xorg-server 1.19.7 released

Here is the announcement.  My primary motivation for getting involved in releasing a maintenance release of X.Org X Server 1.19 is to fix EXA 24 bpp (bit per pixel) crash bug that affects older graphics devices that do not support 32 bpp rendering.  Not too many such older devices got EXA support, but SiS DDX happened to get the support prior to the main developer calling it quits.  For all practical purposes, it particularly impacts SiS 6326 since SiS back then (20 years ago) sold quite a few millions of them (they were often sold as a $30 to $40 low end graphics card at computer dealers to those who did not care too much about brand or performance).  In practice, SiS 5597 / 5598 and even older devices benefits from the fix as well.

While I proposed doing this back in early January 2018, and I did not really start working on the matter until late January.  That being said, but it took a lot more time and personal efforts to figure out how to handle the whole process once I started working on this.  Compared to releasing a DDX, it is far harder to build X Server, and the difficulty lies in figuring out what to do when one encounters errors.  The thing is, the release build script (xorg/util/modular) has several issues, and one encounters them when building the X Server, not DDX.  Observing that using the release build script from around Year 2016 to 2017 rather than the latest script was one trick that helped me in the process.

There are two parts to this process: figuring out how to install my own compiled X Server without wrecking my own OS installation and building the X Server code archive correctly.  To be frank, I did not really reach a point where I can build the X Server, and getting it working without some “hacks.”  I was indeed able to run the compiled X Server, but I had to rely on certain keyboard related components prepared by Canonical (i.e., manually had to copy keyboard related files).  Without getting keyboard related components properly installed, X Server will not run at all.  If you are trying to compile your own X Server, please keep this in mind.

While there did not appear to be much interests in releasing another maintenance release of X Server 1.19, I wanted to do this for those who plan to stick with X Server 1.19.  One bad habit of many FOSS (Free and Open Source Software) developers is that they often move on to developing the next version without fixing the existing code they released some time ago.  I tend to stick to something that works right now rather than chasing the newest code, and I am sure I am not the only one who thinks this way.

Regarding, X Server 1.19, I can possibly do a few more releases if other people have small fixes to the existing code.  As long as there is no ABI break, I think it is okay to enhance the code.  As for this EXA 24 bpp fix, I plan to apply it to X Server 1.18 as well, and the fix itself is applicable all the way to X Server 1.7.


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