The New X Stack Is Going Into Ubuntu 11.04
Written by Michael Larabel in X.Org on 26 January 2011 at 01:29 PM EST. 10 Comments
For those following closely the development of Ubuntu 11.04, in the process of going into the Ubuntu Natty repository this week is its new X stack. This means the latest snapshot of the unreleased X Server 1.10 and Mesa 7.10 for the open-source DRI / Gallium3D drivers. Due to the usual API/ABI breaks, this also means updated X.Org drivers are also going into the "Natty Narwhal" repository at the same time.

This updated Linux graphics / input stack has been in testing the past few weeks via a Personal Package Archive (PPA) and is now deemed ready for the mainline repository so that all of the new bits can be found in Ubuntu 11.04 Alpha 2 when released next week.

Canonical's Bryce Harrington warns of turbulence ahead in this mailing list message for the Natty repository over the next few days due to merging these X packages and the breaks it may cause.

The main X.Org driver updates are of course the xf86-video-intel, xf86-video-ati, and and xf86-video-nouveau drivers along with xf86-input-synaptics, xf86-input-evdev, and the rest. Canonical has also made the decision to strip away several vintage X.Org drivers from the main repository, including the APM, Ark, Chips, Glide, i740, Tseng, and Voodoo drivers. These drivers aren't too well maintained any more and are rarely used by Ubuntu users. For right now these dropped drivers will be available for manual installation via the Natty Universe repository.

For the time being this package pull also means the ATI Catalyst driver will not work with Ubuntu 11.04 but only the open-source ATI/AMD Radeon driver. The Linux 2.6.37 kernel support is now in place with today's Catalyst 11.1 release, but the X.Org Server 1.10 isn't yet in the public driver. It will also need to support the Linux 2.6.38 changes too if Ubuntu Natty begins tracking that upcoming kernel. NVIDIA's new beta driver meanwhile should play fine with these newest bits.

Look for Ubuntu 11.04 Alpha 2 with these changes by the end of next week while the stable release will be out in April.

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Michael Larabel is the principal author of and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via

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