan (61476) | more than 11 years ago | (#5571215)

My question: does stsf use it's own font renderer? I highly doubt they came up with something nicer than freetype without anybody really making a buzz about it.

I don't care... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5571084)

...MPlayer supports VESA too...

What did I JUSTIFIABLY say in the last discussion? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5571097)

Replacment for XFree:

framebuffer + fbdri/dri + picogui + *choice_wm_or_environment

Shameless repost (-1, Redundant)

kjj (32549) | more than 11 years ago | (#5571099)

A Call For Open Governance Of X Development
Persistent problems in XFree86 development have become widely recognisedwithin the X community. I have talked to people throughout the X
community in a search for solutions. These conversations were personal rather than public because I felt the need for council, not conflict.
Some have suggested that this was a secret attempt to undermine the XFree86 project: this was not my intent. I have tried as hard as I can to work within the existing XFree86 structure.

Some of the most persistent problems identified by the community are:

Limited development resources

The 'fetchmail' project has contributions from over 800 developers. Over the last two years there were about 250 contributors to XFree86, a project more than a hundred times larger.

Slow release schedules

Since the XFree86 4.2 release in January 2002, support for 27 new versions of the ATI Radeon chip was added to the XFree86 Radeon driver. Anyone using one of these chips was either forced to wait for the February 2003 release of XFree86 4.3 or run an unreleased version of XFree86.

Lack of cooperation with other projects

The KDE and Gnome projects were forced to form the freedesktop.org project to extend and enhance X Window System standards because XFree86 refused even to participate in the process.

Opacity of development processes

There is no information available on the XFree86 home page on becoming an XFree86 developer. Information for new developers consists of the mention of a couple of mailing list addresses in the README document included in the XFree86 4.3 release.

I have made limited progress in my attempts to address these issues. The opening of the XFree86 CVS repository and developer mailing lists to public access has benefitted X development significantly. In order to improve the technical coordination with other open source projects, I have become personally involved in many of them.

Within the last couple of months I have come to understand why these persistent problems have not been solved by the X community. By X community, I mean:

Developers working on the X server and libraries. Developers working on ancillary X extensions and services such as the DRI and GATOS projects.
Developers working on Qt, Gtk+, Fltk, Tk, Motif and other toolkits. Application developers using either Xlib or an X toolkit. System integrators and distributors packaging X technology in various forms. Consulting companies selling services based on X. Hardware vendors producing hardware to work with X. X End users.

The key issue is that XFree86 is not a community-governed project.

XFree86 processes and procedures originate with the Directors of the XFree86 Corporation. Technical leadership of the XFree86 project has
traditionally been provided by the XFree86 Core Team, an informal association of leading XFree86 developers.

While the XFree86 Board of Directors is nominally in charge of XFree86, they have absented themselves from governing the project and left that to the XFree86 Core Team. The community is left wondering who is actually in charge of XFree86. As a result, community trust in XFree86 leadership has suffered. Decisions appear to be arbitrary and are not seen to reflect the will of the community. The leadership has no accountability to the community: thus community members have no ability to change project direction and the Board has little incentive to do so. In addition, the lack of clear formal policies has made it difficult to resolve disputes when the usual consensus breaks down.

It is therefore essential for the community to be involved in the governance of X development. Two key elements in a community-governed project are:

1. A low barrier to become a voting member.
2. Regular elections of the government by all of the members.

Community governed projects such as Gnome, KDE and Debian have well-established membership policies. All allow anyone with the interest and ability to join and vote. As far as I know, only the XFree86 Board members are voting members of XFree86. Community governed projects elect officials who serve for a few years, after which elections must be held. To my knowledge, XFree86 has never held an election.

The XFree86 corporate bylaws indicate that any change in XFree86 governance must be initiated by the current Directors of the XFree86 Corporation. (The XFree86 bylaws are no longer publicly available: a previous public version can be found in the Google cache.) The bylaws state that there are two classes of Members in XFree86, Full (Voting) Members and Associate
(non-Voting) Members.

2.2 A Full Member shall be admitted to Membership by (a) acceptance of such persons or entity's written application for such Membership by the affirmative majority vote of the Board of Directors of the Corporation ...

2.21 The criteria for admission as an Associate Member and Membership fees and dues for any other membership shall be as determined from time to time by the Board of Directors.

As far as I know, there are no Full Members other than the Board members. The bylaws also state that voting is supposed to occur at the annual meeting of the Members.

3.2 Annual meetings of Members shall be held on
the fourth Monday in February each year ... at which meeting Voting Members shall elect in accordance with Section 4.3, a Board of Directors

As far as I am aware, no annual meeting has taken place in the last three years. XFree86 has the trappings of democracy, but the community has no voting rights and no elections are held.

There are many ways to move from our current position to one of community control, but for XFree86 to make the transition, the current Board of Directors must have a desire to do so. I encourage the X community to support a community government for X development and hope the XFree86 Board will adopt this model.

I believe that community governance will enable the X community to address both the problems described earlier and future problems as they arise. I look forward to working within the X community in the coming years to enhance the capabilities of the X Window System.

Keith Packard
March 21, 2003

I would like thank Stuart Anderson, Chris Blizzard, Jim Gettys, Bart Massey, Ralf Nolden and Owen Taylor for their assistance in writing this document.

Re:Shameless repost (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5571340)

The 'fetchmail' project has contributions from over 800 developers.

Isn't that the project that ol' Raymond is nominally in charge of? He's driving people away after their first code contribution?

How GNOME destroys XFree86... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5571111)

As not enough that GNOME shit made it's way into Xfree86, now the minions of GNOME want to fork Xfree86 and make it become some more dependant to GNOME. Specially this mail [xfree86.org] is quite annoying. Xfree86 should not include the application breaking specs from FreeDesktop.org [freedesktop.org] . An fork of Xfree86 is interesting and of course good for the future but not if it's made by the GNOME people who are only interested to push their own visions into their own fork of Xfree86.

Please think about this. Specially FreeDesktop.org caused no good. Try doing a fullscreen with Phoenix on GNOME 2.x with MetaCity. The specs break nearly every 2nd application.

Hmm. That's not right... (4, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 11 years ago | (#5571115)

Quoth David Wexelblat:

The concept of the community voting for membership in the leadership of the project is an almost, if not totally, non-existant concept in the Open Source world (feel free to show me examples). I'm not talking about advocacy groups, like Linux International. I'm talking about development projects. XFree86 has no interest in this, as far as I can tell.

I can think of one right now. So can he, since he mentions it a few paraghraphs later. The FreeBSD Core team is elected [freebsd.org] . To be core on FreeBSD you have to be an active developer, and have not pissed too many other developers off recently (or at least pissed them off less than most other people). Sounds like a good idea to me...

Oh. Wait. Sorry, I forgot. FreeBSD is dead. I really should stop using it sometimes soon. Can't be using a dead OS on my desktop...

Re:Hmm. That's not right... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5571214)

FreeBSD is a peripheral enough project that there isn't the kind of politics that leads to people stacking meetings and staging votes.

XFree86 is far bigger. It would be very hard for there not to be major politics, vote stacking, etc., if the core was elected. It's 'the one and only', not one of several freenixes, as is the case with FreeBSD.

Choice? (5, Insightful)

Fedhax (513562) | more than 11 years ago | (#5571125)

Whatever happened to choice in this debate?

We can choose between various [windowmaker.org] window [kde.org] managers [gnome.org] , various [redhat.com] linux [slackware.org] flavors [debian.org] , and even office [openoffice.org] suites [koffice.org] . Why don't we have a choice with our window system?

Why would it be any different for a fork of X for a choice between client/server and direct rendering, if backwards compatability was kept?
Would that not help the the people who only use Linux on their desktop, while allowing people with networks to use the tool, as it is now, that works for them?

Re:Choice? (1)

ignipotentis (461249) | more than 11 years ago | (#5571221)

Because no one is stepping up to fix the situtation. Those that are responsible realize where they are at in this development level. They don't want to make two versions of the setup, so they are trying to figure out which way is better. They are dissagreeing. If they split up, petty differences will lead to non compatiable versions, and forcing all Windowing managers to chose between the two versions. Most likely you will not see two versions of KDE or GNOME and so on and so forth. Your choice will become less than it is curently where you have one windowing system being managed by other windowing managers who run yet more file managers.

my suggestion (1)

soorma_bhopali (643472) | more than 11 years ago | (#5571146)

IMHO a simpler version of Xfree86 with better font support should be developed for Desktop Linux. Remove all the complicated networking code which is not used in Desktops and comeup with a faster, more agile X. BTW I am not a programmer, so I may be talking total bs

Re:my suggestion (1)

tjansen (2845) | more than 11 years ago | (#5571301)

Indeed, i doubt that the network code is more than 0.1%... there is almost no difference between a TCP connection and the Unix Domain Sockets used for IPC.

Video-Card-Centric clearing houses (5, Interesting)

Devil's Avocado (73913) | more than 11 years ago | (#5571150)

I recently saw somebody try to contribute a new driver to XFree86. He was told that he was welcome to contribute the driver, but that he wouldn't be allowed write access to it once he had handed it over. What a ridiculous policy!

The thing is, drivers can be released independently of X itself. For ATI Radeons, for example, there are at least 3 different drivers they can use. It would be nice if somebody set up a website with a page for each video card (or family of cards) that had links to all of the available video drivers for that card. Even better would be if such a website could act as a catalyst for uniting these independent driver developers so that, for example, the GATOS radeon driver developers and the DRI radeon driver developers could combine the best aspects of their drivers. This could possibly help route around the blockage that the XFree86 project too often represents.

Actually, I think that such "hardware-centric clearing houses" would be useful for all kinds of hardware, not just video cards. Look at linuxprinting.org to see how well it can work.

-DA

Re:Video-Card-Centric clearing houses (5, Informative)

Metrol (147060) | more than 11 years ago | (#5571334)

wouldn't be allowed write access to it once he had handed it over. What a ridiculous policy!

Well, yes and no. For example, I occasionally work up a new port for FreeBSD, which then gets submitted via a problem report. Someone who has commit rights may, or may not, commit this to the official tree. I've not submitted nearly enough of a body of work into that tree to have anyone trust me to write directly to it. This means that if I need to edit what I've done, I once again have to submit another problem report.

There's nothing at all wrong with this model. It insures that every aspect of what is being committed to the tree has had at least some review by those folks who have taken on the responsibility of the entire project. If that driver in question really is stable, and the author has more to contribute in the way of code to it, then eventually commit access very well may be granted. One lump of code does not automatically default into full trust.

Another example relating to port submissions: I recently did up a port for an application I submitted via a PR. I felt I did a pretty good job on the various pieces that go into this. Turned out someone else did the same thing, but from a different platform. Apparently there were issues with what I did compiling on an Alpha that I couldn't have possibly known about. Both submissions were taken together to produce one correct version that worked across the board.

The point of this is that the folks actively involved with the bigger picture of a project are going to be more aware as to how various pieces need to fit and work together. That's why there's a need for a hiearchy and commit control within any project. I would think this to be especially true for one as large and complex as XFree86.

VIVE LA FRANCE! ALLONS ENFANTS DE LA PATRIE! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5571153)

J't'aime patrie! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5571227)


Go away la silly English!
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Re:J't'aime patrie! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5571280)

F _______
R /;,;O;,;\
A |,;,;,;,|
N \;,;H;,;/
C |;,H,;|
E |,;H;,|
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L / / \ \ I
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Go sit on your own Dick^H^H^H^Hincomplete Skyscaper

Heh...nice title... (3, Funny)

A_Non_Moose (413034) | more than 11 years ago | (#5571155)

all I could picture was "The Swedish (chef) Programmer" saying:

Ya booor skay, ska boo ske-deeke-skeee Fork()!Fork()!Fork()!
.

Could this be it? (1, Insightful)

The Bungi (221687) | more than 11 years ago | (#5571181)

The beginning of the end for X? Vindication is at hand?

X is the single biggest obstacle to Linux becoming a usable desktop OS. It's absolutely fantastic at doing what it was designed to do, but it has no place in a desktop environment.

Heck, most of the time even Terminal Services on Windows 2000 (running over a 10mbit network) is more responsive than my Linux box.

The recent Slashdot story about kernel tweaking (kernel tweaking!) to make X more responsive underscores this perfectly. First you start tweaking the kernel... and then you realize that you have to move the graphics subsystem closer to ring 0 to make the thing work at sufficient speed. The very thing that Windows has been criticized for since NT 3.51 came out.

Get rid of X and you have a desktop OS that can actually compete. You DO NOT abstract the windowing system first and then tack stuff to it (say "OpenGL") - you put the graphics close to the metal and then abstract that instead. That's why DirectX is the darling of game developers.

Re:Could this be it? (1)

RatBastard (949) | more than 11 years ago | (#5571294)

I've been saying this for a while. X has always been a complete pain in the ass for desktop users. It completely invalidates any arguments that Linux is fater than Windows. Sure, command line Linux is faster than Windows, but then so is DOS!

Re:Could this be it? (4, Insightful)

be-fan (61476) | more than 11 years ago | (#5571309)

you put the graphics close to the metal and then abstract that instead. That's why DirectX is the darling of game developers.
>>>>>>>>>
That's hilarious. Graphics hardware has gotten so advanced, that direct access actually *hinders* performance because it prevents the graphics card from optimizing things as well (a developer for the BeOS Radeon driver once told me this). DirectDraw has been getting significantly more abstracted, to the point where it was put on top of Direct3D which, like OpenGL, is a quite high-level abstraction. Look at the way current graphics cards are designed to run:

Making individual calls to the graphics hardware (over the AGP bus) to draw each element is hideously slow. Instead, graphics hardware is designed to take a pointer to a memory region containing a big batch of drawing commands. The CPU fills the command buffer, sets up a DMA on the graphics card, and waits for an interrupt for the GPU to finish processing. As a result of this, OpenGL implementations work the following way: the OpenGL library (in userspace) creates a command buffer from the OpenGL calls the application makes. When the command buffer is large enough (or the application does a flush), it makes a (expensive) call into the kernel driver, which sets up the DMA and drawing operation and returns control back to the app. Notice, that because of the batch-orientation, the performance bottleneck is not in the communication between the application and the hardware. Even if having a client server model makes the flush stage 10 times slower (it's more like 2x or 3x in reality) there won't be a significant performance difference. Given that OpenGL libraries live entirely in userspace, with a small kernel driver responsible for setting up DMA operations and responding to interrupts, there is no reason to believe that putting things "close to the metal" will make things appreciably faster.

Re:Could this be it? (0, Troll)

Brian Knotts (855) | more than 11 years ago | (#5571318)

If you want a crappy, non-portable, inflexible, unstable OS, why not just run Windows?

I don't see any "responsiveness" problem in XFree. But, I'm not using it to play games.

Obsolete? (2, Interesting)

drwhite (456200) | more than 11 years ago | (#5571195)

X really needs to standardize itself. Copying and pasting is a bitch....X is heavy at times too and somewhat bloated. Change would be greatly welcomed...or a new X-Windows engine...

Origins of XFree86 - been there, done that! (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5571198)

As David W points out, XFree86 is around 11 years old. I was around when the project was started and was a low-key member (my name was all over the documentation for many years afterwards and may still be, I haven't checked for a long time).

Anyway, one thing that rarely gets mentioned is how XFree86 itself was a fork. A fork from a recalcitrant developer, namely Thomas Roell. Roell went on to be a principal (probably founding) engineer at Xinside, later renamed Xi Graphics. Roell was the primary author of X386 which was the only freely available X server for x86 systems (typically SVR3 and SVR4 unices from a handful of companies like AT&T and Dell - yes Dell actually had their own Unix distribution and it was pretty kickass too). X386 had limited chipset support (IRC, Tseng Labs ET4000 was the faster chipset it supported) and little if any support for hardware acceleration.

Anyway, the story gets a little murky here, because I wasn't in on all the background machinations, but a couple of developers who are now in the core group (DavidW for one, and I'm thinking David Dawes and Tsilias, but don't quote me) got together and forked their version of X386 to add support for more chipsets and more OSes, kinda leaving Roell (unhappily) in the dust. It didn't help that Roell's got an ego (which he *mostly* deserves) and that DavidW had a kind of angry-young-man online persona at the time either.

It appears that Roell eventually got over it, but never enough to join in the fun. Instead he went on to do commercial X server development, ultimately at XiG.

But, the moral of the story here is that XFree86 itself (even before it had a name, I remember the vote on the mailing list, I didn't vote for it, thought it was kinda dorky, but I guess my own suggestion was even dorkier since it didn't win) is a fork of code that was floundering and not being developed fast enough for the tastes of some people. People who were willing to put their code where their mouthes were and to improve the situation, and who didn't really care too much who they pissed off in the process as long as the end result was a big improvement - and that it definitely was.

I've been out of the loop on XFree86 for many years, but from the outside looking in, this current spat has the ring of history repeating itself to me. It is just more public since the userbase is a couple of orders of magntitude larger than it was the first time around, and there was no slashdot back then either...

X is obviously turning obsolete (5, Interesting)

fjpereira (657762) | more than 11 years ago | (#5571199)

I've been a user of the X Window System since the earlier X10 days.


I still remember the transition from X10 to X11.
However, version 11 is almost 15 years old and we
never saw any version 12 (not that I beleive version numbering is any important).


Although I saw some nice extensions being added to the X protocol, there are many parts of the X window system that are now obsolete.


For instance the standard X11 font rendering system looks like it has been kept in the stone age (only recently the Xft extension solved part of the problem).


I really like the network transparency of X and the client-server model, because of all it's advantages and, if you look at it in detail, you will be surprised that it doesn't impose any performance penalty: because of the way the X protocol is implemented, commands are queued by the client and are sent to the server in batches, in order to minimize client/server context switching.


However, in the last 12 years we have seen the graphics hardware improove a lotm but the core X system didn't improove almost anything.

Now we have hardware capable of displaying full motion video, hardware video decompressing, anti-aliasing, alhpa-blending and transparency, 3D, etc.

Meanwhile, X got some extensions to support some of these features, but there are no "standard" APIs and the evolution has been very slow.


X is great, and many of the complaints about X that I regularly read here in /. are completely wrong, but we have to change a lot of things in the way the X window system is being developed and coordinated, in order to adapt to the future.

Tried an X fork once... (-1)

AnimeRulez (621583) | more than 11 years ago | (#5571206)

and nearly put out my eye!
AR

Maintaining XFree86 (4, Interesting)

AirLace (86148) | more than 11 years ago | (#5571216)

I spent a brief time working as a contractor for a Linux distributor (now defunct). During that time, I was given the task of maintaining portions of XFree86's XInput and DRI code. What I saw, I didn't like.

Efforts to extend XFree86 to support modern graphics capabilities (XRender, Xft, R&R) are floundering because the level of skill needed to develop and maintain them is simply too high. The XFree86 codebase reinvents many wheels, is difficult to maintain and really does carry a lot of legacy footwork that makes it difficult to work with.

That said, XFree86 works amazingly well for what it is. I just don't think XFree86 development is sustainable. The same effects can be achieved with a thin layer like DirectFB [directfb.org] without the overhead. You get the same functionality, usually better performant and with far less code necessary in the implementation. Network transparency can easily be provided by modern component object models like GNOME's Bonobo and KDE's Kparts, with the added bonus that clients are thin and so still usable over a high-latency network.

I wouldn't go so far as to call XFree86 obsolete, but the technologies upon which it's based certainly are.

Can you feel the Love? (2, Interesting)

nonmaskable (452595) | more than 11 years ago | (#5571217)

http://xfree86.org/pipermail/forum/2003-March/0001 28.html

David Wexelblat (a XFree86 founder) writing of Keith P:

"What Keith has done is among the most low-class, unprofessional, and
tactless things I have ever experienced in my professional career. While
still a member of the XFree86 Core Team, he has explicitly attempted to
subvert XFree86 by soliciting individuals and corporations to create an
alternative to XFree86. Including inviting certain Core Team members to join
him. At no time did Keith ever discuss his issues with the Core Team or
Board of Directors. When confronted with his actions earlier this week, he
blatantly lied to the Core Team about what he was doing. When his
solicitation email was sent into the Core Team list, showing the blatant
lies in his previous assertions, he stopped responding.

But what Keith is doing, at least how he's handled it, is just flat out
wrong. It's literally dishonest, and morally repugnant."

Time for Fresco (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5571237)

Someone's said this before but I'll say it again .... Time for Fresco [fresco.org] No more annoying differences between applications look and feel (i.e. file Open dialog boxes).

This doesn't work any better in real life. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5571246)

Try this in Linux:

1. Start a lot of threads.
2. Have one of your threads call fork()
3. See the wreckage that results

I actually had to recommend Solaris to one of my clients over Linux a couple of years ago because of this little "problem".

Nice to know computers do mimic real life. Or is that real life mimics computers?

The Killer App (3, Insightful)

Metrol (147060) | more than 11 years ago | (#5571258)

The really scary part, and a notable omission when discussing *nix in general, is that XFree86 very well may be THE killer application. Every other desktop paradigm out there is designed around the notion of one machine, one desktop. Just the one simple notion that X brings to the table of one machine, many desktops is a selling point we just don't hear enough about out there.

Between the Linux LTSP [ltsp.org] project and FreeBSD's diskless booting [freebsd.org] routines, we "should" be seeing a complete overhaul in how people think of deploying desktops to end users. This is as true at home as at the office.

Most likely the main reason we haven't seen a huge trend away from the "fat client" architecture is due to the complexity involved with configuring a "thin client" setup. It's definitely not due to the technology being there. XFree86 is the infrastructure that makes this a reality today for those brave enough to dive into the man pages.

I dearly hope that whatever internal difficulties this project has it can get through. It's just too darn important to all of us to see it splinter off into multiple directions.

What`s up with X anyways? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5571293)

I must have really missed this whole deal with XFree86. Must have happened in mid` 90`.
anyways, what is the whole big fucking deal?
What aspect of XFree86 sucks?
Is it just because of gaming?

I used XFree86 from 3.3(?) to 4.1 currently.
It runs fast enough for me. I feel comfortable being able to view remote apps over TCP without any additional layers/softwares. It has supported every video card i fed it - from S3 Virge to TNT2.

I run 933 P2 + old PCI ATI - far less then some 2GGGGHz machines with more MB in video then i
have in RAM. I can can run mplayer and xine - i dont see drag. I can use mozilla, emacs, etc - i dont see drag.

The fonts look fine to me - may be i am too blind to see every single pixel smoothness on the bend of "G". I do have some problems sometimes with fonts on Compaq Armada laptops - but are the fonts coded into the XFree86?

May be it is pain to program for X? But how many people program X apps directly, rather then using QT or GTK?

I dont play games save for XBill so i dont know about hardcore gaming - is it the only thing that is wrong with X?

Someone please enlighten this troll - because i dont see what is the problem with X from user point of view.

Corporations & GNOME screw Linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5571336)

I agree that the GNOME core team are respectful people - the reason why KDE is miles ahead these days.

I also agree that Xfree86 fork may be an interesting option but it has to be done by the right people. Not people that work on 4 projects at the same time. This only leads to major suckage at the end.

Specially I don't like to see the FreeDesktop.org Windowhints applied to Xfree86 as long as they are not confirmed or signed by a reliable organisation otherwise we end in a total disaster with applications supporting them and applications that do not support them. We have big issues with GNOME and MetaCity these days which breaks nearly every second application because the OWN MADE Windowhints are not supported or where the author of the app doesn't care for FreeDesktop.org as legitimate organisation for these things.

Yes many people use the computer as a tool and not as a passion (like a car or like a stamp collection). But these people also don't care for Linux in the first point and probably use Windows or something else. Linux is a freaks System and many people decide to use Linux because of the way it is. There is no need for a corporated organisation such as members or Redhat (which named people mainly are) to totally screw up the whole Linux situation. What these people want can't be found here. They should better go away and fork OpenBeOS or somethign similar because it fit's more into their vision of doing things.
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