Ubuntu Will Switch to a User Mode X Server Soon

Ubuntu has already switched to a kernel mode setting to run most of the OS components. A primary advantage of kernel mode setting is that it lets us run OS components seamlessly without too much of swapping and context switching. This nifty feature present from kernel 2.6.32 onwards has been used on Intel, AMD and NVidia hardware and is already in place in Ubuntu Lucid Lynx.

A better understanding of Kernel Mode Setting (KMS) is provided here:

Kernel Mode Setting is all about taking the bulk of the Graphics Driver code out of the X server and putting it into the Kernel.  This means that the kernel has Graphics Drivers just like the kernel has Network Card Drivers, Wireless Drivers, USB Drivers, etc.

Most importantly, the kernel can set the mode whenever we need to and restore it on resume.  The three most user-visible results of this are:

  • a high-color, high-resolution splash screen during boot with a seamless (no black screen) transition into the X server
  • fast and seamless transition between X servers when user switching
  • extraordinarily fast resume from suspend directly into graphics (no blinking text cursor)

This was all about kernel mode setting running on Lucid though, at the latest Ubuntu Developer Summit in Brussels, there were talks on moving X.Org Server to the user-space and running it as a normal user instead of the current root. This can already be seen in Moblin.

The only  hindrance  in this is the presence of hardware that does not use KMS already. This change is expected to appear in Ubuntu 11.04 by the earlier.
(Via: Phoronix)

Published by

Chinmoy Kanjilal

Chinmoy Kanjilal is a FOSS enthusiast and evangelist. He is passionate about Android. Security exploits turn him on and he loves to tinker with computer networks. You can connect with him on Twitter @ckandroid.