Xr, the 2D Postscript-like graphics library for X is near completion. Xr is a device independent API, and can theoretically be layered upon an API like OpenGL.
The well-known graphics driver development company, SciTech Software, are closing on releasing a beta of their Linux port of their SciTech SNAP Graphics for Linux. These drivers replace the 2D XFree86 modules for a large number of graphics chipsets. SciTech claims that their latest beta drivers have shown up to 12-15% faster 2D performance than their XFree86 counterparts (for some chipsets). In the initial final release, accelerated 3D via DRI won't be supported though.
The members of X.Org announced the availability for Public Review of the proposed enhancements to the X Window System for the support of IPv6. The proposed code and documentation enhancements for both the X Window X11R6.6 Sample Implementation and the XFree86 V4.3.0. As agreed by the members of X.Org, the review of the proposed IPv6 enhancements will be open until 30th May 2003.
Since Keith Packard's XWin.org went live a lot of people seem to join the discussion on how to make XFree86 better. Some, even write some code! Gilbert Baumann writes: "I hacked an X server which uses OpenGL for what would be the graphics card driver. We render windows to textures and then assemble them on the screen getting translucent windows for free. Although currently not done, the idea is that we will use OpenGL for rendering the X primitives." Check his screenshots!
Reading the notes of yesterday's teleconference with people like Mike Harris from Red Hat, fontconfig's Keith Packard and others, it seems that they have decided to actually do fork the XFree86 codebase or at least to create a parallel organization to "demonstrate how a scalable community might work" (they also seem to email eachother in a non-archived mailing list of a sort). They currently looking for a nice, catchy name for the project, but they have registered xwin.org just in case nothing better will come up. Reactions of the teleconference have been recorded at XFree's public mailing list.
Sun is doing quite some work on GNOME and X these days. Their latest project is to create a font library for XFree86, named Stsf, that would replace Fontconfig and Xft2. But the big question is: Does the world need yet another X font library that would create more incompatibility and fragmentation? Update: Sun proposes a new direction for both X.org and XFree86, keep reading for more.
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 188.8.131.52 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.