[xkb] Re: xkeyboard-config and modular release

Mike A. Harris mharris at www.linux.org.uk
Mon Apr 18 22:37:35 PDT 2005

Alan Coopersmith wrote:
>> Because those "working files" are unmaintained and contain a plethora
>> of bugs?  If there's anyone who's willing to work to backport all the
>> fixes from xkeyboard-config, that might seem viable, but unless not
>> (and I suspect there isn't anyone), users probably want better
>> layouts.
> Fixing bugs is good.   Breaking existing user configs is not.   I'm not
> going to ship config file changes that do that, and result in wasting
> time and annoyance for our users, our tech support people, and myself,
> without a really good reason.   I've wasted enough time digging out from
> under all the GNOME "Internal X server XKB error" crap to go down that
> rathole again voluntarily.

The reason those errors seem to come up, is because the current
xkb data files are broken and/or insufficient.  Until they get
fixed, it is a huge mess.

We get lots and lots of bug reports in our Red Hat bugzilla from
people complaining they can't use the French Canadian keyboard
layout along with another one, or the hungarian layout, or one
of several others.  The experts (Ivan and Sergey) have fixed these
problems in xkeyboard-config as I understand, however their work
is not being used in Xorg yet for whatever reasons.

Until their work is incorporated in the tree, people experiencing
these awkward xkb problems are going to continue to have a broken
inconsistent user experience.  Then it falls upon distributors to
either hand patch each issue, which seems to create new issues
for someone else every time something is changed, or everyone needs
to take 10 steps back and look at the much more important long
term ramifications.

I believe that the long term is far more important to the success
of the project than any short term inconveniences and/or growing
pains.  We should have foresight for the long term, and try our
best to keep things working as smoothly as possible in the short
term also, but we should not be unwilling to accept some inconvenience
or short term pain in order to achieve the long term gain.

>> However, all the sufficiently modern tools read xorg.lst or xorg.xml
>> to get list of available layouts (or xfree86.lst/xfree86.xml), and
>> these are even better with xkeyboard-config (they are translated, more
>> complete, etc.).
> Any tool outside the X server and it's bundled configuration tools that
> reads XKB configuration files is broken by design, so that's hardly much
> of an argument.

Thinking that way does not solve the real problems however.  The
state of xkb configuration in the current tree leaves a lot to be
desired.  Ivan and Sergey have spent a great deal of time and
effort to solve the problems and in as clean a way as possible,
with long term vision.

I for one would like to see their work included into the Xorg
CVS head as soon as possible, so that the plethora of incoming
bugs concerning xkb can some day come to a stop.

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