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XFree86 Release Update: 4.0 in Q12000 149

Belzecue writes " XFree86.org has been updated mentioning that xfree-4.0 has been pushed back 2 months to mid Q1-2000, but that the next snapshot release of the 4.0 preview series will be released before the end of the year. "
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XFree86 Release Update: 4.0 in Q12000

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  • I really would like to have my Voodoo3 with _reliable_ DRI working, pronto. The new 3dfx packages let you run Q3 just fine, but UT and all the other Glide stuff doesn't work *sigh* On an unrelated note, does anyone know if Loki plans on releasing the Q3A binaries so that those of us who went ahead and bought the W95 version can run it in Linux? Or will it be just like Myth, etc....

  • by Signal 11 ( 7608 )
    It's a simple question, but a good one - has XF86 figured out an API set for direct video access? We're still lumbering about with unix domain sockets and tcp/ip - it's been brought up *alot* lately that performance could be dramatically improved if we were to create a standard X API set to do direct hw access.
  • by MbM ( 7065 )
    dga has been around for awhile now. Programs like wine, vmware and xawtv make good use of it.
    - MbM
  • by Matt Bridges ( 97198 ) on Saturday December 04, 1999 @10:09AM (#1480263)
    Although many readers probably don't realize it, this is actually really bad news for the Linux gaming community. For those who are unfamiliar with the design specifications of Xfree86 4.0, one of the major planned innovations is tightly integrated 3D accelleration. Not only will this significantly improve performance and stability, it will also make it easier to make a given video card compatible, this increasing Unix's (yes, XFree86 IS at least somewhat cross-platform!) viability as a gaming platform. The sooner good, integrated, compatible 3D support comes to Unix, the better off Unix gaming will be.
  • I heard that they will release it the other way around. If you bought the linux version you could download the binaries for the windows but not vica versa.
  • Hopefully card manufacturers will be more open to supporting XFree now that M$ future is uncertain. Id like to see some of these companies shipping Xfree drivers in packages. Once I have that and a sound blaster live driver, Ill be set.
  • by dbsears ( 105175 ) on Saturday December 04, 1999 @10:10AM (#1480268)
    XFree86 4.0 is being delayed two whole months.
    I'll bet it is also losing market share in the
    corporate segment as well. That's it. This
    must be the end of X. Game over.

    Actually, I can't even remember what got released
    two months ago. XFree86 4.0 will come out.
    It will be good. Mozilla will come out.
    It will be good.
  • by abach ( 103405 ) on Saturday December 04, 1999 @10:12AM (#1480269)
    You may see more delays in the Open Source world,
    than in the commercial world, but I think is's a
    good sign. We keep our clear goals and do not compromise to keep a deadline. This means fewer problems in the future with necessary compabillity code to these 90% finished programs.

    Still if you need the bleading edge - go for the snapshots.

    Real Programmers know when their programs are in beta and when they are not.
  • Finally, the next release of X is visible on the horizon... :-) Hopefully with the new device driver API, people can come up with drivers for new video HW faster. My SiS6326 chip is still only minimally supported under X (no bitblt, no accel), and so far I'm stuck with 3.3.3. I tried the 3.3.4 driver and it barfs on my system, locking up the keyboard totally. :-( I've yet to try 3.3.5... but hopefully with XF 4.0 this nightmare won't happen again. A generic API is what we really want -- so that supporting a new HW doesn't entail hacking an entire X server, which is no trivial task. By localizing device-dependent parts of the X server, I think people will be able to come up with more drivers faster, so X won't be lagging behind new HW as bad as now.

  • um .... where's the "bad news" in the "signifcantly improve performance and stability" and "increasing Unix's viability as a gaming platform" if you're a linux gamer?
    i'm not a gamer myself, so it doesn't bother me much, that it'll just be faster and more stable
    but i don't know any gamers who oppose that, either
  • Hmm I am still running 3.3.x I am wondering if I need to go upgrade to 3.5? I also wonder how many people will need to go to 4.0? I had heard that in 4.0 they were talking a whole redoing of teh way X was going to be. More modularized and such. Also with support for multi-headed systems. It would be neat to get 2 or three monitors and run different desktops on them. Or one big long wide desktop :-) I always think I need more screen realestate :-). A faster X would also be nicer, but I need newer hardware anyway.

    send flames > /dev/null

  • by himi ( 29186 ) on Saturday December 04, 1999 @10:20AM (#1480274) Homepage
    I hate to carp about something like this (I'm generally one of those "shut up and code" type people), but I really do think the XFree people could release more snapshots, and more development code. It's been what, three, four months since they released 3.9.16, and only now are they releasing 3.9.17. How many revisions has even the stable kernel gone through in that time, let alone the development kernel . . .

    Which isn't to say that things would necessarily be going faster if they did, but they'd be much more likely to get people using the snapshots if they were obviously working on them. I'm not going to use development code unless I can be fairly sure that any bugs that are found are going to be fixed _and_released_ in good time. That's why so many people are happy using development kernels - they can see the improvements between versions, and if they find a bug they can see the fixes going on in real time. This just isn't happening with X at the moment, unfortunately.

    Oh well. At least they're still working on it, even if it's not as open as we might like.

  • I had the opportunity to listen to a speech by a Microsoft employee once. During the speech he made it crystal clear that there is an advantage to putting out incomplete products. There is some truth to this, as in the commercial world if you are late with a product you lose customers. But then again what's driving those customers to that new product? New features the software developer wants to put in or the customer asks for? Or is it improved stability that the customer has been complaining about since the last release? Fortunately, I've had the ability to use open source software and which is rather stable in most cases.
  • Actually, I'd be happier if more HW manufacturers adopted an open philosophy in publishing their APIs. Yes, it would be really nice if HW manufacturers starting putting out X servers for their cards, but I think it's better if they release their API. Why? Two reasons:

    1. Hardware companies probably don't want to spend too much resources in writing software drivers. So why not publish the API, let somebody who's focusing on software do the job, and your hardware gains wide acceptance, rather than spending minimal budget on your own software engineers who may only do a mediocre job?
    2. Other software can use your hardware. Other software as in things other than, say, X servers. If the HW company only produces X servers (and perhaps Win32 drivers), this excludes platforms that they don't support. Then it simply becomes the case where XFree is "accepted into the fold" but others will still be left out there in the cold. Publish an open API, and bingo! people on esoteric, unsupported platforms can use your hardware. You've just gained more customers at little or no cost.

    But in the meantime, I suppose all we can do is hope that XFree gets enough support so that those of us with unsupported (or poorly supported) hardware can have a better X server soon.

  • I don't see any viable way that XFree86 will be a future gaming standard. Even if the OS provides better utilization of 3D accelerators, there's still another matter entirely to think about - consumers. The majority of game playing is done by those who stick the CD in the CD-ROM, click install, and get out their joystick or game pad or keyboard or whatever, and go at it. They don't want to have to mess with anything just to get a game to work. Unless XFree86 is as easy to install as Windows 98, or if it starts shipping with massive gaming systems, game publishers aren't going to actively port their games to the OS. Sure, there will be a few (I see a version of Quake 3 in the future) that will be ported, but then it will take people who have the time, know-how, and patience of setting up the OS to work with their system to be able to install and play those games.

    I'm all for a good, stable OS, even one that makes 3D-accelerated games rock. There's no point, though, in making it up to be anything more major than an operating system that tinkerers (like you and I) will spend many hours either enjoying ourselves with or pulling our hair out in frustration.
  • by roystgnr ( 4015 ) <<roystgnr> <at> <ticam.utexas.edu>> on Saturday December 04, 1999 @10:30AM (#1480281) Homepage
    How are people supposed to "shut up and code" on XFree86 when the application process to become a developer intimidates the casual bug-fixing C coder, and when the releases are so infrequent that released code is probably too far behind the current code for an outside developer to work on?

    I say this here every time mention of XFree86 4 comes up, but I'll say it again: now that they've got a modular architecture that they can split NDA'ed drivers away from, they need to open up the bulk of XFree86 development to the public. How much of the work that goes into other open source software projects comes from people who download the latest bleeding-edge CVS and fix one little instability? How many now-full-time coders on other large open source projects started as people who simply liked poring through bleeding-edge releases and hacking on them?

    There are two ways to recruit development for free software projects: you can plead for more full time developers on your web page like XFree86 does, or you can give people something bleeding edge to develop, like most other projects do. It's a shame that the most important free software project out there is hurting for lack of interested developers, but I think they're partially bringing the problem upon themselves.
  • I think this this individual is saying that the bad news is the delay, not the release itself.

    --Jamin Philip Gray

  • oh ... that makes a lot more sense ... oops
    i sometimes overlook the obvious ... and its usually when most applicable to notice it
  • Although we'd all like to see it as soon as possible, we should let them take their time to make 4.0 really good. If 4.0 provides high quality 3D graphics compatibility, and makes it easier for gaming developers to port games to Linux, it will be a great step in making Linux a more viable platform for game developers.

    So I think we shouldn't bitch about the release date push-back. This NEEDS to be of the highest quality it can so it can be everything we want it to be.

  • LOKI is not going to be releasing Linux binaries anytime soon; Id Software is beause they ported the game. And for the record, you should have waited for the Linux release like Carmack requested.

  • I made the same mistake :)
  • by Black Parrot ( 19622 ) on Saturday December 04, 1999 @10:41AM (#1480289)
    For certain cards, you can get PDGood accelerated 3D under Linux now. See the Linux GLX [openprojects.net] site.

    It's October 6th. Where's W2K? Over the horizon again, eh?
  • > I really do think the XFree people could release more snapshots

    Just hearsay, but from what I've heard they were very reluctant to give out any snapshots as all, and the 3.9.* releases actually represent a liberalization of prior policy. Apparently they got burned in the past when they released a snapshot for evaluation and some distro immediately bundled it into the distro's next release, problems and all. Unlike Microsoft, the XF guys take pride in their work, and don't care to have the public's view of it be based on code that isn't ready for release.

    Whether that policy is right or wrong, I can't say. But if the story is true, at least the rarity of releases is explained.

    It's October 6th. Where's W2K? Over the horizon again, eh?
  • before posting. Plesae. read everthing.

    Also, when you post, make sure you put a proper title in your subject.

    Good luck.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    This is just a general note - one thing I find useful when using development/incomplete X servers, is a terminal attacehd to the serial port. My psion 5mx works very well for this (it comes with a built-in terminal emulator)
    just add this line to your /etc/inittab, below the other similar looking lines:

    S0:2345:respawn:/sbin/getty ttyS0 DT9600

    Then plug the psion's null modem cable into serial port 0 (com1), and into the psion's rs232 socket + fire up the psion Comms program set to 9600 bps 8N1 - instant terminal. You'll have to su to root, unless you add ttyS0 to /etc/securetty

    You can then reset the display (assuming you're running X in runlevel 5)

    i) explicitly kill -9 the X server
    ii) switch to runlevel 3 (telinit 3)
    iii) switch to runlevel 5 (telinit 5)

    This resets the X server, and renders your computer usable again without a reboot.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    I disagree. A few short years ago, gamers thought nothing of fiddling in MSDOS for an hour or two with IRQ settings, mouse.com, himem.sys, emm386.sys, and a host of other niggling things. The XF86Config file is a damn sight easier than this, and the Mandrake distro's installation preocess, at least, is going to be developed to autoconfigure 3D acceleration on Voodoo3/Banshee, Matrox G200/G400, and TNT2 cards, as soon as XFree 4.0 is out officially.
    Then installling games will be a matter of clicking on the RPM in KDE. This is not very far away now, though the news of this delay sets this plan back about 2 months.
  • the only problem with that, is that i have mine set to "oldest first", for chronological coherance
    (although i'm assuming "high score first" sorts an entire thread, rather than subcomments within a thread that might have higher scores than the original comment)
  • Actually, Loki will be releasing the binaries! Due to distribution problems id is having Loki do the release. I believe it will be in stores shortly after the first of the year. It was in a /. story yesterday i think.
  • They will release the binaries for all 3 versions (Win32, Linux, and Mac) sometime after all 3 are released in retail. You can use the cd of any version with the binaries of any other version. The reason for holding off on the binaries for later is that they don't want everyone to go and buy the windows version and then just use the linux binaries with it. id would have liked to include all 3 in one package, but Activision and many other publishers and developers are VERY interested to see how commercially viable retail Linux games are, and if it's worth the effort to port other games. If the linux version gets good sales, it'd encourage a lot of developers to port their games to linux, so we'd have a lot more than the handful we have now. Let's just hope they don't make us pay seperately for each version.

    This would have worked out a lot better if all 3 were available at once, especially since most ppl who have the hardware for it probably still dual boot and would go with the windows version first and wait for the linux patch. Unfortunately, it would have been too much trouble to wait for all 3, especially if it meant missing christmas.

  • by Hrunting ( 2191 ) on Saturday December 04, 1999 @11:03AM (#1480301) Homepage
    It's going to be released in Q12000!? Quarter 12000 is like the year 3000! And I thought Mozilla development took a long time.

    Luckily, though, with the beta releases, we have a 1000 years of testing, so it should be stable and feature rich.

    NOTE: This post not for the humor (or humour) impaired
  • >How many revisions has even the stable kernel >gone through...

    Both 3.9.16 and 2.2.12 were released in late august. That would mean that, what, 1 stable kernel has been released in that time? That's not all that much. Theres a lot being done in XF86 4.0, I'd prefer that it's done right -- even if it means waiting a bit longer.

    Although, I have *really* wanted to see another snapshot of it, it's not been something that's bothered me.
  • "They" at the beginning there is id btw (id's releasing the binaries) . Loki is publishing/distributing/supporting the linux version for id, instead of Activision, who is pub/dist/supping the win32 version.
  • You're not listening. Loki is distributing the Quake 3 Linux retail box. The binaries which Id puts on its web site are free, and have nothing to do with Loki.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 04, 1999 @11:15AM (#1480310)
    DGA has been around for years. It's analogous to DirectX minus Direct3D. It's used in vmware, and emulators such as vice and UAE, as well as games that use SDL on linux.

    DRI is in XFree 4.0. It's analogous to Direct3D

    GLX provides network-transparent 3D accelerated rendering by encapsulating OpenGL in X-protocol calls. That is to say, I can run a 3D program on a computer in Paris, and have it display it output on a computer in London, using the 3D hardware of the computer in London to render the 3D, rather than trying to send an entire rendered screen from Paris to London, which is horrendously inefficient and slow. This is very cool, and comes from the SGI high-end graphical workstation world, and is not something that's easy on windows (to do it on windows, you have to use X on windows - I think Hummingbird Exceed X server supports GLX. I might be wrong.)
  • I typed `rpm -U XFree86-*.rpm' to install my last version of XFree86, followed by a `startx' to launch the window-system. It took a few seconds.

    My initial installation was followed by running Xconfigurator.

    Neither seems like something very difficult.
    Either is faster, and probably easier, than installing Windows 98--probably because X, like any shell, isn't and OS;).
  • I think this has to be #1 on my list of most eagerly awaited software releases!

  • xfree86 development is closed and there is no good reason for it being that way. they always are giving you many warnings on how this could
    crash your computer and yadda yadda. Most people know this already and are willing to put up with a crash everyonce in a while just to be able
    to access some of the features of XFree 4.0. The last snapshot was very stable I never had it crash on me. Which I can't say about 3.3.5. I think
    they should open up their cvs server. cvs.xfree86.org to anonymous access. That way they could get more bug reports and there just doesnt
    seam like there is a good reason not to. There is a new experimental kernel release every week or so why not XFree. A bad kernel could do alot
    more damage than XFree misbehaving. (e.g. file system coruption, etc). I know the risks let me run XFree
  • We all know how antiquated X-Windows is. You have to have a really expensive video card to make it seem halfway fast.

    It is time to Mozilla-ize and start supporting the next generation. X-Windows should not be developed any further than Xfree86 4.0.

    What is the next generation? Well, the only one that comes to mind for me is Berlin (berlin-consortium.org). This project seems to have a good start on the next generation GUI for *nix.

    Anymore, there is no excuse for a modern OS to not be as easy to install and use as Windows 98 or BeOS. It is almost the 00's, not the 80's, and X-Windows is simply not going to provide a good GUI foundation for a modern OS.

  • I know about DGA - but it's buggy and usually requires a patch to your server to enable it. My experiences so far have been a dismal failure. As Also, it's only on one other UN*X - Solaris.
  • You'll note virtually all my comments over the past week have had various AC replies to my posts along those lines. He's just trying to get attention by attaching himself to someone who's well-known on /. Just ignore him. Eventually he'll either go away, or I'll code a perl script to make the mandatory "karma whore!!!!" post to everyone who gets a +3 or better and make him obsolete. :)
  • "Then installling games will be a matter of clicking on the RPM in KDE. This is not very far away now, though the news of this delay sets this
    plan back about 2 months."

    UHHH if playing games in X requires me to use KDE and rpms i will go and buy a console game system. I wont use rpm or kde. I like to game. People who release rpm only packages are shooting themselves in the foot.
  • OK then, but the thread referred specifically to people who don't want to think about installation. Those people probably do like KDE/RPM.

    Get yerself a copy of alien, turn rpms, debs, slackware packages, and binary tarballs into each other at will. Nice.

  • Just to clarify, yes, I do mean the delay is bad (the last sentence of my post should spell this out). XF86 4 will no doubt be a great thing, and I personally intend to upgrade as soon as it comes out (whenever that may be).
  • Some time ago I got a pretty good (and IMHO valid) reason why XFRee86 development is 'closed'. First, anyone can apply for developer status as long as you can justify a reason why. Simply applying because you want access to early code or bleeding edge stuff is not going to happen (what's the matter, cutting edge kernels are not enough of a rush? :). Anyway, once you get accepted as an official developer you actually become a member of the XFree86 consortium. This gets you access to information that can possibly be under NDA. Some manufacturers will only give out info under NDA if their product is not yet released to the general product (think Linus at Transmeta). This means the XFree86 crew can get their hands on docs faster then if it were completely open. So, I will wait patiently for the next snapshot if it means getting support for new hardware faster!


  • By the time this comes out the new kernel 2.4 should be out right?

    Lets say that is out, Xfree 4 is out, KDE 2 is on the horizon, Englightenment has been updated, Xfce and others...

    So around then, possibly earlier for distros like mandrake that use pre-release software, we will see new distrobutions of your favorites.

    Man, it can be hard to keep up with such a fast paced OS. :)

  • In an Open-Source paradigm, even if the "official" release is delayed, you can still get something to work with. Proof that they're not dragging their feet, yes, but you can also start to work with the program. You see them fulfilling the promises they made.

    In proprietary paradigms, you get nothing at all. That's the difference. More often than not, Microsoft and other companies make lots of promises and don't deliver. At least in Open-Source situations they deliver something, even when they say it's not yet completely ready.
  • You're not a karma whore, my man, you have no karma.

    Looked at anyone's karma lately? Try looking at mine.

    These aren't the karma whores you're looking for...

    Now can we all just *try* to grow up? Please?
    pb Reply or e-mail rather than vaguely moderate [].
  • Don't forget gcc 3!!!! Redhat 6.2 will be an interesting release, me thinks...
  • My onboard AGP SiS 6326 (8MB RAM) supports both bitblt and imageblt. accel does create problems so it's disabled. All this is true for, 3.3.5 and now for 3.9.16 which I got brave enough to compile it a fortnight ago.

    The experimental X server looks quite stable to me but indeed for my particular video chip there isn't noticable improvement and only 4 MB of its RAM are supported.
  • If there's a new release every month in the development tree then people wouldn't get so worked up about it, and they wouldn't have distributions doing dumb things like that. The way things are, when they release something people assume that it's production code, because that's all we ever see from them. If they weren't so shy about releasing code people would be more careful about using their development releases.

    What it gets down to is that the XFree developers have a different approach to development. Coming from the Linux world that approach seems a little bit silly . . . But hey, it's their code . . .

    All that aside, though, they've done a great job. X might not be perfect, but it works, and the free Unices would be nowhere near as popular as they are without it. So more power to them . . . and as much good code as possible to everyone!

  • by Anonymous Coward
    I would not be too upset about such a small delay. There is just too much going on during the new years to deal with these things. Many people have to deal with employment "system freezes" and pre y2k "updates", so things are fairly hectic. Many people are even stuck sitting in front of the machines @ the time of the y2k, just for safety sake...

    I for one find that the latest XFree stuff is really solid. I use it on my laptop with the FBdev @ 1024 x 768 and it works fine. mtvp, realplay G2, Mesa3D etc all works fine, although my laptop doesnt have hardware acceleration.

    And I will say that the slackware 7 installation for X/XFbdev was flawless and worked the first time w/o any problem... I am very impressed with slackware, especcially after trying to get on the bandwagon and install Red Hat 6.1... 6.1 was extremely sloppy in comparison and failed due to python errors, even after using the update images... but thats kind of off the subject...

  • Is any of these 3D enhancements in XF86 snapshots already? If they're targetting mid-Q1, that'd be Feb 15 basically. You'd think there would be snapshots with it for plenty of people to test. If they haven't yet, can it be written/tested properly in only two months?
  • DGA has been around for years. It's analogous to DirectX minus Direct3D. It's used in vmware, and emulators such as vice and UAE, as well as games that use SDL on linux.

    As a person that has used DGA and DirectDraw for many years, this is simply not true. DGA lacks a feature which is key to fast graphics: Hardware accelerated blting. DirectDraw does this nicely and even allows surfaces to be in VRAM for even faster blting. I am happy to say that this is being fixed in Xfree86 4. Both of these still lack blending support, but you can now just relly on the 3d hardware on most card to do that.

    DRI is in XFree 4.0. It's analogous to Direct3D

    DRI is a way for software to talk to hardware without going through the X server. Direct3D is a HAL, and an API, and a library. These are totally different.

    This is very cool, and comes from the SGI high-end graphical workstation world, and is not something that's easy on windows (to do it on windows, you have to use X on windows - I think Hummingbird Exceed X server supports GLX. I might be wrong.)

    Remote display with OpenGL is something that was built into OpenGL. It could easily be implemented on windows, as the line between client and server is well defined in the specification. --Tom
  • Just a little idea from someone who doesn't really know much about XFree and its driver model and associated legal issues and all. Wouldn't it be convenient if we could extract the necessary hardware interface code from the existing Windows drivers? I mean, there's gotta be some overlap between the API implemented in those drivers and the ones in X.
  • It's a simple question, but a good one - has XF86 figured out an API set for direct video access? We're still lumbering about with unix domain sockets and tcp/ip - it's been brought up *alot* lately that performance could be dramatically improved if we were to create a standard X API set to do direct hw access.

    Why was this moderated down as flamebait. Seems reasonable to me.

  • by SurfsUp ( 11523 ) on Saturday December 04, 1999 @05:51PM (#1480350)
    ...now that they've got a modular architecture that they can split NDA'ed drivers away from, they need to open up the bulk of XFree86 development to the public. How much of the work that goes into other open source software projects comes from people who download the latest bleeding-edge CVS and fix one little instability? How many now-full-time coders on other large open source projects started as people who simply liked poring through bleeding-edge releases and hacking on them?

    Yes - and there's another big advantage - opening up the non-NDA hardware drivers will put a lot more pressure on the proprietary holdouts to open their specs, because the open-spec drivers will improve a lot faster.
  • Well said AC.. And beyond that, the Linux G400 driver has 2 things going for it..

    #1, John Carmack. He's cool =)
    #2, the driver still hasn't implemented multitexture. expect it to get a LOT faster.

    This is even before DRI.. Wow! X is where to be.
  • They can remember their address can't they? Honestly, you need to learn to drive, learn to do maths, learn to write, what's wrong with having to learn how to use computers properly?

    I disagree. Using computers "properly" is a matter of opinion. I have an Apple PowerBook I use for my, ahem, real work and Linux/x86 system that does server duty. I'm impressed with the strides Linux has made in end-user friendliness and I really admire the simple power of it, but I like my Mac more for day-to-day general work.

    The bulk of the consumer and corporate-desktop user base feels this way. Saying that they need to adapt to a particular way of doing things isn't going to win them over. If Linux wants to make it as a desktop OS, it will need to accomodate these people.

  • Let me begin by saying this:

    IT IS NOT X WINDOWS! It is X, or the X Window System. Not "X Windows".

    You don't have to have a really expensive video card to make it seem fast - the main problem in the past that it uses a lot of RAM. XFree 4 should (by having all the major components as loadable modules) decrease its memory usage significantly. Also, XFree 4 will be a whole lot faster (3.9.16 feels much faster than 3.3.5), with the newly rearchitected XAA 2.0 layer. GL support is being integrated in the right way, as is multihead support. X makes a fine base for a GUI.

    Yes, I know it doesn't support antialiased fonts... antialiasing, though pretty, is considered hackish, and I can understand why trying to implement it would be less than fun.

    XFree 4 will have much better detection of devices, for basic configs (i.e., single display configurations) - especially PCI and AGP devices, which are so proliferant now. Anyone still using an ISA or VLB video card is living in the dark ages. Decent PCI video cards can be had for a song. (It's not easy to detect ISA devices, including video cards, in a sane manner...)

    X can be good as a gaming platform - once DGA keyboard handling in XF 4.0-pre is cleaned up, it should be much easier, esp. considering that DGA 2.0 will allow X drawing ops to be used in a DGA context, so it would be helpful for menu UIs for games. Also, DRI for GL will allow for fast OpenGL graphics for games that use 3D rendering (this is already usable - Q3test works quite well).

    A final note - X != XFree86. X is developed and maintained via The Open Group, and XFree86 is based on The Open Group's X reference codebase.

    I haven't heard much noise from the Berlin Consortium in awhile now - do they actually have anything that does anything useful yet? Or are they still in the formative stages?
  • If is working fine, maybe it's best to stick with what you've got. Otherwise, or if you just feel the need, jump up to 3.3.5 - I've been reasonably happy with it, although 3.9.16 definitely has that faster feel to it. Also, XFree 4 is redoing the was XFree has been doing things, not X in general - commercial X server packages (AccelX and MetroX) have been modular for awhile. It's definitely a lot cleaner way to deal with drivers.

    And you can definitely do multihead with XFree 4... that'll be nice, to not have to PAY for an X server to do multihead.

    Hooray! XFree 4 is on the way! It's coming slowly... but it is on the way. Look out world.
  • by demon ( 1039 )
    Well, DGA on XFree has worked fairly well, but the API was pretty minimal. DGA 2.0 (part of XFree 4) will seek to remedy that.

    I've never needed a patch for my X servers to enable DGA - where did you get that idea?

  • >you can also start to work with the program.
    >You see them fulfilling the promises they made

    X-free has released one (count 'em, one!) pre-4.0 snapshot so far. How many betas has win-2k released so far?

    My main gripe, though, is that X-free releases so infrequently, and has such a small and exclusive developer cadre that it's not really open-source. Source code is released, but the "official" releases are so infrequent that the code available to the weekend bug-fixer has little relation to the code in active development. IMHO, that prevents large-scale collaborative development, and that's defeating the purpose of open source.
  • Requests for some kind of DirectDraw-like direct graphics architecture *are* trolls, because the Direct Graphics Architecture (or DGA) has been in XFree86 for quite a while now.
  • Man, you should've purchased the linux version man, at least this way you could support support cross platform gaming, since gaming is seriously what drive's stuff like 3d acceleration, and projects like Xfree 4.0 which works to provide faster 3d for *nix users. Plus if you like quake by any chance, you at least get the tin box. I'm not trying to bash on you, but I would wait another 2 weeks to at least support the OS I use the most. My 2 cents only.

  • I have a simple question, that maybe you or someone else can answer: My GUI under Linux is very slow compared to Windows. And I am NOT talking 3D here, but the day-to-day 2D used in GUI apps and windowmanagers in general. Full drag is sloow, application redraws are painful in comparison to Windows, etc, etc.

    Everytime someone here asks for direct access to HW they are either told that this is available for 3D in XFree86 4.0 (I don't care about 3D) or that it has been available for 2D/3D in Xfree86 for ages and claims the questioner to be a troll.

    So I will not ask for direct access, but the more general question: Why are my X so slow in general?
    Because the fact remains, X/Xfree86 is slower by the feel that any other GUI out there and I was hoping that XFree86 had the architectural changes required for improvement, whatever they might be.

  • I suggest that as a matter of convention, quarters should be expressed as YYQn or YYYYQn, eg. 99Q4, 1999Q4, 2000Q1, 00Q1. This has the advantages of being readable and also usable as a sort key. It should be mandated by ISO standard really. In fact, maybe it *is* in the ISO standard for Y2K compliant date formats. I seem to remember it does cover a lot of different formats.

    Consciousness is not what it thinks it is
    Thought exists only as an abstraction
  • Xfree 86 has released 2 pre 4.0 snapshots so far,
    3.9.15 and 3.9.16, and this article is the announcement of a third 3.9.17.
  • X windows is a solution to a non existent problem. It is too abstract for efficient hardware communication. This abstraction is justified by being able to remotely run an application which is something useful for some people but shouldn't get in the way of people who don't use that feature (far more people).

    Today there are other ways to run an application remotely (HTML, java) which in the long term will make X windows obsolete for that purpose. The ability to remotely do 3d stuff doesn't impress me at all. It smells like bad software architecture to me. I'd be surprised if it works well over slow connections (like most 2d applications).

    As far as I know XFree 4.0 contains optimizations and ways to get around X directly to the hardware. Probably it is very efficient (I trust those people know what they are doing) so that is a good thing.

    The fact remains that it is an obsolete piece of technology patched to fullfill modern requirements rather than an efficient, well designed piece of software. But who cares, as long as it works it's ok with me. XFree 4.0 solves a long list of longstanding problems (at least it claims it will) so that's really nice. Replacing it never was an option so keep up the good work. I hope it will solve the performance problems, make it easier to write drivers and will support 3d better, make configuration less painfull and so on.
  • It is open source, as you would know if you read the open source definition, which says nothing about development strategies.

    It's easy to join XFree86, if you are really interested in doing so, and don't just want early access to buggy code.

  • Yeah I don't see why that was called flamebait. It does not make any sense to me.
  • Modern hardware should not need to catch up. If the OS can't run comfortable on a Pentium 90 then it is useless,because even on a Pentium 700 it is still using nearly 1/7 of the proccessing time for itself.
  • Modern hardware should not need to catch up. The OS ought to be a thin layer to build on, not a massive app framework that developers add pieces to to build an application. If the OS can't run comfortable on a Pentium 90 then it is useless,because even on a Pentium 700 it is still using nearly 1/7 of the proccessing time for itself.
  • Continueing my previous rant. Abstraction is BAD. X should not build network protocols into itself. That should be in a higher level app. So say X was a simple direct to the hardware windowing system. Then I built something on top of that with a client that talks to a server that talks to X. Now if I'm not using the network transparent stuff, then I don't have to have it loaded. IE. If I am running 3D Studio, I don't have to have the think connect to itself over a socket. It is as dumb as putting printing functions in a widget set, oh wait, I just described QT didn't I?
  • What is this root you speak of? I recently installed Redhat 6.1 This was my routine with stuff that ought not to be there commented.
    1. Put in floppy and CD_ROM.
    2. Rebooted.
    3. Went into installer.
    4. Chose custom install.
    5. Had to give a user-name and password //WHY?
    6. Had to give hostname and ip address//What the hell is an IP address?
    7. Had to set up X//Why can't I just click on a preferances panel?
    8. Had to chose mount points//Whats a mount point?
    9. Had to choose to install Lilo//Whats lilo?
    10. Had to choose packages//Need better names.
    11. Chose time zones.
    12. Rebooted.
    13. Taken to login prompt.
    14. Typed in username password.
    15. Had to type Xconfigurator to configure X//Again cuz it didn't configure my TNT correctly.
    16. Had to type startx//Why doesn't redhat boot into the GUI the first time.
    17. Finally got into KDE and looked around for a configuration utility. Here KDE beat windows. With big button albeit unlabled, right on the taskbar. (BeOS beats them both, of the 3 options on the Be menu, one is a clearly labled preferances app.)
    18. Configured my desktop.
    19. Tried sounds but they didn't worked.
    20. Started sndconfig via. XTerm. Gave me a warning that it shouldn't be run in graphical mode. I ignored the warning but note that there is no easy way to boot into text mode after you have asked Xconfigurator to boot into KDM. (you have to change the runlevel.)
    21. Had to give the irqs and dmas, and port address of my ISA AWE64 PnP.//It should know them. 2.2 is supposedly plug and play.
    22. Looked up the xsetroot utility to change my cursor. //Why not an option in the menu. I can change my widget set up not my cursor?

    Windows was significantly easier.
    1. Same thing as Linux, rebooted,etc.
    2. The install app asked my what my CDkey was.
    3. Chose custom install.
    4. Chose the applications to load.
    5. Gave me a list of detected hardware, asked if everything was there.
    6. Waited half an hour for the damn thing to install.
    7. Rebooted 3 times as it detected my hardware.
    8. The install program detected all my hardware, installed drivers.
    9. Right clicked on desktop and chose settings.
    10. Downloaded a new theme and went to the theme manager to chose my cursor.

    BeOS was by far the easiest.
    1. Put disc in CD_ROM.
    2. Installed partition magic.
    3. Partition magic rebooted. I chose the 1.5 GB partition.//Not as hard as Linux, but harder then windows. Probably as easy as it gets since the power to chose the partition is really imporant.
    4. Rebooted.
    5. Had 2 checkboxes, extras, optional and a drop down menu for the partition to install to.
    6. Hit start.
    7. Asked if I wanted to install bootman, chose the OSs to boot.
    8. Rebooted.
    9. OS booted in 10 seconds into the desktop.
    10. Clicked on preferences and chose screen depth, and multiple workspaces, and wall paper.
    So while Linux is much easier to install then it used to be, it still isn't as easy as it ought to be.
  • I've been told before that the difficulty of becoming an XFree86 developer is more psychological than real, but it's still a big factor. I'm only a casual C/C++ programmer; I've never made any huge open source contributions, just download source tarballs and SRPMs of a half dozen things here and there, discovered that I could find bugs or improvements to be made in a couple, and that I couldn't in most. But if I had to apply for permission every time I noticed a quirk in say, autofs, and wanted to look at the latest source code... I wouldn't have done anything at all.

    Hell, I *haven't* done anything at all. XFree 3.3.5 has a bug with a garbled mouse cursor on my girlfriend's and former boss's computers, and it has a bug with mouse recapturing and memory leaks on my computer. I always mean to jump on a beta release as soon as it comes out so I can see if little bugs like these are fixed or easily fixable... but releases come out infrequently, and who wants to work on three month old code when you know there's later stuff out there?
  • The Berlin development team are making progress. I've lurked on the mailing list for a while and the amount of traffic (related to actual development - not just talk) has increased dramatically recently forcing me to unsubscribe because the topics of discussion were way above me and there was just too much of it! The top guys in the project are extremely clever and I personally believe they will develop an interesting project. Will it replace X? Dunno, possibly, but either way, it will be a fascinating piece of software. Don't let your preconceived ideas about Berlin get in the way of what they are trying to do: The old Berlin from a few years ago is buried. The "doing it all in assembler" mentality went years ago when the head developers changed, and it's now a case of a cool CORBA, OpenGL and Unicode based project.

    (Disclaimer: I'm not a developer, only a lurker!)
  • Think about one of your examples, that since users have to learn to drive to use a car, they also should have to learn to install and configure Linux.

    The main interfaces in all cars are compliant to one of two standards:

    1. stick shift transmission
    2. automatic transmission

    Everything else important about driving a car is standardized and simple. A key opens the door into the car. A key starts the ignition. A steering wheel steers. The pedal on the right accelerates and the one next to it brakes. And so on.

    Asking the average Linux user to do things like configure X or LILO is like telling everybody who buys a new car to:

    - Determine what kind of engine they have.
    - Determine what kind of carberator that engine needs.
    - Go to the store and buy the correct kind of carberator.
    - Install the carberator!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    - Tune the engine!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    - Finally, drive the car for the first time.

    And while the average Linux user is struggling trying to figure out why he has to figure out all the confusing settings and commands, the expert Linux community is standing back and saying "learning to install your own carberator is good for you! We give you the option of buying whatever carberator you want! Aren't we being nice to you? Isn't Linux great?"

    And meanwhile the sane people are thinking "I don't care about X or LILO or partitions, I'm going to stick to Windows, at least it doesn't ask me baffling questions and it still works OK".

    It's simply stupid to expect average users to have to do anything more complicated than: "put in the CD", "turn on the computer", "decide how much disk space to give the new operating system (or take the default size)", "set the time", and "give a name to the computer".

    A computer can be useful even to people who know nothing about how computers work inside, just as cars are useful to people who can't install carberators.

    Anything too complex for those people WILL fail in the desktop market.
  • Yeah, but I want to see what Mandrake Linux does next, they havent yet put in their gui install program or hardware configuration program, and both look very promising. Also, mandrake tends to have the most recent software usually. They are more willing to put in a pre-release such as the frozen development version of KDE2 than redhat.


  • yea, but what's up with this: the request for moderation was moderated up, but the original post wasn't (!)... was there some moderator hanging around with only one point left?
  • Just a friendly comment, but bug reports are always welcome on the XFree86 releases. Especially if you see such a mouse problem. There's work going on toward 3.3.5+ and if you've seen problems in 3.3.5 it's worth sending a bug report to XFree86 [mailto]. Include a server log also so that they can track what hardware/version you have running.
  • Not speaking for XFree86, but as a contributor, the few comments I've seen suggesting that the snapshot and released code is to old to work on or submit bug fixes against are not realistic. In the past months the released code is close enough to the development code that most bug fixes from non-XFree86 members would be welcomed. As are bug reports and problem reports. One of the major challenges of a project like XFree86 is getting the code base tested on multiple platforms with combinations of video cards. Let alone making both released versions such as 3.3.5 and snapshots of a new development effort (3.9.x) available.

    Having said that, I'd encourage those who might like to contribute to consider joining the XFree86 effort. I won't claim the learning curve is easy. It's a large code base and video driver development isn't the simplest thing in the world. Or submit bug reports or patches against the released versions. Don't think that because the latest development source is not available that it has moved so far ahead as to make your patches obsolete. That is rarely true.

    The closed development model is due to licensing concerns. From what I've heard there may at times exist code in the development tree for XFree86 which doesn't meet the release license requirements. The closed model allows XFree86 to release code to the developers without breaking that type of license restriction.

  • I don't give a flying fuck about the filesystem when I'm an end user. Unix people often fail to see the big picture when it comes to end users, probably because this type of user never gets near their OS.

    When I was a CS student I had the pleasure of working with several UNIX flavors. I also installed linux on my PC when this still was a non trivial act. At the university I worked we had those nice little networked workstations which commonly shared one computer (3 terminals, one computer, HP UX machines, Indys and later also Sparcs). They were slow. Not just a little bit but really slow. Even when we got newer hardware it still was slow. Probably those things are really nice if you can use them stand alone but networking to terminals clearly was a bad idea performance wise.

    X windows is only nice if you have monolithical applications (i.e. apps you can't break up). If its monolithical that means it is probably too big to run on a small computer. If it's not, you can separate the GUI from the rest of the application. Well designed applications don't need to waste bandwidth on transmitting mouse clicks.

    Now opengl over X sounds like a really bad idea. Even a modest 3d environment can contain hundreds of megabytes in textures and polygons. I have a hard time believing that you can squeeze that down a network in real time. If on the other hand you have it locally, why the heck would you want your software to run remotely? Any performance gains would be canceled by the network overhead.
  • Unless XFree86 is as easy to install as Windows 98, or if it starts shipping with massive gaming systems, game publishers aren't going to actively port their games to the OS.

    Dude. XFree86 is not an OS.
  • tarted sndconfig via. XTerm. Gave me a warning that it shouldn't be run in graphical
    mode. I ignored the warning but note that there is no easy way to boot into text mode after
    you have asked Xconfigurator to boot into KDM. (you have to change the runlevel.)

    what is wrong with Alt-Fn ?


    Sven LUTHER
  • I don't know what your situation is, but X windows solves many problems for me. I have a machine on my desk, but do to (stupid) licensing restrictions, the main program I run is on a computer way over there. I also work with headless machines in a lab, and pulling windows from them makes some debugging tasks easier.

    Back home I have a powerful modern machine, and several older sun3s. Now I could buy more powerful machines, but those cheap sun3s make excellent terminals, and the powerful machine is fast enough for them all, but the suns are not fast enough.

    I'll agree that X windows is a bit slow. I'll agree it isn't perfect. However it does solve many of my problems.

  • How is it possible that the first post to a topic is moderated redundant? My $2*10**-2
  • Your suggestion reads like: "complicating matters for the sake of a few impatient h4x0rs". Nope...

Who goeth a-borrowing goeth a-sorrowing. -- Thomas Tusser