This month marks 25 years since the introduction of X11 and new features continue to be added to the X.Org Server. The 1.13 release is particularly exciting while some of the same developers are also busy working on Wayland and the reference Weston compositor as the next-generation solution.
- The XAA acceleration architecture has finally been killed. Most DDX graphics drivers now implement EXA acceleration or also SNA/GLAMOR/UXA as superior alternatives, so XAA has been removed, especially as the architecture doesn't accelerate much of the modern desktop. If you're using one of the popular graphics drivers, the removal of the XFree86 Acceleration Architecture comes as no loss. Also see Dance Around The Fire: X.Org XAA Is Burned.
- The X.Org Server finally has a consistent coding style.
- As part of work towards hot-plugging and hybrid graphics support, there are DDX driver API changes.
- DRI2 offload/output slaves.
- Server-side changes to work towards GPU hot-plugging support.
- The server-side changes for GLX_ARB_create_context support. Other GLX extensions are also now supported.
- RandR provider object support for the Resize and Rotate extension, which is part of the hybrid graphics / Optimus upbringing. Plus other RandR work.
- Similarly, there's the DRI2 PRIME offloading pull.
- Something not found in X.Org Server 1.13 is XWayland integration, but that will likely happen for the X.Org Server 1.14 release in about six months time. This is an item to be discussed later this month at XDC2012.
The main graphics drivers have already been updated to support the new API. The proprietary NVIDIA graphics driver has also been updated for the X.Org Server 1.13 ABI. The only common driver not yet supporting this new xorg-server release is the AMD Catalyst binary driver, but the API/ABI support should be there within a few months.
This new X.Org Server release is codenamed Iced Tea. The key changes for those not following through of all the Phoronix articles are the fundamental xorg-server changes needed to support hybrid graphics / Optimus (plus other changes are going on elsewhere in the stack such as with the DRM drivers, DMA-BUF in the kernel, libdrm, the individual drivers, etc), similarly the initial work for GPU hot-plugging support, a consistent coding style to improve the development of this massive and aging code-base, and support for new GLX extensions. There's also various bug-fixes to be found in X.Org Server 1.13. The good news is that NVIDIA is also working on Optimus Linux support by leveraging these new features within their binary blob.
In two weeks time, XDC2012 will happen in Nürnberg, the annual X.Org Developers' Conference. This is where X.Org Server 1.14 will be talked about as the next major release for H1'2013, Wayland plans, and much more. There will also be plenty of celebrating with the 25 year anniversary of X11, five years since AMD began their open-source graphics strategy, and the latest reason for drinking the excellent Franconian/Bavarian beer of the region is this new xorg-server 1.13 major release. There will be plenty of Phoronix coverage from the event.
The brief -- but next to useless for users -- release announcement for xorg-server 1.13.0 can be found on the xorg-announce list.