The State of The X.Org Foundation 2010

Barton C Massey bart at
Sat Feb 20 18:01:50 EST 2010

Attached please find my report on The State of the X.Org
Foundation, as required by the Bylaws of the Foundation.

Many thanks to all who have participated in the development
of X.Org.

    Bart Massey
    Secretary, X.Org Foundation Board
    bart at

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The State of The X.Org Foundation 2010
Bart Massey
Secretary, X.Org Foundation
bart at
February 20, 2010

Abstract: 2009 has been a year of consolidation for X.Org.
Software is now being released on a predictable schedule,
with predictable improvement.

Note: The Bylaws of the X.Org Foundation require the
Secretary to prepare and deliver a State of the Organization
report within 60 days of the start of the calendar year.  It
is my pleasure to discharge that responsibility by preparing
this report.  While I have prepared this report in close
consultation with the X.Org Foundation Board of Directors,
all views contained herein are ultimately my own.


  Six years ago, the X.Org Foundation was re-formed and its
  first officers elected.  Since then, approximately one X
  Window System major release has occurred per year.  The
  mission of the modern X.Org Foundation Board is to support
  this work through raising and allocation of funds, through
  recruitment and support of Foundation members, and through
  initiatives in community development, education, and
  support, and by providing a computing and communications
  infrastructure; in short "to develop and execute effective
  strategies that provide worldwide stewardship of the X
  Window System technology and standards." [1]

  In the next two sections of this report, I first review
  X.Org Foundation activities during 2009 and report on our
  successes and challenges; I then suggest something of the
  goals, needs, and plans for the future of the X.Org
  Foundation in 2010 and beyond.  Finally, I draw some

X.Org Foundation 2009

  In 2009 X.Org development proceeded at a steady and
  reasonable pace.  The Foundation did not make major changes
  in operation in 2009.


    In keeping with the X.Org goal of about one release per
    year, Release 7.5 of the X Window System occurred on
    October 26, 2009.  This release featured the first
    official version of Multi-Pointer X, "E-EDID support",
    improved pointer acceleration, an XACE-based SELinux
    security module, and RandR version 1.3.  It also included
    the kernel modesetting support developed over the last
    several years, with the goal of moving parts of X better
    handled by the host operating system into it.

  Funded Activities

    Based on the limited ability to raise funds in the 2009
    economic climate, and on the limited capacity of
    conference organizers, the decision was made in early
    2009 to cut back from two conference events per year to
    just one.  The Board felt that alternating between North
    America and elsewhere on alternate years would provide
    sufficient developer contact worldwide, while cutting
    costs even when extra travel subsidies were taken into
    account.  This appears to have been a correct decision.
    The 2009 X Developers Conference was held in Portland
    Oregon September 28-30, immediately following the Linux
    Plumbers Conference there. The conference emphasis was
    on smaller projects and preliminary work; there was no
    strong unifying topic.  The 2010 X.Org Developers
    Summit is planned for 16-18 September in Toulouse
    France.  Discussion is proceeding on possibly holding
    the 2011 X.Org Developers Conference in conjunction with
    BOSSA in Brazil.

    The Google/X.Org Summer of Code 2009 was successful,
    with three of four accepted projects completing and
    contributing to X.Org development, as well as helping to
    bring new developers to X.Org [2].  The X.Org Endless
    Vacation of Code was established in 2009 to provide
    opportunities similar to Summer of Code to selected
    students on an ad hoc calendar.  Only a couple of
    students have shown interest to date, and the one
    student that submitted an accepted proposal later
    withdrew.  This is probably due to the lack of promotion
    of the program.

    The X.Org Foundation funded a video hackfest held at the
    Collabora offices in Barcelona in November.  The event
    was reportedly highly successful [3], and was held at a
    modest cost.  It is hoped that other X.Org projects will
    take this example to heart and seek funding help when

  Foundation Activities

    The Board had hoped to complete the legal transition of
    the X.Org Foundation from a US LLC to a US 501(c)3
    Educational Non-Profit Foundation in the first few
    months of 2008.  A large number of delays culminated
    in the completion of this transition in early 2009,
    when the State of Delaware granted us corporate status.
    However, it turns out that some IRS documents still need
    to be filed by the Treasurer.  This work is underway.

    The 2009 Board election was once again delayed, and
    completed in mid-February 2010.  This is unfortunate,
    and further work needs to be done to ensure that the
    2010 and ongoing elections can be held in a timely and
    regular manner.  This election was the first in quite a
    while in which the restriction in the X.Org Bylaws that
    only two people from a given organization can be on the
    Board simultaneously was an issue.  The issue was
    resolved by Keith Packard stepping down from the Board,
    leaving only two Intel representatives.

    The attempt to improve coordination and throughput of
    the Board continued in 2010.  The Board established a
    wiki that it experimented with as an internal
    communication mechanism, but it saw only modest use.
    The regular bi-weekly IRC meetings begun in 2008
    continue to date, and e-mail continues to play a crucial

    Membership in the Foundation is currently at about 145
    active members.  Work continues on encouraging X.Org
    participants to join the Foundation.

    Communication between the Board and the Membership has
    continued to be an issue in 2009, culminating in a bit
    of drama during the 2010 Board election.  As a result of
    this, I am stepping down as Secretary, in the hope that
    someone else on the Board can do a better job of
    facilitating this communication.

2010 And Beyond

  No substantial work was done in 2009 in finding recurring
  sponsors for X.Org as a whole, although conference
  sponsorships and other kinds of directed sponsorships were
  strong.  Many on the Board still believe that this may be
  the future of funding for the organization, but funding
  options undoubtedly will be explored again in 2010.

  Good improvements have been made in the X.Org / shared infrastructure, in particular more
  sysadmin support.  Emphasis for 2010 will be on cutting
  infrastructure costs, and on continuing to improve
  infrastructure reliability and responsiveness.  There was
  some work done in 2009 on expanding build and tinderbox
  facilities; this work will likely continue in 2010.
  Traffic volume and spam problems on the xorg email list
  and on wikis became an issue in 2009.  The wiki spam
  problem is particularly bad on auxiliary X.Org wikis that
  do not have the same amount of regular attention from
  their maintainers as the main X.Org site.  After careful
  consideration, the Board failed to come up with any ideal
  resolution to these problems.

  The heavily-hacked legacy PHP codebase has
  been increasingly a thorn in the side of conducting
  membership business, and is due for replacement.  The
  Board should consider how to proceed on this issue as
  early as possible in 2010, with the goal of having the
  replacement in place and verified in time for the next
  Board election.

  Attempts were made to straighten out X.Org banking issues
  in 2009, but as of this writing the banking situation is
  mostly unchanged.

  There is ongoing concern among the Board about the
  trademark situation of X.Org.  It is not at all obvious
  what trademarks, if any, are currently registered.  There
  is also a friendly lack of consensus among the Board
  members about what needs to be registered; the various
  costs and benefits make for a complex engineering
  tradeoff.  In 2010, this issue needs to be resolved one
  way or the other.  As an ancillary issue, the question of
  what, if anything, to do about changing out the old X.Org
  "halo" logo should once again be considered.


  The state of the X.Org Foundation is strong.  The X Window
  System continues to succeed.

  Each year that I have prepared this report I have
  confidently predicted that the following year will be the
  Year of the Linux Desktop.  However, I do not believe that
  2010 will be the Year of the Linux Desktop, due to
  decreasing interest in desktops and laptops.  I am quite
  sure that 2010 will be the Year of Mobile Linux.


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