The X.Org Server Continues Cruising Along As We Approach 2019
Written by Michael Larabel in X.Org on 28 December 2018 at 08:29 AM EST. 31 Comments
X.ORG --
While it's been ten years now that Wayland has been in development, a majority of the Linux desktops at the end of 2018 are still relying upon the X.Org Server. In 2018 we saw much better Wayland support out of GNOME Shell and KDE Plasma, but many Linux distributions -- including Ubuntu -- haven't transitioned over (or in the case of Ubuntu, back-over) to running a Wayland session. While the xorg-server remains at the heart of most Linux desktops, its development pace remains very slow.

The X.Org Server hasn't seen any major/breakthrough features this year besides wrapping up the VR HMD work for improving SteamVR HMD support and rolling out the long overdue X.Org Server 1.20 that debuted after a year and a half in development compared to their prior six month release cycle. It looks like xorg-server 1.21 will be another long development cycle with not too much upstream activity for this mature display stack besides, well, security fixes in researchers continuing to evaluate the aging X11 code-base. It's old but it "just works" for a majority of the Linux desktop users these days and doesn't feature NVIDIA driver issues like is one of the main bottlenecks currently in Wayland adoption.


Running GitStats on the xserver repository this morning show that the development pace on a commit basis continues cruising along the past few years. There were 510 commits this year, up slightly from 465 last year, but well below the ~2000 commits per year seen about a decade ago when DRI3, X Input 2, Multi-Pointer X, GLAMOR, and a lot of other new functionality introduced during a few year period.


The X.Org Server only grew by about ten thousand lines of code this year. The X Server codebase is around 711k lines of code, not counting the external libraries and other code housed in external repositories.

The most prolific xserver contributor this year remained Red Hat's Adam Jackson followed by Olivier Fourdan, Michel Dänzer, Eric Anholt, Roman Gilg, and Emil Velikov.

Lastly, here is a look at the most popular X.Org stories on Phoronix this year for those wishing to recall the accomplishments for the year:

EGLStreams XWayland Code Revised Ahead Of X.Org Server 1.20
It's still not clear if the EGLStreams XWayland support will be merged for xorg-server 1.20 but at least the patches were revised this week, making it possible to merge them into this next X.Org Server release for allowing the NVIDIA proprietary driver to work with XWayland.

GNOME Shell vs. KDE Plasma Graphics Tests On Wayland vs. X.Org Server
A premium member this week had requested some benchmarks of openSUSE Tumbleweed when looking at the performance of KDE Plasma vs. GNOME Shell in some open-source graphics/gaming tests while also looking at the Wayland vs. X.Org Server performance.

The Shiny New Features Of X.Org Server 1.20
With the release of the long-awaited X.Org Server 1.20 finally being imminent, here is a look at the many features that were merged over the past year and a half for this long drawn out release process. While more of the Linux desktop continues moving towards Wayland, X.Org Server continues evolving as shown by the 1.20 release and as part of that is also plenty on the XWayland side.

Ubuntu 18.04 LTS Will Default To The X.Org Stack, Not Wayland
While Ubuntu 17.10 defaults to using the Wayland session on supported GPUs/drivers when using the default GNOME Shell based session, Canonical has decided for Ubuntu 18.04 "Bionic Beaver" LTS that it will use the X.Org Server by default.

X.Org Server Finally Adapted To Better Deal With 16:9 & 16:10 Displays
In 2018 the X.Org Server will introduce better support for 16:9 and 16:10 ratio monitors!

A Look At The Many Features To X.Org Server 1.20
2017 marked the first tine in a decade without seeing a major update to the X.Org Server. But finally X.Org Server 1.20 is now being prepared for release and it incorporates all the major work since the X.Org Server 1.19 debut in November 2016. Needless to say, xorg-server 1.20 is going to be a huge release.

AMDGPU 18.0 X.Org Driver Released
It had been a half-year since the release of the last AMDGPU DDX release, xf86-video-amdgpu 1.4.0, but today that has been succeeded by xf86-video-amdgpu 18.0 as they also embark on a year-based versioning scheme.

FreeDesktop.org Migrating To GitLab
FreeDesktop.org that is home to the X.Org Server and Mesa development along with Wayland/Weston and other projects like LibreOffice and GStreamer is working on migrating their services to GitLab.

NVIDIA Releases The 396.24 Linux Driver With X.Org Server 1.20 Support
NVIDIA has introduced their first stable driver in the 396 driver series for Linux, the 396.24 release.

X.Org To Proceed Migrating Their Code & Bugs To GitLab
Unrelated to this week's announcement of Microsoft acquiring GitHub, the X.Org code repositories will soon be managed on GitLab.

Will 2019 finally be the year of the Wayland Linux desktop dominance? We'll see...

About The Author
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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 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 OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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