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Debian Software Linux

Debian Sid Moves to X.Org 212

debiansid writes "Yes, Debian sid finally has X.Org. The Changelogs suggest that some work has been taken from the Ubuntu packages of X.Org. Here is an article that gives details on how to migrate to X.Org on sid. This article, by the way, has been posted from an X.Org based X-Window System, and it really IS much faster than XFree86."
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Debian Sid Moves to X.Org

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  • Oh really? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 17, 2005 @11:24AM (#13086735)
    This article, by the way, has been posted from an X.Org based X-Window System, and it really IS much faster than XFree86."

    Last I checked, the only difference between the two was the license and a couple of new drivers. Certainly nothing to explain a "much faster" performance. Perhaps you could explain to us in a little more detail, how your's is "much faster"? Does it have anything to do with the fact that you are using it on a newer and more powerful machine?
    • Re:Oh really? (Score:4, Informative)

      by Sodki ( 621717 ) on Sunday July 17, 2005 @11:27AM (#13086749)
      Initially, X.Org was just a fork of Xfree86, but no more. Good "under the hood" work has been done recently in the X.Org field.
      • A while back, I had looked into what would be involved in setting up a X.Org traffic weekly/monthly/whatever. If anyone is interested in doing this, I have some info from Zack Brown [] who does Kernel Traffic [] about how he makes it all happen. Something like that for the various X.Org lists (DRI-devel, and the X.Org lists themselves) would be very helpful I think. I wish I had the time and patience to make it happen myself. :(

        I think it would be very helpful for attracting new developers if people could e
    • by DaedalusHKX ( 660194 ) on Sunday July 17, 2005 @11:27AM (#13086750) Journal
      They're using "fglrx" drivers from ATI instead of the default 2d "ati" drivers :)

      But what do I know, it only quadrupled my framerate in OpenGL apps. So all it comes down to, is probably much newer or more complete video drivers.
    • Speaking of speed. Has anyone tried DirectFB? I hear its supposed to offer more features/speed, but it seems a bit too betaish for me to try it. Was wondering if anyone more brave has tried it with a Radeon 7000. Would love to leach some info off of them.
    • Re:Oh really? (Score:5, Informative)

      by niko9 ( 315647 ) on Sunday July 17, 2005 @11:40AM (#13086806)
      Last I checked, the only difference between the two was the license and a couple of new drivers. Certainly nothing to explain a "much faster" performance. Perhaps you could explain to us in a little more detail, how your's is "much faster"? Does it have anything to do with the fact that you are using it on a newer and more powerful machine?

      Not true. look here []

      I have both the Radeon (at home) and the Intel i810 drivers in use witht he new Xorg in Sid, and performance in 2D is a little faster.

      Using transparency with the damage extension is a whole other story....

      My thanks to all who worked hard on getting Xorg into debian.
      • Re:Oh really? (Score:5, Informative)

        by niko9 ( 315647 ) on Sunday July 17, 2005 @11:46AM (#13086829)
        I forgot to add:

        * ATI Radeon driver updates:
        o Merged Framebuffer support (dualhead with DRI)
        o DynamicClocks option (reduced power usage)
        o Render acceleration (r100, r200 chips only)
        o Support for new ATI chips (R420/M18, R423, RV370/M22, RV380/M24, RS300)
        o DRI support for IGP chips
        o Xv gamma correction
        o Updated 3D drivers
        o Many other small fixes
        * Chips driver update
        o Improved BE support
        * MGA driver updates
        o Support for DDC and DPMS on second head on G400
        o Updated 3D driver
        * Neomagic driver updates
        o Support for Xv on pre-nm2160 chips
        o Pseudocolor overlay mode (=PseudoColor emulation)
        o Improved support for lowres double scan modes
        * i810 driver updates
        o Dualhead support (i830+)
        o i915 support
        o New 3D driver (i830+)
        o i810 driver is now supported for AMD64
        * S3 driver updates
        o Support for additional IBM RAMDACS
        * Savage driver updates
        o Pseudocolor overlay mode
        * SiS driver updates include
        o output device hotplugging
        o lots of fixes for 661, 741, 760
        o extended interface for SiSCtrl?
        o extended LCD handling (allow more modes)
        o HDTV support (480p, 480i, 720p. 1080i; 315/330 series)
        o Added video blitter Xv adapter (315/330 series)
        o extended RENDER acceleration
        o SiS driver now supported on AMD64
        * New Voodoo driver (Alan Cox)
        o Provides native (glide-less) acceleration and mode setup for voodoo/voodoo2 boards

    • I believe it was 6.8.2(on my mac so I can't check) that was a big release, after installing it I had noticeable performance improvements.
  • changelogs (Score:5, Funny)

    by bonk ( 13623 ) on Sunday July 17, 2005 @11:26AM (#13086745)
    Ubuntu changelogs suggest some work was taken from Debian as well.

    • Ubuntu changelogs suggest some work was taken from Debian as well.

      I would imagine that is the case, and I don't think anyone is pretending that it isn't.

      While I think it is nice that Ubuntu is contributing to Linux, I am curious why it had to be the case, wouldn't that make Debian distribution development the slowest of the major distributions?
  • One complication... (Score:5, Informative)

    by stevey ( 64018 ) on Sunday July 17, 2005 @11:31AM (#13086767) Homepage

    One complication to the upgrade not really covered here (I wrote that article) is the simultaneous C++ ABI transition Debian Unstable is going through.

    This means that upgrading might cause you to loose a lot of packages like gdm, etc.

    So if you try the upgrade and apt-get, or aptitude demand you remove lots of packages then the reason is the C++ ABI change - and if you simply wait a few days/weeks it should resolve itself.

    At the time the article was posted things were less bad.

    • by ansible ( 9585 )

      It would be really nice if Debian started another release process right after the transition to and the C++ ABI are finished.

      I really like Debian, and I'd prefer not to wait a couple years for the next release. :-)

    • Actually the only problems I'm having is losing packages due to the GL library package rename and conflict. Why couldn't they contact the blender, audacity, vlc or csound maintainers for instance? Yes I know it's sid, that's not an excuse for bad communication. This, more than anything is going to get Debian a bad reputation.

      • You know it's sid, but apparently don't know what that means. Sid is an experimental fork, recommended for use by Debian developers only. It is highly unstable, and Debian never claimed otherwise. If you want to use Debian with Xorg, wait at least until it gets into Testing.
    • Watch out when you loose those packages, they tend to be hard to catch and can hide out in the crawl space!!

    • Why, o why do they always make changing the C++ ABI such an effort? It takes some credibility out of C++ as a stable lower-level programming target if such a relatively frequently occuring change in the core obsoletes so much essential packages.

      (Oh and please, don't make any sharp remarks about the quality of C++ as a language that I have already swallowed ;-)
      • When GCC changes the Application Binary Interfaces (ABIs), wholesale breakage is unavoidable until everything is at least recompiled... and adjusted wherever people use ABI-bound wizardry to pull off some stunts such as runtime code generation/modification to setup dynamic library function stubs.

        GCC's ABIs are usually changed to fix flaws and increase efficiency. They do not change that often for the older architectures where common practice and optimal sequences are well documented.
      • by ArbitraryConstant ( 763964 ) on Sunday July 17, 2005 @03:50PM (#13087972) Homepage
        "Why, o why do they always make changing the C++ ABI such an effort? It takes some credibility out of C++ as a stable lower-level programming target if such a relatively frequently occuring change in the core obsoletes so much essential packages."

        The GCC people are the ones changing the ABI, and they're the ones losing credibility.
        • by Anonymous Coward
          The GCC people are changing the API as the enormously complex C++ standard changes beneath them. It's C++ that's losing credibility (frankly anyone who can get a reasonably compilant C++ compiler out the door deservces praise)
      • Why, o why do they always make changing the C++ ABI such an effort?

        Because that's the way C++ is designed: it has lots and lots of dependencies on data structure and vtable layouts. Why? Because it may save a few cycles in a few places that don't usually matter. The price you pay is that upgrades are a PITA.

        Objective-C is a little better in this regard (but unfortunately has lots of other problems).
  • *blink* *blink* (Score:3, Interesting)

    by WWWWolf ( 2428 ) <> on Sunday July 17, 2005 @11:33AM (#13086776) Homepage

    Yesterday, I was having headaches updating something because Debian was again in motion and not all libjack packages had been recompiled to 0.100 yet. Among other things, libsdl1.2-dev was somehow suffering from this. I wanted to upgrade that package, but it depended on something called libglu1-xorg-dev. At which point I got worried...

    apt-get search shows "xserver-xorg".

    My first reaction was along the lines of "Well, as they might say, the End is Nigh" and the second thought was "wonder if anyone has a migration guide?"

    Thanks for answering the second bit, I was already wondering why Slashdot hasn't noted this. I mean, I'm guessing I'm getting old if I find out the cool stuff before it gets posted =)

    • LOL. I got bit by the same thing last night. THe libglu1-xorg thing is pissing me off, though, because gdm, startx, etc, depend on one version, while xine depends on another. I can't have them both isntalled simultaniously...
    • PS> I don't suppose you know why GNOME is completely fubared in sid, do you? Somethinga bout libaspell15 not being installable?
    • Migration guide:

      I don't know what crap the distro has thrown in, but if the package manager isn't forcing things to break it goes like this:
      # cp XF86Config-4 xorg.conf
  • I am running Debian (PPC) on my Mac Mini which has a 32 MB ATI Radeon video (with DVI output.) If I switch to (which I am using with Slackware on my laptops,) is the support of my radeon going to be enhanced, or is this just about the license?
  • heh, sid (Score:3, Funny)

    by tehshen ( 794722 ) <> on Sunday July 17, 2005 @11:37AM (#13086793)
    Woody: Reach for the!
    Sid Phillips: Huh?
    Woody: This system ain't big enough for the two of us!
    Sid Phillips: What?
    Woody: Somebody's poisoned the XFree86!
    Sid Phillips: It's busted.
    Woody: Who are you calling busted, Buster?
    Sid Phillips: Huh?

    (Toy story)
  • Comparisons? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by MindNumbingOblivion ( 668443 ) on Sunday July 17, 2005 @11:39AM (#13086803)
    I realize I'm about to open a potential can of worms, but I really must know. I'm not that experienced with X, other than using GNOME or KDE. What are the pros and cons between XFree86 and X.Org? I think most of the boxen I've used were XFree86 based, and I am uncertain whether I have ever used one based on X.Org.
    • Re:Comparisons? (Score:3, Informative)

      by stevey ( 64018 )

      The big pro is since the licensing change almost all Linux vendors have moved to

      That means there's more momentum behind it, and a lot of work will be happening on the new codebase - in a more open way.

      Technically, right now, there are some changes between the two but nothing major unless you're using one of the cards for which the driver has been updated.

    • What are the pros and cons between XFree86 and X.Org?

      XFree86 changed their license last year, and this is the reason several *BSD and Linux distributions changed to X.Org. Xorg is based upon the latest unencumbered Free (just before XFree86 4.4), and developed from there.

      Most users won't see much difference, yet, but XFree86 alienated many (most?) of their developers .

      OpenBSD care more about free licenses than most, and they where less than pleased with the XFree86 license change; enough to inclu

    • Re:Comparisons? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Homology ( 639438 )
      You asked about the difference as a desktop user between XFree86 and X.Org, and you got modded flamebait by some clueless moderator. How ironic that your sig says "#define CLUE 0".
  • cool news, but it doesn't seem to be in Etch just yet.
    • After all of the package breakage is sorted out and it's been at least 14 days, then these packages will find their way into testing ('etch') if there are no critical bugs. You can check the status of this in the "excuses file" located on Debian's FTP site [].
  • *mumble* (Score:5, Funny)

    by Simon Kongshoj ( 581494 ) <skongshoj.oncable@dk> on Sunday July 17, 2005 @11:41AM (#13086809) Homepage
    ....and on the same day I finally switched to Ubuntu. First time I read /. after installing Ubuntu, I see this! Typical. :-)
    • ...and on the same day I finally switched to Ubuntu. First time I read /. after installing Ubuntu, I see this! Typical. :-)

      I moved my g/f to Kubuntu after she lost KDE on her Debian unstable machine with an upgrade the other day. I'll probably stick to Gentoo myself but I must say so far it does look like the perfect combo of being fairly stable but up to date.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Note to author: the usage of "moves" is ambiguous in title. It is unclear, from context alone, if it is being used as a transitive or intransitive verb.

  • X.Org supports accellerated dualhead with driver radeon(4) with pseudo-xinerama (mergedfb). XFree86, forget about it. And with just single head, using same driver.. Enemy Territory is now playable, was not in XFree86 and forced r200 ATi users to ATi propietary Closed Source. I'd say this is a major improvement. Forget about Composite extension, it's still EXPERIMENTAL in 6.8.2.
  • nvidia drivers? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by WWWWolf ( 2428 )

    So... anyone yet tried how well this works with the NVIDIA drivers (specifically, using Debian's own nvidia packages - nvidia-glx and nvidia-kernel-source through make-kpkg)?

    Anyone tried yet? How's things?

    Applications can be broken for all I care, but I need my OpenGL =)

  • Under the hood ... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Ezdaloth ( 675945 ) on Sunday July 17, 2005 @11:54AM (#13086866) Homepage

    with all the good work on tranparancy, and nice effects, i'm still missing one big under-the-hood change: use something like DRM/DRI for all 2d graphics too! (similar to directfb, windows, maxosX, etc)

    Currently there are hundreds of context-switches between the x-server and your applications just to draw things. Windows doens't have that (since w2k anyways) and it increased windows' graphics performance quite some bit. MacOS has quartz extreme 2d now, and it increased their performance. This really slows things down. :-(

    I think before more fancy effects are added that only make the whole thing slower are added, these under-the-hood optimizations should be done!

    • by Anonymous Coward
      It's allready in X.Org CVS, new EXA accelleration. Working in driver sis(4) and soon to be in radeon(4). Let's just hope EXA for radeon(4) gets into X.Org 6.9/7.0. It's mentioned here: []
    • I am not sure that you are familiar with the work going on now for creating new acceleration for 8&tid=104&tid=130 []

      This aims to do exactly what you are talking about and some more (as I understand it).


    • Windows and DirectFB don't do anything like that right now, only Quartz 2D "Extreme" does.
  • server seems to be slashdotted and this [] doesn't get it yet (for me)... anyone got a mirror?

    • Debian Unstable gets

      Posted by Steve [] in the Debian [] section on Wed 13 Jul 2005 at 17:10

      Debian has now made the transition to the installation of the X11 Window system. If you're running sid/etch you should be able to upgrade now.

      The transition had previously been on hold until Sarge was released - as it was judged too major a change to add to the release at the last minute.

      Now Sarge is out Debian development continues and one of the most anticipated changes is upon

  • It seems like you have cracked your deadlock which was more or less Sarge release (of coarse lot of Debianists will claim that it was just how it was to be - and I partly agree with them). There are lot of things will change in Debian soon - as Mandrake and co are planning to weight in with creation of enteprise level distro based on it and lot of development which was held back after Sarge release is really happening now - and I excited to see my second favorite distro to move forward faster and faster.
  • Take a look at the jump in the number of release-critical bugs []! Is this all related to or is there some other major change in the works?

  • by andersa ( 687550 ) on Sunday July 17, 2005 @01:21PM (#13087257)
    The changes has broken the experimental packages of KDE 3.4.1 on Alioth because of unfulfilled dependencies.

    If you use those packages you should hold off with this upgrade for a while as it will cause many of the core KDE packages to uninstall breaking KDE completely.
  • by Sark666 ( 756464 ) on Sunday July 17, 2005 @02:01PM (#13087430)
    I have debian sid installed with Xfree still without issue. I've always just installed the nvidia binaries from their site with no problems. I also wanted to check out ubuntu and installed it and still have no issues with nvidia binaries, not a single crash/lockup.

    However, a lot of people seem to have this dreaded X lockup with nvidia binaries, and just about all of them were using Xorg. This can either be a complete freeze, or the pointer still moving but nothing is responsive. Usually you can still kill X but not always. This has also happened to my brother who was frustrated with mandrake and packages, so I recommended ubuntu to him. I went over to his house installed it and everything seemed fine. Then he had a lock up an hour in. Then another. The weird thing is, it doesn't usually happen during playing say an opengl game, but usually on the desktop by just moving the pointer quickly.

    He never had these issues with mandrake 10. I installed various versions of the nvidia binary including the one he used to use with mandrake but all the same. I looked at the specs of mdk 10 (2.6.3 Xfree86). I'm not sure if it's a kernel issue, Xfree, or some other thing like (apci or apm?)

    The logs give an error (i believe nvrm xid error) but nothing that would lead one to a solution.

    Please don't reply to this saying this isn't a tech support forum. I've searched many forums trying to help my brother. At there are a couple of threads that go on for about 20 pages with many users having this problem with no solution in sight. I just thought I'd take a stab at the /. Maybe one of you have dealt with the problem and actually solved it.
    • I've experienced this problem too (frozen screen with pointer still moving), but since I disabled acceleration for the render extension it went away. All you have to do is add the following line (or change it if it's already there) in the device section of your nvidia card in xorg.conf:

      Option "RenderAccel" "false"

      Also make sure you've disabled the composite extension, as it's still unstable.

      • Sorry, I should have expanded on the things I've tried. One of the first was the renderaccel option, which didn't help. Besides trying ever nvidia binary under the sun, we next tried flashing his bios as some have reported that helped. Then I compiled a custom kernel as the ubuntu kernel as rivafb support compiled in.

        I've stopped at that point, wanting to investigate more before trying more drastic things, like going to 2.6.3 kernel as thats what worked for him in mdk. Also considered going to xfree86
  • Yes, I too upgraded to, specifically to get the DynamicCLocks feature working on my Thinkpad T42p to increase battery life and reduce heat on the GPU.

    Unfortunately, installing, and JUST, required the removal of 526 packages from my system (yes, exactly 547 packages, which you can see here [], sorted alphabetically).

    This included all of GNOME, themes, widgets, applets, all of KDE and related packages, pose (the Palm OS Emulator) and its foundation lib FLTK, abiword,, and

  • I know I shouldn't use /. as a technical forum but I'm going to anyhow. A few days ago I upgraded to in debian and it discovered my on board video card as a trident compatible just fine. But when started all I got was a white screen and my virtual terminals went hay wire. So I rolled back to xfree86 which continued to work. Has asyone else had this problem. Has it been corrected?
  • I did the upgrade in Debian today and everything went smooth, except xinput, which is no longer working for me, Gimp doesn't show the devices (graphic tablet) at all and xinput shows them, but fails to read from them:

    $ xinput test gstylus
    X Error of failed request: BadDevice, invalid or uninitialized input device
    Major opcode of failed request: 150 (XInputExtension)
    Minor opcode of failed request: 3 (X_OpenDevice)
    Serial number of failed request: 11
    Current serial number in output stream:
    • Figured it out, problem actually didn't have much todo with xorg itself, but with a bunch of other Debian upgrades happening at the same time.

      First of the wacom module build per default with gcc-4.0, but needed gcc-3.3, else it gets rejected by the kernel, manually tweaking the symlink /usr/bin/gcc helped to force a build with the right gcc version.

      Secondly udev in sid requires kernel-2.6.12, but Debian only ships 2.6.11, so it won't start and some device files will be missing, workaround was to 'mknod' t
  • I built a Sid partition on this laptop to try out Xorg. Quite well done! Easiest X install this side of KNOPPIX. Also the Sarge installer was top notch as well. The only problem I've seen is that the kde package depends on an older library provided by MESA and that conflicts with a newer one installed with xorg.

    So, to install kde I must uninstall xorg, or thereabouts. At least that's the impression I'm getting from Aptitude. Ah well, I'll give it some time to sort out.

Perfection is acheived only on the point of collapse. - C. N. Parkinson