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The X.Org Plans For Moving Away From HAL

X.Org

Published on 02 December 2009 03:42 PM EST
Written by Michael Larabel in X.Org
29 Comments

To address the questions that have been coming up frequently regarding the X.Org Server and the plans to stop using HAL, Sun's Alan Coopersmith has created a new Wiki page called XorgHAL.

On this Wiki page, Alan explains how this hardware abstraction layer for Linux and other operating systems is currently in use for finding input devices, being notified of input device hot-plugging, mapping system input devices, and setting input device options. X.Org has been using HAL since X Server 1.4 and it continues to be used in the most recent X Server 1.7 series, but the migration away from HAL will likely be completed in time for X Server 1.8. This next version of the X.Org Server is planned for release in March.

In replace of HAL in the X Server will be a lot more of OS-specific code to the operating system's respective libraries for device enumeration and device notification. On Linux this means connecting a lot of libudev directly into the X Server. Instead of the input device options being stored in HAL FDI files, the X Server will begin supporting a xorg.conf.d directory for handling input driver options. These new files will utilize a new syntax for matching the options with the respective devices. While the X Server will be picking up this directory support, editing the xorg.conf will remain supported and a valid option.

This code is not yet in place, but it's the current plans for dropping HAL from the X Server for input devices, since the upstream project itself is stopping development in favor of supporting DeviceKit and other projects.

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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