Yes it would be nice if X.org could use OpenGL directly for it’s display and composition, but to date, nobody has made this possible. Is it wrong for a business to make it so? Since when does developing software for GNU products mean that they aren’t allowed to do it privately? If Novell is developing XGL behind closed doors, and paying the developers to build it… Where’s the problem?
Last time I checked, Open Source contributors had the
option of making XGL reality. Numerous different projects have been born of the same idea, and quickly anesthetized due to lack of interest, talent, resources, or all of the above. This is not a case of a person or company stealing licensed open source code and re-branding it for profit (ex: CherryOS). This is a company building,
what is essentially a plugin, for an open source project. Hundreds of
companies due this as their core business.
The reality of
Open Source project management is chaotic. It’s not as stream-lined
and “open” as proponents of the movement make it out to be.
In fact, it is very cluttered with people who want to contribute, but
just don’t meet the criteria. A perfect analogy can be made of the
recent hurricanes in the States. After the damage had been done,
millions of people flocked to the devastated areas to offer help. Now
imagine all of those volunteers are developers and contributors
wishing to help build XGL, and only 1% of them are capable of
actually contributing in a helpful way. Would you:
the project, open the project, wait for applicants, scan through the
applicants, reject the bad candidates, find the 1% of useful
contributors, organize contributor roles, organize the roadmap
and start releasing code?
B) Skip the first 5
steps and get right down to it?
I find it shocking that
of projects that depend on X.org would have a problem with this. I
haven’t seen one speck of a KDE mounted movement to develop what they
crave. In fact, all I’ve heard from either KDE or GNOME camps are
wishing. Wishing for a more capable and modern version of X, or maybe
even a better alternative. Most may remember that Red Hat is doing the exact same
thing as Novell right now, only Luminocity is for GNOME. So where
does KDE fall into this? Way behind unfortunately. So far you have
two companies who have been very successful in developing Linux based
OS’s and products. Red Hat apparently has working demo’s of a GNOME
acceleration technology, and Novell hasn’t specified what XGL is
capable of just yet, but it’s no secret that their Novell Linux
Desktop brand is centered around GNOME for the window manager. If
both companies make OpenGL acceleration work for their products and
exclude KDE, KDE is in serious trouble of being overlooked when it
comes to choose a look and feel for your desktop. Would you want the
beautiful musings of water rings rippling across your desktop when
you move your mouse? Or do you want KDE with “vanilla” 2D
looks and simplistic graphics features.
Please do not mistake
any of these remarks against KDE as being discouraging or
mean-spirited. I am a KDE fan/user myself, however, I do realize the
possible danger that it could be in. I also know that it would be
very hard for me to resist an OpenGL accelerated version of my
favorite Linux distribution running GNOME instead of KDE. I am a
die-hard Suse user and have been for years, but if Red Hat makes it
out the door with Luminocity first, I will be the second or third on
that order list to try it out for myself as I’m sure most Linux users
would. So if Red Hat has chosen to work on GNOME acceleration, is
Novell doing the same? It seems not. So far it seems like Novell is
working on a “plugin”, if you will, to X.org that will
enable hardware graphics acceleration on the display server itself.
This could be good news for KDE after all, so why would that
mentioned KDE contributor be complaining about the possible
saving grace of X? After Windows Vista is released in 2007, both
major desktop OS’s will have graphics accelerated interfaces, leaving
X in the dust until someone develops similar technology.
developed the best looking (and possibly performing) graphics display
system available to date. I don’t personally use Mac OS X, but
I’m not foolish enough to try and argue otherwise when it’s so
perfectly clear that Mac OS can graphically do everything X users
wish X could do. I don’t think anyone could argue otherwise. In
saying that, Apple does not furnish code for it’s display server to
anyone. It is strictly closed source and has always, and most likely
will always will be so. People pay for that display when they
purchase that operating system as a whole. For those that don’t
know, Mac OS X is run on top of a (mostly) Open Source OS
called Darwin. Darwin is the bastard of Unix and BSD which was
developed by Apple to be the heart of OS X. Darwin was developed
in-house by Apple behind closed doors and later released to the
public. That is to say, Darwin is Open Source, and available for
Everyone knows that you’ll never find Apple’s display managers in
that code for Darwin because Apple struck a chord where nobody else
had when they released OS X. As it stands, all other display servers
are years behind.
So is Apple wrong for doing this? Are they
“evil” for making a product which people want to use? Is it
bad that they want to sell things for profit that tie into Open
Source projects (of their own making mind you). I think most people
will find that Novell is well into the ethical clearing on this
issue. If nobody else is going to build an accelerated X server on
their own time, and Novell wants one bad enough, they have every
right to do it themselves. You can’t complain because your friends
built a fort, and you don’t have one.
This editorial was submitted to OSNews’ news submission form by an anonymous user.
If you would like to see your thoughts or experiences with technology published, please consider writing an article for OSNews.