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Bug#220493: So why is Debian's XFree86 old?....



On Fri, Nov 14, 2003 at 02:03:59AM +0100, Uwe Storbeck wrote:
> On Nov 13, Daniel Stone wrote:
> > On Thu, Nov 13, 2003 at 01:58:28AM -0500, Nathanael Nerode wrote:
> > > The second answer is "integration".  The number of packaging issues 
> > > which come up in packaging such a big project are very large, and it can 
> > > take quite a while to resolve them all.
> > 
> > Yes. Splitting xlibs/xbase-clients, breaking the xlibs build out so you
> > can choose to use the freedesktop.org versions ... none of this is
> > particularly easy.
> 
> Did not know that there are so many changes in structure between
> XFree86 subreleases that this has new to be done for each subrelease.
> Thanks to Debian I last compiled all the X stuff by myself a couple of
> years ago ;-).

It doesn't really have to be done for 4.3 per se, but with the emergence
of freedesktop.org as a source of XFree86 competition, we are
positioning ourselves to be able to provide the alternatives. This means
some pretty painful infrastructure work with XFree86.

The rot started when we realized that the Xft/Xrender/Render/fontconfig
with XFree86 was really old, and starting to cause problems; we provided
alternatives for these (the real upstream versions, from Keith Packard),
and then realized that this really had to be extended to all libraries.

> > > The more specific-to-right-now answer is that even adapting all of the 
> > > preexisting Debian patches (against 4.2.1) to patch 4.3.0 seems to be 
> > > taking quite a while.  I believe that the way they are being updated is 
> > > intended to make this process easier in the future, although any member 
> > > of the X Strike Force may correct me.  :-)
> > 
> > Branden's going through and checking all the patches for any regressions
> > that may have occurred; I intend to start helping with this sometime
> > after Tuesday, in between post-exam celebrations.
> 
> Does this mean you are jumping over 4.3 and just start to patch 4.4?
> Code freeze for XFree86 4.4 is in about two weeks, would make sense :-).

No, it doesn't mean that at all. Even if we dropped work on 4.3 now and
went straight to 4.4, it would still take us a while. I am personally
targetting 4.3 for sarge, and another XSF member has expressed this
view, although I do not know if he still holds it.

> I again did not know that there are so many Debian specific patches
> against XFree86, sorry.

It's just the unfortunate reality - we're the de facto XFree86
portability lab. That's the price you have to pay for being the only
guys who care about most of our 14-or-so architectures.

> But OTOH did the XFree team not integrate the Debian patches into
> their source tree, if they don't break other things which should be
> unlikely because of the bunch of architectures tested under Debian?

They integrate some, but my previous 'patch-bombings' of upstream got
very little response, which made me reluctant to go through that much
work again. I'm tempted to organize another patch run now we have
Bugzilla and people like Egbert Eich monitoring it constantly, but yeah.
It's notoriously difficult to get anything into XFree86, let alone a
patch for an architecture they don't care about (i.e. not i386).

-- 
Daniel Stone                                                <daniels@debian.org>
Debian X Strike Force:                    http://people.debian.org/~branden/xsf/

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