Sunday, May 10, 2009

recent Xorg fashion

I've been using free *nix systems for about 10 years now and almost always used X11 servers on them. Back then it was XFree86, not Xorg. First it was something like 3.3.x and then 4.x versions of XFree86.

I always wondered how X was easy to configure. Actually, I've never had problems with X configuration. It was just a matter of generating a configuration file once and forgetting about it - it just kept working after upgrades etc. Probably only once I had problem with it (not sure "problem" is a right word though) - when "keyboard" driver was renamed to "kbd" driver. And I'm not even sure it actually happened in XFree, not Xorg.

But with Xorg, I have problems all the time, esp. last few months when I switched to xorg with hal support. It's like... grab Ubuntu, install it, disable gnome, start openbox and figure out that shortcut for layout switching is "shift-alt" instead of "shift-ctrl". Ok, go to xorg.conf and see that you're configured "shift-ctrl", go "wtf?" and dig into /etc to find some gnome leftover scripts which probably re-configure xkb. Fail at that, google up the problem and figure out that xkb settings in some hal xml configs override the ones in xorg.conf. WTF? I totally don't get it why to make it possible to configure single item in two different places, esp. considering that in one place configuration doesn't make any sense. It's sooooooooo linuxish so it's even frustrating.

Or another example - I've installed freebsd on my laptop today and installed Xorg. When X starts, I cannot get mouse moving etc... input basically doesn't work. I go to Xorg.log and see something like "AllowEmtpyInput is not set, disabling input devices". WTF??? What kind of reasoning process made it think that I don't need input devices? I don't even care what is "AllowEmtpyInput" and I don't know why is it so critical that I should be punished for not setting it in such cruel way. SO I've added it and got stuff working.

I assume it's somehow related to hal. What I don't get is: I don't need hal. I guess a lot of people don't need hal in X (I don't know any who needs it). Why the hell stuff cannot just work in a way it worked before without hal? I think it would be more fair if people who need hal would fuck with it to enable it instead of people who don't need hal having to fuck around it to get things working like they're used to see.

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