xserver ABI freeze policy (was: [PATCH] hw/xfree86: Restore API compatibility for cursor loading functions)

Keith Packard keithp at keithp.com
Tue Apr 29 09:58:59 PDT 2014

Mark Kettenis <mark.kettenis at xs4all.nl> writes:

> We're changing the ABI to fix a mistake made earlier in the release
> cycle.

Right, the ABI change was just fine, but the fact that the related API
change broke essentially every driver in an 'undetectable' way
(generating just a warning, which most people are well trained to
ignore) meant that we really needed to address this as a bug in the X
server and not just bugs in individual drivers.

> But if Aaron/NVIDIA really wants to stick to the current ABI, I'd say
> they should do the work of fixing and testing all the open source
> drivers.

Aaron has been good about noticing ABI problems like this in the past
and working to find a solution that is acceptable for everyone. As
release monkey, I feel that one of my responsibilities is to respect the
historical perspective of the project towards non-free software, and in
this case, making it possible to release binary drivers is part of that.

We've made a commitment to preserve the driver ABI and API once the
feature freeze hits, and in this case we've found a bug that can only be
addressed by breaking that commitment. We should work to find a way that
can address this bug in a way that minimizes the impact to all of our
users, even those who hold their noses and run non-free drivers.

keith.packard at intel.com
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