Help needed to stabilize xorg-server 1.5.3 and friends

It has indeed been quite a while since I’ve written anything here, but I’ll try to keep it both short and focused. Longer rants on other topics should follow once I have some more time.

So what’s going on in the X/Gentoo land, you ask?

Well, we’re aiming to stabilize xorg-server 1.5.3 and a whole batch of other stuff Real Soon Now ™.

Why is this a big deal?

Because X is pretty much central when it comes to the desktop. While we can’t risk breaking it too often, we can’t afford staying with the current situation for stable users. Xorg 1.3 is old, unsupported, has unfixable bugs and it smells like that piece of meat in the back of your fridge.

But Xorg 1.5 doesn’t do {feature X} or support {hardware Y}!!!

I know, and it’s a tough call. We’ve been putting off the stabilization of newer Xorg servers precisely because of that. But now, we’re in a situation where newer versions fix more bugs and support more hardware. Yes, some people will be pissed off and I’m not exactly thrilled about pissing users off. But we have to move on.

Can’t you wait for Xorg 1.6 then?

No, because there are more users waiting for 1.5 than users who will benefit from 1.6. And by going to newer drivers now, we can help spot issues faster and get more bugs fixed for newer releases. With each new X release, the server handles less and less hardware details directly, leaving the kernel and X drivers do all the dirty work. Once we stabilize 1.5, going to 1.6 should be much easier than older upgrades.

Alright, you win, how can I help?

That’s the spirit! I strongly urge as many stable users as possible to try this because, Xorg 1.5.3 will go stable one way or another. The sooner you test it, the sooner you can adapt.

  1. Go to the stabilization bug,
  2. Fetch the stabilization list “x11.stable.list” and append it to /etc/portage/package.keywords
  3. run emerge -DuNav world
  4. Just to be safe, run emerge $(qlist -C -I x11-drivers/) -1av to rebuild your X drivers (portage may have updated things in the wrong order, better safe than sorry)

Once all this is done, you should have a brand new Xorg on your machine. Here’s a quick list of things you should look out for :

  • HAL support now actually works but may conflict with your xorg.conf, it can be easily solved though.
  • the Intel driver is no longer called i810, but intel. You’ll need to update your xorg.conf, otherwise X won’t start.
  • the open-source ATI driver xf86-video-ati now only supports Radeon chipsets. Rage Pro owners will have to use xf86-video-mach64 or xf86-video-r128 instead.
  • Please don’t comment on the stabilization bug if you have issues. Either come talk to us on #gentoo-desktop or file bugs in our trusty Bugzilla

Please help us move away from Xorg 1.3 and into the present with Xorg 1.5. We’ll take care of the future (aka 1.6) when this is done. πŸ™‚


Edit: added bullet on Radeon support
Edit 2: added –one-shot to the emerge command

24 thoughts on “Help needed to stabilize xorg-server 1.5.3 and friends”

  1. >/etc/portage/package.keywords
    Wouldn’t it be better BTW to give a hint to use directories rather than appending it to a single file ?

  2. That’s the post I have been waiting for…thanks, I will surely test on two machines

  3. Is there an upgrade guide – what do I need to do to

  4. It’s about time πŸ™‚
    Not to please anyone – but because of KDE4 we already put >=xorg-server-1.5.3 in eclasses in kde-testing overlay, so there should be already enough ‘volunteers’ πŸ™‚

  5. I’ve been running this in unstable for a while (I think) and haven’t seen any other problems than HAL not working at all.

    I tried different “porting” solutions from xorg to HAL, but all it does when I try HAL is run X at a gruesome speed, barely letting me feed input to it. There is obviously something hogging all the CPU power. I don’t think the mouse worked either.

    Sadly I can’t test this now (I wish I could help you!) since my GPU seems to have begun its travel down to lucifer, and completely freezes my entire computer (not even the power button works) if I try starting X. And putting in a new card doesn’t work either, so there must some sort of mobo issue.

  6. Apparently there is no Gentoo upgrade guide?

    Anyway, the following remarks would have helped me a lot if I had read them yesterday:

    1. If you are not already using the evdev driver, make sure to ensure the input_evdev useflag for xorg-server (or add evdev to the INPUT-line in your make.conf). HAL will suggest to X to use this driver as a default for (almost) any input, and if it is not present there is no input.

    2. If you are not already using the evdev driver and if you are using xmodmap to change your keyboard layout, you should remove your ~/.Xmodmap file, since it may lead to very strange behaviour on your keyboard (apparently different drivers use different codes for the same keys).

    3. As concerns the xorg.conf: My old xorg.conf did not work anymore. Running Xorg -configure creates a new one. In case the new one does not work out of the box, it may be a good idea to save the old one and make a diff.

  7. I’m all for stabilizing 1.5 however I did notice that one of the required deps that installed when I recently installed my new laptop system with 1.5 required GCC 4.2+. So it seems the 4.3 stabilization is a blocker on 1.5 progressing forward.

  8. i installed xorg-server and am very happy with program. im all about keeping my computer completly updated.

  9. Worked great for me.
    Beau Henderson: my box is stable and using gcc 4.1.2

  10. Beau: I guess you have sse2 flag enabled. You can just add:
    x11-libs/pixman -sse2
    to your /etc/portage/packages.use and it ought to emerge fine.

    Still, I have another problem. I seem to have a problem migrating my keyboard setting from XKB to HAL.

  11. Bought me a brand new Radeon HD4350 these days and tought this might be a good point to pimp my Gentoo box to xorg-1.5.
    I used unmask list v3. No compilation issues for x86!
    After compilation I generated a brand new xorg.conf with “X -configure” and added

    Section “ServerFlags”
    Option “AutoAddDevices” “off”

    because at least for the moment I’d rather stick with the classic kbd driver.
    Unfortunately neither radeon nor radeonhd provide XV acceleration for my card. But ati-drivers-8.582 appears to work just fine for me, at least with kernel -le 2.6.25.xx.
    Mythtv playback is smooth @1920×1200. Havn’t tested real HD TV, though.

    Excellent πŸ™‚

  12. I recently performed the upgrade to 1.5.3 because I was hoping it would fix a somewhat long-standing issue with X CPU usage spiking to 99% when using Firefox (especially Gmail in Firefox) on amd64. I’m very happy to report that the upgrade has fixed this problem for me. Life is good. No mouse or keyboard issues to report and my simple “nv” driver is working well so far.

    Its just a shame that I didn’t realize there was a dependency list for package.keywords until AFTER I added each one manually. Who doesn’t like typing at the CLI though for an hour? πŸ˜‰

    Thanks again for this post.

  13. It works for me also (amd64, ati drivers 8.582). I didn’t spot any issues for two days of new Xorg usage.

  14. An upgrade guide or better a good HOWTO for using xorg-server with HAL and evdev would be helpful. It seems very confusing on how modify keyboard input. Currently, I use xmodmap. When trying to find how to do stuff the new way, you find half a dozen different ways, but none tell you which version of xorg-server they apply to. This was the only thing keeping me from switching to ~x86/~amd64.

  15. I gave the Xorg update a try yesterday … I have to say that this was very easy. And since I have a very basic Xorg config, I didn’t even have to change anything in there.

    x11-driver-ati works flawlessly, too …

  16. “Not to please anyone – but because of KDE4 we already put >=xorg-server-1.5.3”

    Could you clarify, why such dependency was added to the main tree? I see, that you need a lot of users to test Xorg-7.4, but let I choose myself which unstable software I want to use.

  17. The KDE herd decided to force Xorg 1.5.3 because of the numerous kwin bugs when running on Xorg 1.3.

    I strongly support their decision because it’s doing everyone a big favor.

    I’ll take my share of responsibility for keeping 1.3 in stable for waaay too long.


  18. Thanks for your comment. Anyway I’m allready start the upgrade.

  19. Hi,

    Do somebody known anything about broken xinerama support with xorg-server 1.5.3-r2?

    I was using a xinerama setup since the last 2 years but after I’ve upgraded my xorg-server from to 1.5.3-r2 I can not start X with 2 screens setup anymore, but only with the primary one.

    I’ve also noticed that if I do try to start X only on my second vga board which is a PCI one, it just hangs on a black screen.
    To be able to use the second card instead of the first (an AGP one) I’ve to change VGA’s priority at BIOS and after that, I will not be able to start X on the AGP one, just the PCI.

    I think it’s not a specific gentoo bug as long as a friend of mine experienced the same problem on an Ubuntu with xorg-server 1.5.3 (right now he’s using a dual head board with TwinView).

    Is there any specific place I may file a bug?

    By the way, anything else seems to work fine until now.


  20. Yes, had to use twinview to get everything running again with KDE 4. Note that xinerama still works as expected with XFCE (which I also use).

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