X.Org 7.4 Finally Released
Written by Michael Larabel in Software on 23 September 2008. Page 2 of 2. 1 Comment

As we shared in The Progress of X.Org 7.4, what this release does have though is the long-overdue PCI rework with migrating drivers to using the PCI access library, Mac OS X updates, compositing tests for x11perf, and a faster X startup/shutdown process. Some of the other packages shipping with X.Org 7.4 are the xf86-input-evdev 2.0.4 driver, xf86-input-joystick 1.3.2, and the xf86-video-amd driver has been renamed to xf86-video-geode. The joystick driver adds support for evdev devices, which makes it possible to have hot-plugging support with joysticks from HAL.

There have also been major updates to the Intel graphics driver since the X.Org 7.3 release. The xf86-video-intel driver has had XvMC improvements, GMA X4500/X4500HD support, many EXA improvements, and a ton of other enhancements.

The xf86-video-ati driver has picked up R500 series 3D support, mode-setting support for the R600 series, initial Render acceleration support for the R300/400, improved AtomBIOS-driver interaction, and many other fixes. The last xf86-video-ati release was 6.9.0 in June. On the RadeonHD side, the most recent version is xf86-video-radeonhd 1.2.1 and that had come in April. Many changes have taken place in this driver since then such as Radeon HD 4800 series support and switching over to AtomBIOS, but no new release was ready in time for X.Org 7.4. Hopefully with the Q4 distribution refreshes we will see a git snapshot used of the RadeonHD driver.

The xf86-video-nv driver for open-source NVIDIA 2D support has also experienced a few updates. Sadly though, there haven't been any major changes. Support for their new GeForce 9 and GeForce GTX series has been added, but there aren't any major features updates. One change worth mentioning for the VMWare video driver is its X-Video support. Aside from these packages, a number of other input, video, library, and proto packages have also been updated.

Earlier this month at the 2008 X Developers' Summit, Keith Packard shared his plans for delivering an X Server 1.6 release by year's end. This release should have some exciting features -- but most of the work was originally slated to be part of X Server 1.5 -- such as Multi-Pointer X with input device properties, proper Direct Rendering Infrastructure 2 support, TTM+GEM will have hopefully settled down, there is predictable pointer acceleration, E-EDID support, RandR 1.3, and more input hot-plugging improvements. The UXA acceleration architecture will have hopefully been absolved by then with most of that work being merged back into a new set of EXA improvements.

At the X Developers' Summit that took place at the Edinburgh Zoo the possibility of having a release team instead of a sole release manager was brought up. This way all of the bug-fixing work and management doesn't rest with a single individual but could be spread across multiple people with each developer focusing upon a different area of X.Org. This would be ideal if it were done for X.Org 7.5 and all future releases. Additionally, in the future it's likely the new X Server releases will land before each major X.Org release, to alleviate some of the burden for these same-day frenzies.

For those interested in using X.Org 7.4 / X Server 1.5 within their favorite distribution, it should start appearing in the fall releases for most of them. Ubuntu 8.10 has already adopted X.Org 7.4 and Mesa 7.1.

Share your thoughts on the X.Org 7.4 release in the Phoronix Forums. You may also be interested in reading (and listening) to some of what was discussed during the 2008 X Developers' Summit in Edinburgh. Our coverage can be found here for day 1, day 2, and day 3. There is also more information when searching XDS.

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Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com 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 OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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