For the past two weeks elections have been going on by X.Org members to elect five people to serve as board of directors for the X.Org Foundation, the formal 501(c)(3) organization that backs the development of the X.Org project. The elections for the board of directors takes place annually replacing four of the eight members each time around, but this year the elections have been particularly interesting. The X.Org Foundation itself isn't in the public spotlight too much and there really isn't much in the way of public communication and involvement outside of this gang of eight. Since the elections started there has been a rather explosive mailing list discussion started by Luc Verhaegen and it has revealed new details about this foundation.
The most heated talk this year during FOSDEM in the X.Org development room was certainly the talk by Luc Verhaegen with his ambitions to clean up the Linux graphics driver stack. Building the entire X.Org stack can be a mess and there is certainly areas to improve upon in the development process and making it easier for end-users and others to test out this latest code. Luc's goal for this is to create unified trees for each driver that contain all of the driver-specific code rather than having various bits scattered all over the place.
Last week we provided an update as to our X@FOSDEM 2010 video status. Well, it's still taken some time to get these recordings out there that were taken earlier this month in Brussels, Belgium. While I am back to my normal working schedule, the uploading has been hampered by the file size of these 720p HD recordings. The videos are too long to be hosted on YouTube, we don't have the bandwidth to allocate for these massive video files for non-Premium users, and most of the other video sites out there don't allow video recordings of an hour in length or file sizes greater than 1GB or have a decent Flash Player.
X Server 1.7 was released back in October with support for X Input 2.0, Multi-Pointer X, and other improvements after having arrived several months late. Since that initial 1.7 release some five months ago there have been new stable updates / point releases made available quite regularly. These updates incorporate bug and security fixes -- some of which work has been back-ported from the current X Server 1.8 code that should be released towards the end of March. X Server 1.7.5, however, was just released and this will likely be the last official X.Org update to the xorg-server 1.7 series.
Keith Packard has just made available the first release candidate of X Server 1.8 and confirms that its release schedule is still on track. Snapshots and the Git code for X Server 1.8 go back to last year, but with a planned release by the end of March, Keith has now started working on release candidates.
For those waiting on our X@FOSDEM 2010 videos that we recorded, they still need to be uploaded. Each of the talks, which were less than an hour in length, are about 3GB in size with the original HD files. The Internet connection at FOSDEM in Brussels was better than last year, but still was slow and too unreliable for uploading these large video files. T-Mobile's WLAN connections in northern Germany seem to be not nearly as fast and reliable as they have been in the past in Bavaria, so this too is taking longer than anticipated and may mean that it's a few days until the uploads are in place and the videos embedded at Phoronix.
X@FOSDEM is taking place at FOSDEM in Brussels, Belgium. Nicolai Hahnle and Daniel Stone provided talks on R300 GLSL compilation and X11 and its problems, respectively. Intel's Eric Anholt also ended up giving a very brief talk on the Cairo-GL project. Luc Verhaegen is now starting to talk on cleaning/integrating the Linux graphics stack.
Peter Hutterer has put out a new release candidate for X Server 1.7.5, which also marks this point release as being just about complete. There are still two weeks left before the 1.7.5 release is expected to be made and then after that we still may see X.Org Server 1.7.6. In the just-made xorg-server 220.127.116.112 release are fixes for potential segmentation faults and other small changes.
While X@FOSDEM has turned into a mess due to a lack of participation and interest among the X.Org development community, plans are underway for the 2010 X Developers' Summit. This year's XDS is back in Europe and is taking place in Toulouse, France. The talks for the three day event have not yet been determined, but will come about leading up to September.
Well, it was bad enough when X@FOSDEM became a one day event (where for the past several years it has been a highly-populated two-day conference) at the upcoming Free Open Source Developers' European Meeting (FOSDEM) taking place in Brussels next weekend, but now it's not even a one day event. X@FOSDEM has just been sliced down to now just be a half-day conference... Well, five hours.
Two days ago we reported on XGI submitting open-source driver patches after they've basically been written off as dead for years and their Linux driver has been unmaintained. These patches actually were notable in that they provided EXA acceleration support, improved EDID, support for custom display modes, and compatibility with ARM-based systems. However, they didn't apply cleanly.
Last May we were briefed that DisplayLink would provide open-source driver support on Linux. DisplayLink is a company that makes graphics processors capable of powering high resolution displays that work over a USB connection. This technology is found within products from Hewlett-Packard, ASUS, Samsung, and others. Since last year DisplayLink and the Linux community has been working on a LGPLv2 software stack and in June first released a frame-buffer and X.Org driver and since has released other improvements.
Peter Hutterer has announced the first release candidate for X Server 1.7.5. This new test build is coming less than a month after the release of X Server 1.7.4 and its change-log isn't particularly exciting, especially considering the fact that most of the X.Org developers are currently down in New Zealand for Linux.Conf.Au. X Server 1.7.5 RC1 (a.k.a. xorg-server 18.104.22.1681) contains a couple XQuartz fixes and a few other bits, but Peter promises X Server 1.7.5 RC2 will be more lively.
X@FOSDEM 2011? Forget about it. It is to much disappointment that we have to report this evening that the X@FOSDEM DevRoom will be ending this year, after the X.Org project has consistently held a development room at Europe's largest free software event for years. Two days ago we reported on the sad state of this year's X@FOSDEM schedule. Only half the schedule is filled and there is just two weeks left until the Free Open-Source Developers' European Meeting.
Where there are the 2009 Linux Graphics Survey results from a few months back, we are interested in hearing what you would like from Linux graphics drivers in 2010. Whether it be specific features, overall improvements, a change in policies, or anything else that influences your Linux graphics experience.
X@FOSDEM, the X.Org development room that's held at FOSDEM each year, has traditionally been a two day event that runs the duration of this major European free software meeting. This year though it turned into a one day affair, even though there is only one other X.Org conference held each year (which used to be two -- XDS and XDC -- until that fell apart in 2008). Even with this trimmed down schedule and not many opportunities to talk about X.Org each year at such conferences, the speaking schedule remains only half filled.
While X Server 1.8 left its primary development cycle and entered a period of bug-fixing at the end of last month, per its release schedule with planned readiness by the end of March, some late work does continue to get pulled into this next major X.Org Server release. On Monday, Intel's Jesse Barnes put in a pull request for one of his trees that adds in support for the DRI 2.2 protocol requests and new extensions for the X Server. This work, which bumps the DRI2 version to v2.2, has now been pulled and will be part of X Server 1.8.
There's just one month left until the Free and Open-source Software Developers' European Meeting (FOSDEM) takes place once again in Brussels, Belgium. Like in past years, there will be an X.Org development room where various talks about X will be held, but this year it has turned into a one-day affair. Even with having half the time as past years to talk about X, the schedule is not even full at this point.
Version 1.7.4 of the X.Org Server has been released this morning. This point release continues to bring new bug-fixes to the X Server 1.7 series branch since its release last year. All major development work continues to be focused on X Server 1.8, which is expected for release in March.
Back in 2008, Novell's David Reveman published his own branch of the Distributed Multi-head X (DMX) server which he called dmx-2 as it was close to a complete rewrite of the original DMX implementation. David's DMX-2 branch was less complex but provided a greater set of features, including X-Video, RandR 1.2, and Composite support in a DMX environment, D-Bus configuration, and many other changes. This branch was never merged to master, but now Red Hat's Adam Jackson is looking at merging some of the DMX-2 to work into the mainline X Server.
The end of 2009 marked the closure of the merge window for X Server 1.8, which means that HAL removal work got in, including xorg.conf.d and udev input handling. What didn't make it in time for X Server 1.8 though was XKB2. XKB2 has been talked about for quite a while now and going back a number of X Server releases, but now we will not see this revised version of the X Keyboard Extension until at least X Server 1.9. This though is not entirely surprising since XKB2 hasn't been discussed a lot as of late.
We are just a few days into 2010, but the standard (basic) window manager for X.Org, TWM, has finally received some updates. TWM has been around for 13 years and under the hands of many developers, but is now receiving some new development love from Eeri Kask. Eeri has been hacking away at TWM for a few years now and has made many improvements already, but this is the first time since September of 2008 that he is announcing some of his new work.
A month ago we reported on news regarding the X.Org plans to move away from HAL considering the FreeDesktop.org Hardware Abstraction Layer project is no longer being developed. Since then patches have emerged to support a xorg.conf.d directory for storing some device-specific options and some new xorg.conf configuration options have emerged for filling in some of the gaps previously covered by HAL.
Multi-Pointer X has been fully supported by X.Org since the X Server 1.7 release earlier this year. The MPX support allows multiple input devices to work independently within a single running X Server. GTK has been hacked-up to allow for multi-touch events to some extent and Qt 4.6 was released with multi-touch support. The Intel developers working on Moblin and Clutter have also been working on multi-touch support for the Clutter tool-kit. In addition, they have also developed a gestures recognition framework for multi-touch (and for some gestures, single-touch) environments.
Work on the X Server 1.7.4 point release is finishing up and as a result Peter Hutterer has tagged the second release candidate, which may very well be the last test release before it goes gold. X Server 1.7.4 RC2 back-ports a number of fixes from X Server 1.8, switches the default keyboard layout to pc105 (from pc104), man-page fixes/updates, and miscellaneous other work.
With there being just more than three months left until the planned release of X Server 1.8, Keith Packard has just issued the second snapshot for those interested in trying out this developmental X.Org server. The first X Server 1.8 snapshot came two months ago, but this second snapshot is arriving later than expected after having to deal with some bugs.
Back in June we shared a nifty video that was produced by the French-based ENAC Interactive Computing Lab that showed off some multi-touch capabilities on Linux. At that time and in the video they were using the Linux kernel and then recognizing gestures from input events and then sending specialized commands over D-Bus straight into Compiz. Since that time though, X Server 1.7 / X.Org 7.5 has been released, which fully delivers on Multi-Pointer X support.
One of the features being worked on for X Server 1.8 is the removal of HAL support. The FreeDesktop.org Hardware Abstraction Layer project is nice in that is multi-platform, but the HAL project has largely been abandoned and is being replaced by UDisks and similar projects.
X Server 1.7.2 was released at the end of November and then X Server 1.7.3 was released at the start of this month to fix two show-stopping issues in the earlier point release. However, the first release candidate for X Server 1.7.4 has now been made available by Peter Hutterer.
Yesterday we shared the first numbers from our 2009 Linux Graphics Survey that showed the open-source ATI driver is now more popular than ATI's official Catalyst driver. The full results from this survey that concluded last month will be published tomorrow, but in yesterday's graph that we showed there was also something else interesting: the X.Org VESA driver usage. Approximately 1.5% of the survey respondents were using the xf86-video-vesa driver.
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