x.org is Hacker Trash

Kean Johnston kean at armory.com
Fri Mar 30 14:52:57 PDT 2007

> http://xorg.freedesktop.org/releases/X11R7.2/src/
Which, I may point out, is incomplete. No top level build script. No
top level README. No XKB data files. No pointers to other things that
users *EXPECT* to be part of the distribution, like xterm (and yes I
know its not maintained at freedesktop, but would it KILL you to put
it in the app directory?). Any instructions given on building refer
to things that aren't there (i.e util/modular is missing).

> You want more hand-holding than that?  Sorry.
Yeah, a little. Just because the original poster came off a bit of
a pratt doesn't mean he doesn't have valid points. The notion of
a "modular" X is that modules can rev relatively independently of
each other. Some people may be fooled into thinking they can watch
xorg-announce and simply compile new versions of things. Not so.
When things are announced, there is rarely a compatibility statement
(this new version of FOO will work with releases A, B and C), the
changelogs are so damned terse they are completely useless unless
you are the actual maintainer yourself, etc etc.

I have seen absolutely NO benefit to the modularization of Xorg.
And PLEASE don't throw out the so-often-repeated-but-meaningless line
about "the fonts haven't changed in years, with the modular X
you don't need to download them". If that was all you were trying
to achieve (and they are by FAR the biggest chunk of non-modified
bits) then that could have been easily kept aside from release
tarballs. Instead, the modular X has destabalized the build, dropped
support for scores of platforms, and made it all but impossible to
do a new platform port (yes, you heard me. Consider what happens
if you need a new version of libtool to make a platform work.
With the current approach *EVERY* library, driver or other entity
that uses libtool would need to be reved. You don't need ME to
tell you what the chances are the release maintainers will rev
all of that just to support a new platform).

So while I understand the knee-jerk reaction to dismiss the original
posting as the rant of a loon, please do not fool yourself into
thinking that for a lot of users, things have gotten very VERY much
worse in the X world. X used to be a multi-platform, highly portable,
well integrated suite of protocols, libraries and applications,
that was developer friendly, and had an extremely long, well
understood history and vast existing knowledge base. It has been
replaced with a highly fractured, largely disorganized set of
"stuff" that is glued together with good luck and bailing wire
(to wit: the 7.2 release) that has lost a lot of platform support
and replaced integral parts of the build process with tools that
are maintained completely orthoganaly to the X sources.

Was using git for branch management and making the fonts a
separate archive really worth it?


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