X11R7.6 Released

-- The X.Org Foundation and the global community of X.Org developers announce the release of X11R7.6 – Release 7.6 of the X Window System, Version 11. This release is the seventh modular release of the X Window System. The next full release will be X11R7.7 and is expected in 2011.

X11R7.6 supports Linux, BSD, Solaris, MacOS X, Microsoft Windows and GNU Hurd systems. It incorporates new features, and stability and correctness fixes, including improved autoconfiguration heuristics, enhanced support for input devices, better documentation, and takes the next step in migrating to the XCB client APIs.

The full source code is free to use, modify and redistribute, under open source licenses, and is available from http://www.x.org/releases/X11R7.6/ and mirrors worldwide.

For more information on the X Window System, including how to get involved with development, please see http://www.x.org/.

Summary of new features in X11R7.6

This is a sampling of the new features in X11R7.6. A more complete list of changes can be found in the ChangeLog files that are part of the source of each X module and on the http://www.x.org/releases/X11R7.6/ website.

More information on the contents of X11R7.6 and changes from previous releases can also be found in the release notes posted at: http://www.x.org/releases/X11R7.6/doc/xorg-docs/ReleaseNotes.html

  • InputClass sections in Xorg configuration files are used to apply configuration options to any input device matching specified rules, such as device path, type of device, device manufacturer, or other data provided by the input hotplug backend. Details can be found in the INPUTCLASS section of the xorg.conf(5) manual page.
  • Xorg configuration directories are used to allow fragments of the X server configuration to be delivered in individual files. For instance, the input device driver matching rules previously provided in HAL .fdi files are now provided as ?InputClass sections in .conf files in a xorg.conf.d directory.
  • udev is now used by the X server on Linux systems for input device discovery and hot-plug notification. Other platforms continue to use the HAL framework for these tasks for now.
  • X protocol C-language Binding (XCB) is now included in the katamari, and is required by several client-side modules, including libX11, xlsatoms, xlsclients and xwininfo. XCB is a replacement for Xlib featuring a small footprint, latency hiding, direct access to the protocol, improved threading support, and extensibility. More information can be found on the XCB website at http://xcb.freedesktop.org/.
  • Major progress has been made on the X.Org Documentation modernization - most of the library and protocol specifications are now included in the modules for those libraries and protocols so they can be updated in sync with new versions, and many have been converted to DocBook XML from the variety of formats they were previously in. On most systems these documents will be installed under /usr/share/doc/. They are also posted on the X.Org website at http://www.x.org/releases/X11R7.6/doc/index.html


Two of the early leaders of the X Window System community were lost to cancer this year — Smokey Wallace, who led the DEC WSL team which created the initial implementation of X11, and Hideki Hiura from Sun Microsystems, who helped design the X11R6 internationalization framework. The X11R7.6 release is dedicated to their memory.

Jim Gettys remembers that “Without Smokey, it is not clear that X11 would have ever existed: he and I drafted a memo that proposed developing X11 in Digital’s WSL and making the result freely available, as X11 would require more resources than we had available at MIT. This was one of the seminal moments in free and open source software, though few know of it.

Alan Coopersmith, who worked with Hideki at Sun, noted that “Hideki’s contributions to the X Window System and leadership in forums such as openi18n.org will leave a lasting legacy on the millions of users who are able to use their native languages to interact with computers and portable devices running the Unix and Linux families of operating system.