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Thread: A Major Rework To The X.Org Video Driver ABI

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    Default A Major Rework To The X.Org Video Driver ABI

    Phoronix: A Major Rework To The X.Org Video Driver ABI

    One of the mailing list threads I've been trying to catch up on this week while at Oktoberfest is the heated discussion about merging video/input drivers back into the X.Org Servers. This discussion was started at the XDC2011 conference, but there's many e-mails being exchanged from more parties not in favor of merging the drivers into the xorg-server tree or wishing to see other developmental process changes...

    http://www.phoronix.com/vr.php?view=OTkzMA

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    I wonder what's so wrong with the X.org video ABI that it needs a rewrite?

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    may i also ask why people (dave actually) have to go through all the trouble rewriting a binary interface for a technology (xorg) that will be -as it seems- a thing of the past in a few years????

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    Quote Originally Posted by cl333r View Post
    I wonder what's so wrong with the X.org video ABI that it needs a rewrite?
    That you can't change your video adapter on-the-fly with the current model. You want to see seamless graphics switch and optimus in x.org one day, right?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynxeye View Post
    That you can't change your video adapter on-the-fly with the current model. You want to see seamless graphics switch and optimus in x.org one day, right?
    X.org will be installed by default for at most 4 years from now. It'll take 1-2 years to make the ABI stable, ship to distros and get Nvidia to support it. So you're gonna "enjoy" optimus at best for 1-2 years before Wayland kicks in for serious.

    I'd rather wish they put X.org into maintenance mode (since it's good enough and dying) and concentrate on Wayland (and on open source GL drivers) to make Wayland a reality in like 2 years from now, not in 4.
    Last edited by cl333r; 09-22-2011 at 08:47 AM.

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    all i want out of xorg, or wayland for that matter, is nested login screens with hardware accelerated 3d support. if wayland supports multiple mouse pointers and keyboards then that'll also be a plus.

    considering linux's graphics performance is comparable to windows, intel, nvidia, amd, and via already have enough work on their hands trying to get wayland to work. i think xorg at this point should focus on just cleaning up it's code and be used for legacy purposes at this point.

    sure it's a shame that it has a foreseeable demise, but i think it's a lot more practical to just use a completely new display server than it is to continuously re-write a ~20 year old server.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 89c51 View Post
    may i also ask why people (dave actually) have to go through all the trouble rewriting a binary interface for a technology (xorg) that will be -as it seems- a thing of the past in a few years????
    This is only a guess, but I think that it's because no serious developer is expecting xorg to be a thing of the past in a few years.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cl333r View Post
    X.org will be installed by default for at most 4 years from now.
    Is there ANY credible basis for this claim whatsoever?

    As far as I can tell, this is a phoronix forum meme gone out of hand.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cl333r View Post
    X.org will be installed by default for at most 4 years from now. It'll take 1-2 years to make the ABI stable, ship to distros and get Nvidia to support it. So you're gonna "enjoy" optimus at best for 1-2 years before Wayland kicks in for serious.

    I'd rather wish they put X.org into maintenance mode (since it's good enough and dying) and concentrate on Wayland (and on open source GL drivers) to make Wayland a reality in like 2 years from now, not in 4.
    Putting everyone in the Wayland boat seems a bit premature to me, for a number of reasons:

    1. Applications that are targeting more than just GNU/Linux often use the commonplace X11 libraries as a solid basis for graphics programming across platforms. You can pretty much rely on the original X11 API to be available across Linux, Solaris, BSD, and recently, even OS X. There are free and proprietary X servers for Windows, too. Basically any self-respecting platform with a 2D GUI is going to have some way for you to run apps based on X11, whether third-party or officially supported. Unless Wayland can support X11 apps at least as well as Mac OS X does (i.e. native first-class windows, not just an X11 root window in a window like you get with some configurations of Cygwin X11), the support will not be rich enough to be usable.

    2. If you support libX11, then you pretty much need to support all of the other stuff on top of it. GLX -> OpenGL, Xv, XRender, and a majority of the other commonly used extensions, maybe even XRandR.

    3. With all this backwards compatibility (which will be needed for at least a decade for all but the most basic users) why not just stick with Xorg to begin with, and evolve the Xorg platform to be as good as Wayland?

    4. Proprietary driver companies have been strongly anti-Wayland up to this point, so unless that attitude changes, there will be no way to have OpenGL 3.x or 4.x support on GNU/Linux. This, to me, is totally unacceptable. I'm not saying that every user needs GL 3 / 4, but those who do, should be able to get it. And by "need" I mean, if they can't get it, then they use another platform. Would you rather that all the enterprise users who buy ATI FireGL cards and use Catalyst + RHEL for professional graphics, stop doing that and switch to Nvidia + Win32 or Mac OS X? I sure as heck wouldn't want that; but if we take away the ability for them to use proprietary drivers that actually implement all of the latest GL specs, we won't see heads or tails of any enterprise graphics users on GNU/Linux ever again until/unless the open driver stack achieves the performance and feature parity with the nvidia and ATI binaries (unlikely to happen within the next 5 years at the least).

    Wayland needs to continue to evolve at its own pace and prove itself, and gain vendor support (from proprietary driver teams at ATI and Nvidia, primarily). Wayland can be the future. But we shouldn't just abandon all efforts to make our current solution as good as possible while we're still using it.

    And I think your timeline is extremely compressed. You're probably looking at the timeline for an enthusiast user who runs the latest stable Fedora or Ubuntu, and can get by with the paltry OpenGL support on the open drivers. For those types of users, then yes, Wayland in 3 - 4 years is a reasonable goal. For the people with money and a slower timeline, they need Xorg, and they need it to be fast and feature rich. So please continue with what you're doing, Mr. Airlie

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    Quote Originally Posted by pingufunkybeat View Post
    Is there ANY credible basis for this claim whatsoever?

    As far as I can tell, this is a phoronix forum meme gone out of hand.
    "Credible" means different things to different people, I read enough arguments and facts that make it credible for me. You're free to believe whatever, even that X.org will be in active use for the next century.
    I didn't say _that_ to start a Wayland rant, but for people to understand why I'm saying it doesn't make much sense working too much on X.org.

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