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  • X.Org is the new kernel

    Hi,

    I think now that we have a kernel that is pretty much the most advanced kernel in the world, what the OSS community needs is to make X.Org the best in the world as well.

    I think Phoronix understood this, and they are paying a lot of attention to the developments of X.Org. I enjoy reading the X.Org posts on Phoronix, as I enjoyed reading about kernel developments some years ago, when the really exciting things were happening. Luckily, a lot of developers are turning their attention to X.Org-related development. I am sure we will see the same kind of success in X.Org development in the near future as we saw in kernel development in recent years.

    I would like to see some more posts in Phoronix about X.Org and the current state of the technology compared to Apple's and Microsoft's graphic libraries. What is X.Org doing better than Apple? What does Apple OSX have that we don't enjoy in X.Org yet? How is Microsoft doing with Aero and future releases?

    Cheers,

    Albert.

  • #2
    Interesting point. But isn't it quite hard to compare two closed-source developments with a pretty open one?

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Huenengrab View Post
      Interesting point. But isn't it quite hard to compare two closed-source developments with a pretty open one?
      Yes, I agree. Still, one can compare the final product features, compare the performance, etc. Phoronix has been doing a great job at comparing performance with different versions of a given software, different OSes on the same hardware, etc.

      There is also information coming from the experts in the field. I remember watching a seminar given by K. Packard and someone else on the current state of X.Org and the X server (FLOSS conference?), and they mentioned general features where X.Org is doing better than Apple's windowing system and other features where X.Org is doing worse. I found it really interesting and I could see Phoronix publishing more things like that.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Huenengrab View Post
        Interesting point. But isn't it quite hard to compare two closed-source developments with a pretty open one?
        Actually most of OS X is opensource (including the kernel) and very well documented.

        http://developer.apple.com/referencelibrary/index.html

        http://developer.apple.com/reference...943-TP40003594

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        • #5
          Originally posted by deanjo View Post
          Actually most of OS X is opensource (including the kernel) and very well documented.

          http://developer.apple.com/referencelibrary/index.html

          http://developer.apple.com/reference...943-TP40003594
          My understanding is that the OSX Window System is NOT opensource or BSD-licenced, but closed-source and kept with secrecy. I may be wrong. But yet, we can compare the features/performance of it to X.Org.

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          • #6
            By the way, here is a 5 year old post comparing X and Apple's Quartz:

            http://developers.slashdot.org/comme...57&cid=6734612

            Things we'd need to add/extend in X Window software (protocol+server+manager+fonts+...):

            1) Extend font server and services to vend outlines and antialiased masks, support more font types, handle font subsetting.
            2) Extend drawing primitives to include PS-like path operations.
            3) Add dithering and phase controls.
            4) Add ColorSync support for drawing and imaging operations, display calibration
            5) Add broad alpha channel support and Porter-Duff compositing, both for drawing in a window and for interactions between windows.
            6) Add support for general affine transforms of windows
            7) Add support for mesh-warps of windows
            8) Make sure that OpenGL and special video playback hardware support is integrated, and behaves well with all above changes.
            9) We find that we typically stream 200 Mb/sec of commands and textures for interactive OpenGL use, so transport efficiency could be an issue.

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            • #7
              perhaps phoronix continue the current x-org articles with topics like:

              evolution of x-org over the last 5 years compared top os-x (quartz) n windows (GDI -> WPF )

              Short interviews with people like Keith Packard, Adam Jackson, Daniel Stone, Dave Airlie atc. Possibly even a regular column by someone at tungsten?

              icc/colour correction/monitor calibration article dealing with little cms or similar techs like gegl.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by hmmm View Post
                evolution of x-org over the last 5 years compared top os-x (quartz)
                Any comparison to Quartz right now would be dated. 10.6 has some pretty radical changes coming under the hood.

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                • #9
                  Until it is released, any comparison is still valid. I'm not sure how long away is Snow Leopard (if the name will stick we'll have to see) still, but in the mean time, their current tech is 10.5, I think it would be possible to compare Xorg 7.4 (XServer 1.4) to Leopard.

                  I agree it would be an interesting comparison how do Quartz and Xorg compare... Without Window Managers (where Compiz is way beyond what both MacOS X and Windows)

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                  • #10
                    Hi all, I registered just to ask why we can't have argb things on Xorg without composite, and mac users can have argb and even nice animations with windows with just a basic vga driver..

                    I think that's sad, because I installed hackintosh some time ago and even when it didn't recognized my video card, I had nice animations like "place", "show desktop", "dashboard", and even shadows, and with linux I need to turn on composite that's very slow on some configurations..

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Interesting. Is this the same as "Alpha compositing"?

                      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alpha_compositing

                      One of the points in the slashdot post about "why Apple doesn't use X.Org" is:

                      5) Add broad alpha channel support and Porter-Duff compositing, both for drawing in a window and for interactions between windows.

                      I think this is a very interesting discussion. So, am I right in thinking that X.Org does has alpha channel support using the composite but not without it?

                      I googled a bit and found a blog post about ARGB support for Qt:
                      zrusin.blogspot.com/2006/10/argb-windows.html

                      not sure if this is with composite on or off...


                      Originally posted by puelocesar View Post
                      Hi all, I registered just to ask why we can't have argb things on Xorg without composite, and mac users can have argb and even nice animations with windows with just a basic vga driver..

                      I think that's sad, because I installed hackintosh some time ago and even when it didn't recognized my video card, I had nice animations like "place", "show desktop", "dashboard", and even shadows, and with linux I need to turn on composite that's very slow on some configurations..

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by puelocesar View Post
                        Hi all, I registered just to ask why we can't have argb things on Xorg without composite, and mac users can have argb and even nice animations with windows with just a basic vga driver..

                        I think that's sad, because I installed hackintosh some time ago and even when it didn't recognized my video card, I had nice animations like "place", "show desktop", "dashboard", and even shadows, and with linux I need to turn on composite that's very slow on some configurations..
                        Actually, you CAN have a basic set of effects with Xorg, and true, thanks to the Composite extension, with 2D drivers only. However Xorg doesn't do that by itself, it requires an application to actually make use of these capabilities. Compiz one such application, that does its magic through OpenGL hardware acceleration, using the 3D pipe on a GPU, however Composite doesn't require this. Other Composite managers can achieve nice effects as well, on 2D. For example, XFWM4 (XFCE 4 Window Manager) has a composite manager embedded in itself, and supports a wide arrange of effects, all done in 2D, such as Shadows, window opacity, and I believe they are working on advanced animations. Metacity has had a composite manager in it, for some time, but has been largely unused... Until recently, some distributions have it enabled by default as of late, even in absence of 3D drivers, as it can work with only 2D drivers.

                        However, what you say is true: Composite performance is very dependent on the speed of the actual 2D drivers, and to compensate "software" composite eats up more CPU cycles than for instance, Compiz (provided good driver support, of course), however with mild effects (shadows, for instance) the overhead may be negligible.

                        MacOS X's drawing method is more refined and as far as I know, they also do much of their stuff in "software", not necessarily in "hardware" (in the traditional way), but that has more to do with the window manager or Desktop Environment than purely the windowing system.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Thanks for the answering!

                          Now that you say, I remembered some time ago that I used kcommpmanager (or something like that) to get drop shadows with kwin3

                          But it was bugged as hell..

                          So if I understood you, the problem is not with with Xorg, because it's supports composite with 2d. The problem is with the lack of composite managers?

                          I'm asking because I'm great fan of shadows and the window effects of mac, like ExposŤ, but compiz or kwin4 is takes too much resources on some machines to be usable..

                          I'll google a bit about this composite manager in xfwm4

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            The other thing to remember about MacOS is that they have the advantage of tying their stuff closer to the hardware, because they know exactly what configurations their OS will be running on.

                            Also, the Metacity compositor works in Gnome 2.22 (it can be enabled in gconf), but right now it suffers from performance problems (I think it makes too many pixmap copies before drawing onscreen.)
                            Last edited by TechMage89; 06-12-2008, 08:28 PM.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by TechMage89 View Post
                              The other thing to remember about MacOS is that they have the advantage of tying their stuff closer to the hardware, because they know exactly what configurations their OS will be running on.

                              Also, the Metacity compositor works in Gnome 2.22 (it can be enabled in gconf), but right now it suffers from performance problems (I think it makes too many pixmap copies before drawing onscreen.)
                              Well, it indeed seems a good advantage, but, and a big 'but' there, I already installed hackintosh on some machines, and even when it didn't supported the graphics card and failed to vga driver, it had very nice animations like dashboard, exposŤ, show desktop, and very nice shadows.. well, at least it has the most beautiful failsafe I already saw :P lol

                              I was looking for the xfwm4 compositing stuff, and I found this:
                              http://gentoo-wiki.com/TIP_Xorg_X11_...nsparency#KDE4

                              I specially liked the phrase: "I didn't spotted _any_ speed lowering."

                              I will see if I can enable this (or hope that kubuntu packages are compiled with that flag)

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