Wandering Thoughts archives


The death watch for the X Window System (aka X11) has probably started

I was recently reading Christian F.K. Schaller's On the Road to Fedora Workstation 31 (via both Fedora Planet and Planet Gnome). In it, Schaller says in one section (about Gnome and their move to fully work on Wayland):

Once we are done with this we expect X.org to go into hard maintenance mode fairly quickly. The reality is that X.org is basically maintained by us and thus once we stop paying attention to it there is unlikely to be any major new releases coming out and there might even be some bitrot setting in over time. We will keep an eye on it as we will want to ensure X.org stays supportable until the end of the RHEL8 lifecycle at a minimum, but let this be a friendly notice for everyone who rely the work we do maintaining the Linux graphics stack, get onto Wayland, that is where the future is.

I have no idea how true this is about X.org X server maintenance, either now or in the future, but I definitely think it's a sign that developers have started saying this. If Gnome developers feel that X.org is going to be in hard maintenance mode almost immediately, they're probably pretty likely to also put the Gnome code that deals with X into hard maintenance mode. And public Gnome statements about this (and public action or lack of it) provide implicit support for KDE and any other desktop to move in this direction if they want to (and probably create some pressure to do so). I've known that Wayland was the future for some time, but I would still like it to not arrive any time soon.

(I'm quite attached to my window manager, and it is very much X only. I am not holding my breath for anything very much like it, especially not as far as something like FvwmIconMan.)

Gnome's view especially matters here because of GTK, which is used as a foundation by a number of important desktop programs such as Firefox (but not Chrome, which apparently has its own toolkit system). If X support decays in GTK, a lot of programs will start being affected, and I don't know how receptive the Gnome developers would be to fixes if they consider X support to be in hard maintenance mode.

(But a lot of this is worries, rather than anything concrete.)

PS: I have no idea what non-Linux Unixes are going to do here, especially for NVidia hardware where driver support is already lacking and often at the mercy of NVidia's corporate priorities and indifference.

unix/XDeathwatchStarts written at 23:25:36; Add Comment

A hazard of our old version of OmniOS: sometimes powering off doesn't

Two weeks ago, I powered down all of our OmniOS fileservers that are now out of production, which is most of them. By that, I mean that I logged in to each of them via SSH and ran 'poweroff'. The machines disappeared from the network and I thought nothing more of it.

This Sunday morning we had a brief power failure. In the aftermath of the power failure, three out of four of the OmniOS fileservers reappeared on the network, which we knew mostly because they sent us some email (there were no bad effects of them coming back). When I noticed them back, I assumed that this had happened because we'd set their BIOSes to 'always power on after a power failure'. This is not too crazy a setting for a production server you want up at all costs because it's a central fileserver, but it's obviously no longer the setting you want once they go out of production.

Today, I logged in to the three that had come back, ran 'poweroff' on them again, and then later went down to the machine room to pull out their power cords. To my surprise, when I looked at the physical machines, they had little green power lights that claimed they were powered on. When I plugged in a roving display and keyboard to check their state, I discovered that all three were still powered on and sitting displaying an OmniOS console message to the effect that they were powering off. Well, they might have been trying to power off, but they weren't achieving it.

I rather suspect that this is what happened two weeks ago, and why these machines all sprang back to life after the power failure. If OmniOS never actually powered the machines off, even a BIOS setting of 'resume last power state after a power failure' would have powered the machines on again, which would have booted OmniOS back up again. Two weeks ago, I didn't go look at the physical servers or check their power state through their lights out management interface; it never occurred to me that 'poweroff' on OmniOS sometimes might not actually power the machine off, especially when the machines did drop off the network.

(One out of the four OmniOS servers didn't spring back to life after the power failure, and was powered off when I looked at the hardware. Perhaps its BIOS was set very differently, or perhaps OmniOS managed to actually power it off. They're all the same hardware and the same OmniOS version, but the server that probably managed to power off had no active ZFS pools on our iSCSI backends; the other three did.)

At this point, this is only a curiosity. If all goes well, the last OmniOS fileserver will go out of production tomorrow evening. It's being turned off as part of that, which means that I'm going to have to check that it actually powered off (and I'd better add that to the checklist I've written up).

solaris/HazardOfNoPoweroff written at 01:01:17; Add Comment

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