Mailinglist Archive: opensuse-factory (661 mails)

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[opensuse-factory] The Future of SaX2
  • From: Egbert Eich <eich@xxxxxxx>
  • Date: Tue, 1 Dec 2009 16:32:00 +0100
  • Message-id: <19221.14064.214473.157433@xxxxxxx>

The Future of SaX2

For many years now SUSE Linux came with a tool to configure the setup
of the desktop which was second to none in the Linux and Free Software
world: SaX2. It made it easy even for unexperienced users to configure
video modes, screen layouts as well as keyboard and input devices for
the X Window System.
Meanwhile however the technology around the X Window System server
as shipped by X.Org has evolved: hot pluggable input and output devices
made a static configuration infeasible. Automatic configuration and
dynamic reconfiguration mechanisms have been developed such that today
most of the tasks that SaX2 was able to do are done fully automatically
on the fly and can be modified from within a desktop session. Modern
desktops like Gnome and KDE provide convenient user interfaces for that.
A static configuration of the Xserver as done by SaX2 is still possible,
yet it does not work well together with dynamic reconfiguration.
The changes to SaX2 to improve this situation would be considerable
and will require substantial changes in its design.

Novell has decided to no longer invest in development maintenance of
SaX2 but instead rely on the new automatic and dynamic configuration
features and invest in desktop applets to perform dynamic changes.
Federico Quintero for instance has created gnome-display-properties.

The resources needed to keep SaX2 in sync with changes in X.Org will
exceed what the people at Novell who have been maintaining SaX2 next
to their normal work tasks in the past few years are able to spare.

Thus starting with openSUSE 11.2 SaX2 will no longer be offered as
a configuration option in YaST. It is still shipped and installed by
default but it's likely to be deprecated further when it's usefulness
diminishes further.

People have raised objections to this decision by Novell's as
they believe a static configuration is still crucial while auto
configuration is still new and still fails in a few cases where SaX2
successfully produces a usable configuration.
Yet, the decision was driven by what Novell sees its business needs
and thus is not up for discussion.

However the fate of SaX2 is not at all up to Novell: SaX2 has
been Free Software all along and as with all Free Software it's
up to each individual to help driving it in the direction they
like to see it go - independently of corporate business needs and
All it needs is a dedicated bunch - a group of people who still
believe in it's value and who are willing to drive it further -
or the corollary to this: if there is no such community it's most
likely not considered useful enough to warrant the effort.

Thus if you think a configuration tool for X like SaX2 is still what
the world and you need, it is now time to act: Don't sit there and
complain about a decision you cannot influence, pick up and start
driving SaX2 development yourself - the sky's the limit!
Don't be shy altering even fundamental basics of the SaX2 code basis
- the configuration system in X has vastly changed, so a configuration
tool needs to change the same way.

The resources to do so are there:
The project is hosted at:

The openSUSE Devel project is at:

Please join the developers mailing list at
If you are interested to contribute to SaX2.

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