Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 12th Nov 2010 22:35 UTC, submitted by Debjit
Fedora Core Well, what do we have here? It turns out that Ubuntu isn't the only Linux distribution who took a left turn off the X.org highway, now driving on a road that will eventually lead to replacing X.org with Wayland. Fedora's 'graphics cabal', as they call themselves, have explained themselves on Fedora's devel mailing list. They also explain how network transparency can be added to Wayland in a number of different ways, making the mailing list thread intriguing reading material. Also, everybody happy with the headline? No panties in twists this time around...?
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RE[4]: Not shocking
by tylerdurden on Sat 13th Nov 2010 09:51 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Not shocking"
tylerdurden
Member since:
2009-03-17

X is not what you think it is.

It is a windowing system first, and the network transparency comes second. Not the other way around.

X can do exactly what any "modern" windowing system found in Windows and Mac, and more. Which is why it will be probably be forever damned to be misunderstood.

What X needs is an actual standardized toolkit, and a consistent way of doing things. The problem of X is that it was open enough that there ended being offered more than 2 ways of doing the same, almost it seems through its entire history: Athena vs. Motif vs. OpenLook then, Gnome vs. KDE vs. whatever now, GTK vs. Qt, etc. etc. etc.

The problem is not X really, but what is built on top of it. All it is necessary is simply to build, and ENFORCE, a common set of standards for the widget set, window manager, and consistent look and feel of apps. The route Ubuntu et al are proposing involves all that PLUS reinventing the wheel for the windowing/display stack. I do not think that is necessarily the best solution. It will take longer and more effort... but whatever, some people do not enjoy efficiency and crave making things harder that they need to be.

Edited 2010-11-13 09:52 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[5]: Not shocking
by Drumhellar on Sat 13th Nov 2010 11:18 in reply to "RE[4]: Not shocking"
Drumhellar Member since:
2005-07-12

I have to disagree.

In my mind, X is foremost a method of drawing 2d primitives in a hardware- and location-agnostic manner. WMs such as Enlightenment, FVWM, XFCE, Gnome, and KDE provide a windowing system. QT and GTK provide an abstracted form of drawing common UI elements via X primitives.

I love X, mainly because I access Linux and BSD systems from my Windows desktop, and use a Windows X server to display graphical apps along side my other apps on my Windows desktop. When running on a desktop system that is running X natively, it's flexibility is wonderful, as it allows me to run my desktop how I like, instead of in a manner built around somebody else's idea on how a UI should be.

The fact that X does is not a windowing system allows X apps to operate within a Windows environment without much trouble. Sure, load/save dialogs look weird, but the main windowing methods provided by Windows work the same, whether they are X apps or Windows apps.

The problem with X is that it suffered for a long time with lackluster development. It was not quick to adapt to new hardware paradigms, and at the same time graphics hardware makers didn't keep it a first-class citizen.

When X was a first-class citizen for Unix system makers, it was a top-notch solution. The first complaints about X performance I ever heard were from Sun customers, and that was after Sun begain using ATI's Rage Pro hardware for low-end graphics in their lower cost desktops. This wasn't due to inherent limitations in X, but rather PC graphics hardware not accelerating X-style drawing primitives efficiently, as they weren't necessary for Windows performance.

As it is, using XMing to display *nix software (running in a virtual machine) is usually higher performing than other methods, with the added benefit of apps fitting well alongside native local applications.

Wayland, as it is, appears as a "me too" solution, and that is what is not needed for *nix systems.

Reply Parent Score: 8

RE[6]: Not shocking
by OpenGLCoder on Sat 13th Nov 2010 15:00 in reply to "RE[5]: Not shocking"
OpenGLCoder Member since:
2006-10-17

Wayland isn't a "me too" solution. It's goals are completely different than "X" proper.

The goal of Wayland is a complete graphics hardware stack with a set of core capabilities like OpenGL ES (required), compositing (required), etc.

X is a technology to display clients - that may or may not be running on your box. The various servers aren't the proper solution for advanced graphics capabilities without a billion extensions that may or may not be present.

Wayland is they way all major solutions are doing it nowadays.

It may be time to be open to the fact that 1980's-designed technology might be showing it's age in modern times.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[6]: Not shocking
by tylerdurden on Sat 13th Nov 2010 23:23 in reply to "RE[5]: Not shocking"
tylerdurden Member since:
2009-03-17

I think technically, you were sort of agreeing...

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[5]: Not shocking
by werpu on Sat 13th Nov 2010 11:28 in reply to "RE[4]: Not shocking"
werpu Member since:
2006-01-18

X is not what you think it is.

It is a windowing system first, and the network transparency comes second. Not the other way around.

X can do exactly what any "modern" windowing system found in Windows and Mac, and more. Which is why it will be probably be forever damned to be misunderstood.

What X needs is an actual standardized toolkit, and a consistent way of doing things. The problem of X is that it was open enough that there ended being offered more than 2 ways of doing the same, almost it seems through its entire history: Athena vs. Motif vs. OpenLook then, Gnome vs. KDE vs. whatever now, GTK vs. Qt, etc. etc. etc.

The problem is not X really, but what is built on top of it. All it is necessary is simply to build, and ENFORCE, a common set of standards for the widget set, window manager, and consistent look and feel of apps. The route Ubuntu et al are proposing involves all that PLUS reinventing the wheel for the windowing/display stack. I do not think that is necessarily the best solution. It will take longer and more effort... but whatever, some people do not enjoy efficiency and crave making things harder that they need to be.


If you look at how many holes xorg has pushed into the basic X implementation to get modern stuff running then you can see that there is a serious problem, also given the speed of development, I guess the entire concept is way overdesigned. X was the lesser option compared to Display PDF and NeWS back then and still scale not as well as other systems, not even on the network, where RDP runs circles around remoted X and even the mac2mac remoting runs performs better than X11.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[5]: Not shocking
by OpenGLCoder on Sat 13th Nov 2010 14:42 in reply to "RE[4]: Not shocking"
OpenGLCoder Member since:
2006-10-17

"X can do exactly what any "modern" windowing system found in Windows and Mac, and more." --> Please define X in this case. Xorg server? XFree86? X is a protocol (API) for displaying clients, not a desktop technology. If X was a desktop technology, one would figure it would have a hard time sharing the same space as Mac OS X desktop and Windows Desktop through Gygwin.

In addition, "X" - I'll define it for you... Xorg server... can do most things that Windows and Mac OS X can do through a handful of extensions that may or may not be loaded which is impossible to bet on when programming a desktop environment - like KDE and Gnome. I applaud the FOSS community for taking Xorg as far as they can.

The last time I looked, DRI wasn't really intended to be a part of "X" proper. *extension... might be there... if you're lucky.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[6]: Not shocking
by tylerdurden on Sat 13th Nov 2010 23:21 in reply to "RE[5]: Not shocking"
tylerdurden Member since:
2009-03-17

Gee wiz, given the context of this article... obviously I must have been talking about X running DecWindows on a VAX.

As of today, X refers mainly to X.org for the desktop windowing system side of things. Given that most non x86 unix workstations have gone the way of the dodo.

GDE and KDE are exactly what it is wrong with the FOSS approach: two ways of doing the same thing, which have taken twice as long reinventing the wheel to achieve basically the same result.

People who focus on the warts of x.org are completely missing that big picture. Reinventing the windowing system/technology if it is going to lead to another multitude of different ways of doing the exact same thing, is going to put them exactly where they began. Again.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[5]: Not shocking
by bouhko on Sat 13th Nov 2010 15:33 in reply to "RE[4]: Not shocking"
bouhko Member since:
2010-06-24

You realize that the guy who started Wayland - Kristian Høgsberg - has been working on X[1] on a daily basis for some time ?

Reading the initial mail, the guys pushing for Wayland in Fedora include David Airlie[2], who is working on the open source radeon drivers. Adam Jackons (ajax)[3] is also one of them and he has also been working on various X stuff for a long time.

Not to say that you should necessarily share their opinions because they are working on X. But they probably have *very good* reasons to push for a replacement to the software they've been working on for years.
And if they say that the X protocol has drawbacks (multiple communications for a single mouse event, unavoidable flickering and so on), they probably don't just made it up... they've been working on it for years.

[1] His nickname is "krh" : http://cgit.freedesktop.org/xorg/
[2] http://airlied.livejournal.com/
[3] http://people.freedesktop.org/~ajax/

Reply Parent Score: 6

RE[6]: Not shocking
by tylerdurden on Sat 13th Nov 2010 23:11 in reply to "RE[5]: Not shocking"
tylerdurden Member since:
2009-03-17

I understand where they are coming from, I simply disagree that starting from scratch and reinventing the wheel over again is the best approach.


BTW, this is not the first time that "someone working on X daily" has decided that X is brain dead and knows exactly how to fix things with an alternative, which eventually... goes... nowhere.

I have seen this movie before.

Edited 2010-11-13 23:13 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE[6]: Not shocking
by sorpigal on Mon 15th Nov 2010 19:24 in reply to "RE[5]: Not shocking"
sorpigal Member since:
2005-11-02

I have no problem with X developers talking about what's wrong with X and what we'll do about it. X will not and should not last forever; the time for change has certainly come. The new system needs to be well planned and considered such that it can last another 20 years, but presuming that this is done I have no problems with it.

What I don't like are people who are not X hackers and who know nothing about its history and function declaring that X is dead and hailing the great savior Wayland, as if all things they perceive as wrong with Linux desktop environments will magically disappear when Wayland descends from the heavens.

Reply Parent Score: 3