posted by Anonymous Reader on Wed 21st Dec 2005 22:09 UTC
IconYes it would be nice if X.org could use OpenGL directly for it's display and composition, but to date, nobody has made this possible. Is it wrong for a business to make it so? Since when does developing software for GNU products mean that they aren't allowed to do it privately? If Novell is developing XGL behind closed doors, and paying the developers to build it... Where's the problem?

Last time I checked, Open Source contributors had the option of making XGL reality. Numerous different projects have been born of the same idea, and quickly anesthetized due to lack of interest, talent, resources, or all of the above. This is not a case of a person or company stealing licensed open source code and re-branding it for profit (ex: CherryOS). This is a company building, what is essentially a plugin, for an open source project. Hundreds of companies due this as their core business.

The reality of Open Source project management is chaotic. It's not as stream-lined and "open" as proponents of the movement make it out to be. In fact, it is very cluttered with people who want to contribute, but just don't meet the criteria. A perfect analogy can be made of the recent hurricanes in the States. After the damage had been done, millions of people flocked to the devastated areas to offer help. Now imagine all of those volunteers are developers and contributors wishing to help build XGL, and only 1% of them are capable of actually contributing in a helpful way. Would you:

A) Announce the project, open the project, wait for applicants, scan through the applicants, reject the bad candidates, find the 1% of useful contributors, organize contributor roles, organize the roadmap and start releasing code?

Or:

B) Skip the first 5 steps and get right down to it?

I find it shocking that certain member(s) of projects that depend on X.org would have a problem with this. I haven't seen one speck of a KDE mounted movement to develop what they crave. In fact, all I've heard from either KDE or GNOME camps are wishing. Wishing for a more capable and modern version of X, or maybe even a better alternative. Most may remember that Red Hat is doing the exact same thing as Novell right now, only Luminocity is for GNOME. So where does KDE fall into this? Way behind unfortunately. So far you have two companies who have been very successful in developing Linux based OS's and products. Red Hat apparently has working demo's of a GNOME acceleration technology, and Novell hasn't specified what XGL is capable of just yet, but it's no secret that their Novell Linux Desktop brand is centered around GNOME for the window manager. If both companies make OpenGL acceleration work for their products and exclude KDE, KDE is in serious trouble of being overlooked when it comes to choose a look and feel for your desktop. Would you want the beautiful musings of water rings rippling across your desktop when you move your mouse? Or do you want KDE with "vanilla" 2D looks and simplistic graphics features.

Please do not mistake any of these remarks against KDE as being discouraging or mean-spirited. I am a KDE fan/user myself, however, I do realize the possible danger that it could be in. I also know that it would be very hard for me to resist an OpenGL accelerated version of my favorite Linux distribution running GNOME instead of KDE. I am a die-hard Suse user and have been for years, but if Red Hat makes it out the door with Luminocity first, I will be the second or third on that order list to try it out for myself as I'm sure most Linux users would. So if Red Hat has chosen to work on GNOME acceleration, is Novell doing the same? It seems not. So far it seems like Novell is working on a "plugin", if you will, to X.org that will enable hardware graphics acceleration on the display server itself. This could be good news for KDE after all, so why would that previously mentioned KDE contributor be complaining about the possible saving grace of X? After Windows Vista is released in 2007, both major desktop OS's will have graphics accelerated interfaces, leaving X in the dust until someone develops similar technology.

Apple developed the best looking (and possibly performing) graphics display system available to date. I don't personally use Mac OS X, but I'm not foolish enough to try and argue otherwise when it's so perfectly clear that Mac OS can graphically do everything X users wish X could do. I don't think anyone could argue otherwise. In saying that, Apple does not furnish code for it's display server to anyone. It is strictly closed source and has always, and most likely will always will be so. People pay for that display when they purchase that operating system as a whole. For those that don't know, Mac OS X is run on top of a (mostly) Open Source OS called Darwin. Darwin is the bastard of Unix and BSD which was developed by Apple to be the heart of OS X. Darwin was developed in-house by Apple behind closed doors and later released to the public. That is to say, Darwin is Open Source, and available for download at http://developer.apple.com/darwin/. Everyone knows that you'll never find Apple's display managers in that code for Darwin because Apple struck a chord where nobody else had when they released OS X. As it stands, all other display servers are years behind.

So is Apple wrong for doing this? Are they "evil" for making a product which people want to use? Is it bad that they want to sell things for profit that tie into Open Source projects (of their own making mind you). I think most people will find that Novell is well into the ethical clearing on this issue. If nobody else is going to build an accelerated X server on their own time, and Novell wants one bad enough, they have every right to do it themselves. You can't complain because your friends built a fort, and you don't have one.

This editorial was submitted to OSNews' news submission form by an anonymous user.


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