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Linux user Tess Flynn joins us to follow up on the feedback from last week's episode about Xorg.
jjmckay - the problem is that yes, XOrg is complicated. But the reason XOrg is doing so well these days is because they *don't* tell people to mind their own business. I could talk about the bad old days of XFree86, but that's getting on to another topic.
You shouldn't have to muck around with xorg.conf now, and you REALLY shouldn't need to mess with modelines. Every monitor made in the last 10 years has EDID, and will tell X what it supports. Unfortunately, there is still a lot of old information on the internet. If you modified your xorg.conf, it will take that as the word of god, so if you removed a monitor, it will still act as is it is there.
The best thing users can do is to make sure there are more developers on X. XOrg is getting by with such a skeleton team of devs, it is unreal.
How I would suggest getting more developers .. pointing people that know how to write code and want a challange to XOrg; make sure Google SOC money goes to X; make sure distros that have money to spend know to spend it on X; donate money; get other users together and make payouts for developers doing work on X.
Yes, your knowledge is limited. There are alternatives to X (or have been), some of them still around, like DirectFB. Many GTK+ applications can supposedly run directly on the framebuffer. But you know what? X is still the best solution around. It actually does work pretty well, so much so that no alternative has ever been able to show up as more than a blip on the radar. Even now that X is basically opening up video mode setting and direct rendering to the rest of the world with KMS and related changes, I see no big projects that are making use of those to build a new, more efficient rendering system. If a new rendering system is so self-evident and so very much needed, then surely enough people would be working on it. I mean, other forks and replacement projects have proceeded just fine (GNOME came about to deal with the licensing problems of Qt and now it is arguable the stronger of the two desktops).
So the reality is likely that X really is fine in most regards. It needs some polish and a few more old bits need to go away. No doubt about it. But as a rendering system, it does the job just fine. And, as I surmise, the real problem is in the toolkits and the DEs, which fail to provide an integrated and stable platform for applications.