It's Time To Admit It: The X.Org Server Is Abandonware

Written by Michael Larabel in X.Org on 25 October 2020 at 05:26 AM EDT. 290 Comments
The last major release of the X.Org Server was in May 2018 but don't expect the long-awaited X.Org Server 1.21 to actually be released anytime soon.

This should hardly be surprising but a prominent Intel open-source developer has conceded that the X.Org Server is pretty much "abandonware" with Wayland being the future. This comes as X.Org Server development hits a nearly two decade low, the X.Org Server is well off its six month release regiment in not seeing a major release in over two years, and no one is stepping up to manage the 1.21 release.

A year ago was a proposal to see new releases driven via continuous integration testing but even that didn't take flight and as we roll into 2021 there isn't any motivation for releasing new versions of the X.Org Server by those capable of doing so.

Red Hat folks have long stepped up to manage X.Org Server releases but with Fedora Workstation using Wayland by default and RHEL working that way, they haven't been eager to devote resources to new X.Org Server releases. Other major stakeholders also have resisted stepping up to ship 1.21 or commit any major resources to new xorg-server versions.

This week was a tentative merge request for allowing atomic support in the xf86-video-modesetting DDX. It's actually about partially restoring the support (and not enabled by default) after the atomic code was previously disabled over bugs.

Daniel Vetter of Intel's kernel graphics driver team and DRM co-maintainer commented, "The main worry I have is that xserver is abandonware without even regular releases from the main branch. That's why we had to blacklist X. Without someone caring I think there's just largely downsides to enabling features." (Then again, that coming from an Intel Linux developer isn't too surprising considering it's been more than six years since the last xf86-video-intel DDX release.)

Besides the likes of Red Hat, Intel has been the only other major organization in recent time willing to devote resources to areas like X.Org release management, but even while they let go some of their Wayland folks years ago, they seem uninterested in devoting much in the way of the X.Org Server advancements as we approach 2021. With Ubuntu 21.04 also possibly defaulting to Wayland for its GNOME session, the KDE Wayland support getting squared away, and other advancements continuing, X.Org Server 1.21 may very well prove to be an elusive release.
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Michael Larabel

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 20,000 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, LinkedIn, or contacted via

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