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New, Modularized X Window Release Now Available for Download

Roblimo posted more than 8 years ago | from the 10-years-in-the-making dept.

Announcements 456

By Leon Shiman, X.org -- X11R7.0 is the first release of the complete modularized and autotooled source code base for the X Window System. It is the first major version release of the X Window System in more than a decade. X11R6.9, its companion release, contains identical features and uses the exact same source code as X11R7.0, but uses the traditional imake build system. (Read the rest of the announcement below)These changes in source code management, which give openness and transparency to the source code base and employ current technology, invite a new generation of developers to contribute, building on the long tradition of the X Window System. The new modular format offers focused development and rapid, independent updates and distribution of tested modular components as they are ready, freed from the biennial maintenance release timetable.

X11R6.9 is comprised of many distinct components bonded in a single tree, based on imake. X11R7.0 splits that set of components into logically distinct modules, separately developed, built, and maintained by the community of X.Org developers. This simultaneous release gives a transition point for developers, builders, and vendors to adapt their practices to the new X.Org modular process.

X11R7.0 supports Linux and Solaris at this time, with other support pending. X11R7.1, the first modular roll-up release, is scheduled mid-2006. While the monolithic tree will continue to be fully supported and released, new feature development is expected to concentrate on the modular code base.

The X11R7.0 and X11R6.9 releases are the work of more than fifty volunteer contributors worldwide, working under the release management team of Kevin Martin (Head), Alan Coopersmith, and Adam Jackson, with the support of Red Hat, Sun Microsystems, and the unsupported, generous contribution of effort by Adam Jackson.

All X Window System Releases are available from ftp.X.Org and mirror sites worldwide (see http://wiki.x.org/Mirrors). They are distributed under the MIT ("X") License by the X.Org Foundation LLC. Information concerning organization, activities, and mailing lists can be found at www.X.Org. Membership is free and open to contributors. Sponsorship is encouraged to support the global activities of the X.Org Foundation. Current X.Org Sponsors include Sun Microsystems, HP, IBM, StarNet Communications, AttachmateWRQ, Hummingbird, and Integrated Computer Solutions Incorporated [ICS].

In continuous use for over 20 years, the X Window System provides the only standard platform-independent networked graphical window system bridging the heterogeneous platforms in today's enterprise: from network servers to desktops, thin clients, laptops, and hand-helds, independent of operating system and hardware.

* LINUX is a registered trademark of Linus Torvalds. "Solaris" is a trademark of Sun Microsystems. All company names are trademarks of their registered owners.

-------------------

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456 comments

Something you won't see here... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14313043)

This linux-related article is a stub. You can help Slashdot by expanding it.

Re: should include arthur van hoff and co... (1)

passingNotes.com (936024) | more than 8 years ago | (#14313284)

from the days of hypertext news (etc) but then on to strangeberry and via sb then at tivo to reinvent for them and then onward and outward from there (artfart, spelled incorrectly)...

In other news (4, Insightful)

LittleLebowskiUrbanA (619114) | more than 8 years ago | (#14313047)

Xfree86 continues their self-imposed slide into obscurity.

Re:In other news (2, Insightful)

IntergalacticWalrus (720648) | more than 8 years ago | (#14313133)

Not to mention their homepage now talks more about donating money to them than anything else. As if there were any reason to give them money anymore. That's just sad.

Oh wait, they just released 4.5 and they say "it's just terrific"! Wow! I can't wait to try it in all those obscure Linux distributions that still use it (because they still haven't noticed X.org yet)!

Re:In other news (1)

hitmark (640295) | more than 8 years ago | (#14313154)

well they made a tactical error that forced a fork and x.org is the result.

some may claim its survival of the fittest or evolution at work. maybe, maybe not. but as long as x.org maintains compatiblity with the Xwindows standard, and it developed under a open source model, i for one is happy.

Re:In other news (5, Funny)

Red Warrior (637634) | more than 8 years ago | (#14313214)

some may claim its survival of the fittest or evolution at work.

Really, I thought it was about intelligent design.

Re:In other news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14313305)

Actually, this is one of those rare cases where it's both. ;)

Re:In other news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14313321)

Sorta, but the X.org people are the original X11 guys. XFree86 was an offshoot from the original X11 many moons ago.

Re:In other news (5, Interesting)

Nighttime (231023) | more than 8 years ago | (#14313436)

What I find highly amusing is their list of distros [xfree86.org] carrying XFree86, which hasn't been updated since March 15 2005.

BSD-style based distribution

  • NetBSD® Runs on practically everything; highly scaleable. (Offers X.org along with XFree86 in 2.x)
  • FreeBSD® Yahoo uses it. Hotmail still might. (Uses X.org as of 5.3)
  • MirOS BSD a new NetBSD/OpenBSD hybrid.

Linux® based distribution

  • Conectiva Brazilian-based distro with a world-wide following using RPMs. (Absorbed into Mandriva, uses X.org)
  • Lycoris Desktop L/X a desktop friendly environment for novices with Bitstream fonts. (Bought by Mandrake)
  • Magic Linux when native Chinese-support is desired using ISOs. (Migrating to X.org)
  • OneBase Linux a meta distribution. (Offers X.org along with XFree86)
  • OpenNa Linux when security matters.
  • Peanut Linux when size matters. (now aLinux, uses X.org)
  • Plamo Linux best for native Japanese support; Slackware based.
  • Rubyx Linux object-oriented ruby is its scripting language. (Now Heretix, uses X.org)
  • Source Mage a source-based distro aimed at linux magicians (sys admins) with a social contract. (Offers X.org along with XFree86)
  • Sorcerer Linux a source-based distro aimed at linux wizards (sys admins).
  • Yoper Linux highly usable, with a KDE 3.3 customised desktop (Migrating to X.org)

I think we need to drop them an e-mail suggesting that the page needs updating :)

New developers (2, Interesting)

lordofthemoose (716655) | more than 8 years ago | (#14313053)

I have to admit that it's something I'm welcoming. The autotools are hard enough to learn, having to figure out imake on top of that was a bit of a hassle. Add to this the fact that it's now modular -we can work on different bits much more easily- and it's a winner...

Re:New developers (2, Insightful)

hackwrench (573697) | more than 8 years ago | (#14313132)

The autotools are hard enough to learn

Sounds to me that there should be something better than imake and autotools. Something that can be easily applied to any digital project, not just codebases. Something that makes it easy for a person to have their own personal fork that keeps track of what files in the original tree the changed files are based off of and can notify the person of changes to the original project's files, so that improvements can quickly be assimilated across all forks. Anybody else have their laundry list?

You whippersnappers!!! (1)

Nutria (679911) | more than 8 years ago | (#14313281)

Surely a new operator is in order. I nominate ^.

I remember using ^ back in the 80s. GW-BASIC, I think.

Re:You whippersnappers!!! (1)

Pxtl (151020) | more than 8 years ago | (#14313359)

iirc VB does the same thing. I was actually shocked and apalled to find it non-functional in C and Python.

Re:You whippersnappers!!! (1)

hackwrench (573697) | more than 8 years ago | (#14313426)

I wrote it in response to another sig that said people who use ^ instead of ** are clearly BASIC Programmers...as if that's a bad thing.

Re:New developers (3, Interesting)

KiloByte (825081) | more than 8 years ago | (#14313190)

The autotools are hard enough to learn

Yeah, but they work just wonderful if you want portability to something more than just different Linux distros. Any problems tend to stem from third-party sabotage (for example, Debian source packages mangle timestamps at patch time).

The problem is, you need to be able to edit files using an insane slew of languages. Each of the autotools uses a different one, and in the case of autoconf, you have a weird combination of m4 and sh.

having to figure out imake on top of that was a bit of a hassle.

Oh right, imake is a living proof that you can get a lot worse.

New developers-Will code for food. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14313299)

"Add to this the fact that it's now modular -we can work on different bits much more easily- and it's a winner..."

Who are these mystery "we"'s that can now work on xorg code, that couldn't before?

Fully Modular (4, Interesting)

Hatta (162192) | more than 8 years ago | (#14313055)

What does this mean for me as an end user?

Re:Fully Modular (5, Informative)

nitehorse (58425) | more than 8 years ago | (#14313078)

When a vulnerability is found in libXpm, you won't have to download 15MB of fonts for the update to the library.

Also, drivers will now be released completely independently of the server. So you won't have to wait months for a new driver for your card; maybe a couple of weeks at most.

Re:Fully Modular (4, Informative)

squoozer (730327) | more than 8 years ago | (#14313081)

AIUI at this stage not much really. In fact you could probably go as far as to say nothing. It does mean, though, that in the future it will be much easier to add new features and generally work on the code.

Re:Fully Modular (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14313382)

Well, there's the new acceleration architecture called "EXA" (which I guess will replace XAA eventually)... which I think is worth mentioning.

I've been using it with a Radeon 9200 card since 7.0.0 rc2, and I haven't had any problems. I can use translucent windows with no slow down at all. Translucent windows with XAA on the same machine is horribly slow.

I can play a DVD while browsing with a 75% translucent firefox window on top of it. No problems at all. Scrolling is very smooth. This is on a Mac Mini, btw.

Only ATI r100/r200 cards seem to be supported at the moment, though...
http://xorg.freedesktop.org/wiki/ExaStatus [freedesktop.org]

Re:Fully Modular (1)

KiloByte (825081) | more than 8 years ago | (#14313086)

Just wait for the first security hole.

The last time X packages had to be updated, security.debian.org got hammered down to a crawl. Now, you will be able to download just the module that changed.

Re:Fully Modular (1)

jZnat (793348) | more than 8 years ago | (#14313247)

Knowing how much of a bitch it is to maintain packages from experimental, I think Ubuntu is the distro that's going to get hammered. They were one (if not the only one) of the major distros that was offering Xorg 7.0 for testing during its development via Dapper.

Re:Fully Modular (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14313326)

You'd be better off using binary diffs.

Re:Fully Modular (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14313087)

- Faster and easier developement from which you will benefit
- It will be easier for you and/or your distributions to only update parts of X, for example drivers.

Re:Fully Modular (2, Informative)

Spaceman40 (565797) | more than 8 years ago | (#14313094)

It means that it's easier to hack on, which means that new features should be easier to code, which means that they should come to the end user faster and with less bugs.

Emphasis on the shoulds.

Basically, this is a clean-up for the devs, which helps the end users indirectly.

Re:Fully Modular (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 8 years ago | (#14313116)

It means that X is now even more like Linux. Why we need an entire operating system for a graphical interface is beyond me. But then again, some people find they need an entire operating system just to edit text so I guess it's just a case of running whatever the hell is available.

Re:Fully Modular (4, Funny)

goofyheadedpunk (807517) | more than 8 years ago | (#14313206)

some people find they need an entire operating system just to edit text

I whole heartedly agree! A Real Men doesn't need some wimpy operating system to commmunicate with hardware. Hell, a Real Man doesn't even need a text editor. He just etches his source straight to the hard drive platter with a bic pen.

Re:Fully Modular (4, Informative)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 8 years ago | (#14313307)

You seem to have missed the point. I was refering to EMACS.. an entire operating system running on top of another operating system just to edit text. X is similar, it has device drivers and schedulars and a network layer.. We run X as root and give it intimate access to the hardware that no userland program should have.

Re:Fully Modular (0)

TheWanderingHermit (513872) | more than 8 years ago | (#14313196)

What does this mean for me as an end user?

In practicality? Nothing. Anyone in end-user land will be using prepackaged distros with auto installs that set it all up automatically, and almost all such distros have moved or are moving to X.org.

For those that still "roll your own" with Linux, it may mean something, but X11 is moving more and more out of the main stream and into the non-user and highly geek distros only -- and even there, I know many Debian users, for example, who are eager to switch to X.org.

Re:Fully Modular (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14313259)

Um, this *is* x.org we're talking about here...

Re:Fully Modular (2, Funny)

belmolis (702863) | more than 8 years ago | (#14313213)

Not having to deal with imake will make any hackers you know who build or work on X a lot less irritable.

Re:Fully Modular (1)

dancpsu (822623) | more than 8 years ago | (#14313291)

I was hoping it meant that the X applications survived on their own so that if the X server ever died, it wouldn't take all the apps with it.

Major version release? (1)

Jotii (932365) | more than 8 years ago | (#14313056)

If I understood the article correctly, this version is exactly like the last one, except that it is modularized, and therefore built in a different way. How is this a "major version release"?

Re:Major version release? (2, Informative)

SoloFlyer2 (872483) | more than 8 years ago | (#14313083)

Major Realease only means that there was major code changes to get there...

Not that there were major new features added

Re:Major version release? (1)

sl3xd (111641) | more than 8 years ago | (#14313428)

This is sorta like complaining that the new version of gcc doesn't have any major new features.

For most gcc users, this is 100% true; insert valid C code, get a working binary out-- what happens in the middle doesn't matter to them.

Therefore, the new release of gcc does not have any new features, and there was no reason for a major version number bump.

Re:Major version release? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14313175)

I would think that if you were used to getting a cheeseburger by driving to McDonalds, waiting in line, then ordering one, but then one day you were sitting in your office and decided that you wanted a cheeseburger and 50 ninja kangaroos showed up, sliced apart the McDonalds building with their jedi lightsabers and then delivered the parts to your office, inside of which they re-assembled the entire McDonalds and the re-assembled cook prepared a quarter-pounder just for you, that you might consider this a major change in the way you get your cheeseburger.

Even if the cheeseburger tasted exactly the same as it would have otherwise.

Re:Major version release? (1)

fncll (159437) | more than 8 years ago | (#14313383)

I have a hard time seeing Ninja Kangaroos serving their McD Overlords considering that Mickey used to strip their bones for burgers back in the 70s (I don't care what Mythbusters say, either, I tasted that 'Roo meat back in the day...)

Re:Major version release? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14313293)

How about this: They call both the monolithic version and the modular builds X11R6.9 and let people guess which is which. That would be fun.

Although the code for both X11R6.9 and X11R7.0 is the same, X11R6.9 is the last significant release for the monolithic build system and X11R7.0 is the first release for the modular build which is the direction they are taking for the future, it does make sense that they bump up the major version as this is a significant change. I suppose they could have skipped X11R6.9 altogether, as I'm not sure of the point in it myself, maybe it was just because they could and it wasn't much extra work to do.

Re:Major version release? (1)

airlied (135423) | more than 8 years ago | (#14313332)

6.9 was released as a transition, same source different build systems, so you vendors can slowly transisition....

Re:Major version release? (1)

necro2607 (771790) | more than 8 years ago | (#14313357)

The previous version was "6.x". The new version is "7.x". Using the word "major" is just a linguistic technicality of version numbers. :)

Major/minor/update version numbers:
The digit to the left of the decimal is considered the "major" version while the digit just to the right of the first decimal is the "minor" version. If there is another decimal followed by a digit, that digit is considered the "update" version.

For instance

4.8.3 = update version 3 of minor verion 8 of major version 4. Although spoken aloud you'd just say "4 point 8 point 3" of course... ;)

Re:Major version release? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14313389)

You did not understand the article correctly. The previous release (the most up-to-date, stable version you could get yesterday) was X11R6.8.2. The consortium has been adding features to today's version for awhile. Additionally, they decided that imake is outdated, so they want to stop using it and move to autotools. There was one release made today, under two versions (X116.9, which uses imake and is monolithic, and X117.0, which uses autotools and is modular).

Mild Disclaimer. (-1, Troll)

Rahga (13479) | more than 8 years ago | (#14313060)

"Sponsorship is encouraged to support the global activities of the X.Org Foundation. Current X.Org Sponsors include Sun Microsystems, HP, IBM, StarNet Communications, AttachmateWRQ, Hummingbird, and Integrated Computer Solutions Incorporated [ICS].

* LINUX is a registered trademark of Linus Torvalds. "Solaris" is a trademark of Sun Microsystems. All company names are trademarks of their registered owners. "

That's supposed to be GNU/LINUX, you insensitive clod!

Re:Mild Disclaimer. (1)

Knuckles (8964) | more than 8 years ago | (#14313117)

-1 Troll. Linux the kernel is "Linux (R)", and X runs on top of Linux, not of GNU* (but is part of GNU). RMS does not want the Linux kernel to be called GNU/Linux. This has been explained ad nauseam .

* Hmm, but now uses GNU autotools :)

Re:Mild Disclaimer. (1)

grey3000 (594701) | more than 8 years ago | (#14313125)

Linux is a Registered trademark of Linus
GNU is a registered trademark of the GNU foundation

so the GNU/Linux doen't apply :)

Re:Mild Disclaimer. (1)

RobertLTux (260313) | more than 8 years ago | (#14313421)

okay lets try this "Linux(r)" is the kernel image and assosiated /lib/modules files (aka what you get when you run make bZImage && make modules on the archive from kernel.org) GNU is just about everything above this point so you could say the gnus do the work but the penguin gets them going (until hurd gets to a useful point)

Let me be the first to say (-1, Redundant)

squoozer (730327) | more than 8 years ago | (#14313062)

In continuous use for over 20 years, the X Window System provides the only standard platform-independent networked graphical window system bridging the heterogeneous platforms in today's enterprise: from network servers to desktops, thin clients, laptops, and hand-helds, independent of operating system and hardware.

BINGO!

What this means (3, Interesting)

Jotii (932365) | more than 8 years ago | (#14313072)

Am I right in saying this will not make any difference to the end users? Making X module-based seems to greatly simplify coding for developers, but does it have any effect for the end user at all?

Re:What this means (2, Informative)

ajaxxx (209422) | more than 8 years ago | (#14313099)

Yes, it does. It means you get features, bug fixes and new hardware support as they get developed, rather than waiting for rollup releases every six months or so.

Re:What this means (1)

argel (83930) | more than 8 years ago | (#14313128)

Video drivers will likely see better support since they are modules now too. That means faster bug fixes for existing drivers and a much quicker release schedule for new drivers.

Re:What this means (2, Funny)

Sheetrock (152993) | more than 8 years ago | (#14313129)

Yes.

For example, you can now pipe the X.org modules through an MP3 encoder and listen to the only standard platform-independent networked graphical window system bridging the heterogeneous platforms in today's enterprise wherever you go.

Re:What this means (1)

TheDauthi (219285) | more than 8 years ago | (#14313257)

If it makes it easier for the developer to work on, patches/fixes/features should come quicker.

Effect on end user (5, Insightful)

jd (1658) | more than 8 years ago | (#14313312)

  • Modular code is easier to maintain, so expect fewer bugs and a rapid explosion in the number of features. It is also (generally) easier for binary-only extensions, so expect more hardware vendors to support it.
  • Modular code means that the compiler cannot take advantage of any knowledge of other files when optimizing the code, but this doesn't matter much as the original tree didn't do that either. Commercially optimized versions of X might be fractionally larger and/or slower, though.
  • Gentoo users are in for an looooong run-up to Christmas. Especially if there is a bug in the e-build.
  • Fedora Core users will suffer greatly, unless the RPM specs correctly instruct RPM to deinstall legacy components from the old structure. Fedora users will also need to be careful about any RPM files that refer specifically to the old X11 RPMs. The same is true for other package-based distributions - package dependencies may not be tracked correctly, leading to outdated dependencies. At best, updates might fail unexpectedly.

means less painful updating your system (3, Insightful)

aleator (869538) | more than 8 years ago | (#14313398)

the xorg as it is now is about 110MB (binary for i686) in size. it comes out about 2 times a year. means that you have to download every year around 230MB of data to keep your X up-to-date.

BUT (!) actually, you are only 2 weeks of the whole time really up to date, because most of the libraries and drivers are outdated, just a week after the release came out. this means, that you download 230MB and are waiting the whole time for new releases hating the whole system it is organised.

new, the modularised organisation gives the developers and package maintainers the ability to update just one library at a time - to release it immediately it is known to work fine with the rest and the user has the binary of this small library (e.g. 2MB) ready for download in about a week after its release. this means you still download over the year about 200MB of updates, but you are not waiting for relases to fix your problem, because every week or month, a new release of the PARTS of xorg come out and fix problems and add features. this way, the user profits faster from the whole lot of features that come out and fixes that solve problems. (of course, in the old system, you were always able to get the whole sources (hundreds of MB) and compile them yourself (hours to days of compiling, can fail if you use wrong compiler or wrong checkout-time when getting sources))

in the modular organisaiton, also a newbie can then recompile only one part of X, because of the less time it takes and a more transperent process

==> end user gets updates more frequently, has to wait less and has much less pain updating only parts of X

Great... (2, Insightful)

KangKong (937247) | more than 8 years ago | (#14313100)

more autotool hell, woohoo.

Re:Great... (2)

Slashcrap (869349) | more than 8 years ago | (#14313225)

more autotool hell, woohoo.

Did you ever try to build XFree from source? Well, did you?

I still suffer from a slight nervous tick as a direct result of my last attempt.
You may think that autotools are hell, but that is only because you have never experienced the inner-most circles of darkness.

Good (4, Insightful)

revividus (643168) | more than 8 years ago | (#14313112)

I'd guess that 99% of Linux users (myself included) do not hack away at the X source code.

On the other hand, I'd guess that for the 1% who do hack X, this will make thier lives easier. Heck, it might even mean more people decide to work on X, which OSS dogma tells us is a Good Thing(TM), and it probably is.

Re:Good (4, Insightful)

Fnord (1756) | more than 8 years ago | (#14313223)

No, what this means is that of the people who want to hack on the X source code, 99% were unable to get into it because of the interdependant mess that the code was, and the inabillity for most people to commit back.

Now 99% of the people who want to hack on X will be able to find a small isolated module to start on. And now those modules may be able to evolve without breaking the whole. I've wanted to hack at X for a long time, now I very well might.

Re:Good (2, Insightful)

karlto (883425) | more than 8 years ago | (#14313264)

As a user, my life is made easier by the result of the developers' work. If it is easier for them to do this work, I'm sure that every user will see a benefit.

For the end-users, ... (5, Interesting)

c0l0 (826165) | more than 8 years ago | (#14313121)

... there are a few new features to expect. I'm most curious about the new drivers for ATI's R300-Chips (and newer), called "r300", which will provide GLX-Support (hardware-accelerated OpenGL) in a Free Software-only manner.
Oh, and there are some minor features to be added, like 30Bit visuals for improved greyscale graphics for medical purposes, for example.
 
Apart from the new drivers, there's nothing to be OVERLY excited about this release - unless you're going to build yourself, I'm really looking forward to playing around with portions of the code without having to recompile the whole bloody source again. :)

Re:For the end-users, ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14313297)

I'm really looking forward to playing around with portions of the code without having to recompile the whole bloody source again. :)

Please spare a thought for the Gentoo users too.

Why do we need the X? (5, Funny)

dhasenan (758719) | more than 8 years ago | (#14313122)

I've been using Windows for years. First they started with numbers after the name, then they put "Me!" instead, then something about experience points. Now that's not enough, and they want prefixes as well.

Screw the bastards. I'm going with Linux.

nVidia (2, Interesting)

dpilot (134227) | more than 8 years ago | (#14313157)

So how long will it take us to get nVidia to support this with their evil, closed source drivers?

For that matter, even if there is R300 support, isn't it now 2 generations back?

Re:nVidia (2, Insightful)

jZnat (793348) | more than 8 years ago | (#14313273)

At least nVidia actively supports Linux. Take a look at ATi and tell me they're doing anything helpful with their own abysmal Linux support.

Re:nVidia (4, Informative)

AnXa (936517) | more than 8 years ago | (#14313287)

I think that at least couple months to get good EXA support from nVidia as they have to recode some parts their drivers. Expect faster compositation (more eye candy) with this release and better drivers. Also you can expect nv driver doing things what haven't never dream about. nv ships with the R7 so you don't have to wait support for it. 3dacceleration and nvidia. I guess you can use current drivers but I am not sure about them since we have now new acceleration architecture. nVidia has it's own system for this so I don't know if they will implement EXA or continue using their own systems. X will be somewhat faster too if I understood right everything on this page: http://wiki.x.org/wiki/ChangesSince68 [x.org] that's the changelog and there are plenty of stuff to take a look at. :)

Re:nVidia (3, Insightful)

Sparks23 (412116) | more than 8 years ago | (#14313313)

I would think that there'd be an initial delay, but that in the long run it will actually be rather faster this way. Since if a video card driver wants to not share their info, they can now in theory write a modular driver for X11 and release a little binary video driver module, instead of having to release binaries of the entire X11 system.

Granted, the reality may be different than the ideal, but we can hope, right?

What does this mean? (0, Flamebait)

dteichman2 (841599) | more than 8 years ago | (#14313159)

What does this mean for the end-user? Nothing.

What does this mean for programmers? Stock-up on Prozac.

I usually don't complain... (2, Insightful)

dalutong (260603) | more than 8 years ago | (#14313177)

And I am a huge proponent of Free software. But I sure would like to know when X will support today's new technologies and trends. rotating your screen is very difficult. and you can't have accelleration when you do. even resolution changes are difficult (xrandr helps, but you still can only move between the resolutions provided at the X server start, which doesn't help if you've plugged in a different monitor.) Switching between dual displays is hard.

can't think of anything else at the moment.

you're confused (1, Informative)

penguin-collective (932038) | more than 8 years ago | (#14313412)

But I sure would like to know when X will support today's new technologies and trends. rotating your screen is very difficult. and you can't have accelleration when you do. even resolution changes are difficult (xrandr helps, but you still can only move between the resolutions provided at the X server start, which doesn't help if you've plugged in a different monitor.) Switching between dual displays is hard.

X11 has support for all of those, plus more. It's up to driver writers and server implementors to support those features properly.

The real question is when Windows and Macintosh will catch up to X11, because they are far behind.

Imake? (1)

kzinti (9651) | more than 8 years ago | (#14313228)

Imake is the spawn of the devil. I've used it. I've understood it. But I HATED myself in the morning.

Re:Imake? (2, Informative)

msbsod (574856) | more than 8 years ago | (#14313331)

X.org could learn a lot from NetBSD. The NetBSD makefiles are small and contain typically just the names of the source files and targets.

platform-independent? (1, Insightful)

msbsod (574856) | more than 8 years ago | (#14313243)

In continuous use for over 20 years, the X Window System provides the only standard platform-independent networked graphical window system...

Somehow I question the claim that the X Window System is still platform-independent. To me it looks like a unix-centric development. There are other operating systems, like VMS, and they come with older versions of the X Window System, too. But the "autothis-and-that" tools all are written for Unix features, like the file specification, syntax of options, compilation tools etc.. None of the differences among various operating systems are addressed in the new scheme and somehow I doubt they will be in the future. Of course, one could adapt other operating system to Unix, but people who chose not to use Unix certainly did that because they do not want to their software to be Unix-alike. Not that I want to judge here which operating system is the best (after all this is /. :-), but I like to suggest that either the people who are developing the X Window System work on this part of their software or drop the claim that they produce platform-independent software.

In any case I appreciate the X Window System very much, thanks.

Re:platform-independent? (2, Informative)

nitehorse (58425) | more than 8 years ago | (#14313276)

X.org builds and runs on more than just Linux/UNIX; it works on MacOS X's display server as well as on Windows and (at least at one point) OS/2.

So no, we won't drop the 'X is cross-platform' claim anytime soon. Thanks though.

Re:platform-independent? (1)

msbsod (574856) | more than 8 years ago | (#14313311)

MacOS lost its independence when Apple decided to use a Unix system as core of MacOS with version X.

Mac OS X: Look who else is switching [com.com]

Re:platform-independent? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14313415)

You can run X11 on previous MacOS versions (eg. MacOS 9).

X11 runs on all sorts of systems, it's not a Unix thing. It's just that most Unix systems decided that X11 would be the primary display mechanism.

Hell, I run X11 on my PDA.

Re:platform-independent? (1)

msbsod (574856) | more than 8 years ago | (#14313410)

This discussion is about how the source code of the X Window Software is organized and being compiled. With Windows and OS/2 you have exactly the same issues. Windows for example uses a backslash "\" as separator between directory names and file names. Windows also uses device names (all the same for OS/2). Now, try to use a backslash in the current scheme. The only reason why we can build the X.Org software on Windows, OS/2 and (!) VMS is because these operating systems were adapted to be Unix compatible, not because the current X Window Software imake scheme is platform-independent.

Re:platform-independent? (1)

Compholio (770966) | more than 8 years ago | (#14313369)

... but I like to suggest that either the people who are developing the X Window System work on this part of their software or drop the claim that they produce platform-independent software.

What about X11 for Mac OS X? Or how about X11 running on Windows using Cygwin? Seems to me like X11 is about as close as you can get to a platform-independent graphics platform.

Re:platform-independent? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14313384)

If by "UNIX" you mean "POSIX" then yes, autotools are POSIX-centric. There's really no way around it. You can't write code that will work with every set of system libraries known to man. But if you had ever tried to port from Solaris on SPARC to AIX on PPC to BSD on MIPS to Linux on i686 you would appreciate how different all those "UNIX" OSes really are. The very fact that you use "UNIX" to mean "POSIX" is evidence of how many tools, including X-windows, are already quite platform independent.

It's also a bit of a stretch to say "people who chose not to use Unix certainly did that because they do not want to their software to be Unix-alike". People who choose to write non-POSIX OSes might object to parts of the model, but they very likely appreciate other parts. And even if they object to all parts of POSIX, OS designers certainly don't represent end users, who rarely have much choice abour their OS in the first place.

Re:platform-independent? (3, Informative)

penguin-collective (932038) | more than 8 years ago | (#14313431)

X11 clients and servers run on Linux, UNIX, Windows, OS X, and dozens of other operating systems.

but I like to suggest that either the people who are developing the X Window System work on this part of their software or drop the claim that they produce platform-independent software.

You don't understand. X11 is a protocol; there are dozens of different client implementations and dozens of different server implementations. X.org and XFree86 happen to be UNIX-centric, but other implementations are not.

Looking foreward to modular X (2, Insightful)

demon_2k (586844) | more than 8 years ago | (#14313325)

I'm for one looking foreward to modular X.
I know that the changes don't mean much at the moment, not to the end user anyway. I'm curious how will this affect the developement process, if more developers will jump on the X.org wagon as the article suggests. Will we see releases more often? I'm also curious how will this affect video card menufactores, and ultimetly their curtomers. I don't know what about the rest of you. I see that there's a bit of mixed feelings about all this but, I'm excited about this. I can't wait to see what kind of an affect it fill have say... 2 year from now

Two Build Systems -- Impressive? (1)

cratermoon (765155) | more than 8 years ago | (#14313340)

Supporting imake and autotools in what is essentially the same codebase seems pretty impressive. Just one build system generally is cause for enough hair-pulling to make even RMS go bald. Shouldn't we be offering kudos to the x.org folks?

X: The First Fully Modular Software Disaster (0, Flamebait)

SimHacker (180785) | more than 8 years ago | (#14313434)

The X-Windows Disaster [art.net]

X-Windows is the Iran-Contra of graphical user interfaces: a tragedy of political compromises, entangled alliances, marketing hype, and just plain greed. X-Windows is to memory as Ronald Reagan was to money. Years of "Voodoo Ergonomics" have resulted in an unprecedented memory deficit of gargantuan proportions. Divisive dependencies, distributed deadlocks, and partisan protocols have tightened gridlocks, aggravated race conditions, and promulgated double standards.

X has had its share of $5,000 toilet seats -- like Sun's Open Look clock tool, which gobbles up 1.4 megabytes of real memory! If you sacrificed all the RAM from 22 Commodore 64s to clock tool, it still wouldn't have enough to tell you the time. Even the vanilla X11R4 "xclock" utility consumed 656K to run. And X's memory usage is increasing.

Official Dangerous Virus notice distributed at the X-Windows Conference. [art.net]

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