Subject: Re: Version of NetBSD for XFree86 distro
To: Gregg C Levine <>
From: Richard Rauch <>
List: current-users
Date: 10/04/2000 19:01:27
I'm using 4.0 of XFree86 (binary install) on NetBSD/i386, 1.5_ALPHA.  If
you look at the August (and possibly September) archives for current-users
and tech-x11, you will see what I've had to say about it.  (I do not
remember if I am running the 1.3.x or the ``1.4-current'' version of
XFree86 4.0.)

Although I am not aware of explaining their choices, you
should bear in mind that ``1.3'' targeted binaries _can_ run on later OS
versions.  (And, you can probably build from sources if you like.  I
frankly haven't bothered, since the binary install was agreeable to me,
and it worked.)

There is one problem that I noted in late September (on netbsd-help); it
looks like Python's Tkinter module, under 1.5_ALPHA & XFree86 4.0 fails to
work.  You also have to dance around the fact that some of our pkgsrc
libraries overlap with libraries that are integrated into XFree86 4.0.  
(This, of course, is with Python & friends bulit out of pkgsrc.)

For the most part, it works, but it doesn't seem to work any better than
XFree86 3.3.6, save that 4.0 has a MUCH nicer configuration feature.  If
you have 3.3.6 XFree86 working, I'm not aware of any good reason to switch
to 4.x on NetBSD at present.  (In fact, 4.x's twm window manager has a bug
that I've also seen on LINUX boxes, but which (NetBSD's?) 3.3.6 twm was
free from.)  (Okay, one reason: 4.x supports true type fonts.  This may be
important to you.)

The story would be different, IMHO, if XFree86 4.x supported hardware
OpenGL rendering on NetBSD.  At present, you can do this to some degree
with the Mesa-glx package.  (My S3 ViRGE card isn't supported, so I
used plain Mesa (not Mesa-glx) under XFree86 3.3.6.)

It's worth seeing what XFree86 4.x brings to the table.  Beyond that,
running 4.x is more of a curiosity issue than a system
feature.  Hopefully, that will change.

  "I probably don't know what I'm talking about."