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Wayland/Weston Gets Forked As Northfield/Norwood 252

Posted by timothy
from the same-number-syllables dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Weeks after Canonical announced Mir, Wayland's display server protocol and Weston compositor have been forked. A contributor to Wayland found differing views with the project over desktop eye candy and other technical decisions to the X11 successor, which resulted in forming the Northfield and Norwood projects. The developer, Scott Moreau, has been outted from the project but has provided a lengthy explanation why the fork was needed to advance the Linux desktop."
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Wayland/Weston Gets Forked As Northfield/Norwood

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 29, 2013 @02:59PM (#43314039)

    Yeah, a diverse marketplace of ideas is never beneficial.

  • by jarich (733129) on Friday March 29, 2013 @03:05PM (#43314089) Homepage Journal

    I'd never do it myself, but I'm looking forward to seeing which projects survive and how they change the landscape in five years. X11 was difficult to use for years... let's see what a little competition can do for innovation and usability.

  • by Torodung (31985) on Friday March 29, 2013 @03:34PM (#43314359) Journal

    "Advance." You keep saying that. I do not think it means what you think it means.

    What is needed, before "advancing" anything, is to advance acceptance of the Linux desktop, and IMHO this ain't helping.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 29, 2013 @03:35PM (#43314363)
    I'd rather take one solid piece of software than 10 which are broken in different ways.
  • by Bill_the_Engineer (772575) on Friday March 29, 2013 @03:39PM (#43314389)
    While the emerging display servers fight it out, I think I'll just stick to the tried and true X11.
  • by lgw (121541) on Friday March 29, 2013 @03:44PM (#43314411) Journal

    If an ordinary application can't be written once to look fine on both, then really it is a new flavor. If the application writer doesn't have to know or care, then it's not.

    This fork happened over the difficulty in adding candy to the UI, so in theory all the apps that aren't the shell shouldn't care, but in practice, well, time will tell.

  • by SolitaryMan (538416) on Friday March 29, 2013 @03:48PM (#43314427) Homepage Journal
    The good thing about Open Source is that if two contributors strongly disagree on something, both are given an equal opportunity to prove their point. In the end, society wins.
  • by epyT-R (613989) on Friday March 29, 2013 @04:02PM (#43314547)

    blasphemy! if you're going to use a game analogy, make sure you use the right game. shao-khan will collect your geek card and then enslave your soul.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 29, 2013 @04:40PM (#43314773)

    No. Instead of working together to resolve their differences and taking the best technical ideas from both groups to enhance the core product, they have a whiny bitch fest, split the development teams, create two products which end up lesser than the original, create an artificial need for more developers, reduce the advancement of the state of the art, and cause people new to the area to spend twice as long researching which products they should use.

    In the end, society loses.

  • Re:Explanation (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 29, 2013 @05:00PM (#43314883)

    +1

    It's obvious to anyone looking from the outside in.

    They should've just went for X11R8, or X12. That is, just fix the real problems. And reset the clock on best practices by discarding the libraries and interfaces that everybody could agree needed to go.

    Unix has it's problems, too. Plan9 proved that there was a much better way to do things. Most new features on Linux are half-assed because of the need to maintain some semblance of backwards compatibility. For example, namespaces---Plan9 executed namespaces perfectly; Linux namespaces are an abomination. And yet... they're good enough. Because reinventing the wheel just isn't cost effective.

    Open source doesn't help, here, either. Back in the day it made more sense to reinvent everything, because the code for the current state-of-the-art was usually closed source. You usually had to break stuff if you wanted to fix problems.

    But in the land of FOSS, you can actually go around and fix everything, and while much less sexy, it's usually the smarter move.

  • by slack_justyb (862874) on Friday March 29, 2013 @05:21PM (#43315015)
    Because that solution just sounds silly.

    The whole point of Wayland, and I could be wrong on this one, is to avoid the mistakes of X. From your solution, we just go back to the days of hack around the core.

    The core protocol is flawed and the project shouldn't be afraid to make some sort of shift when there is a pretty good reason for that change. If dude was purposing change for just change sake, yeah I would get it. But the protocol doesn't implement basic window management within the core, and makes it insanely difficult at the plugin level. I, for one, think dude has a point.

    That is exactly what happened to X. Everyone was afraid of changing the core protocol, afraid that it would break older stuff. Look where that got it. About a bazillion extensions. At some point backwards compatibility breaks the baker and I know that is hearsay in the OSS community. I know there has been a lot of boneheaded change for change sake forks, but I really don't see this as falling into that category.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 29, 2013 @07:15PM (#43315621)
    No. When you try to "resolve the differences and take the best ideas", you end up with a product designed by a committee. And I think there is no need to explain how stupidly over-designed, trying-to-cater-to-all-needs, and generally useless products designed by committee are.

    Yes, "survival of the fittest" is generally wasteful in terms of development resources. The results are, however, usually the most fit. Think of this as capitalism vs carefully government controlled economy, and how capitalism is usually referred as the least evil of economic systems.

    In the long-term, society wins, and there is plenty of historical data to confirm it.
  • There comes a point where there is no readily identifiable "best" strategy. Perhaps there are tradeoffs in either direction. Perhaps one persons says, "the rule of thumb that holds for the common case, doesn't apply here." Perhaps there are valid differences about what goal to optimize for -- it is a law of the universe that you can't optimize in all directions at once.

    At some point the only way to decide the issue one way is to fork the code and see what becomes popular. As an outsider, you don't really have a good perspective on whether this is justifiable. Clearly the magic code factory has stopped for the moment, but coding efforts are probably stalled more often than not. I started on a new project a few weeks ago, and I don't expect to be doing anything but refactoring and bug fixes for several weeks to come. And if I decided that it was just as much trouble to start over with a bare set of classes and do things the way I think they should have been done the first time, are you going to call me out on it? Is there any better proof of the viability of that strategy but in the execution? Perhaps this will be a better performing or more feature-ful product, and perhaps not, but if the only thing learned from the experience is that "doing it this way turned out to be a bad idea," that still counts as a win in my book.

    A failure is something you don't learn anything from.

    Lastly, as counterproductive as a fork may be, it's nowhere near as hard to merge changes as it would be if the guy had just started a whole new project. Which is the biggest reason to cry foul over Canonical's development efforts.

  • Re:Explanation (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 29, 2013 @07:19PM (#43315665)

    X is fine locally. It's even more suitable as a gaming platform than Windows and that's probably the best metric for deciding how suitable a local display is.

    Ha, ha, ha! That's the funniest zealot's claim I've heard this year. Keep it up!

    That's just mindless Lemming trolling.

    Yes, Jedidiah, you do a lot of mindless Lemming trolling, but that's what makes you so much fun to have around. Keep on trollin', we'll keep reading.

  • by hawkinspeter (831501) on Friday March 29, 2013 @08:10PM (#43315907)
    If he's right, then maybe his fork will gain momentum. If he's wrong, then he'll be wasting some of his time, but I bet he'll learn from the experience either way.

    Often it takes someone to branch out and start something to jumpstart development so that other people see what's been done and think it's worth contributing to. Unless someone makes that jump, we'd never know what might have been.
  • by serviscope_minor (664417) on Saturday March 30, 2013 @05:26AM (#43317333) Journal

    The core protocol is flawed

    Bullshit!

    The core protocol is very very good.

    There are a fewnow obsoloete bits like the bitmap graphics and fonts, but the rest of the core is fundementally sound.

    So, unless you can provide some evidence that the protocol is flawed, then go back under your rock.

    Oh yeah and Keith Packard: quotes don't count. He might be a core X11 developer but he's also a one man FUD machine, which is really sad.

    About a bazillion extensions.

    So? Let me repeat that, so?

    The protocol is *designed* for extensions. Extensions are simply the X equivalent of adding more API calls.

    Look at Linux: it is a POSIX kernel, but with LOADS of extensions! Does anyone whine "oe woe posix is flawed linux has so many extensions it's fundementally broken lets nuke it stard from scratch and by the way no one needs multi user right?"?

    Seriously, who the fuck cares if they're "extensions" or "core", any more that if I care if the networking zero copy super low latency fast stuff is an extension or in the core POSIX system call interface? A clue: no one cares.

    No one cares on Windows either! Turns out that Windows 8 implements all those Win32 calls right back to the Win32S (a Windows 3.X era thing) API. Do you hear anyone complaining that because Windows has some old API calls in it that it is fundementally flawed and the mere existence of old APIs taints it? No, because that would be stupid.

    Likewise: you know OSX used to allow you to run OS9 and earlier binaries! My got it supports old stuff!! It must be fundementally flawed! Oh my god! Every system supports some degree of backwards compatibility!! They are ALL FLAWED! We must rewrite them all in javascript on the cloud in HTML5 except that all the browsers can render HTML 3.1 so they are flawed too!!!

    Here's what astonishes me: people hate X so much that they complain (a) when it's too old and (b) when the developers add API calls to make it more up to date!

    Actually, I'm in favour of updating the core protocol, or adding some hefty extensions to reduce latency NX style---though XCB actually is a fair improvement over xlib---but Wayhand is not the answer to that because it removes basically everything.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 30, 2013 @10:16AM (#43318315)

    This. a thousand times!

    Sacking network transparency for the sake of having animated window transition effects is, what's a fundamentally flawed design.

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