A sizeable group of developers from the two leading free software projects developing desktops based on the X Window System, KDE and GNOME, have been discussing the current situation among themselves and decided to draft and release the linked document. Read the 5 points raised by both Gnome and KDE members. Update: X.org comes into the picture, but not everyone is as optimistic.
Now, that was an interesting reading in the XFree86 forum mailing list. We get individuals, companies like Sun, SciTechSoft, Red Hat etc. 'fighting' for issues varying from what XFree86 really needs, down to replacing fontconfig with Sun's stsf, XFree86 co-founder David Wexelblat saying that XFree is today obsolete and that needs to be replaced with a direct-rendered model (by retaining backwards compatibility), Keith Packard replying as to why a new organization to handle X is needed, and more.
From Slashdot: "Keith Packard wants to fork the XFree86 effort. The XFree86 team is trying to become more open, to combat the fork. Keith is a capable developer, having worked on FontConfig, Xft, the X render extension etc. Meanwhile, All is not good in how XFree86 drivers are being developed."
The new version of X11 for Mac OS X has been just released, with many fixes for annoying bugs. Update: MacDevCenter has a relevant article: "From Exile to X11: A Journey Through Time".
The next major version of XFree86, the popular X11 windowing system for Unix, is now available from XFree86's FTP server and its mirrors. Version 4.3.0 offers many new features, including the RandR extension, new mouse cursors, better font engine, better ATi Radeon support and much more.
The XDarwin project announces that a hardware-accelerated version 4.3 is on the horizon which contains significant font integration functionality with Mac OS X 10.2 Jaguar.
"This exciting project is designed to unify different operating system desktop interfaces into a browser only application interface. It helps users to feel comfortable with any application using the interface they are used to. It helps companies to unify their intranet applications into one desktop interface - built on existing interfaces or one which incorporates their own CI. It helps to design the same interface for all types of devices using browsers like PDA and other mobile devices, Notebooks, Desktops, Tablett Computers and any other future devices which may come up." Read more at x-desktop.org and definitely check out their demo!
The GNOME Foundation has entered into an agreement with Bitstream who will donate ten high quality fonts to be used with free software (KDE, XFree86, Gnome as well as others). This means distributions can finally ship free desktops/applications with a set of high quality fonts. On other X11 news, XFree86 184.108.40.206 snapshot (4.3 beta) is available for testing.
Apple is starting to promote its public beta of X11 for OS X: "X11 for Mac OS X offers a complete X Window System implementation for running X11-based applications on Mac OS X. Based on the de facto-standard for X11, the open source XFree86 project, X11 for Mac OS X is compatible, fast and fully integrated with Mac OS X . . . Native Aqua and X11 applications run side by side on the Mac OS X desktop. You can cut and paste between X11 and Aqua windows."
David Chester writes: "On my website, I propose some enhancements to the FreeType font rendering library. The changes are aimed at rendering antialiased text at small sizes. I explain an alternate stem-alignment algorithm as well as a new hinting configuration which balances contrast and loyalty to the original shape of the glyph. At the site there's explanation and examples, as well as patches and a binary for download."
"In recent times, the desktop Linux world has been enriched beyond recognition by the KDE & GNOME projects, but window managers are still at the heart of these environments, as well being used widely on their own. I'll delve into this exciting world and look at the development and the state of the art of some of the most significant and most popular window managers." Read the article at FreshMeat.
The first release after 18 months, Fresco, previously known as Berlin, released M1 or Milestone 1. The release notes here, screenshots here . The original "press release" follows:
This Freetype release contains many important enhancements, including much improved automatic and Postscript hinters, resulting in higher quality of anti-aliased text. Announcement here, more information about this release here, and here is how you enable the bytecode for best quality (patented, not enabled by default - scroll down to read how to).
Guillaume Maillard's article for OSNews regarding XFree86's speed the other day has started a long-ish and interesting discussion on the XFree86 mailing list about how they can speed up things. Many developers from the XFree86 core team, Xig, Red Hat, Compaq and others have joined the discussion.
Being a BeOS user (a purely desktop system) and because I code under Linux, I see XFree86 (v4.1 on my machine) as a user and as a developper. And this is where the problem lies. My Gnome or KDE desktops are slow in comparison with other operating systems, but XFree86, the 'engine' behind these desktops, proves me that it's not. Let's look at what I have in front of me: a dual Pentium III at 933Mhz with 512MB of memory, a Radeon 32 AIW, a modified Mandrake 8.0 powered by kernel 2.4.18.
OSNews reader David Chester writes: "I've posted a modified version of freetype with hardcoded hinting options. (There are new hinting options available in freetype CVS, but apparently they will remain unaccessable from outside the library, so it has to be hacked by hand for now.) Anyway, I think the main reason it's nice to have a hardcoded libfreetype like this, is that you can have OpenOffice link against it, which improves the readablity of it's screen fonts to my eyes, and makes OpenOffice finally usable. I have some explanation and comparison screenshots".
Nicholas Petreley explores desktop Linux beyond GNOME and KDE. In this column, he examines and compares several window-managers, detailing which of these applications is best for different types of users. The article is at LinuxWorld.
Cygwin/XFree86 is a port of XFree86 to the Microsoft Windows family of operating systems. It runs on all recent consumer and business versions of Windows and is now installed via Cygwin's setup.exe install. In the meantime, Garnome now is able to build both GNOME 2.0.0 and KDE 3.0.2. Garnome is a tool which automates the process of building GNOME 2 and KDE 3. It keeps track of all the dependencies and standard configuration work. Make sure you export some GCC optimization flags as described here before starting building the software though.
"I understand there are several different philosophies of application development. Some people prefer GTK not because it is the better tool kit, but because the approach makes more sense to them, because GTK is more granular than Qt, prefer C to C++, or another reason. I cannot address all of these factors, but I will try to take them into account wherever they matter." Part I and Part II at LinuxWorld.