Linked by lopisaur on Fri 25th Jun 2010 22:21 UTC
Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Xubuntu Based upon a recent email to the X.Org developers' mailing list, Canonical is nearing the point of one of their goals for Ubuntu 10.10 of a rootless X Server, or being able to run the X.Org Server without root privileges.
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RE[5]: Big deal...
by Zifre on Sat 26th Jun 2010 15:39 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Big deal..."
Zifre
Member since:
2009-10-04

Try to play with it when some heavy calculation is running in the background, and see if it remains responsive ^^

I've never had a problem with it. X is designed to be able to do that, but I'm not sure how good the implementation is.

Wrong. If windows' graphic layer crashes, and I've seen it crash many times, the desktop disappears for a moment, then reappears with all your apps on top of it. You can safely save your work before rebooting your computer and investigating what's wrong if crashes happen again.

Well, maybe it can do that in some special cases, but I know that I've had Windows 7 and XP crash and bring down everything. My point is, in any OS, if a critical system component goes down, everything will go down. And Windows in general is more prone to this since it is more tightly integrated. Also, I've never had X crash, but I use only Intel hardware, which has very good drivers, so I understand that I'm not in the majority...

There is certainly nothing in X that prevents apps from not killing themselves if X crashes. The main problem is that right now, the toolkits leave a lot of state on the server. However, if you look at the design of Wayland, there is really no server state. The kernel stores the window surfaces. This means that it would be trivial for apps on Wayland to reconnect. The nice thing is that the same method is entirely possible with X too, toolkits are just lazy.

There's also the Enlightenment toolkit which is slowly getting popular lately,

I don't think so. Enlightenment is gaining some usage with Samsung's Bada thing, but other than that, my guess is that its usage is declining.

the UI toolkit mess on Linux is not nearly as complicated as the media API mess...

This is just a myth popularized by Adobe (which is just using the myth as an excuse to be lazy). It's actually really simple. If you are writing anything to do with playing or editing videos/music, you use GStreamer. If you just want to play some simple sounds in your app, you use libcanberra. If you are writing a game, you use SDL. That's pretty much it. Those libraries will handle all the low level things that you don't need to know about. It's really not complicated...

However, it's just about looks. Things like open/save dialogs are still inconsistent...

True, it's not perfect. It still beats Windows, where every other app decides to draw its own ugly, unthemable widgets. Linux is certainly way more consistent in this regard. However, Mac OS X beats them both by miles.

Well, I agree that QT looks much better for the most part, but developers are lazy (tm). Properly rewriting GNOME in QT would take a long time, during which people would continue to complain that the Gnome desktop stagnates. The result of the rewrite would be extremely buggy. Do you think the Gnome devs would ever take this risk ?

Yes, it's really not realistic. I'm probably going to start using KDE soon, because I'm tired of GNOME not doing anything interesting in the last 5 years, and I really don't like GNOME-Shell.

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE[6]: Big deal...
by Elv13 on Sat 26th Jun 2010 17:18 in reply to "RE[5]: Big deal..."
Elv13 Member since:
2006-06-12

X is a server, not a framebuffer with compositing and acceleration. It is a design made to scale up and allow advanced corner case of headless, or mindless (thin) computers.

It was designed to be that and it is. If you think it's too much for you, then it probably is. Some design decisions may make sont aspect of it look strange compared to Windows, but it is not done without reasons. Your needs are just too restricted to see why it have been done that way.

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[7]: Big deal...
by Zifre on Sat 26th Jun 2010 18:57 in reply to "RE[6]: Big deal..."
Zifre Member since:
2009-10-04

X is a server, not a framebuffer with compositing and acceleration. It is a design made to scale up and allow advanced corner case of headless, or mindless (thin) computers.

Yes, I understand that. For what and when X was designed, it was awesome. It still is awesome for remote stuff. On the desktop, it's merely okay.

Personally, I think that network transparency should be built into toolkits like Gtk+ and Qt, not stuffed into the windowing system. I think the way Wayland does it is the best for general desktop use.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[6]: Big deal...
by Neolander on Sun 27th Jun 2010 15:24 in reply to "RE[5]: Big deal..."
Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

I've never had a problem with it. X is designed to be able to do that, but I'm not sure how good the implementation is.

Looking at other posts, it seems that several other people have this problem, but that it isn't necessarily related to X. So although I don't understand how an unresponsive graphics layer can exist at all (just put X and the toolkits at RT priority ! ^^), I won't try to argue.

Well, maybe it can do that in some special cases, but I know that I've had Windows 7 and XP crash and bring down everything.

I only encountered this because of a BSOD. If you're talking about X, please compare it to the equivalent part(s) of Windows. A kernel crash is not the same as a graphics layer crash.

My point is, in any OS, if a critical system component goes down, everything will go down.

A graphic layer is *not* a critical component. As long as the kernel is alive, every error should theoretically be recoverable without reboot. As far as I know, Windows NT does this pretty well...

And Windows in general is more prone to this since it is more tightly integrated.

I don't want to discuss general Windows quality, just to say that their design, in this precise area, looks better to me.

Also, I've never had X crash, but I use only Intel hardware, which has very good drivers, so I understand that I'm not in the majority...

That's probably it. Before my new laptop (which won't ever work with anything else than VESA on linux), I've never owned any graphic hardware from Intel because I used to play games in the past. Drivers from ATI and NVidia can cause severe crashes, both on Windows and Linux.

There is certainly nothing in X that prevents apps from not killing themselves if X crashes. The main problem is that right now, the toolkits leave a lot of state on the server. However, if you look at the design of Wayland, there is really no server state. The kernel stores the window surfaces. This means that it would be trivial for apps on Wayland to reconnect. The nice thing is that the same method is entirely possible with X too, toolkits are just lazy.

This looks interesting. I just wonder : do you think that the "lazy" part is sufficiently important to prevent guys from the QT and GTK teams from fixing one of the worst design flaws of the linux desktop ? Are those behaviors so deeply embedded in QT and GTK design, so that a major rewrite would be necessary in order to get rid of them ?

I don't think so. Enlightenment is gaining some usage with Samsung's Bada thing, but other than that, my guess is that its usage is declining.

Ubuntu is considering using it too, and since it is at the moment the #1 beginner linux distro, chances are that they could turn it into less of a technological demo and more of a mature desktop...
I tried E17 some times ago, it looked very nice and speed was impressive, confirming my impression that hardware acceleration should not be needed on the average PC, but it lacked some global vision and was still too buggy for everyday use.

This is just a myth popularized by Adobe (which is just using the myth as an excuse to be lazy). It's actually really simple. If you are writing anything to do with playing or editing videos/music, you use GStreamer. If you just want to play some simple sounds in your app, you use libcanberra. If you are writing a game, you use SDL. That's pretty much it. Those libraries will handle all the low level things that you don't need to know about. It's really not complicated...

Well, they are partly right. I remember days spent fighting with OSS emulation, nightmarish encounters with PulseAudio, struggling in order to make all applications support popular codecs (be them based on GStreamer, FFmpeg, or Xine, that is). Then there was arts fighting with ESD, before phonon came around. And JACK was incompatible with all of them for some reasons, even if some walkthroughs pretended to make other apps work with it (it was a flat-out lie). Looking at this, I think that there really is a problem with multimedia infrastructure on Linux. It's just much more complicated than it should be.

True, it's not perfect. It still beats Windows, where every other app decides to draw its own ugly, unthemable widgets. Linux is certainly way more consistent in this regard. However, Mac OS X beats them both by miles.

In all cases, there should be one standard toolkit to rule them all ^^ Though actually, except for Adobe apps, drivers, and other support software, Windows managed to keep a relatively consistent toolkit in all apps until the XP days. Then came the Vista days of consistent look&feel inconsistency, which are far from being over yet...

Reply Parent Score: 2