[ubuntu-x] gnome-settings-daemon: the new Xserver?

Christopher James Halse Rogers raof at ubuntu.com
Fri Oct 1 01:22:21 BST 2010

On Thu, 2010-09-30 at 23:41 +0200, Tormod Volden wrote:
> Hi,
> Over the last years the autodetection abilities of the Xserver has
> been improved to the point that in most cases X detects all screen
> connected and chooses the best resolution available, with no
> configuration needed. However, on the Ubuntu desktop another friend
> increasingly wants to have a say: The gnome-settings-daemon and its
> magic use of xrandr. g-s-d has been useful to let the user choose his
> own screen settings and let them be remembered over sessions. But now
> it wants to overrule the Xserver even in the default configuration,
> before the user even gets a chance to configure anything.
> One of the latest changes (gnome_settings_daemon 2.31.91-0ubuntu3)
> introduced more xrandr manipulation ("turn on external screens by
> default") and caused a family of regressions like 643118 and 640807. I
> have a couple of issues with this change:
> 1) It was pushed into Maverick just before Final Freeze, without
> explanation, without reference to any bug it may fix. I know that
> gnome packages are exempted from upload freeze rules, but I think that
> is to allow upstream bug fixes to flow in, and not to lightly add
> Ubuntu changes.
> 2) If external screens need to be enabled for some reason, why
> shouldn't the Xserver do it instead? This smells of plastering and
> workarounds to me. And do for example Xubuntu and Kubuntu users not
> want the same display modes by default?
I was under the impression that this is actually the logical conclusion
of the drive to strip required configuration from X, and the “mechanism,
not policy” philosophy.

Determining what to do on monitor hotplug, now that clients actually
*get* hotplug events, seems like it should be done in the desktop
environment.  It's a policy decision that's probably user-specific.

> Note that although (2) reveals my personal opinion, it is not meant
> rhetorically, I have not been following closely lately and have missed
> out on much information. A changelog bug reference would probably have
> helped :) What is exactly the way we want this to work, both as in
> user experience and in the strategics of distributing logic between
> Xserver and g-s-d? Also, is this well coordinated and communicated
> between X team and gnome/desktop team?

g-s-d should probably be smarter about not needlessly changing settings,
but I think that g-s-d *should* be in charge of resolution policy.

I think we might want to have a multi-head discussion at UDS with the
design team and the various desktop teams to work out the user
experience we want.

> I am sure some of the reported bugs boil down to bugs in the graphic
> drivers and that the above g-s-d changes would otherwise have been
> fine, but this is a minefield to be treaded carefully, especially in
> these days of KMS migration.
> Tormod

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