More than three years after X.Org Server 1.20, released in May 2018, a release candidate for 21.1.0 has been released.
The Linux display server remains widely used despite the introduction of Wayland, first released in 2012 and intended to replace X.
The future of the software, in terms of significant new releases, was uncertain when project owner Adam Jackson declared the project “abandoned” last year, but Lithuanian developer Povilas Kanapickas (who previously worked on the engine of Unity game) stepped in and said:
“There are new features in the Xorg DDX that I would love to see released, so I’m volunteering to do the release work.”
XWayland, a compatibility patch that enabled X clients for Wayland display servers, is part of the X.Org project but in December maintainer Michel Dänzer proposed that “there are new Xwayland features that we would love to see. propose to users. clear plan for a major new release of xserver as a whole, I’m volunteering to make xwayland-only releases instead. “
This was approved and in March there was a standalone version of XWayland 21.1.0. Kanapickas considered this separation to be “good practice” and therefore the new candidate version is only X.Org.
Work continues on version 21.1 of X.Org Server
The use of Wayland is increasing and it is the default in popular distributions including Fedora, Red Hat Enterprise Linux, and Debian. Ubuntu switched to Wayland by default in version 21.04, a second attempt since it was the default in 17.10 but reverted to X.Org for 18.04, which means the current LTS edition, 20.04, remains on X for the most users.
The same goes for distributions like Linux Mint, based on Ubuntu LTS. Even when Wayland is the default, some users prefer to run X for compatibility or performance reasons.
The new release candidate includes support for variable refresh rate, support for AMD GLAMOR acceleration in the Xvfb (X virtual framebuffer), support for touchpad gestures, and correct signaling of the DPI display “in most cases, which can affect the rendering of client applications on high-resolution displays.” There is also full support for the Meson build system, and support for old auto tools will be removed in future releases. Kanapickas has also listed all fixes since version 1.20.0 which is a long list.
While many users will welcome a new version of X Server, Jackson observed over the past year, “I am of the opinion that keeping xfree86 alive as a viable alternative since Wayland started to gain traction in 2010 is in part. the reason these are still problems. ®