Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 12th May 2008 20:35 UTC, submitted by diegocg
X11, Window Managers The X Windowing System is the graphical backbone of most UNIX-like operating systems (and OpenVMS) - despite lots and lots of criticism, the system has withstood the test of time. Despite its age, development on X has not slowed down - in fact, it only seems to have picked up. A few weeks ago, we had kernel-based mode setting, and today we have the X server running as user instead of root.
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Doc Pain
Member since:
2006-10-08

indeed, xfree didnt add much new for ages.
but i think it was a modified license that was the final nail.

end result, a forked xfree from before the license change and xorg picked up speed after that.


Without wanting to sound impolite, I'd like to comment that XFree at least got things working (in "the old days", i. e. 3 years ago) that Xorg isn't able to do anymore. (Please see this note as an individual problem I'm having since I upgraded from FreeBSD 5 to 7, including an upgrade from XFree 4.3 to the newest version of Xorg: I can't get my ATI Radeon 9200 RV250 with the ati driver to run at 1400x1050 anymore, only 1152x864 is possible; and switch from console to X mode now lasts almost 10 seconds, while it lasted less than 2 seconds with XFree.)

and with things like beryl, multi-input x servers (perfect for multitouch setups), and others, its fast catching up to or overtaking the tricks that osx and windows can show of.


Is catching up? I think it's already doing those tricks, and many more. :-)


and all this while retaining the core ability to do things over a network connection and you have one impressive package.


The networking abilities have always been one of the most impressive things in X. Remote desktops and similar stuff were possible years before others had an acceptable network stack. :-)

one can even turn a single home computer into a multi user machine with these abilities. a kind of mini-mainframe if you will.


To be precise, a home computer running UNIX / Linux is a multi user machine. It's just about how you enable two or more users to use the same machine at the same time. This isn't some speciality of X, but of UNIX / Linux in general.

i suspect that as kernel mode setting becomes more of a norm in the drivers, the biggest reason for running X as root goes away. makes me a bit nostalgic as i always liked the idea of pre-95 windows, that ability to drop in and out of the gui as needed.


This option will still be present, I think. At least, I hope. But well, I do use BSD, so it will take some time before the kernel mode settings developed for Linux will make their way into BSD. :-)

Reply Parent Score: 6

hobgoblin Member since:
2005-07-06

sure, xfree got things working, in the same way as windows "get things working". but in the end, would it have been worth it?

as for tricks, note my "or overtaking"...

but overall take it we agree, and its mostly my way of presenting things that your having a issue with (most of it was written based on the impression i have gotten over the years from news sources, and how i recalled things that that moment)...

Reply Parent Score: 2

j-kidd Member since:
2005-07-06

I feel your pain. I do. From my personal experience, the quality of xorg server has gone way downhill since version 1.3.

For a good example, look at the status of intel driver, which incidentally is the one being mentioned in the article.

Here's a listing of intel driver related bugs in ubuntu (127 in total):
https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/xserver-xorg-video-intel

Here's one that affects me:
http://bugs.gentoo.org/show_bug.cgi?id=212453

All right, maybe the bugginess of the driver is just due to the incompentency of intel programmers, and has nothing to do with xorg server.

Reply Parent Score: 1

mattst88 Member since:
2005-08-27

All right, maybe the bugginess of the driver is just due to the incompentency of intel programmers, and has nothing to do with xorg server.


It's easier to take a shot at people if they're nameless, isn't it?

I hardly think incompetent is the correct term in any sense in the cases of keithp, anholt, jbarnes, et al.

Reply Parent Score: 2

mattst88 Member since:
2005-08-27

Without wanting to sound impolite, I'd like to comment that XFree at least got things working (in "the old days", i. e. 3 years ago) that Xorg isn't able to do anymore. (Please see this note as an individual problem I'm having since I upgraded from FreeBSD 5 to 7, including an upgrade from XFree 4.3 to the newest version of Xorg: I can't get my ATI Radeon 9200 RV250 with the ati driver to run at 1400x1050 anymore, only 1152x864 is possible; and switch from console to X mode now lasts almost 10 seconds, while it lasted less than 2 seconds with XFree.)


I congratulate you as you have obviously shown how X.org is inferior to XFree.

Have you filed bug reports for these issues? The xf86-video-ati developers (Alex Deucher and Dave Airlie) are pretty responsive and helpful.

Reply Parent Score: 1

Doc Pain Member since:
2006-10-08

I congratulate you as you have obviously shown how X.org is inferior to XFree.


I think you misunderstood my posting. Let me make this clear: I do not own bleeding edge hardwarre, so I don't expect something "too new" to work without problems. I have several BSD systems that run X.org on ATI hardware without problems. But this particular case affects my main desktop, so I'm a bit unhappy to see something [b[not{/b] working in "new" X.org that did work in "old" XFree86.

Ah yes, I forgot to mention that the Num Lock status LED sometimes deactivates when switching to a virtual console and back to X. The switching time is also longer with X.org than with XFree86.

Have you filed bug reports for these issues? The xf86-video-ati developers (Alex Deucher and Dave Airlie) are pretty responsive and helpful.


I will surely do this as soon as I could do some diagnostics (doing some more tests with xorg.conf and trying a compiled version of X). Thank you for this advice.

Maybe you ask yourself: "Why didn't this strange guy file a bug report just after noticing that something didn't work as expected?" First of all, I try to solve problems on my own first - before I do bother someone. And up to this point (update on main machine from FreeBSD 5.4 to 7.0 including all applications), I did not have any (!) issue - everything worked as intended.

I'm just a bit disappointed. The speed gains from the system update are more than eaten by the slowlyness of the X startup... :-(

Reply Parent Score: 2

airlied Member since:
2008-05-15

well stability comes with stagnation, the XFree86 tree just reimported a lot of the ati driver so it probably broke as well.

The thing is X.org drivers didn't support a lot of features, and you can't add features to a driver like dynamic monitor plugging and better detection code without causing some regressions. We trust that users report these regression so we can fix them instead of claiming that their one regression is the end of the universe.

Reply Parent Score: 1