AMD Publishes New 'AMDGPU' Linux Graphics Driver 88

An anonymous reader writes: AMD has made available its new AMDGPU Linux graphics driver comprised of a brand new DRM/KMS kernel driver, a new xf86-video-amdgpu X11 driver, and modifications to libdrm and Gallium3D. This new AMDGPU driver is designed for supporting AMD's next-generation hardware with no support differences for currently supported Radeon GPUs. While yet to be released, this new AMDGPU driver is the critical piece to the new unified driver strategy with Catalyst where their high performance proprietary driver will now become limited to being a user-space binary component that uses this open-source kernel driver.

Why Screen Lockers On X11 Cannot Be Secure 375

jones_supa writes: One thing we all remember from Windows NT is the security feature requiring the user to press CTRL-ALT-DEL to unlock the workstation (this can still be enabled with a policy setting). The motivation was to make it impossible for other programs to mimic a lock screen, as they couldn't react to the special key combination. Martin Gräßlin from the KDE team takes a look at the lock screen security on X11. On a protocol level, X11 doesn't know anything of screen lockers. Also the X server doesn't know that the screen is locked as it doesn't understand the concept. This means the screen locker can only use the core functionality available to emulate screen locking. That in turn also means that any other client can do the same and prevent the screen locker from working (for example opening a context menu on any window prevents the screen locker from activating). That's quite a bummer: any process connected to the X server can block the screen locker, and even more it could fake your screen locker.

X.Org Server 1.16 Brings XWayland, GLAMOR, Systemd Integration 226

An anonymous reader writes The much anticipated Xorg Server 1.16 release is now available. The X.Org "Marionberry Pie" release features XWayland integration, GLAMOR support, systemd support, and many other features. XWayland support allows for legacy X11 support in Wayland environments via GL acceleration, GLAMOR provides generic 2D acceleration, non-PCI GPU device improvements, and countless other changes. The systemd integration finally allows the X server to run without root privileges, something in the works for a very long time. The non-PCI device improvements mean System-on-a-Chip graphics will work more smoothly, auto-enumerating just like PCI graphics devices do. As covered previously, GLAMOR (the pure OpenGL acceleration backend) has seen quite a bit of improvement, and now works with Xephyr and XWayland.

X Window System Turns 30 Years Old 204

An anonymous reader writes "One of the oldest pieces of the Linux desktop stack still widely in use today is the X Window System that today is commonly referred to as X11 or in recent years the X.Org Server. The X Window System predates the Linux kernel, the Free Software Foundation, GCC, and other key pieces of the Linux infrastructure — or most software widely-used in general. Today marks 30 years since the announcement of X at MIT when it was introduced to Project Athena." X wasn't new when I first saw it, on Sun workstations the summer before I started college. When did you first encounter it?

XWayland Aiming For Glamor Support, Merge Next X.Org Release 83

An anonymous reader writes that XWayland is nearly ready to be merged into the main tree "X.Org Server 1.16 this summer should support XWayland, the means of allowing X11 applications to run atop Wayland-based compositors without the need for any application/game changes. With the revised design, XWayland has generic 2D acceleration over OpenGL and a cleaner design compared to earlier revisions. With GNOME 3.12 having better Wayland support and Plasma Next around the corner, it looks like 2014 could be the year of Wayland's take-off!" The patch series emails have more details. The big news here is that XWayland is ditching its old DDX model for one based on Glamor. eliminating the need for any drivers to be written to support X11 on Wayland: "Finally, the last patch adds the Xwayland DDX. Initially Xwayland was an Xorg module that exposed an API for Xorg video drivers to hook into so that we could reuse the native 2D acceleration. Now that glamor is credible and still improving, a much better approach is to make Xwayland its own DDX and use glamor for acceleration. A lot of the code in the Xorg approach was busy preventing Xorg being Xorg, eg, preventing VT access, preventing input driver loading, preventing drivers doing modesetting. The new DDX in contrast is straight-forward, clean code, only 2500 lines of code and neatly self-contained." It does not yet have direct rendering or any acceleration, but those patches should come soon.

Glamor, X11's OpenGL-Based 2D Acceleration Driver, Is Becoming Useful 46

The Glamor driver for X11 has sought for years to replace all of the GPU-specific 2D rendering acceleration code in with portable, high performance OpenGL. Unfortunately, that goal was hampered by the project starting in the awkward time when folks thought fixed-function hardware was still worth supporting. But, according to Keith Packard, the last few months have seen the code modernized and finally maturing as a credible replacement for many of the hardware-specific 2D acceleration backends. From his weblog: "Fast forward to the last six months. Eric has spent a bunch of time cleaning up Glamor internals, and in fact he’s had it merged into the core X server for version 1.16 which will be coming up this July. Within the Glamor code base, he's been cleaning some internal structures up and making life more tolerable for Glamor developers. ... A big part of the cleanup was a transition all of the extension function calls to use his other new project, libepoxy, which provides a sane, consistent and performant API to OpenGL extensions for Linux, Mac OS and Windows." Keith Packard dove in and replaced the Glamor acceleration for core text and points (points in X11 are particularly difficult to accelerate quickly) in just a few days. Text performance is now significantly faster than the software version (not that anyone is using core text any more, but "they’re often one of the hardest things to do efficiently with a heavy weight GPU interface, and OpenGL can be amazingly heavy weight if you let it."). For points, he moved vertex transformation to the GPU getting it up to the same speed as the software implementation. Looking forward, he wrote "Having managed to accelerate 17 of the 392 operations in x11perf, it’s pretty clear that I could spend a bunch of time just stepping through each of the remaining ones and working on them. Before doing that, we want to try and work out some general principles about how to handle core X fill styles. Moving all of the stipple and tile computation to the GPU will help reduce the amount of code necessary to fill rectangles and spans, along with improving performance, assuming the above exercise generalizes to other primitives." Code is available in anholt's and keithp's xserver branches.

23-Year-Old X11 Server Security Vulnerability Discovered 213

An anonymous reader writes "The recent report of X11/X.Org security in bad shape rings more truth today. The X.Org Foundation announced today that they've found a X11 security issue that dates back to 1991. The issue is a possible stack buffer overflow that could lead to privilege escalation to root and affects all versions of the X Server back to X11R5. After the vulnerability being in the code-base for 23 years, it was finally uncovered via the automated cppcheck static analysis utility." There's a scanf used when loading BDF fonts that can overflow using a carefully crafted font. Watch out for those obsolete early-90s bitmap fonts.

X.Org Server 1.15 Brings DRI3, Lacks XWayland Support 340

An anonymous reader writes "A belated holiday gift for Linux users is the X.Org Server 1.15 'Egg Nog' release. X.Org Server 1.15 presents new features including DRI3 — a big update to their rendering model — a rewrite of the GLX windowing system code, support for Mesa Mega Drivers, and many bug fixes plus polishing. The release, though, goes without any mainline support for XWayland to ease the adoption of the Wayland Display Server while maintaining legacy X11 application support."

Mir Won't Ship Even In Ubuntu 14.04 111

jones_supa writes "As can be recalled, Mir didn't make it to the Ubuntu 13.10 release to replace as the display server. Back then it suffered of problems in multi-monitor support, along with other issues. Now it turns out that Canonical's product will not make it even into the next LTS version (14.04) of the Ubuntu desktop. Mir itself would be ready for showtime in the schedule, but there are problems with XMir, which is the X11 compatibility layer that ensures Mir can work with applications built for X. The comments came at the Ubuntu Developer Summit: in an online event Mark Shuttleworth stressed that the 14.04 desktop has to be rock-solid for customers with large-scale deployments, such as educational institutions. In the meantime, you can already try out Mir in your Ubuntu system."

Gate One Will Support X11: Fast Enough To Run VLC In Your Browser 164

Riskable writes "Ever seen a remote desktop tool that's fast/efficient enough to play back video? Gate One will soon have that capability via the forthcoming X11 support (as demonstrated in the video). I am posting this to Slashdot looking for suggestions and feedback as to how I should move forward with it before I solidify the architecture, API, and even the business end of it (making money). I'll be watching the thread and replying to comments (as I have time). Also, if you're interested you can sign up to be notified when it's available." We've posted a few stories about Gate One previously.

Chromium To Support Wayland 61

sfcrazy writes "Chromium developers have started porting Chromium to X11 alternatives such as Wayland. Tiago Vignatti sent a message to the freedesktop mailing list, 'Today we are launching publicly Ozone-Wayland, which is the implementation of Chromium's Ozone for supporting Wayland graphics system. Different projects based on Chromium/Blink like the Chrome browser, ChromeOS, among others can be enabled now using Wayland.'"

AMD Brings 3D GPU Documentation Up To Date 64

jones_supa writes "Things are starting to look even better for the status of open specifications for AMD Radeon HD hardware. AMD's Alex Deucher announced via his personal blog that programming guides and register specifications on the 3D engines for the Evergreen, Northern Islands, Southern Islands, and Sea Islands GPUs are now in the NDA-free public domain. These parts represent the 3D engines on the Radeon HD 5000 through Radeon HD 8000 series graphics processors."

Ubuntu 13.10 Will Not Ship Mir By Default 165

An anonymous reader writes "Ubuntu 13.10 is due for release later this month, and the Ubuntu developers were planning to replace the native X Server with Mir/XMir as Canonical's next-generation Ubuntu display server. However, they have now decided Mir will not be the Ubuntu 13.10 default on the desktop over the XMir X11 compatibility layer suffering multi-monitor issues and other problems. Canonical still says they will use Mir for Ubuntu Touch 13.10 images and remain committed to the Mir project."

GNOME 3.10 Is Now Properly Supported On Wayland 128

An anonymous reader writes "One week ahead of the GNOME 3.10 release, all of the basic Wayland support for GNOME has been merged. With today's GNOME Shell 3.9.92 release the Wayland branch was merged and there was also an updated Mutter Wayland release, besides earlier GNOME 3.9.x packages fostering the Wayland support. Fedora 20 is expected to ship with GNOME on Wayland as a technology preview. Additional details about the current GNOME Wayland support are available from the GNOME Wiki."

Canonical To Ship Mir Display Server In Ubuntu 13.10 122

An anonymous reader writes "Canonical has announced today that they intend to ship the Mir Display Server by default in Ubuntu 13.10, rather than Ubuntu 14.04 as originally planned. They moved ahead their Mir adoption since the code is materializing and they want Mir/XMir widely tested prior to the Ubuntu 14.04 Long-Term Support release. Mir in Ubuntu 13.10 will be using the XMir X11 compatibility layer to run the Unity 7 desktop and there will be fallback support for running an X.Org Server if the graphics drivers don't support Mir."

Xfce, LXDE, GNOME3 Desktops Running On Ubuntu Mir Via XMir 162

An anonymous reader writes "Through the use of XMir, a translation layer for running legacy X11 applications atop Ubuntu's forthcoming Mir display server, the GNOME Shell, Xfce, and LXDE desktops now run on this X.Org Server alternative. With XMir, the traditional window managers are still running while Mir treats these desktops as a single window."

KDE Plasma Can Now Run On Wayland 29

An anonymous reader writes "With the upcoming KDE 4.11, there's an initial Wayland backend through the KWin manager. The author notes on his blog: 'Once the system is fully started you can just use it. If everything works fine, you should not even notice any difference, though there are still limitations, like only the three mouse buttons of my touchpad are supported ;-)'"

Clearing Up Wayland FUD, Misconceptions 240

An anonymous reader writes "In clearing up common misconceptions about Wayland (e.g. it breaking compatibility with the Linux desktop and it not supporting remote desktops like X), Eric Griffith (a Linux developer) and Daniel Stone (a veteran X.Org developer) have written The Wayland Situation in which they clearly explain the facts about the shortcomings of X, the corrections made by Wayland, and the advantages to this alternative to Canonical's in-development Mir."

Wayland 1.1 Released — Now With Raspberry Pi Support 197

An anonymous reader writes "Six months after the release of Wayland 1.0, versions 1.1 of Wayland and Weston have been released. Wayland/Weston 1.1 brings new back-end support for the Raspberry Pi, Pixman renderer, Microsoft Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP), and FBDEV frame-buffer device. Wayland/Weston 1.1 also introduces a modules SDK, supports the EGL buffer-age extension, touch-screen calibration support, and numerous optimizations and bug-fixes."

More From Canonical Employee On: "Why Mir?" 337

An anonymous reader writes "Canonical Desktop and Mobile Engineer Christopher Halse Rogers explains in more detail the decision for Mir as apposed to Wayland. Although Halse Rogers 'was not involved in the original decision to create Mir,' he's had 'discussions with those who were.' 'We want something like Wayland, but different in almost all the details.' 'The upsides of doing our own thing — we can do exactly and only what we want, we can build an easily-testable codebase, we can use our own infrastructure, we don't have an additional layer of upstream review.' In a separate post Halse Rogers answer the question: Does this fragment the Linux graphics driver space?"