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X GUI Software

Cygwin/XFree86 Leaving 446

An anonymous reader writes "The Cygwin/XFree86 project is leaving For those that don't know, Cygwin/XFree86 is a port of the X Window System to Cygwin (which provides a *nix-like API on Windows). Here is the announcement and the start of the trouble. The XFree86 project has pushed away more developers than most projects ever have - is this the beginning of the end for XFree86?"
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Cygwin/XFree86 Leaving

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  • Leaving? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 27, 2003 @03:04PM (#7320805)
    If developers are leaving the XFree86 arena, where are they flocking to? Is there a replacement readily available or is one in the works?
  • Not for a while.. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Mr Smidge ( 668120 ) on Monday October 27, 2003 @03:05PM (#7320812) Homepage
    I'll certainly say that Xfree86 isn't going anywhere for a while, as it is all over the place now. But I do feel (and others probably do too) that it's about time we 'started again' with something like X but a whole lot neater and simpler.
  • by Horny Smurf ( 590916 ) on Monday October 27, 2003 @03:05PM (#7320820) Journal
    The end pretty much happened earlier this year when the most talented and prolific developers forked to form the xouvert []

    slashdot story [] on the topic.

  • by pimpinmonk ( 238443 ) on Monday October 27, 2003 @03:06PM (#7320828)
    is this the beginning of the end for XFree86?
    Is this the end of the beginning? Is it absolutely nothing? Jeez, talk about your random opinion. I don't see XFree dying, but more appropriately, I don't see this as possibly being the cause of the "beginning of the end." XFree-cygwin is definitely not propping the project up, nor are they the primary users.
  • Re:Not for a while.. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by cgranade ( 702534 ) <`cgranade' `at' `'> on Monday October 27, 2003 @03:11PM (#7320871) Homepage Journal
    Like YWindows []?
  • by u19925 ( 613350 ) on Monday October 27, 2003 @03:12PM (#7320882)
    how many XFree86 users are using Cygwin port? 1 percent? Let us face it, it is not the "beginning of the end" but is rather the "end of the beginning of the end".
  • I wish. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by cK-Gunslinger ( 443452 ) on Monday October 27, 2003 @03:12PM (#7320887) Journal
    Don't get me wrong, XFree86 is great and all, but I wish there was a replacement. I would be willing to wager that >75% of those of us who run a Linux desktop don't need hardly *any* of the advanced features in the X Windows server. I would like to see a completely modular, X-windows core-compatible windowing system for Linux. Want to use some of the advanced features? Add in the module, recompile, and go!
  • Perseverance (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 27, 2003 @03:13PM (#7320894)
    The XFree86 project has pushed away more developers than most projects ever have - is this the beginning of the end for XFree86?

    I think not and here's why: I've been working as a consultant for one of the top banks in the US for the last 10 years. One of my roles is to maintain the COBOL-emulator for the VAX systems that we store customer data in. One of the integral pieces, as you may guess, is CygWin. We actively add elements and integrate third-party products with CygWin since it is the best at what it does.

    The greatest challenge for our team is to enhance the Win32 abstraction layer so that it no longer interferes with the HAL on a multi-processor layer. We've made some progress and thanks to CygWin we're close to completion.

    Which is nice.

  • I've been trying to figure out how to get this [] fullscreen patch for Cygwin/X into the dist, but the xfree86 dev list tells me to submit to bugzilla. So what, I'm supposed to invent a bug and then solve it? Its a new feature and it would be nice to have a real place to discuss and enhance it (the xfree86 dev list is very aloof and hasn't been kind to me at all as a newbie x developer). I think it's a good move for Cygwin...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 27, 2003 @03:18PM (#7320941)
    I can understand their decision. XFree has matured to be a really broken pile of software which is badly maintained after all. There is a known CMS and XLIB locking problem in XFree 4.3.0 and upwards which they reject to fix (and this is known for many months now). Even patches and fixes exist for it and they still reject to fix it. When you use GTK+ 2.3.0 on it then it heavily crashes.

    Read here the fixes []

    I can imagine that there are to many trouble but I think that the remaining people working on XFree are fucking dumbasses and the primary troublemakers here. They threw the major leading developers out, those that liked to bring XFree up to new roots, fix many bugs, make it modern. And what do we have now ?

    Xouvert as lame fork with people who may not be able to deal with it.

    XFree as a lameass project full of bugs they not gonna fix, full of people who slowly develop it and who use old versions of xcursor, freetype, fontconfig and stuff like this. Ignore bugreports and fixes

    FreeDesktop org as last bastion for people like Keith Packard and Jim Gettys to fix all the stuff.

    I think we should start to boycott XFree.
  • Re:Not for a while.. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Mr Smidge ( 668120 ) on Monday October 27, 2003 @03:26PM (#7321016) Homepage
    Very much like Y.

    However, some people are bound to complain at its integrated standard toolkit. I like the idea of a standard toolkit for consistency across applications, but to keep everybody happy (and for ultimate flexibility, which is what Linux is about, right?), it would be good for the choice of toolkit to be pluggable... Not based on top, as current toolkits are, but just swappable by Y. That way, we could all be using the same API and have things just the (consistent) way we want them.

    Some native OpenGL and SVG support might prove useful too.. :-)
  • by Whammy666 ( 589169 ) on Monday October 27, 2003 @03:35PM (#7321095) Homepage
    I like Xfree. But it's still basically X. The problem I have with X is that it's overkill for most client desktops. It's nice that X allows remote windowing. But how many users actually need that? (I'm ignoring the security implications this has as well.) The reality is that 99.9% of X applications have both the client application and X server on the same machine. So why have such a complicated networking layer to draw a window on a screen? Seems like a lot of unnecessary overhead to me.

    I seem to remember there was a move to streamline X given this new reality. But I don't know what it's called. Could someone fill me in?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 27, 2003 @03:48PM (#7321198)
    Have you actually looked at the X networking layer? It's not complicated AT ALL. Actual benchmarked performance on Linux shows that over unix domain sockets, the networking layer of X simply is not the bottleneck, badly programmed toolkits and applications are, as well as perceived slowness due to lack of update synchronisation between window frames and contents (both conventionally independent "windows" in the X sense).

    If more open source programmers actually read and understood the bloody X programming manuals, you'd see MUCH better performance. Instead of idiots creating and deleting entire GTK image buttons each frame to animate or something.

  • by Kevin S. Van Horn ( 29825 ) on Monday October 27, 2003 @04:09PM (#7321443)
    Among XFree86's other problems is the apparent lack of any sort of regression testing. I only upgrade XFree86 when I'm forced to because of upgrading my Linux distribution, and over the years, about half the time this has caused something to break that used to work, causing me to lose many hours and days over the course of weeks trying to fix the problem.
  • by 10Ghz ( 453478 ) on Monday October 27, 2003 @04:31PM (#7321661)
    The reason the push developers away is that many of these guys are trying to bloat xfree to hell

    Yeah, guys like Keith Packard were just bloating Xfree!

    In fact, it seems that KP was just about the only guy who was passionate about Xfree and REALLY worked on it. I didn't know whether I should laugh or cry when I saw KP being flamed by David Wexelblat (one of the founder of Xfree) in Xfree mailinglist. It was sad/funny because while Wexelblat was busy flaming KP, he also mentioned that he does not even use Xfree there days, let alone hack it! He uses Windows these days!

    So, Guys like Keith Packard get kicked out, while useless deadbeats like David Wexelblat are members of the core-team. What's wrong with this picture?
  • by spitzak ( 4019 ) on Monday October 27, 2003 @04:38PM (#7321725) Homepage
    X has lots of problems, but the network transparency is NOT one of them. This is a myth that comes up all the time, by amateurs that somehow picture it calling a central server at MIT for every graphics call.

    On a mondern system (with security) there HAS to be a context switch some time between a user program producing the graphics and the system drawing on the screen. The network transparency adds zero overhead on any modern system, in fact it encourages reduction of overhead by forcing the batching of requests into single context switches. When anybody says that Windows can do each call in 1 context switch, I have to point out that X (if it was properly designed to not require so damn many syncrhonous calls) can do tens of thousands of calls in 2 context switches.

    X's #1 problem is the bad graphics model which means that drawing anything more complicated that 1985 graphics (such as anti-aliased shapes) requires you to draw an image and send it, which is going to be slow even if the app could draw directly into the on-screen image buffer.

    X's #2 problem, and really the cause of perceived slowness, is that seperate window manager, and people are going to have to face reality and move the window borders and resizing and all other drawing into the app's toolkit, so that synchronization between that and the rest of the app's display can be preserved. Notice that nobody complains that moving things inside the apps is slow.
  • Yeah right (Score:4, Interesting)

    by lordDogma ( 699635 ) on Monday October 27, 2003 @10:44PM (#7325025)
    a real alternative getting underway. Check out the Freso project

    Fresco has been bogged down in Alpha status for the last 5 years. Some people think that the only reason it is so slow in development is because no-one knows about it.

    But the real reason is because Fresco sucks and no one wants to touch it with a 10 foot pole. If you think X is bloated, Fresco is 10 times worse. Its an over-engineered solution heavily reliant on C++, CORBA, GGI, and other crap.

    X does suck, but 90% of the basic design of X is excellent. A new windowing system should focus on keeping the basic design, while (a) eliminating legacy crap that no one needs anymore, and (b) adding the stuff we DO need like Drag and Drop, Transparency, AA fonts, 3D, etc.

    -- LD

Syntactic sugar causes cancer of the semicolon. -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982