Whither X?

James Mansion james at mansionfamily.plus.com
Sat May 16 12:00:49 UTC 2009

Robert Noland wrote:
> Xorg in general, while some are porting issues.  Since I don't see
> patches attached, I have to assume that you are ok with that.  On the
I thought in general people had grown out of 'send me the patches' but 
clearly not.  Is it
not OK to be just a user, and to complain when the system regresses?

> Some of the POLA issues that you raise have been discussed on Xorg lists
> and have valid reasons for the changes, for at least some value of
> valid.  The change to libpciaccess is what broke multi-card setups, but
> would you argue that the xserver should be doing os specific frobbing of
> the pci bus?  While this particular issue is being worked on again
> lately, the overall number of users that it effects is relatively small.
 From the point of view of a dispassionate observer, it does seem that 
X.org has moved slowly
but significantly from an attempt to keep all its user communities happy 
to focussing greatly
on Linux and caring little if *BSD and *Solaris lack the resources to 
keep up trying to emulate
design decisions that are Linux-centric, then that's just tough.  Or so 
it seems.

I don't think anyone can blame you for being a bit defensive Robert.  
The problem is
with X.org.  Upstream need to be honest with everyone about how much 
they care about
some of their users.

Maybe we will all come to regret that no-one seemed interested in taking 
the old Scitech
SNAP product further when they gave up on it.


Perhaps the answer is to step back and consider whether something akin 
to the emulation
that allows Windows NDIS drivers to run could be fashioned to allow 
Windows graphics
drivers to run - perhaps using recent virtualisation advances to limit 
the damage they can
do.  While politically painful on some levels, it does provide for a 
functional binary
compatibility abstraction.  Pretty soon most of us will have desktop 
devices that handle the
new x86 virtualization features and it becomes increasingly pointless to 
hang onto old
X terms when you can get hardware like an Aspire Revo for peanuts.

I've not looked at building X recently, but if the new build system is 
so bad, then why
not replace it?  waf seems handy to me.  Its a lot faster than scons, 
handy to script in
Python, and can handle configuration tasks etc.


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