x.org is Hacker Trash

Alex Deucher alexdeucher at gmail.com
Thu Mar 29 11:39:00 PDT 2007

On 3/29/07, Joseph Parmelee <jparmele at wildbear.com> wrote:
> On Thu, 29 Mar 2007, xorg sucks wrote:
> > I had spent so much of my life on this TRAIN WRECK of
> > a project that it was virtually painless to make an
> > account specifically for this email.
> Follows a rant, more than a bit rude, but let's not use that as an excuse to
> avoid noticing the many valid points.
> > (1) Make an easily navigable site with consistent
> > build instructions.
> >
> > (2) Concentrate on one method of distribution.
> >
> > (3) Only offer individual tarballs for those who know
> > what they're doing.
> >
> > (4) Setup (easily findable) branches in your
> > repository; don't even allow changes to the unstable
> > repository unless the whole thing compiles.
> >
> > (5) Make it easy. Good Lord! I can compile a frickin'
> > OS Kernel without a sweat. What the hell is X Windows?
> >
> The linux kernel project, arguably the gold standard of open source
> projects, puts up release candidates for testing which can be quite easily
> built by persons with only a modicum of experience.  Why is that important?
> Because it permits widescale testing of all the various different hardware
> out there.
> There's more to a display system than just a video chip.  No one person or
> group, regardless of their size and degree of diligence, can possibly test
> their code on the vast number of different hardware combinations out there
> without help, particularly when the problem is complicated by ill-documented
> and possibly buggy chips, monitors, adapter cards, mother boards, and
> BIOS'es.  It is essential that the release candidates get the widest
> possible distribution for exactly this reason.  Not only will the X project
> be benefitted, but so will the hardware manufacturers as their bugs/features
> will more quickly be discovered and documented.
> I have been maintaining a private distribution for the past five years,
> using literally hundreds of different upstream build systems and code
> repositories.  I have to say that Xorg has the absolute worst of all open
> source projects with which I am acquainted, by a clear margin.  It makes
> mozilla look positively enlightened.  At least they have a tarball and a
> build script (even if they insist on mis-documenting its configure options).
> I'm not arguing with the value of modularization from a developers'
> standpoint, but PLEASE devote the appropriate resources to putting together
> usable releases with a master script that allows the unwashed to build this
> mess.  There is a vast sea of highly experienced developers out there who
> don't happen to be X experts.  They are exactly the people who could most
> help you, but they don't have time to play adventure; they have their own
> projects to tend.  If they don't build your release candidate because they
> can't spare the time to figure it out, you lose the significant benefit of
> tests they could run on their hardware, and the help they could give you in
> finding and patching the bugs.

I want to build the latest redhat from scratch, but downloading all
the src rpm packages is a PITA.  Why isn't there just a big redhat
package I can download and to build the whole distro?  Talk about
non-user friendly...

Seriously, X isn't that hard to build.  When we had the monolith
people complained because they had to rebuild the whole thing just to
build the latest radeon driver.  Now the opposite is true.  We can't
win ;)

There are several pages on the wiki that describe the building
process, and if you have questions, fell free to ask; that's why we
have this list.   And if you figure out a way of building everything
that works for you, add it to the wiki rather than expecting some
developer to add it; it's a wiki after all!


> > Do it better.
> Wikis, README's, and build instruction pages are all very nice and useful
> things, assuming they are being maintained, but a tarball with a working
> configure is what is most needed.
> Joseph Parmelee

More information about the xorg mailing list