Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sat 15th Aug 2009 17:55 UTC
X11, Window Managers Over the past couple of months, and especially over the past couple of weeks, I've been working very hard to write and complete my thesis. I performed all the work on Windows 7, but now that the thesis is finally done, submitted, and accepted, I installed Ubuntu - and immediately I was reminded of why I do not do any serious work on Linux: the train wreck that is
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You still haven't answered the question
by Johnny on Sun 16th Aug 2009 14:45 UTC
Member since:

I understand that you're frustrated and that you don't really care who's fault it is for your bad experience, you just care that you lost your data.

I understand that because that's one of the reasons why I decided to stop using any Microsoft products in 1996. My experience using Windows 3.11 was so terrible with flakey windows behavior, an inability to view a web page using netscape and print something out without windows 3.11 crashing on me was one failure too many.

Having experienced SunOS, a stable operating system with a stable window manager, X-window, back in 1992-1993 I knew that it was a sick joke for a large corporation to push an operating system to the masses as unstable as Windows 3.11 and call it the "best" operating system ever.

That's when I discovered Linux at an electronics store and I knew I found the solution to my problems. With Linux I would be in control of what software was installed on my computer. And yes, I might have had to learn a thing or 2 to get the system to work with my hardware, but it was worth it, because it taught me things about how an operating system works that I would never have found out otherwise using a closed system which discourages me from asking questions.

My experience taught me that proprietary software was at best suspect, and that OSS software was always preferable for a task if I needed an application and I had a choice of tools.

So I'm asking you again sir, did you or did you not use a proprietary driver which replaces the functionality of Xorg with its own implementation?

If you used a proprietary driver, a driver which Xorg had no responsibility for, how can you blame the Xorg people?

I don't think it's reasonable to say "I don't care who is at fault, I lost my data, so I'm going to arbitrarily blame Xorg".

To help you see what I'm trying to say, here are some more examples to consider:

"I used a nonstandard compiler which creates its own implementation of runtime libraries to compile my code and when I run the program it memory leaks 1 TB of data taking out all of my programs and losing all of my data. I don't care who is at fault, I'm going to blame the standard compiler for this mess."

I'm sure you've experienced this one:
"I love my operating system. It's the best one yet. I got a new hardware toy, that comes with a proprietary kernel driver provided by the manufacturer. It memory leaks however so violently it takes out my OS in under 3 seconds of using it, not only wiping out my current session but also causes any unwritten buffers to get wiped out and hosing supposedly saved data as well on the hard drive.

I don't care who is at fault, I lost my data. So I'm going to blame the Operating System, and call it the shittiest OS ever."

Does that help you to see the point I'm trying to make?

Reply Score: 2

Thom_Holwerda Member since:

Your point is flawed.

It is not relevant whether or not the driver code was proprietary. As has been said a million times already, this article is NOT about the bug. It's about the results of the bug.

A modern and robust graphics stack can handle a driver crash; Vista and 7 can. They gracefully recover from a driver crash without applications crashing and without data loss. THAT is robust.

Compare this to X: driver crashes, crashes, applications crash, data lost. This is NOT robust.

The fact that the driver code is proprietary (which it indeed was) is not relevant in this story in ANY way. X drivers should be contained properly, so that any bugs in there do NOT affect users' data.

Reply Parent Score: 4

Johnny Member since:

Fair enough Thom,
But I want to emphasize this part of your response:

"The fact that the driver code is proprietary (which it indeed was) is not relevant in this story in ANY way. X drivers should be contained properly, so that any bugs in there do NOT affect users' data.".

The proprietary drivers that I know of, Nvidia and ATI, come in 2 parts: kernel space and user space. What if the bug is in the kernel space? Do you still think it's reasonable for X which runs in user space to somehow catch a kernel space bug and recover from it gracefully? I just don't see how that's reasonable.

You say Windows 7 somehow manages to catch bugs in their graphic drivers and recover gracefully. Well, kudos to the Windows 7 developers for a job well done.

What I would like to know, and maybe you or maybe a guest could do, is write an editorial explaining the architecture used in Windows 7 that does that kind of fault isolation. I'm very confident that Xorg developers would be interested in knowing how that is done so they could implement it as well.

Reply Parent Score: 1

adamk Member since:

I have lost so much data with Vista crashes, I find your posts on the matter laughable.

I'm writing this on my FreeBSD laptop since my Vista workstation told me it needed to run a chkdsk on my C drive. It's been running for over 30 minutes now and throwing "Recovering orphaned file" messages left and right.

Even in those few times that I have had X crash (and I can't remember the last time it happened) I never actually lost data and had filesystem corruption.


Edited 2009-08-16 20:03 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

anda_skoa Member since:

Compare this to X: driver crashes, crashes, applications crash, data lost.

I think the interesting point is that your applications crashed.
AFAIK most X client implementations make the application exit, so maybe the application crashes were actually bugs in the exit handler and the application developers would appreciate the backtraces that got dumped.

Reply Parent Score: 3