x.org is Hacker Trash

Gene Heskett gene.heskett at verizon.net
Thu Mar 29 12:09:49 PDT 2007

On Thursday 29 March 2007, Joseph Parmelee 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.
>> 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

Moderate this one of Joeseph's to at least a +5.  The last time I built X, 
it was at 6.7.99 or thereabouts and a bit of following how they wanted it 
done, and a 'make world', and it Just Worked(TM).  And it was the single 
most stable version of X I ever ran.  I don't mean 1 problem, I mean 0 
(Zero) problems.

I looked at it with a mind to do it again about 6 months ago, and ran 
screaming from the room.

Clean it up and make it buildable by an old (72) fart like me who builds 
his own kernels, sometimes several times a week just to bleed for the 
cause and you'll get a heck of a lot more testing results in for 
fine-tuning things.

Cheers, Gene
"There are four boxes to be used in defense of liberty:
 soap, ballot, jury, and ammo. Please use in that order."
-Ed Howdershelt (Author)
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