It’s time to admit it: the X.Org server is abandonware

It’s time to admit it: the X.Org server is abandonware
It’s time to admit it: the X.Org server is abandonware

The last major release of the X.Org server was in May 2018, but don’t expect the long-awaited X.Org server 1.21 to actually be released anytime soon.

This shouldn’t come as a surprise, but a well-known open source developer from Intel has admitted that the X.Org server is pretty much abandonware, with Wayland being the future. This is because the development of X.Org Server has hit a low of nearly two decades. The X.Org server is far from its six-month release regiment as it hasn’t seen a major version in more than two years, and no one is reinforcing version 1.21.

A year ago there was a proposal to push new releases through continuous integration testing, but even that didn’t work out, and as we roll into 2021 there is no motivation to release new versions of the X.Org server from those who are able to do so with it.

Red Hat staff have long been involved in managing X.Org Server versions, but because Fedora Workstation uses Wayland by default, and this is how RHEL works, they were not anxious to allocate resources for new X.Org Server versions. Other important stakeholders have also refused to switch to version 1.21 or to provide important resources for new xorg server versions.

This week was a preliminary merge request to allow atomic support in the xf86 video mode setting DDX. The point is actually to partially restore support (and not enabled by default) after having previously disabled the atomic code due to errors.

Daniel Vetter from the Intel Kernel Graphics Driver Team and DRM co-maintainer commented: “The biggest concern I have is that xserver will be demolition ware, with no regular releases from the main branch. So we had to blacklist X. Without someone to take care of it, activating features has only major drawbacks in my opinion.“(On the other hand, it’s not too surprising that it came from an Intel Linux developer, considering it has been more than six years since the last DDX version of xf86-video-intel.)

Aside from Red Hat, Intel has been the only other large organization lately willing to devote resources to areas like X.Org Release Management, but although they let go of some of their Wayland people years ago, they don’t seem interested in This is very much in the way of X.Org Server’s progress into 2021. Since Ubuntu 21.04 may also use Wayland by default for its GNOME session, KDE Wayland support will no longer be supported and other advances will continue. X.Org Server 1.21 can work very well, proving to be an elusive release.

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