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The X.Org Server Development Process Might Change

X.Org

Published on 02 March 2013 05:59 PM EST
Written by Michael Larabel in X.Org
1 Comment

Days after the X.Org Server development process was questioned, a new proposal has come about for the way that the xorg-server Git repository is managed with new development activity.

Concerns about the X.Org Server development process were publicly expressed last month after it was pointed out on the mailing list that the blocker bug trackers really haven't been updated for recent X.Org Server releases, many blocker bugs for old releases remain open, and that pull requests are being not handled or ignored. In that mailing list thread it was then proposed that anyone be free to commit to xorg-server Git as long as the patches are reviewed by fellow developers.

On Wednesday of this week, Peter Hutterer then issued a proposal to change the X.Org Server Git commit process. The heart of Hutterer's proposal comes down to:
I don't want a free-for-all master again, but we do need more people with commit access. So an initial proposal is:

* leave the current window of 3/2/1-ish months for the different devel stages
* leave the requirement for a reviewed-by
* one RM, calling the shots for when releases are made and generally being the reviewer of last resort and arbiter where needed
* 3-5 people with commit access during the devel and general bugfix windows. They scoop up pull requests and commit them, if the patches have rev-by tags
* 2 people during the last bugfix window (emergency fixes only). The second person as backup to the RM to make sure we don't see delays.

This is a fairly conservative change, just aimed at removing the current bottlenecks. There are other areas of improvement, but they're probably subject to a separate discussion.
Sadly, the discussion around this proposal has been fairly short-lived. Jamey Sharp responded in support of Peter's proposal.

Keith Packard, the current X.Org Server release manager that's the only one with official commit access to the canonical X.Org Server repository, was a mixed message.

Keith basically said his delay on getting work merged varies from one hour to a week, he is said to thoroughly review all code, and is a rather subtle process. He doesn't appear to be in full support of this change that would relinquish some of his duties as X.Org Server release manager but he didn't outright reject the proposal either. Sadly, the discussion hasn't been too lively since that message on Thursday.

Alan Coopersmith is the only other developer jumping in on the thread where he acknowledges a problem with the status quo; he too has had a pull request ignored for the upcoming X.Org Server 1.14 release.

About The Author
Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the web-site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience and being the largest web-site devoted to Linux hardware reviews, particularly for products relevant to Linux gamers and enthusiasts but also commonly reviewing servers/workstations and embedded Linux devices. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics hardware drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated testing software. He can be followed via and or contacted via .
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