David Dawes

a long-time XFree86 developer


I am the current, and second, President of The XFree86 Project. That's mainly because I am one of the original "gang of four" who founded XFree86® way back when, in 1992, when the original code as released by the X Consortium did not run on my x86-based hardware (something about it being considered an immature and unimportant hardware platform by the established X Window System developers).

I am a graduate of The University of Sydney and received the University Medal in Physics. I started working on XFree86 while working part-time on my doctorate in electro-magnetic theory in Physics and working full-time maintaining the Physics department's heterogeneous UNIX® network. Needless to say, XFree86 became a big thing in the department, and they were proud to help out and be the first host for the Project, something I have always been very proud of; it was and remains a great department and I cannot thank them enough for all that they have done.

Throughout the years, I have worked everywhere on the code base; but I guess what I enjoy the most is the overall project design and direction, like the X server internals. That would be lost if not for ensuring the code portability by keeping a close eye on the source integration issues. That is an important part of my role as the release engineer. When I was interviewed by a fellow physicist I discussed how my role grew out of the needs of the project and of course I had to admit to my dreams as well.

I left Sydney in late 1999, a little after that interview, and though all of my family is still there, I'm feeling at home in the US; but I do miss the cricket.

Since arriving in the US in 1999, I have worked for a few Linux-based companies, which did foot some of the bills for my release work and so the releases came out pretty regularly thanks to them; but eventually I realised that my vision was not totally in tune with theirs. So like most, if not all, XFree86 developers, my time spent on the integration and release issues are my own; they are basically a labour of love. Releases are basically on a yearly schedule, which pretty much coincide with the calendar year: 4.0 came out in 2000, 4.1 in 2001 and so on. Right now for 2006 we are working on 4.6.

So now I am self-employed with a company which appropriately got called X-Oz Technologies as a pun on the X Windows System and my homeland, Australia, or as we call it Oz; a name that my best mate, Dr. C, yes another physicist, dreamt up. I met some people from XFree86 who shared my vision and once the work became more than us few could manage we brought on others; it's been fun though nothing in the uni prepared me for this.

Projects that I am working on, either as part of X-Oz commissions or in my spare time, in no particular order, include:

Projects that I have recently completed:

A selection of past projects that I have worked on:

The more I think about it, and I thought about it a lot putting this list together; I have been interested in hardware and video graphics for a long long time.

Links to some useful stuff

Last modified: 16 January 2006