Patrick O'Donnell pao at
Thu Apr 9 16:08:38 PDT 2009

>From: Jim Gettys <jg at>
>Date: Thu, 09 Apr 2009 15:25:26 -0400
>> But I for one think you guys did one hell of a good job coming up with
>> X11. There are a lot more things right with it than there are wrong.
>> Most of those 20 year old programs do still work. You can't say that
>> about a lot of systems.

Allow me to add my whole-hearted agreement with this sentiment.  Our
applications do still work.

>> > But you've just heard the complaints from others on this thread
>> > who have (*demonstrably*) broken programs from 20 years ago who
>> > complain about any change at all.  - Jim

I presume you're referring to my troubles with saveunders.  I'm not
sure that "*demonstrably* broken" is a fair characterization of our
programs.  They were not relying on saveunders to work.  Because
backing store and saveunders were sufficiently common that we were
always given the efficiency boost, we did become complacent.

>Backing store and saveunders have *always* been hints.

We recognize that.  We even knew it 20 years ago.  We just came to
expect what was always there.  Human nature.  When it was unexpectedly
removed, we were startled and began grasping for answers.

>We did fix it, with composite, in a way better than before.  You don't
>have to run a compositing manager that does anything visual at all; you
>don't have to have one iota of transparency, drop shadows, or even
>anti-aliased fonts.

It's not really the same, though, is it?  It's a bit disingenuous to
claim that it's a simple substitution, when in the one case the
application merely sets a bit in the window attributes and in the
other we have to find and configure (or write?  I'm still not clear on
that) a whole separate module with its attendant learning curve.  And
we have to make sure our customers install and configure it properly
-- not an easy task, I can tell you!

I freely acknowlege that backing store and saveunders were *hints*,
depending on them for efficiency was as bad idea 20 years ago as now,
and that we have no basis to "complain" when chooses to ignore
the request.  Nevertheless, one is given a free lunch for 20-odd
years, then suddenly one is made to work for it, it's natural to
grumble a bit.

		- Patrick

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