The X.Org Developers
Conference (XDC) is a three-day, one-track event with presentations
covering many different parts of the graphics stack. This year it was held
at Portland State University in Portland, Oregon—home of Voodoo Doughnuts,
which were provided daily. XDC is an intense
experience and this year's edition will lead to a few more articles in the
There were also a few shorter sessions with some news and plans that seem
worth reporting on here.
X.Org Foundation board
member Peter Hutterer reported on the state of the
foundation. The most recent news about the foundation was that it had lost its
501(c)(3) (US) non-profit status in August. Hutterer was happy to report
that had all been reversed. With help from the Software Freedom Law Center
(SFLC), which helped the foundation become a
non-profit in 2012, the foundation was able to regain its status. The
paperwork was "still in transit", he said, but the non-profit status was
Part of the problem that led to the revocation of the non-profit status was
that it is a lot of work to maintain a 501(c)(3) organization. The members
of the foundation board are not lawyers or accountants, he said, and some
are not even living in the US, which makes it that much more difficult. So
the board decided to look into organizations that manage free software
projects, foundations, and the like. Umbrella organizations like the Software Freedom Conservancy (SFC), Apache Software Foundation (ASF), and Software in the Public Interest (SPI) are
set up to handle much of the paperwork for various types of projects.
The board has voted that SPI is the right umbrella
organization for the
X.Org Foundation. That switch is not finalized as it may require a vote of
the X.Org membership, Hutterer said. The board will be consulting with the SFLC
and looking at the by-laws to determine that. Assuming the change is made,
SPI would take 5% of any donations made to the foundation for the work that
it does, which "seems fair", he said.
The foundation has "a slab of money" that remains from a number of years
ago, when it
was getting donations of $100,000 or so per year. It uses that money to
put on XDC and to sponsor the travel of several participants (four this
year, including a Google Summer of Code student and an LWN editor). It also
funds GSoC students and participants in the X.Org Endless Vacation of Code
program. The pile of
money is enough to last for another four or five years, Hutterer said,
before the foundation needs to consider doing some fundraising—something
that's never been done since he became involved.
The foundation is also moving banks after HSBC closed its account for
unclear reasons. "Banks are fun", Hutterer said with a laugh. The current
plan is to move to Bank of America, he said.
The Board of
Directors consists of eight people and four of those seats turn over
There are 78 members of the foundation, which is "lots better than it was a
couple of years ago". Hutterer strongly encouraged those
present to think about joining, which allows
voting in elections and has a few other benefits.
X server 1.15 planning
Keith Packard took the floor on the first day to discuss plans for the X
server 1.15 release. It was supposed to have been released the week of XDC,
but in August he and others realized that the release itself was "really
boring". He asked the assembled developers if there were any features due
in 1.15 that they were "desperate to have". Hutterer mentioned that having
touch input working would be nice, but Packard noted that those changes
backported to 1.14.
In fact, as far as he knows, all of the security,
stability, and usability bug fixes have been added to 1.14. The 1.14
release manager has been making minor releases with those changes, which
are, of course, ABI-compatible with 1.14—unlike 1.15. At this point,
Packard said, 1.15 looks like "1.14 plus an ABI change".
There are, however, many features that are awaiting the release
of 1.15 before they get merged. So, an idea that had been batted around on
IRC was to delay the release of 1.15 until it had some features of note.
Those features might include a rewrite of the Xephyr nested X server (that
deleted "many thousands of lines of code, which is what we do best at
Xorg", Packard said, pronouncing the last word as "zorg"), Packard's own
DRI3 and Present
extensions which are getting close
to being ready to merge, some XWayland changes, Adam Jackson's GLX rewrite
(which removes around 40,000 lines of code), and possibly others.
Packard would talk about DRI3 and Present later in the conference, as would
Jackson about the GLX rewrite, so the final decision would be made after
those discussions. All of the proposed features seemed like
they would plausibly be ready in time for a code freeze at the end of
October. The normal pattern would be for a two-month stabilization period
putting the release of 1.15 at the end of the year. "A Christmas present",
An informal straw poll of those in the room found all in favor of the
proposed change, but there wasn't any real emotion one way or the other.
"Consensus by apathy", one developer suggested, which is a "hallmark of
X.Org" added another—to chuckles around the room.
Packard encouraged anyone with additional features they would like to see
in 1.15 to "let us know".
In the end, the X.Org
calendar shows a final 1.15 release scheduled for December 25.
Links to the slides and videos for most of
the sessions can be found from the XDC schedule page.
[I would like to thank the X.Org Foundation for travel assistance to
Portland for XDC.]
to post comments)