From gildea@EXPO.LCS.MIT.EDU Fri Apr 2 05:23:01 1993 From: gildea@EXPO.LCS.MIT.EDU (Stephen Gildea) Newsgroups: comp.windows.x.announce Subject: fatal bug in X11R4 discovered Date: 1 Apr 93 12:00:00 GMT CAMBRIDGE, Mass., April 1 --- The MIT X Consortium announced today that a fatal flaw has been found in old versions of their software distribution. Parts of the X Window System, Version 11, Release 3 (known to those in the trade as "X11R3" or "R3") and Release 4 ("R4") apparently have a time bomb that will make them inoperative after a certain date. According to Consortium contact Susan Hardy, code from certain parts of old releases of X will stop working correctly some indeterminate time in the near future. The affected areas are the Xlib color handling code, the X Toolkit translation manager, and the font code in the X server. The problem was discovered by Jay Hersh while testing compatibility with old vendor software. He read the calendar wrong when booting up the commercial system, accidentally setting the system date a week ahead of the correct date. This mistake triggered the bug. Stephen Gildea downplayed the seriousness of the problem, noting, "This bug only affects three small areas of our source. People using only other parts of our distribution will not be affected." When asked about this situation, Donna Converse said, "Well, who cares? I'm tired of dealing with R4 bug reports anyway. The R5 code is perfect, so people should just upgrade." Due to the complexity and subtlety of the bug, the X Consortium does not plan to make retroactive patches available. Dave Sternlicht said the staff was too busy working on new features for R6, such as a four-dimensional visualization tool and an expanded protocol encoding for use on high-bandwidth lines. However, he stressed that the current software release, R5, has been tested and is known not to be affected by this problem. Pressed for a work-around, Ralph Mor offered this suggestion: leave your system clock set no later than April 1, 1993.