X.Org Server To See New CI-Driven Automated Release Cycles, Big Version Numbers

Written by Michael Larabel in X.Org on 10 October 2019 at 04:00 AM EDT. 22 Comments
There hasn't been a major release of the X.Org Server now in 17 months... Not because there haven't been any changes (in fact, a lot of GLAMOR and XWayland work among other fixing) but because no one has stepped up as release manager to get the next version out the door. But to workaround that, developers are looking at moving the X.Org Server to purely time-based releases and letting their continuous integration testing be the deciding factor on if a release is ready to ship.

Adam Jackson of Red Hat proposed at last week's XDC2019 the idea of having these new, effectively automated X.Org Server releases. The xorg-server releases would get back on to their six-month release cadence and be largely autonomous with sticking to the release timeframe and just ensuring the testing gets done by way of their CI system to ensure the X.Org Server is in good shape for releasing.

Of course, it assumes the X.Org Server CI is in good shape. The continuous integration around the X.Org projects has improved in recent years a lot, so it should be able to weed out many prominent issues at least. But given the wide driver support spectrum and many different hardware configurations over the years, it's not going to ensure a 100% bug-free experience. Additionally, there is simply a lot of crufty code in the X.Org Server that has built up now for over two decades. But, hey, getting releases out is at least better than nothing at all or waiting close to two years between versions.

Also giving this new release process some saneness is that X.Org Server development is on the decline with more developers focusing now on Wayland support. The X.Org Server still sees a lot of work around GLAMOR 2D acceleration, XWayland support, input, and other bits but not nearly as much churn as was seen years ago. So with no wild changes expected ahead for the X.Org code-base, this new release process largely relying upon CI to "mark it green" may work out.

In addition to the CI-driven releases, Jackson also proposed shifting to time/date based versioning similar to Mesa. Thus X.Org Server 1.21 isn't expected to be the next version but rather X.Org Server 19.0 if they ship a release this year otherwise X.Org Server 20, then X.Org Server 20.0.1, etc.

These xorg-server release plans are outlined on the mailing list.
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