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Date:      Fri, 11 Dec 2009 16:26:29 -0500
From:      Carmel <>
Subject:   Re: 'X' vs. 'Mouse'
Message-ID:  <BLU0-SMTP2635402DE55FCB76A0BF1D938C0@phx.gbl>

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On Fri, 11 Dec 2009 08:48:36 -0700 (MST)
Warren Block <> replied:

>On Fri, 11 Dec 2009, Carmel wrote:
>> Honestly, did the 'X' developers go out of their way to break mouse,
>> and to a lesser degree, keyboard support when upgrading?
>No, they were trying to upgrade a very old, static system (X11) to 
>support their users.  One thing that had been lacking was any support 
>for hotplugging input devices.  To implement that, they used HAL, 
>because basically it's the only thing available.

Correct me if I am wrong; however, I believe I read that 'HAL' is dead.
Further work on it is not going to happen. If that is correct, are we
to expect another fiasco when its replacement comes online.

>So now we have a combination of several unfortunate things:
>* Users are used to an X11 that has been unchanged for years.
>* At the same time, xorg users and developers want new features.
>* The only way to support some of the features is with new software,
>   HAL was the only thing out there that ran on multiple systems and
>   supported hotplug detection.
>* HAL is totally unlike X and uses XML config files.
>* Most xorg development takes place on Linux, where HAL is more common
>   than on FreeBSD.
>* There are only a couple of FreeBSD developers actively working on
>the huge
>   and complicated job of porting and supporting xorg.
>* The first port of xorg-server with HAL support on FreeBSD had a bug.
>   The bug workaround is still being applied by users, long after the
> bug was fixed, and sometimes--but not always!--it unfixes things.
>So add all this confusion together, and you end up where we are now.
>I suspect it seems worse than it really is, since the current xorg
>will run on a lot of systems without an xorg.conf at all.
>> This forum has been riddled with questions on why their hardware 
>> (mouse) has stopped working and how to get it working again. If 
>> Microsoft had pulled a bone-headed stunt like this, they would be 
>> chastised; however, hardly a word has been uttered regarding the
>> poor choices made by the 'X' development team.
>The other side of that argument is that Microsoft has supported 
>hotplugging input devices for more than a decade.

I have often wondered what the delay in developing hot-plugging in
non-win32 systems was. Worse, HAL requiring the creation of of XML files
sort of defeats the entire concept of 'plug & play'.

>> I question whether they actually tested this product prior to 
>> releasing it. I have been following a few forums besides this one
>> and they all report the same problem. I realize that 'HAL' has
>> something to do with this situation also. Perhaps if all the
>> concerned parties would get their acts together this sort of fiasco
>> would not continually happen.
>You could go to the xorg mailing lists at and set them 
>straight.  They might cheerfully offer to refund your money.

I think you are being overly glib regarding this problem. I stand by my
original statement that the parties involved should have tested the
final product more thoroughly. As a side note, I officiate youth league
sport's programs in my spare time. I don't get paid either. Still, I
would never do a crap job just because I was not being financially
compensated for my efforts.

>You could also offer to help development or testing, either to the 
>FreeBSD developers or xorg.

I have beta tested applications in the past. I was not aware that Xorg
was releasing beta products aimed at FreeBSD. I was under the
impression that offerings from Xorg were only ported to FreeBSD after
they were released to Linux users.

>> It is really hard to push the merits of an operating system when you
>> have to give detailed instructions to the potential end user on how
>> to get a "mouse" to work, when all they have to do in a Win32 based
>> system is plug it in.
>xorg is not FreeBSD, but if you're looking for an integrated GUI 
>operating system based on FreeBSD, PC-BSD seems to be well-regarded.

I never meant to infer that FreeBSD == xorg.

>> I really cannot fathom a seven year old having to modify
>> an XML document to facilitate their playing a "How to Spell" CD,
>> assuming that they could even get the CD operational.
>Normally you'd start by finding out whether they prefer vi or emacs.

Absolutely; anything but OO.



If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and
over again, there is no use in reading it at all.

	Oscar Wilde

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