This year, I attended two conferences: the XDC (X.Org Developers Conference) and EuroBSDcon.
The XDC was from the 16th to the 18th of September, in Toronto, Canada. Last year, I did a talk giving the status of the graphics stack on FreeBSD, but not this year. I felt we did not make enough progress. Nevertheless, the conference was very interesting and we had fruitful discussions. Ed Maste from the FreeBSD Project and the FreeBSD Foundation was there too, along with Johannes Dieterich, a contributor who did an excellent job helping Koop Mast with the new OpenCL ports: we were three to represent FreeBSD!
Here is a list of the most important topics to the FreeBSD community:
- Peter Hutterer from Red Hat gave talk about libinput, following the 1.0 release in last August. As a reminder, libinput is a new library for handling input devices. It is used by Wayland compositors and eventually will replace all the xf86-input-* DDX in the X.Org server.
- Randy Fishel from Solaris presented their work on porting the kernel video drivers. He talked to us about sharing their implementation of a Linux shim. He is pretty happy with this layer. We need to come back to Alan Coopersmith and him about this.
- Keith Packard discussed the next two releases of the X.Org server. xserver 1.18 should happen later this month. I took this occasion to test RC 1 on FreeBSD and there was no problem (on a Radeon-based laptop). xserver 1.19 is scheduled for March 2016. Then, he talked about a long-time issue with select() in xserver he would like to fix with the support for SIGIO in epoll() on Linux. He kindly asked other OSes developers, including us, if a similar feature existed. This is something I still need to check before I get back to Keith.
You can find slides and videos from the talks on the XDC wiki. There were many interesting presentations beyond what I summed up here.
During breaks, we also spent some time with Johannes to debug the new i915 kernel driver. He was very helpful and I could make a lot of progresses.
We also discussed with Ed about the long term issues with the graphics stack on FreeBSD. It was really important and meant a lot to me to meet him at this non-FreeBSD conference. But let’s talk about EuroBSDcon first.
EuroBSDcon was held between the 1st and the 4th of October 2015 in Stockholm, Sweden: two days of FreeBSD devsummit followed by two days for the conference itself.
The FreeBSD devsummit is comprised of several working groups and presentation. I hosted a session on the graphics stack. The goals were to get attention from all FreeBSD developers to problems we encounter and to the importance of having a working stable graphical environment. I feel it was a success! You will find the details in the wiki article linked above.
What came out of these two conferences?
Again, we had a wonderful welcome at the XDC. People even asked why we could not make it to the FOSDEM in last February. So meeting the graphics stack community really makes a difference and we will definitely attend next FOSDEM! Likewise, I met many FreeBSD developers and users for the first time during EuroBSDcon and it was about time!
I’m confident the FreeBSD Project is now well aware that the graphics stack is critical to its success: if there is one reason to remember, it is mandatory to attract and keep new users.
On the technical side of things, we focused on:
- The Linux shim. Our current code in OFED is partly covered by the GPL license. See the devsummit wiki for the conclusion of this discussion. But we forgot about the shim from Solaris and it is worth a look. So we still have work to do but progress was made.
- The input stack. To move forward, Jakub accepted to put his evdev branch in Phabricator as soon as possible, even commit it maybe. Then, we all agreed on a udev wrapper above libdevq. We still need to put some thoughts in the libdevq design before this can be achieved.
Of course, many people asked about the status of the new i915 driver and especially Haswell and Broadwell support. The new driver is more and more stable. It will include Haswell support, but not Broadwell.
As you understand, I had a wonderful time at these two conferences. I’m looking forward the next one: FOSDEM 2016! And it is a great opportunity as both the FreeBSD and the graphics stack communities go there.