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View Full Version : Should X be replaced?



the.dark.lord
August 17th, 2009, 06:46 AM
Check this out: http://www.osnews.com/story/21999/Editorial_X_Could_Learn_a_Lot_from_Vista_Windows_7 .

Thoughts?

JillSwift
August 17th, 2009, 06:49 AM
Replaced? Naw.
Made more modular and more fault tolerant? I do believe they are workin' on that.

FuturePilot
August 17th, 2009, 07:07 AM
Funny, I asked this years ago.
http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=478309

DeadSuperHero
August 17th, 2009, 07:07 AM
I'd like to see more support go into DirectFB (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DirectFB). That would be cool.

toupeiro
August 17th, 2009, 07:07 AM
Please. That article is laced with FUD. Nothing happens when Vista/7 graphically crashes?! CITATION NEEDED

There is no separation between your graphical shell and your system framework and kernel in windows. I can restart X in seconds and fix any graphical glitch that could ever come up while all my background services keep right on serving.

Here's a picture of modular. I can centrally host a single installation of open-office for hundreds of users via NFS. 100's of users, 1 installation. Some on local machines, some are shared servers doing full redirection. I think Microsoft can learn lots more from the way X works than the other way around.

keiichidono
August 17th, 2009, 07:09 AM
Based on all the information presented in the article...i would come to the conclusion that x.org needs to be replaced and/or seriously updated.

toupeiro
August 17th, 2009, 07:15 AM
Based on all the information presented in the article...i would come to the conclusion that x.org needs to be replaced and/or seriously updated.

Some of the heaviest 3d rendering done where I work is done on Linux... this article is ridiculous. seriously.

Tipped OuT
August 17th, 2009, 07:18 AM
based on all the information presented in the article...i would come to the conclusion that x.org needs to be replaced and/or seriously updated.

+1

YeOK
August 17th, 2009, 07:27 AM
Already one in development: http://groups.google.com/group/wayland-display-server

I don't agree with a lot he says though, I have never seen X crash in years of use. I've seen apps crash, I've seen media players take up 100% of my cpu time, but I've not had X.org crash on me without an underline hardware issue (faulty memory on a new build).

toupeiro
August 17th, 2009, 07:54 AM
Already one in development: http://groups.google.com/group/wayland-display-server

I don't agree with a lot he says though, I have never seen X crash in years of use. I've seen apps crash, I've seen media players take up 100% of my cpu time, but I've not had X.org crash on me without an underline hardware issue (faulty memory on a new build).

/signed.

CJ Master
August 17th, 2009, 08:13 AM
Please. That article is laced with FUD. Nothing happens when Vista/7 graphically crashes?! CITATION NEEDED

There is no separation between your graphical shell and your system framework and kernel in windows. I can restart X in seconds and fix any graphical glitch that could ever come up while all my background services keep right on serving.

Here's a picture of modular. I can centrally host a single installation of open-office for hundreds of users via NFS. 100's of users, 1 installation. Some on local machines, some are shared servers doing full redirection. I think Microsoft can learn lots more from the way X works than the other way around.

Nothing does happen. It's happened to me a couple times when I was overclocking my card. The screen will flicker a few seconds then it'll tell me it crashed but recovered, and life goes on. While X hasn't crashed in Linux for me yet I haven't exactly ever taxed it (which I have in windows.)

schauerlich
August 17th, 2009, 08:26 AM
There is no separation between your graphical shell and your system framework and kernel in windows. I can restart X in seconds and fix any graphical glitch that could ever come up while all my background services keep right on serving.

But all of your applications are forced to quit.


Here's a picture of modular. I can centrally host a single installation of open-office for hundreds of users via NFS. 100's of users, 1 installation. Some on local machines, some are shared servers doing full redirection. I think Microsoft can learn lots more from the way X works than the other way around.

He said that X still had its uses, especially for large networks like what you're describing.

Artificial Intelligence
August 17th, 2009, 08:27 AM
Please. That article is laced with FUD. Nothing happens when Vista/7 graphically crashes?! CITATION NEEDED

There is no separation between your graphical shell and your system framework and kernel in windows. I can restart X in seconds and fix any graphical glitch that could ever come up while all my background services keep right on serving.

Here's a picture of modular. I can centrally host a single installation of open-office for hundreds of users via NFS. 100's of users, 1 installation. Some on local machines, some are shared servers doing full redirection. I think Microsoft can learn lots more from the way X works than the other way around.

+1
The article sounds more like a flamebait and FUD spreading. Nothing to see in that article.. Maybe I should written how Vista continuously crashes and end it how god'o'wisly a Linux system is.
Everyone can write such biased thing and people will eat raw... come again!

toupeiro
August 17th, 2009, 08:28 AM
Nothing does happen. It's happened to me a couple times when I was overclocking my card. The screen will flicker a few seconds then it'll tell me it crashed but recovered, and life goes on. While X hasn't crashed in Linux for me yet I haven't exactly ever taxed it (which I have in windows.)

I just reimaged 2 different vista machines in the last two weeks, and 10 in the last 3-6 months at work that would beg to differ with you and this article. Full on blue-screens of death after video driver upgrades. One reporters experiences != real world.

schauerlich
August 17th, 2009, 08:30 AM
+1
The article sounds more like a flamebait and FUD spreading. Nothing to see in that article.. Maybe I should written how Vista continuously crashes and end it how god'o'wisly a Linux system is.
Everyone can write such biased thing and people will eat raw... come again!


I just reimaged 2 different vista machines in the last two weeks, and 10 in the last 3-6 months at work that would beg to differ with you and this article. Full on blue-screens of death after video driver upgrades. One reporters experiences != real world.

Vista != Windows 7.

toupeiro
August 17th, 2009, 08:32 AM
He said that X still had its uses, especially for large networks like what you're describing.

lol, my point here is that what he said is very out of touch with reality. If I were trying to do what I am doing on windows, I wouldn't be here responding to this thread. I would be at work fixing it. I'm not saying X doesn't have its issues, but I am saying that this article is complete FUD. Anyone with any first hand administrative experience in said environment will echo what I am saying.

toupeiro
August 17th, 2009, 08:33 AM
Vista != Windows 7.

He's talking about both! Did you read the article? Also, windows 7 isn't even released yet. the fact some can even write that an RC is better in these environments than X is pretty detached. He has nothing to back up his claims, and anyone who actually supports these OSes knows how much stake to put in articles like this. Eat it up though, if you like it.

schauerlich
August 17th, 2009, 08:44 AM
Eat it up though, if you like it.

I'm not saying I agree with him completely (frankly I don't have a /whole/ lot of experience with either system, using primarily Mac OS X), I'm just saying that his points aren't automatically rendered moot by you declaring his article is FUD.

Artemis3
August 17th, 2009, 08:44 AM
X doesn't crash unless something really, really, wrong is happening, usually a bad driver/hardware. In Ubuntu it would simply sent you to the login screen (gdm). This can also happen in windows, the usual result being: a BSOD, instant reset or complete freeze.

That said, there have been proposals for not using X, but not for the reason he gives. Instead for performance or reduced memory reasons.

schauerlich
August 17th, 2009, 08:46 AM
X doesn't crash unless something really, really, wrong is happening

Usually.


This can also happen in windows, the usual result being: a BSOD, instant reset or complete freeze.

Or, as has been described, the video driver is reloaded after a brief flicker.

Grenage
August 17th, 2009, 08:58 AM
While the article is a bit of a bore, the Vista/7 handling of graphics is impressive. The way they handle errors without the machine cacking itself is very well designed.

mkrahmeh
August 17th, 2009, 09:36 AM
X doesn't crash unless something really, really, wrong is happening, usually a bad driver/hardware. In Ubuntu it would simply sent you to the login screen (gdm).


actually its happening to me on a frequent basis with VLC, such that am being careful using it. the system logs out and all applications quit

here is my complain (http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1239316)..funny how its directly related to the issue being discussed here :)

Artificial Intelligence
August 17th, 2009, 09:44 AM
actually its happening to me on a frequent basis with VLC, such that am being careful using it. the system logs out and all applications quit

here is my complain (http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1239316)..funny how its directly related to the issue being discussed here :)

I uses KDE4.3 and VLC have never taken down X. I have never experienced one of the apps taking down X only when I mess too much with stuff I shouldn't mess with ;)


It could be hardware or driver related.

The Toxic Mite
August 17th, 2009, 10:39 AM
Yet another example of fear, uncertainty and doubt.

:|

BuffaloX
August 17th, 2009, 11:23 AM
I don't understand why colors are defined as 16 bit RGB, that's a whopping 48 bits just to paint one pixel??? I know no graphic cards that even support 48 bit colors, and the human eye can't even distinguish 24 bit colors.
With all those 48 bits, there isn't even an alpha channel, for that we need a compositor.

I just don't understand how all this works nor why...
But my real frustration is really in the lack of guides on how to program custom shaped alpha transparent windows, in any language for any WM/DE or X.

3rdalbum
August 17th, 2009, 12:01 PM
X doesn't need to be replaced.

The Xorg developers have constantly been rewriting parts of Xorg, and rearchitecturing it all the time. Xorg is almost completely different to how it was even back in 2005 when I started using Ubuntu.

The biggest argument against X is usually "OMG, when I move windows they tear! It's because of the network transparency!". Who cares about some speed trails left when you're running a 2D window manager and you move windows? Doesn't almost everyone run Compiz, Kwin4, xfwm4 or Metacity with compositing, which prevents this visual artifact?

X is fast enough for anything we want to do, AND it's network-transparent. The last thing Linux needs is to replace an essential, extremely mature and up-to-date system with something that's immature, incompatible and doesn't have the features we want or the drivers we need.

Yeah okay, let's keep an eye on Weyland, but until it supports everything X does and more (and better), then we should keep developing X in the same way we have been. But let's throw a few more developers at it, because they're having problems with manpower over there.

thisllub
August 17th, 2009, 12:17 PM
X doesn't crash unless something really, really, wrong is happening, usually a bad driver/hardware. In Ubuntu it would simply sent you to the login screen (gdm). This can also happen in windows, the usual result being: a BSOD, instant reset or complete freeze.


I can give plenty of examples.
Try and run 3 monitors on 2 Nvidia cards with Xinerama.

With only 2 screens I have had at least 3 lockups this week that have required ssh from another machine to track down and kill the offending process.
All of this because the default for X is to prevent virtual console logins now. (I must do something about that).

I can't agree with the author about instability because of multimedia though. It usually works very well.

keiichidono
August 17th, 2009, 12:43 PM
Hmmm, based on the information presented in this thread i must say that while the article might be spreading some FUD, it does bring up interest in testing alternatives. Does anyone know how to?

MarcusW
August 17th, 2009, 01:58 PM
Basing a whole article with criticism on something that happened to him once is not very clever. Furthermore it's quite common when a "new catalyst out!!"-thread starts, numerous complains of "driver caused bluescreen" and the likes enter the thread. BSOD is worse than X crashing. Keep in mind, I'm not saying X can't be improved, I'm just saying the graphical environment in windows is not perfect, and it's not immune to bad drivers.

K.Mandla
August 17th, 2009, 02:08 PM
My life changed for the better when I stopped using X.

http://omploader.org/tMXlqNA (http://omploader.org/vMXlqNA)

Artificial Intelligence
August 17th, 2009, 02:54 PM
My life changed for the better when I stopped using X.

http://omploader.org/tMXlqNA (http://omploader.org/vMXlqNA)

Nice one :KS

lykwydchykyn
August 17th, 2009, 03:06 PM
Like every other piece of good software, X is being constantly developed, and subject to replacement when a better alternative comes along.

When you know of another free, open-source windowing system that has the maturity and capabilities of X, let me know.

swoll1980
August 17th, 2009, 03:07 PM
the nvidia 8400 crashes in my daughters laptop a few times a week using Vista, and often times locks the computer up so hard you have to pull the battery out to restart it. It runs find on Ubuntu, so I know it's not a hardware issue.

Post Monkeh
August 17th, 2009, 03:10 PM
the nvidia 8400 crashes in my daughters laptop a few times a week using Vista, and often times locks the computer up so hard you have to pull the battery out to restart it. It runs find on Ubuntu, so I know it's not a hardware issue.

if you hold the power button down for 5 seconds it should turn off without you having to touch the battery

swoll1980
August 17th, 2009, 03:19 PM
if you hold the power button down for 5 seconds it should turn off without you having to touch the battery

It should. I can't argue with that

Elfy
August 17th, 2009, 03:27 PM
It should. I can't argue with that

Well that made me laugh :D

dragos240
August 17th, 2009, 03:39 PM
Has anyone heard of the Y window system, it was a project a while ago, now not being worked on anymore, to replace X.

Amaranth
August 17th, 2009, 03:45 PM
X has many benefits but it does also has many problems. The main problem in this case is that a bug in a single application, driver, or the X server itself kills all of your running GUI applications. For many (most?) people this is just as bad as a BSOD in Windows.

Windows does handle this better and X applications can too. There is no rule that apps that use X have to die when X does, it is simply how Xlib handles things and everything else is built on Xlib. It would of course require more work (in the toolkits, mainly) and the Qt guys says it also requires some X extensions to properly setup the application again on the new server. Either way, it is possible for us to handle X server crashes better and the way it is handled now is pretty terrible.

Elodean
August 17th, 2009, 03:45 PM
I continuously have this problem when attempting to play high quality AVI files in Totem. The playback is too much for X to handle so it falls apart, and everything i am running is left unresponsive. I would be very happy if X was either fixed or replaced with something more modern.

lykwydchykyn
August 17th, 2009, 03:53 PM
I'd be happy if every piece of software on my computer were either fixed or replaced with something better. The good news is, it happens slowly-but-surely every day.

It's a little disturbing how the original article is blaming X, but then dismisses "fingerpointing". What if it is the drivers? What if it is the video player? It's like saying "Someone is stealing in our company. I want Smithers fired for it. I don't want to hear any fingerpointing about who is actually stealing; I just want Smithers fired so that the problem stops."

khelben1979
August 17th, 2009, 03:57 PM
No, it should not be replaced. Needs updating? Yes, but as I've understood new versions arrives all the time.

I'm looking forward to future game titles with Linux which uses OpenGL.

mrgnash
August 17th, 2009, 03:58 PM
I probably would have replaced it already only my own system if:-

The Links browser supported cookies and a couple of other things properly (or at all).

I could get framebuffer applications like fbi and mplayer with the fbdev switch to actually work.

As it stands, I already use the terminal for darn near everything, except viewing PDFs, web browsing, and watching videos... I could live without X, or an "X replacement", it just wouldn't be very fun until the above issues are resolved.

MikeTheC
August 17th, 2009, 04:02 PM
The Links browser supported cookies and a couple of other things properly (or at all).


sudo apt-get install links2

Sand & Mercury
August 17th, 2009, 04:03 PM
Article isn't pure FUD, what they say regarding Windows Vista's behavior in handling crashes of this sort is 100% spot-on and I have to regularly deal with random x.org restarts, especially when it comes to OpenGL applications crapping out (particularly with switching between fullscreen/window)

I don't think X should be replaced though. I don't even think we really have anything good to replace it with, at all. But it does need work, as our second poster said, to make it more modular and less rickety. If the xorg team is aware of x's shortcomings and are working on them, great, I have no complaints at all.

Regenweald
August 17th, 2009, 04:26 PM
Can't be 'replaced' governs all input also, it's not just what you see on the screen, it's the entire way that you interact with the pc. Improved, definitely. Do some research, as I did.

mrgnash
August 17th, 2009, 04:47 PM
sudo apt-get install links2

That's the browser I was referring to. It's fantastic, but it doesn't support cookies or javascript. Javascript support was dropped in recent versions, and I don't know if it ever supported cookies.

Xbehave
August 17th, 2009, 05:29 PM
IMHO the problem with X is that there is no tty running beneath it, this means that to your average user there is little difference between Xorg chrash and BSOD (ofc on a system level there clearly still is).

If all programs ran as GUI frontends to deamon-style apps running a tty beneath xorg:
1) Xorg crashes would not lose data
2) ram usage of GUI apps in their tray could be cut significantly
3) improved security by separating programs
4) improved compatibility by qt/gtk apps being the same apart from the GUI.

C!oud
August 17th, 2009, 05:54 PM
That's the browser I was referring to. It's fantastic, but it doesn't support cookies or javascript. Javascript support was dropped in recent versions, and I don't know if it ever supported cookies.

There's always elinks ;)

Post Monkeh
August 17th, 2009, 06:00 PM
It should. I can't argue with that

:D

i always thought the 5 secod poweroff was a feature of the laptops themselves and nothing to do with the OS, i'm surprised it doesn't work.

Chemical Imbalance
August 17th, 2009, 06:08 PM
My life changed for the better when I stopped using X.

http://omploader.org/tMXlqNA (http://omploader.org/vMXlqNA)

But that isn't a very viable option for most people.

I agree linux is beautifully fast without X. I enjoy scrolling through text with no x server running. It's like a warm knife through butter.

deadbeatdrum
August 17th, 2009, 07:44 PM
Articles such as this always leave me with that sensation of deja vu. You know, when you have read a similar editorial or statement somewhere else back through the mists of time. Then it struck me. Before every major release of Windows you get pieces appearing, as if by magic, such as Thom's. Isn't Windows 7 official release just around the corner?

I have seen the behaviour Thom says he experienced, and I agree with him that there should be some sort of mechanism in place so when X crashes you don't lose everything. But I have had many applications open and running under Windows XP, Vista and the many RC's of 7 and have lost it all when Windows decides to spontaneously reboot. No error message in Event Viewer or the logs, nothing with which to try and diagnose the problem.

X is not perfect by any means, but to deride it as light years behind Windows Vista/7 is simply more than a little hard to swallow. I know which has caused me more grief over the years, why do you think I migrated to Linux and never regretted it once?

This is one man's opinion, nothing more, and should be treated as such. I'm amazed it has amassed as many comments as it has both here and over at OSNews.

My first paragraph was a little tongue in cheek and should not be taken too seriously. I guess that is just the way I think these days. :wink:

Amaranth
August 18th, 2009, 12:57 AM
X is way behind Windows 7's display server, at least in regards to handling crashes. There is no doubt about that. X can be fixed instead of replaced though and I'm sure that is what will happen.

I don't know why this article has generated so many comments, there is nothing to argue about.

CJ Master
August 18th, 2009, 03:26 AM
My life changed for the better when I stopped using X.

http://omploader.org/tMXlqNA (http://omploader.org/vMXlqNA)

Beautiful. How did you get it to split like that, and the shortcuts at the bottom of the screen. Does it fit to your native resolution? Are there any web browsers that use framebuffer?

C!oud
August 18th, 2009, 03:31 AM
Beautiful. How did you get it to split like that, and the shortcuts at the bottom of the screen. Does it fit to your native resolution? Are there any web browsers that use framebuffer?

I believe he's using the vertical split patch for screen and the shortcuts on the bottom are part of his screen configuration. And yes you should be able to have framebuffer at your native resolution and web browsers that support it include links -g and elinks among others perhaps.

Exodist
August 18th, 2009, 04:08 AM
Like on poster mentioned little better Frame Buffer support in Xorg would be a good. But other then that compairing Win anything to Xorg or even out dated XFree86 is like comparing apples and oranges. Sure both are fruit but thats about it. In addition I havent seen Xorg or even XFree86 (before the lic change) crash in 10+ years unless there was a driver issue or the user was trying to edit the xorg.conf without a clue.
Windows graphics subsystem is stable, never see it crash unless there is a driver issue as well. But there is no way in hell windows can support mutilple display nodes like xorg (like 3 or more monitors) and when windows graphics subsystem does crash, prepair to reboot as its all screwed now. At least with Xorg you can just restart X and get up and goinging without taking down non-graphical apps. So at least you dont have to reboot the whole system :-)

IMH_EXPERIENCE 10+ Years...

Grenage
August 18th, 2009, 08:39 AM
But there is no way in hell windows can support mutilple display nodes like xorg (like 3 or more monitors)

I agree with your other points, but XP can handle 8 monitors.

CJ Master
August 18th, 2009, 06:34 PM
I believe he's using the vertical split patch for screen and the shortcuts on the bottom are part of his screen configuration. And yes you should be able to have framebuffer at your native resolution and web browsers that support it include links -g and elinks among others perhaps.

The left side is split into three parts. Screen looks awesome.

Whenever I use terminal it's always 800x600 while my native resolution is 1440x900. How do you change that without using X?

Thanks for the tip, I couldn't live without graphical web pages. :)

C!oud
August 18th, 2009, 09:11 PM
The left side is split into three parts. Screen looks awesome.

Whenever I use terminal it's always 800x600 while my native resolution is 1440x900. How do you change that without using X?

Thanks for the tip, I couldn't live without graphical web pages. :)

The FreeBSD equivelent is a lot different so it's been a while since I've set up a linux framebuffer. But I believe to change your framebuffer resolution you have to append your grub entry specifically the kernel entry I believe. First though you need to get the proper code for your desired resolution and then edit your grub entry for whatever linux distro you are using and add "vga=<# code>" to the end of the kernel line.

Here's the ubuntu help page for more info
https://help.ubuntu.com/community/ConsoleFramebuffer

lykwydchykyn
August 18th, 2009, 09:16 PM
The left side is split into three parts. Screen looks awesome.

Whenever I use terminal it's always 800x600 while my native resolution is 1440x900. How do you change that without using X?


There's a command called fbset command you can use, but you have to have the framebuffer driver working first. You can also specifiy it in the grub entry at boot, or (depending on the driver) in your /etc/modules file (you'll have to read the docs on your driver for the latter -- it's not always consistent).