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One Year of OpenSolaris and X

Alan Coopersmith
Senior Principal Software Engineer
OpenSolaris 1 Year Anniversary

One year ago today, I wrote about how X fit into the OpenSolaris plans and why the portions released then were just the first of the Solaris consolidations to be released. Since then, OpenSolaris has expanded from just the core OS/Networking (ON) consolidation to include the X Window System, Java Desktop System, Installation & Packaging, Storage, and various other consolidations.

It took a little longer than originally planned to start getting our X sources out (the original schedule I posted in September assumed X.Org would be sticking to their scheduled release of 6.9 in October, but that slipped to nearly the end of December), but they were released at the end of March.

As of the latest posted biweekly code drop, we've released the build infrastructure, source changes, and packaging to the Xorg server; the Mesa, Xft2, freetype, and fontconfig libraries; our forked version of xscreensaver; and the header files in the xproto package at the root of the Xorg modular dependency tree. Work on converting our tree to use the Xorg modular sources continues, and every time we convert a package, that's one more bit of the tree for which our sources become published.

Additionally we've published the sources to the Xtsol extension which provides multi-level security in X, and came to us from the Trusted Solaris product, which is being reshaped into the Trusted Extensions add-on package for Solaris. One of my big current projects is reconciling this with the X-ACE & SELinux X work which was done in a branch of the old X.Org monolith tree and never merged in, so that we can get changes merged into the main X.Org source needed to support both projects.

Going forward, while we know we'll probably never match the X.Org release 100% and always have some customisations and fixes we apply to it, our goal is really to concentrate development in a way that most changes flow back into the main X.Org tree, and that our OpenSolaris releases become as much as possible just a thin layer of building and packaging around those. (That's not just my wishful thinking either, but the instructions we've been given by my boss's boss.)

So where are we going with X in Solaris? As you could probably guess from the presentations our team gave at this year's X Developer's Conference two areas currently getting a lot of our attention are improving the autoconfiguration of Xorg (we still ship Solaris with no xorg.conf by default, relying on autoconfiguration, and want to make that work well enough that xorg.conf files become a rarely used item for exception cases) and in getting power management, especially suspend-and-resume, working reliably on Solaris. Changes to Xorg to improve autoconfiguration have started appearing in recent Solaris Nevada builds and the OpenSolaris code drops, and there's a bunch more in testing and development now. Many of these have also been fed back to the X.Org bugzilla as well, where we hope they'll go in the main drivers and benefit all platforms.

Xorg is definitely our future, as we're concentrating new development there and Xsun is moving to more of a maintenance state. DRI for Solaris Xorg is coming from our compatriots in the Solaris driver team in Beijing, and we're hoping to see some nice performance boosts for the ATI and Intel graphics chips there, though they'll still probably lag a bit behind what NVIDIA's accelerated driver can do for their hardware on Solaris. I wish I could give timeframes for when Solaris will get DRI or Xorg support for SPARC graphics or Sun Ray, but unfortunately, my crystal ball doesn't work that well (as my far off the mark dates for our OpenSolaris X releases proved).

So there you have it - the past, present, and future of the X Window System in OpenSolaris one year into this wild ride. Who knows where we'll be after year two...

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