Article: 797 of comp.os.linux.announce
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Newsgroups: comp.os.linux.announce,comp.os.linux
From: (David Wexelblat)
Subject: Announcing the release of XFree86 1.3
Sender: (Usenet Administration)
Message-ID: <>
Approved: (Matt Welsh)
Date: Wed, 16 Jun 93 14:28:45 GMT
Organization: AT&T
Followup-To: comp.os.linux,comp.os.linux
Keywords: XFree86 1.3, Xwindows, X11R5 
Lines: 420


                         Announcing XFree86 1.3
			      June 16, 1993
    0) Introductory Notes
    1) What is XFree86?
    2) What's new in XFree86 1.3?
    3) XFree86 features
    4) Systems XFree86 has been tested on
    5) Supported video-card chip-sets
    6) Where to get more information
    7) Credits
    8) Contact information
    9) Source and binary archive sites

0 - Introductory Notes
  Barring any critically-important public fixes from MIT, this will be
the last release of XFree86 1.X.  We are working hard on XFree86 2.0, which
will include support for accelerated hardware.  We hope to have that out
sometime towards the end of the summer, but no promises. 

  Some special things have occurred with this release that we'd like to
draw attention to:

	- Jim Tsillas, one of the XFree86 "founding fathers", is leaving
	  the Core Team as of the release of 1.3.  Jim was the author of
	  fX386, the performance enhancement package used for non-ET4000
	  SVGA chipsets.  In addition, Jim was the SVR3 contact on the
	  Core Team, and helped pull together the shared-library subteam.
	  Replacing Jim on the Core Team will be Thomas Wolfram, who
	  put together the SVR3 shared library support.  Also joining the
	  Core Team is Jon Tombs.  Jon has been helping coordinate the
	  alpha-trial work on the accelerated support for XFree86 2.0, and
	  has been largely responsible for merging Amancio Hasty's XS3
	  work into the XFree86 source tree.  We'd like to express our 
	  thanks to Jim for all his work over the past year, and welcome
	  Thomas and Jon to the Core Team.

	- There has been an unprecedented level of commercial support in
	  this release of XFree86.  This release contains a driver for the
	  NCR SVGA chipsets, which was written by Stuart Anderson of NCR,
	  and contributed to XFree86 by NCR.  This release also adds support 
	  for SCO SVR3.  We got some invaluable assistance in getting this
	  done from Stacey Campbell at SCO.  The X library now supports
	  runtime selection of local-connection mode on SVR3/4.  This
	  was implemented with a specification jointly developed by
	  XFree86, USL, NCR, SGCS, MetroLink, and PPc.  In addition, 
	  developers from NCR and MetroLink are now on the XFree86 
	  development team.  Lastly, Rod Grimes and Jack Velte of Walnut
	  Creek CDROM provided the machines used to build the 386BSD binary
	  release for 1.3.  The XFree86 Core Team wants to thank all of
	  our commercial peers with whom we have been working, and hope
	  that this level of cooperation continues.

Now on to the good stuff...

1 - What is XFree86?
  XFree86 is a port of X11R5 that supports several versions of Intel-based
Unix and Unix-like operating systems.  The XFree86 servers are derived
from X386 1.2, which was the X server distributed with X11R5.  This
release consists of many new features and performance improvements as well
as many bug fixes.  The release is available as source patches against the
MIT X11R5 code, as well as binary distributions for many architectures.

Note that while the source and installation trees retain the name 'X386'
name (for simplicity of maintenance of the source tree), there is no
connection between XFree86 and the commercial X386 product sold by SGCS.
The XFree86 Core Team maintains technical contacts with SGCS in an effort
to keep user-affecting changes to the workings of the products from
diverging too radically.  There is no direct involvement of either group
in the workings of the other.

2 - What's new in XFree86 1.3?
  The following items have been added since XFree86 1.2 was released in
February 1993:

    0) The server binary names have been changed from 'X386' and
       'X386mono' to 'XF86_SVGA' and 'XF86_Mono'.  This is not
       particularly important, but may confuse people at first.
    1) MIT public fixes to X11R5 up to fix-25 have been incorporated
    2) Support for the following operating systems has been added:
		SCO SVR3 3.2.2 and 3.2.4
		ISC 2.0.2
    3) Support for the following SVGA chipsets has been added:
		Western Digital 90C3x
		Cirrus 542x
		Trident 8800CS, 8900B, 8900CL
		NCR 77C22, 77C22E
		Compaq AVGA
       We believe that the ET4000/W32 will also work with this release.
    4) For SVR3/4, the local connection mechanism used is selectable at
       run-time, rather than compile time.
    5) For 386BSD, the server now determines the console driver at
       run-time, removing the need for separate server binaries.
    6) Support for building Linux shared libraries is integrated into the
       source kit.
    7) The server Link Kit now includes driver sources, which allows for
       modification and addition of new drivers, without requiring the
       server source tree.
    8) The interface between the server and the drivers has been fully
       documented, and a stub driver is included.
    9) A preliminary version of the 'SuperProbe' program is included.
       This is a Unix-based program designed to detect and identify
       installed video hardware.
   10) The binary package is no longer required to exist in /usr/X386.
       Support for a $XWINHOME environment variable has been added to all
       hard-coded paths.
   11) PEX is now supported in the XFree86 source tree, and has been
       ported to Linux.
   12) The Hercules code has been fixed for Linux, 386BSD, Mach and SCO.
   13) The handling of the "overscan" region of the display has been
       dramatically improved.  This should prevent the area of the display
       outside the raster from changing to odd colors when colormap
       changes are made.
   14) Support has been added to handle mice that can switch between
       Microsoft and MouseSystems modes via toggling of DTR for OSs that
       provide a mechanism for manipulating RS-232 control leads.
   15) Support for banked operation has been added to the ET3000 driver
       in the monochrome server.

Plus a number of other small things.  Refer to the CHANGELOG file in the
source distribution for full details.

3 - XFree86 Features
  Here is a list of the other significant features that XFree86 adds over
stock X386 1.2 (X11R5):

    1) The SpeedUp package from Glenn Lai is an integral part of XFree86,
       selectable at run-time via the Xconfig file.  Some SpeedUps require
       an ET4000 based SVGA, and others require a virtual screen width of
       1024.  The SpeedUps suitable to the configuration are selected by
       default.  With a high-quality ET4000 board (VRAM), this can yield
       up to 40% improvement of the xStones benchmark over X386 1.2.
    2) The fX386 packages from Jim Tsillas are included as the default
       operating mode if SpeedUp is not selected.  This mode is now
       equivalent in performance to X386 1.1b (X11R4), and approximately
       20% faster than X386 1.2.
    3) A monochrome server that supports bank-switching of available SVGA
       memory to allow virtual screens up to 1600x1200.
    4) Support for the Hercules mono card has been added to the monochrome
       server, and with it the ability to support a "two headed" server -
       one VGA, and one Hercules.
    5) SVR3 shared libraries, tested under ISC SVR3 2.0.2, 2.2 and 3.0.1;
       SCO 3.2.2, 3.2.4.
    6) Support for Linux, 386BSD, Mach, SVR4.2, SCO, Amoeba, and Minix-386.
    7) Support for LOCALCONN.  This support is for both SVR3.2 and SVR4.
       For SVR4.0.4 with the 'Advanced Compatibility Package', local
       connections from SCO XSight/ODT clients are supported.
    8) Drivers for ATI, Trident, NCR, Compaq, and Cirrus SVGA chipsets.
       Refer to the files README.ati and README.trident for details about
       the ATI and Trident drivers.
    9) Support for compressed bitmap fonts has been added (Thomas
       Eberhardt's code from the contrib directory on
   10) Type1 Font code from MIT contrib tape has been included, and is
       compile-time selectable.  There are contributed Type1 fonts in the
       contrib directory on
   11) New configuration method which allows the server's drivers and font
       renderers to be reconfigured from both source and binary
   12) A new tutorial on how to develop correct video card and monitor
       timing data, written by Eric Raymond (derived from previous
       documentation and a lot of experimentation).
   13) Greatly improved support for international keyboards, including
       implementation of the Compose key functionality found on many
       vendor servers.
   14) Many enhancements in error handling and parsing of the Xconfig
       configuration file.  Error messages are much more informative and
       intuitive, and more validation is done.  There are many new options
       that can be enabled in the Xconfig file.

4 - Systems XFree86 has been tested on
	Esix: 4.0.3A, 4.0.4
	Microport: 2.2, 3.1, 4.1, 4.2
	Dell: 2.1, 2.2
	UHC: 2.0, 3.6
	Consensys: 1.2
	MST: 4.0.3
	ISC: 4.0.3
	AT&T: 2.1, 4.0

	Univel UnixWare

	Interactive: 2.0.2, 2.2, 3.0
	SCO: 3.2.2, 3.2.4
	AT&T: 3.2.2

	386BSD 0.1, NetBSD 0.8
	Mach 386

5 - Supported video-card chipsets
  At this time, XFree86 1.3 supports the following SVGA chipsets:
    Tseng ET3000, ET4000
    Western Digital/Paradise PVGA1
    Western Digital WD90C00, WD90C10, WD90C11, WD90C30, WD90C31
    Genoa GVGA
    Trident TVGA8800CS, TVGA8900B, TVGA8900C, TVGA8900CL, TVGA9000
    ATI 28800-4, 28800-5, 28800-a
    NCR 77C22, 77C22E
    Cirrus Logic CLGD5420, CLGD5422, CLGD5424, CLGD5426
    Compaq AVGA
All of the above are supported in both 256 color and monochrome modes,
with the exception of the ATI and Cirrus chipsets, which are only
supported in 256 color mode.

Refer to the chipset-specific README files (currently for Tseng, Western
Digital, ATI, and Trident) for more information about using those chipsets.

The monochrome server also supports generic VGA cards, using 64k of video
memory in a single bank, and the Hercules card.  On the Compaq AVGA, only
64k of video memory is supported for the monochrome server, and the GVGA
has not been tested with more than 64k.

It appears that some of the SVGA card manufacturers are going to
non-traditional mechanisms for selecting pixel-clock frequencies.  To
avoid having to modify the server to accommodate these schemes XFree86 1.2
added support for using an external program to select the pixel clock.
This allows programs to be written as new mechanisms are discovered.
Refer to the README.clkprog file for information on how these programs
work, if you need to write one.  If you do develop such a program, we
would be interested in including it with future XFree86 releases.

NOTE: The Diamond SpeedStar 24 (and possibly recent SpeedStar+) boards are
      NOT supported, even though they use the ET4000.  The reason for this
      is that Diamond has changed the mechanism used to select pixel clock
      frequencies, and will only release programming information under
      non-disclosure.  We are not willing to do this (as it would mean
      that source cannot be provided).  We have had discussions with
      Diamond over this, and they do not intend to change this policy.
      Hence we will do nothing to support Diamond products going forward
      (i.e. don't send us a program to run set their clocks).

A final mention must be made of accelerated chipsets.  At this point,
XFree86 does not support any accelerated chipsets.  These include the S3
86Cxxx, the ATI Mach8 and Mach32, the IBM 8514/A, the new Western Digital
chipset (on the Diamond SpeedStar 24X), the new Cirrus and Tseng chipsets,
and TIGA (TI 340x0).  Some of these will be supported in XFree86 2.0.

6 - Where to get more information
  Additional documentation is available in the XFree86(1) and XF86keybd(1)
manual pages.  In addition, several README files and tutorial documents
are provided.  These are available in /usr/X386/lib/X11/etc in the binary
distributions, and in mit/server/ddx/x386 and ddx/x386/etc in the source

Documentation on SVGA driver development can be found in the directory
/usr/X386/Server/VGADriverDoc in the binary distribution, and in the
directory mit/server/ddx/x386/VGADriverDoc in the source distribution.

If you are totally at a loss, you can contact the XFree86 Core Team at
the electronic mail address below.

7 - Credits

XFree86 was originally put together by:
       David Dawes <>
       Glenn Lai <>
       Jim Tsillas <>
       David Wexelblat <>

386BSD support by:
       Amancio Hasty Jr <>
       Rich Murphey <>

Original 386BSD port by:
       Pace Willison

Mach 386 support by:
       Robert Baron <>

Linux support by:
       Orest Zborowski <>

SCO Unix support by:
       David McCullough <>

Amoeba support by:
       Kees Verstoep <>

Minix-386 support by:
       Philip Homburg <>

SVR3 shared libraries by:
       Thomas Wolfram <>

Linux shared libraries by:
       Dirk Hohndel <>

ATI driver by:
       Rik Faith <>

Trident driver by:
       Alan Hourihane <>

NCR driver by:
       Stuart Anderson < Stuart.Anderson@ColumbiaSC.NCR.COM>
		with the permission of NCR Corporation

Cirrus driver by:
       Bill Reynolds <>

Compaq driver by:
       Hans Oey <>

Configurable MFB and Hercules driver by:
       Davor Matic < dmatic@Athena.MIT.EDU>

X386 1.2, and moral support from:
       Thomas Roell <>
       Mark Snitily <>

Other contributors:
       Gertjan Akkerman <> (Trident 9000)
       Joerg Wunsch <> (ET3000 banked mono)
       Bob Crosson <> (video mode documentation)
       Thomas Eberhardt <> (compressed fonts)
       Eric Raymond <> (new video mode documentation)

       and an entire horde of beta-testers around the world!

8 - Contact information
  Ongoing development planning and support is coordinated by the XFree86
Core Team.  At this time the Core Team consists of (in alphabetical order):

       Robert Baron <>
       David Dawes <>
       Glenn Lai <>
       Rich Murphey <>
       Jon Tombs <>
       David Wexelblat <>
       Thomas Wolfram <>
       Orest Zborowski <>

E-mail sent to <> will reach the Core Team.

9 - Source and binary archive sites
  Source patches based on X11R5 PL25, from MIT, are available via
anonymous FTP from: (under /contrib/XFree86) (under /XFree86) (under /pub/XFree86)

Refer to the README file under the specified directory for information on
which files you need to get to build your distribution (which will depend
on whether this is a new installation or an upgrade from an earlier
version of XFree86).

Binaries are available via anonymous FTP from:            - SVR4 binaries
                under /XFree86/SVR4                  - SVR4 binaries
                under /pub/XFree86/SVR4                     - SVR4 binaries
                under /pub/SVR4/XFree86               - SVR4 binaries
                under /pub/XFree86/SVR4               - SVR3 (SCO) binaries
                under /pub/XFree86/sco        - SVR3 (ISC) binaries
                under /pub/ISC            - SVR3 (ISC) binaries
                under /pub/pc/isc/XFree86                  - Linux binaries
                under /pub/linux/packages/X11              - 386BSD binaries
                under /pub/386BSD/0.1-ports/XFree86-1.3              - 386BSD binaries
                under /pub/BSD/386bsd/0.1-ports/XFree86-1.3             - 386BSD binaries
                under /mirrors4/386bsd/0.1-ports/XFree86-1.3               - 386BSD binaries
		under /pub/XFree86/XFree86-1.3                  - Mach386 binaries
                under /i386

Ensure that you are getting XFree86 1.3 - some of these sites may archive
older releases as well.  Each binary distribution will contain a README
file that describes what files you need to take from the archive, and
which compile-time option selections were made when building the

David Wexelblat <>  (908) 957-5871  Fax: (908) 957-5627
AT&T Bell Laboratories, 200 Laurel Ave - 3F-428, Middletown, NJ  07748

XFree86 requests should be addressed to <>

"How many times must good men die?  How many tears will the children cry,
 'til we suffer no more sadness?  Oh, stop the madness.  Stop all the madness."
        -- Molly Hatchet, Fall Of The Peacemakers.

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