ripping the X server a new driver API
[side note: When I started out on hotplug. one of my goals was to avoid changing the server API/ABI too much so I could continue side by side testing.]
how did I get to v3?
v0.1: was called dynerama it failed miserably and proved that using Xinerama as the plugging layer was a bad plan.
v1: was the first time I decided to use an impedance layer between some server objects and driver objects.
v2: was the a major rebase of v1.
v2 was trucking along nicely and I managed to get the design to the stage where PRIME offloading intel/nouveau worked, USB device hotplug with udl worked, and GPU switch worked between two drivers. However v2 duplicated a lot of code and invented a whole new set of API objects called DrvXRec, so DrvScreenRec, DrvPixmapRec, DrvGCRec etc, this lead me to looking at the pain of merging this into the drivers and the server, and my goals of avoiding changing the API/ABI was getting in my way.
So before starting v3 I decided to rework some of the server "APIs".
The X server has two main bodies of code, one called DIX, and one called DDX. The DIX (device independent X) code and the DDX (Device dependent X code). In the X.org tree the dix lives up in the top level dirs, and for X.org server the DDX lives in hw/xfree86. The main object with info about protocol screens and GPUs is called ScreenRec in the DDX and ScrnInfoRec in the DIX. These are stored in two arrays, screenInfo.screens in the DIX and xf86Screens in the DDX, when code wants to convert between these it can do one of a few things.
a) lookup by index, both structs have an index value, so to go from ScrnInfo to Screen you look at screenInfo.screens[scrninfo->scrnIndex] and other way is xf86Screens[screen->myNum]. This is like the I didn't try and make an API, I just exposed everything.
b) ScrnInfo has a ScreenPtr in it, so some code can do ScrnInfo->pScreen to get the pointer to the dix struct. But this pointer is initialised after a bunch of code is called, so you really can't guarantee this pointer is going to be useful for you.
c) XF86SCRNINFO uses the DIX private subsystem to lookup the Scrn in the Screen's privates. This is the least used and probably slowest method.
So also screenInfo.screens contains the protocol screens we exposed to the clients, so this array cannot really change or move around. So I'd like to add screeninfo.gpuscreens and xf86GPUScreens and not have drivers know which set of info they are working on, however (a) totally screws this idea, since the indices are always looked up directly in the global arrays.
Now lots of the Screen/ScrnInfo APIs exposed to the drivers pass an int index as the first parameter, the function in the driver then goes and looks up the global arrays.
So my first API changes introduce some standard conversion functions xf86ScreenToScrn and xf86ScrnToScreen, and converts a lot of the server to use those. Yay an API. The second set of changes then changes all of the index passing APIs to pass ScrnInfoPtr or ScreenPtr, so the drivers don't go poking into global arrays. Now this is a major API change, it will involve slightly messy code in drivers that want to work with both servers, but I can't see a nicer way to do it. I've done a compat header file that will hopefully allows to cover a lot of this stuff where we don't see it.
I've ono other API introduction on the list, Glyph Pictures are another global array indexed by screen index, I've gone and added an accessor function so that drivers don't use the index anymore to get at the array contents directly.
Once this stuff lands in the server, a team of people will go forward and port the drivers to the new APIs (who am I kidding).