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LinuxWorld: The weal and woe of XFree86 4.0 - Performance is fast, but configuration difficult

Mar 18, 2000, 08:25 (16 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Nick Petreley)

"The alleged improvements in version 4.0 are legion, with increased performance being at the forefront. XFree86 has always been fast on my system, so it feels about the same to me. But you may notice a difference, depending on the display hardware you're using. XFree86 also includes new 3D acceleration features, although they are largely untapped right now because they are only supported on a handful of display cards."

"XFree86 is much more modular this time around. The more monolithic design of previous versions made it necessary to expose the source code for all display card drivers. The new modular design makes it possible for display card vendors to produce binary-only drivers. This is both good and bad news. On the up side, it probably means we'll see more display card vendors supporting Linux, since they no longer have to open their source code in order to build drivers. On the down side, the open source community won't be able to fix bugs when they occur; we'll have to wait for the vendors to fix them...."

"Unfortunately, though it's easy enough to install XFree86 4.0, getting it configured for your display card and monitor isn't as simple a task. The process isn't well documented at all, and because it breaks all the easy X11 configuration programs that have become available over the past few years, you'll have to go back to the unfriendly XF86Config program, or even edit the text configuration files manually."

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