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Brice Goglin's Blog - Debian/X.org notes - Xserver 1.6, Intel 2.6.1, ... what's up in XSF?

Jan. 24th, 2009

21:56 - Debian/X.org notes - Xserver 1.6, Intel 2.6.1, ... what's up in XSF?

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It has been a while since my last post here. Not because nothing happened, but mostly because I did not have time to do much for X. Fortunately, Julien is taking good care of X in Debian so we are still close to latest upstream bits. Obviously, due to Lenny's freeze, everything is happening in experimental these days.

Xserver 1.6

The release Xserver 1.6 is expected in the near future. 1.6-rc1 (1.5.99.901) entered experimental recently. Both video and input driver ABIs changed and very few drivers have been rebuilt so far. So if you're not running Intel or Radeon, you might not be able to upgrade yet. Please be patient :) You might have heard that many things are happening in X.org these days: DRI2, kernel-modesetting (KMS), RandR 1.3, ... Everything is not ready yet, but it's getting close for real.

Radeon 6.10.0 and Intel 2.6.1

Radeon driver 6.10.0 was released in early 2009. As usual, it brings many fixes, and improvements for modern boards (see Alex Deucher's blog for details). However, Radeon is not ready for above DRI2 and KMS yet. Most of the development for these new features is first done in the Intel driver, which got recently bumped to 2.6.1 as well.

DRI2

DRI2 is the new Direct Rendering Infrastructure. The most noticeable change from the user point of view is support for Redirect Direct Rendering, which basically means that your 3D application can be wobbly/transparent in Compiz. See Kristian Høgsberg's blog for details.

If you want to try DRI2 on Intel, you have to enable UXA as the acceleration architecture in xorg.conf (Option "AccelMethod" "UXA" in the Device section). DRI2 will then be enabled automatically. Then, it may or may not work, depending for instance on the hardware. I get a black screen at startup on i865 while i945 works fine until I start Compiz (the server suddenly exits for some reason then). Note that you probably want to upgrade your Mesa packages to experimental as well here (7.3 has been released recently). Of course, running git snapshot of various components (Mesa, libdrm, kernel drm, Intel driver, ...) may help since the released versions seem to not be entirely ready yet. But, things should may be ready to use for everybody in the near future.

Kernel Modesetting

The other nice feature that makes a lot of noise in X.org these days is Kernel modesetting (KMS). It moves the management of mode (aka resolution+rate) into the kernel. It helps support for switching between different users' sessions, enables reporting of kernel messages (oops, panics, ...) while X is running, and reduces the need to blank the screen during boot (since the kernel can setup the display early and X doesn't have to change it later independently).

KMS testing requires a bleeding-edge kernel (2.6.29). Using a git snapshot of the drm stack is probably a good idea as well since I couldn't get KMS to work on 2.6.29-rc2 here. Again only Intel will support KMS soon, but other drivers will follow.

Panning is back (aka RandR 1.3)

Xserver 1.6 brings support for the 1.3 version of the RandR X extension. Among other improvements, it reintroduces one feature that many users miss since it was removed back in Xserver 1.3 or so. "Panning" (often referred to as "Virtual Desktop") gives the ability to move the display within a larger screen when the mouse approaches from the border. Instead of being configured with the Virtual option in xorg.conf (this option means something else nowadays), it may now be enabled/tuned with xrandr --panning. You'll need the latest libxrandr2 and xrandr utilities to do so (the latter is not uploaded yet).

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Comments:

From:(Anonymous)
Date:January 24th, 2009 21:35 (UTC)
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I just wanted to say thank you for writing these summaries and keeping us up to date. They're very helpful!
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From:bgoglin
Date:January 24th, 2009 22:34 (UTC)
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Thanks a lot, I appreciate it. Sorry I didn't post anything during almost 6 months :/
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From:(Anonymous)
Date:January 25th, 2009 00:31 (UTC)

Another thanks!

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Just another happy end user saying thanks for the updates and for all of your hard work!

Seems like 2009 is going to be as exciting for users of X as 2006 when Compiz and friends started working out of the box for most people.

Now to just get Lenny out the door. :(
(Reply) (Thread)
From:(Anonymous)
Date:January 26th, 2009 16:29 (UTC)

packages for i386?

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Hi, I noticed that the latest versions of some drivers (e.g., evdev 2.1.1, intel 2.6.1) are only packaged for amd64. Is there any plan to upload i386 packages soon?

BTW, huge thanks for your hard work!
(Reply) (Thread)
From:bgoglin
Date:January 26th, 2009 16:34 (UTC)

Re: packages for i386?

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The i386 buildd is a bit slow, but you should get everything for i386 soon.
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From:(Anonymous)
Date:January 28th, 2009 18:41 (UTC)

Yes, thank you!

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Did you already thought about subscribing to http://planet.freedesktop.org/ ? :)
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From:bgoglin
Date:January 28th, 2009 18:48 (UTC)

Re: Yes, thank you!

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No, I never thought about that. I kind of assume that everything I say here is either already said in some upstream blog in planet.freedesktop.org or Debian specific.
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From:(Anonymous)
Date:January 29th, 2009 20:46 (UTC)

r128/experimental, anyone?

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Hmm, could you clarify problematic r128 status in experimental? (Rage Mobility M4)
I've been hitting a mess when upgrading experimental bits in unstable several months ago and it took quite some time to get it reverted to a working if old state.
("that's why it's called experimental, you d00fy!" ;)

I retried upgrading stuff and didn't expect any problems after such a long time, however the very same problem still occurred: With xserver-xorg-core 2:1.5.99.901-2 plus xserver-xorg-video-ati 1:6.10.0-2,
I get unmet dependency for xserver-xorg-video-mach64.
Whichever way I try to resolve these conflicts, it never works.
An apt-get -f install then removed -ati and installed -r128 (6.8.0-2), but then I get the "module ABI major version (4)... server's version (5)" message again (using "r128" driver).

Installing the Ubuntu package xserver-xorg-video-r128_6.8.0-1ubuntu4_i386.deb instead eradicated the Xorg.0.log ABI mismatch message, however I get a blank screen on kdm startup only and no way at all to kill my server (Ctrl-Alt-Backspace...). Probably caused by Debian <-> Ubuntu package complications (Xorg.0.log showed a libdri.so backtrace).

Trying to use "radeon" or "ati" driver didn't detect the card either (of course).

All in all this _very much_ looks like missing r128 and mach64 packages in experimental for proper current server ABI (especially since Ubuntu does have it!). And I didn't see this mentioned anywhere, thus I'd like to ask about status quo.

Thanks!

Andreas Mohr
(Reply) (Thread)
From:bgoglin
Date:January 29th, 2009 21:41 (UTC)

Re: r128/experimental, anyone?

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Yes, r128 and mach64 haven't been rebuilt for experimental yet. So you can't install them. And thus you can't install ati either (but you can install radeon).

I can try to build them in the near future. But it's not even clear they work with Xserver 1.6 since they are mostly unmaintained. Don't expect many bug fixes on the driver side...
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From:(Anonymous)
Date:January 30th, 2009 16:21 (UTC)

Re: r128/experimental, anyone?

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Thank you very much for your very timely reply!
Now I fully know what I'm up to, but better don't tell me I'll have to maintain a driver on my own in the future ;)
I'll revert for now, but I'll keep these things in mind (also for testing stuff).

Another thing: prior to this I noticed a big degradation of performance using r128 driver sometime when doing an x.org upgrade last year (konqueror operation was in the order of much less than a frame per second when switching tabs, with CPU solidly maxed out for seconds, admittedly on P3/700). Do you happen to have detailed insight to this? XAA/EXA issues? I think it happened during a major version upgrade to x.org 1.4 or 1.5 (sorry, no details any more).
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
From:(Anonymous)
Date:January 31st, 2009 22:49 (UTC)

Re: r128/experimental, anyone?

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OK, I did (experimental pools, pulling r128-6.8.0-2)
apt-get source xserver-xorg-video-r128
cd xserver-xorg-video-r128*
apt-get install xserver-xorg-dev quilt ...
dpkg-buildpackage -b

and installed the newly built (no log problems) package and started kdm.
Result: pretty much the same as with the previous Ubuntu package attempt:
a blank screen and a InitOutput -> AddScreen -> R128ScreenInit -> R128DRIFinishScreenInit -> DRIFinishScreenInit -> ... -> xf86SigHandler -> xorg_backtrace crash.
So it seems you were right in saying that this driver would probably need some adaptations ;)
I'll side-revert to VESA for now I think.
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From:bgoglin
Date:February 1st, 2009 16:20 (UTC)

Re: r128/experimental, anyone?

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I just uploaded r128 and mach64 for Xserver 1.6 to experimental (i386 packages). I pulled a couple commits from the upstream git by the way.

Radeonhd and Siliconmotion have been rebuilt as well.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
From:(Anonymous)
Date:February 3rd, 2009 22:16 (UTC)

Re: r128/experimental, anyone?

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Wow, a nice birthday present!

Unfortunately after installing 6.8.0+git20090201.08d56c88-1 (on xserver-xorg-core 2:1.5.99.901-2) I still get the same r128 DRI backtrace as stated above, though.

This is a mixed unstable/experimental setup, thus something might be fishy dependency-wise, but investigations haven't helped so far (verified versions, apt-get install --reinstall, ...).
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
From:(Anonymous)
Date:May 7th, 2009 22:12 (UTC)

Re: r128/experimental, anyone?

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I don't know what you guys did, and I don't know who that was (and I'm not sure whether I care ;), but with

ii xserver-xorg-video-r128 6.8.0+git20090201.08d56c88-2 X.Org X server -- ATI r128 display driver
ii xserver-xorg 1:7.4+1 the X.Org X server
ii xserver-xorg-core 2:1.6.1-1 Xorg X server - core server

KDE 4.2.2 now works like a charm using r128, NOT vesa (well, at least a TON better than it used to run before, with direct DRI supported etc.).
KDE 4.2.2 still has semi-usable speed, but at least it's accelerated r128 again now.
Now going to try to enable EXA instead of XAA, hopefully that improves it.
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