Dual-head config broke with update to 1.4.2

Alex Deucher alexdeucher at gmail.com
Tue Feb 16 09:30:31 PST 2010

On Tue, Feb 16, 2010 at 11:53 AM, Martin Cracauer <cracauer at cons.org> wrote:
> Dave Airlie wrote on Tue, Feb 16, 2010 at 12:27:49PM +1000:
>> On Tue, Feb 16, 2010 at 12:19 PM, Martin Cracauer <cracauer at cons.org> wrote:
>> > Thanks for all the clarifications, Alex.
>> >
>> > I understand the desire to drop the lesser used of two similar
>> > subsystems, but it does present a real problem for me.
>> >
>> > To elaborate a little.
>> >
>> > Alex Deucher wrote on Mon, Feb 15, 2010 at 06:16:25PM -0500:
>> >> > That there will be no way to have different virtual desktop switching
>> >> > on the two screens? Just Microsoft Windows style big span screen
>> >> > support?
>> >>
>> >> It can be done with zephyr or vnc I think.
>> >
>> > What I do with dual screens is this:
>> > - my right screen, the main screen, has virtual desktops, each of them
>> > ?holding one "project", where a project is something like:
>> > ?- bunch'a xterms and emacsens for hacking project 1
>> > ?- a gimp session
>> > ?- bunch'a xterms and emacsens for hacking project 2
>> > ?- bunch'a xterms for debugging a network problem
>> > - the left screen has one of them things:
>> > ?- a bunch of machine monitoring, IRC client, IM and assorted other
>> > ? ?status
>> > ?- or else a movie in xine
>> > ?- plus other virtual desktops that might holds things like google earth
>> >
>> > So when I work I want to switch the left screen between my projects,
>> > but the right screen should stay static.
>> Thats actually a desktop environment/window manager issue, not a
>> driver issue. I think only one wm can do this so far, enlightenment.
> But don't you (Xorg team) think that it is a little early for dropping
> classic dual-screen support if:
> - only one window manager really supports xrandr
> - that one window manager is not GNOME or KDE
> - that one window manager is not the one I have piled up 717 lines and
>  14 years of of dotfile config for and that does things that none of
>  the other do?

Just about any window manager works fine with xrandr.  GNOME, KDE, etc.

> And I don't see that my current window manager breaks any rules in the
> ICCCM that are relevant to this problem.

This has nothing to do with the ICCCM.  It's a driver change that
broke your specific setup.

> As far as I am concerned, Xorg simply walks in the direction of
> dropping capabilities, breaking existing applications that do conform
> to the relevant protocols and has no answer WRT replacements, all in
> the name of enabling things I'm not really interested in and that
> -my impression- are purely to attract people from other operating
> systems that I couldn't care less about.  I need to get my own work
> done.

No protocols have been broken, driver changes simply broke your old
configuration.  There are only so many developers and unfortunately,
your particular feature is not a popular one.

> %%
> The real problem I have with this is that Xorg is absolutely central
> to Unix and OpenSource.  Every time some udev developer doesn't know
> what he's doing and wipes the memory on my GPS or disables my sound
> recording setup on an `apt-get upgrade` or if the Linux kernel forgets
> about a couple of dirty pages here and there I can just shrug it off
> and say "hey I can always use FreeBSD if these Linux guys go too
> crazy".
> With Xorg I can't.  In fact the major reason why I have so many Linux
> machines now is that FreeBSD, due to it's ports development style,
> forces me to upgrade to newer Xorg sooner than a Linux does.  I just
> got broken too often by Xorg updates, so a central point of choosing
> an OS is "who updates to newer Xorgs latest?".  I don't think that is
> a satisfactory solution for anybody involved.
> But alas your removal of working classic dual-head support made it
> into Debian/stable now, so I got to deal with the situation one way or
> another.
> Now you tell me the only way to deal with the situation is to pick one
> single Window manager? And that one isn't even particularly popular?
> Didn't you just argue that you do all this for what you think is the
> majority of the users?
>> Basically my theory was if enough people as you claim the majority of
>> people cared about your use case then one of them would have produced
>> this patch in the 2 years this has been like this, esp if they are hacker types,
>> who don't do presentations with Powerpoint and run FreeBSD, but maybe
>> they just Apples now.
> The problem is, as I said, that previous instances of Xorg breaking me
> has led me to use as old Xorg releases as possible, on all my
> OS installations.  So no, I just didn't notice, and neither did I
> expect that you could just make a decision to drop what I consider
> "working" dual-screen support.
> I just wonder what Xorg's intended endgame is? The direct equivalent
> of what MS Windows had for a decade or longer, with everything that
> made Unix/X11 stand out being removed? What's the point of that
> exercise?

I guess rather than implementing a modern dynamic window system with
support for the full capabilities of the hardware we should continue
bend over backwards to support old dualhead hacks from the mid-1990s.
As has been stated before, we've attempted to continue to support it,
but with the support for more than 2 outputs some configurations (like
yours) break.  xrandr 1.2 support has been available for several years
now, and we've only gotten a handful of complains about broken zaphod
configurations.  There are just not enough developers to continue
supporting this old stuff forever as well as the new features and
functionality and support for new chips, etc.   If the feature is
important to you and your configuration is broken, please consider
sending a patch, this is open source after all.  You also still have
access to the old driver if you want to continue to use that.


> Martin
> --
> %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%
> Martin Cracauer <cracauer at cons.org>   http://www.cons.org/cracauer/
> FreeBSD - where you want to go, today.      http://www.freebsd.org/

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