Wednesday’s XKCD was funny as usual, but there was also quite a bit of truth to it. Since X.Org was forked from XFree86 several years back, I can count on one hand the number of times I have had to edit my X11 configuration, and most (if not all) of them have involved AMD/ATI’s Catalyst driver. This is a far cry from my early days experimenting with Slackware 7, when I knew little about Linux and even less about X11. Were it not for the helpfulness of more experienced Linux users on message boards and mailing lists (not to mention my stubbornness and natural curiosity), I may well have given up on learning Linux. In fact, aside from when I used to use the Catalyst driver, I haven’t even had an xorg.conf in the last several years. Gone are the days when I had to manually configure my display modes, enter the right parameters to enable mouse wheel scrolling, etc. I have been so spoiled by X.Org that, until I saw this comic on Wednesday, I had forgotten just how cumbersome X11 once was.
This is not to say that X.Org is all sunshine and roses. Features like multiple monitors and two-finger scrolling for trackpads don’t always work well, even with desktop environments stepping up in the last couple years to make configuration easier.
All in all though, when compared to the state of X11 about 10 years ago, X.Org has proven to be a fantastic implementation that has given Linux users little to complain about.