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

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.

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It’s time to admit it: the X.Org Server is abandonware

  • It’s time to admit it: the X.Org Server is abandonware

    The transition to Wayland is taking far longer than it should, and a lot of important software simply isn’t ready yet. KDE is still hard at work, and my desktop environment of choice – Cinnamon – has zero support in the works for Wayland. Don’t get me wrong – I’m excited for Wayland – but it feels like we’re counting down by continually multiplying by 0.5 – no matter how many times you multiply, you never quite reach zero.

Wayland in Google

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    For years the consulting firm Igalia has been involved in adding Wayland support for Chrome/Chromium by means of the Ozone abstraction layer underneath Chromium's Aura windowing system after Intel's earlier effort failed to get upstreamed.

    Since last month Chrome/Chromium builds can be enabled with Ozone support via the run-time options of --enable-features=UseOzonePlatform --ozone-platform=wayland/x11. These options work as of v87 Chromium builds.

    With the current code most of the functionality is working fine on Ozone/Wayland but one of the temporary limitations is around tab dragging support, but that should be addressed soon.

Adam Jackson: on abandoning the X server

  • Adam Jackson: on abandoning the X server

    There's been some recent discussion about whether the X server is abandonware. As the person arguably most responsible for its care and feeding over the last 15 years or so, I feel like I have something to say about that.

    The thing about being the maintainer of a public-facing project for nearly the whole of your professional career is it's difficult to separate your own story from the project. So I'm not going to try to be dispassionate, here. I started working on X precisely because free software had given me options and capabilities that really matter, and I feel privileged to be able to give that back. I can't talk about that without caring about it.

    So here's the thing: X works extremely well for what it is, but what it is is deeply flawed. There's no shame in that, it's 33 years old and still relevant, I wish more software worked so well on that kind of timeframe. But using it to drive your display hardware and multiplex your input devices is choosing to make your life worse.

    It is, however, uniquely well suited to a very long life as an application compatibility layer. Though the code happens to implement an unfortunate specification, the code itself is quite well structured, easy to hack on, and not far off from being easily embeddable.

Adam Jackson On The State Of The X.Org Server In 2020

  • Adam Jackson On The State Of The X.Org Server In 2020

    Adam Jackson who on Red Hat's Graphics Team served as the X.Org Server release manager for many years and being heavily involved in the xorg-server development and related components as shared his views on whether the X.Org Server is "abandonware."

X.Org is now pretty much an ex-org: Maintainer declares...

  • X.Org is now pretty much an ex-org: Maintainer declares the open-source windowing system largely abandoned

    Red Hat's Adam Jackson, project owner for the X.Org graphical and windowing system still widely used on Linux, said the project has been abandoned "to the extent that that means using it to actually control the display, and not just keep X apps running."

    Jackson's post confirms suspicions raised a week ago by Intel engineer Daniel Vetter, who said in a discussion about enabling a new feature: "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."

    This was picked up by Linux watcher Michael Larabel, who noted that "the last major release of the X.Org server was in May 2018... don't expect the long-awaited X.Org Server 1.21 to actually be released anytime soon."

On abandoning the X server

  • On abandoning the X server

    We talked about the state of X.org earlier this week, and the wider discussion was picked up by Adam Jackson, who works at Red Hat as the X.Org Server release manager, and has been heavily involved with X development for many years.

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