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X11 Window System Turns 25 Years Old

Soulskill posted about a year and a half ago | from the old-enough-to-rent-a-car dept.

X 285

An anonymous reader writes "The widely used X11 Window System has turned 25 years old today. Version 11 of the X Window System is likely to remain in use for many years to come for backwards compatibility with the many legacy applications, BSD/Solaris systems, and Enterprise Linux distributions. Meanwhile, Wayland is still working to unseat the X Server for the common Linux desktop."

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285 comments

I can only hope... (-1, Troll)

schaiba (2708709) | about a year and a half ago | (#41346343)

....x11 dies already. Also, first!

Re:I can only hope... (3, Funny)

nurb432 (527695) | about a year and a half ago | (#41346571)

You have no clue what X11 is all about, and are a fool.

Re:I can only hope... (2)

gigaherz (2653757) | about a year and a half ago | (#41346703)

I do have a clue, and I still want it to die.

Just Like You Paymaster (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41347483)

..at that wonderful corporation named Microshackle ?

Re:I can only hope... (0)

schaiba (2708709) | about a year and a half ago | (#41347331)

And why on Earth was I modded troll?

Re:I can only hope... (1)

Kergan (780543) | about a year and a half ago | (#41347563)

And why on Earth was I modded troll?

While posting your ~400 comments, have you never noticed how modders tend to mod pro-Linux/Android/GPL and anti-MS/Apple comments up, and anti-Linux/Android/GPL and pro-MS/Apple down?

Re:I can only hope... (0)

schaiba (2708709) | about a year and a half ago | (#41347683)

What ~400 comments? o.O And X11 isn't Linux-specific anyways, and I have the right to an opinion, by the way.

Re:I can only hope... (1)

nurb432 (527695) | about a year and a half ago | (#41347579)

And why was i modded funny? I was serous. Anyone that is against X11 doesn't fully understand it and only thinks about 'the local desktop' and not the bigger picture.

Sure, it can be improved there is no doubt, but tossing out what it is and what it does is just plain stupid.

X12? (3, Interesting)

Greg Merchan (64308) | about a year and a half ago | (#41346395)

Potential protocol changes were noted in the documents of version 11, such as the ICCCM which notes that the FocusIn event should have a timestamp and a previous-focus field. Has anyone out there considered just taking X11, making changes known to be needed, and dropping the protocol support for what's rarely or not needed anymore?

Re:X12? (1)

Paul Jakma (2677) | about a year and a half ago | (#41346525)

People have considered that, and they're working on Wayland as a result.

Re:X12? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41346573)

and unfortunately, they're also dropping things that ARE needed.

Re:X12? (1)

Paul Jakma (2677) | about a year and a half ago | (#41346651)

Remote display protocols, like X11, VNC, etc., will still be able to render to Wayland displays.

Re:X12? (2)

jedidiah (1196) | about a year and a half ago | (#41346729)

...and will be as useless as using VNC with a Mac.

Before you try to clone something, you should actually use it yourself first. Same goes for goading other people to clone something.

Re:X12? (5, Interesting)

Paul Jakma (2677) | about a year and a half ago | (#41346845)

The people working on Wayland have used X11. Indeed, in many cases they are *also* X.org developers. Hell, one of the people working on Wayland is Keith Packard[1], who's been working on X.org since longer than I've been using Unix. Indeed, he's been working on X11 since before many of us had even used a computer, indeed for anyone younger than 24 make that "since before you were born". Hence, to say the people who are working on Wayland do not understand X is just a ridiculous argument, and does not suggest the person making that argument has much credibility on the subject.

I'll be honest, I was a little sceptical when I read about some of the design decisions in Wayland. In particular, the decision to move some of the window management to the application (in general, that means the toolkit, like Qt, GTK+, etc) makes me wince a bit, because it will lead to the hung-window-syndrome we know and love from MS Windows. However, the people involved in Wayland know far far far more about the subject than I do (I have no experience of designing or implementing windowing systems), and I'm sure they know a lot more about balancing the various trade-offs for and against all these decisions than most of us.

As for the remote displays. I was initially concerned about that capability too. However, if you look into it, well there's nothing that stops X11 being used with Wayland - indeed X server to render to Wayland already exists. Generally, there's nothing to prevent whatever style of remote display protocol being implemented for Wayland, be that in applications directly or (more sensibly) in the toolkits.

1. Keith Packard on Wayland and X: https://lwn.net/Articles/491509/ [lwn.net]

Re:X12? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41346883)

indeed X server to render to Wayland already exists

In the same sense that an X server to render to Windows desktops exists, yes, but that does NOT make it a replacement for the functionality in X11 today.

Re:X12? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41347185)

GNOME is far more experienced in developing desktop environments than I, but I'm not going to trust them to not make near-unusable, change-for-its-own-sake design decisions. I'm not taking either side, just pointing out an appeal to authority.

Re:X12? (2)

Paul Jakma (2677) | about a year and a half ago | (#41347235)

Yes, it is an appeal to authority. However, if you're interested, you can easily find talks by those authorities explaining those trade-offs. E.g. the link I gave contains a long report on a talk by Keith Packard.

Gnome & deIcaza (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41347559)

..are a bunch of people who don't really have a unique idea of their own. They are constantly trying to copy or use some fancy-sounding technology of the day. 100% redundant.

Re:X12? (2)

dslbrian (318993) | about a year and a half ago | (#41347219)

I'll be honest, I was a little sceptical when I read about some of the design decisions in Wayland. In particular, the decision to move some of the window management to the application (in general, that means the toolkit, like Qt, GTK+, etc) makes me wince a bit, because it will lead to the hung-window-syndrome we know and love from MS Windows.

It causes more than that. This is a good read on the problems caused by CSD [martin-graesslin.com].

Re:X12? (2)

Greg Merchan (64308) | about a year and a half ago | (#41347549)

It's not that ridiculous. There's more than one aspect of X to understand. I know next to nothing about drivers or anything else internal to X, but I have, I believe, a decent grasp of the things above those layers which are documented. Unless the documentation is lying, there are things on X that have, especially for the sake of modern UIs, been done incorrectly for years. Focus handling is the main thing I keep harping on. Just about everything should be using the globally active focus model by default, but most things don't. Motif and other Intrinsics-based toolkits allow it. Gtk+ does not. I don't know if Qt allows it, but it didn't do it by default last I checked. Too many people "just know" that's not the way you do things, so they keep doing them the way they've been doing them and then can't get things like drag-and-drop to work properly without a bunch of ugly hacks. There's too much knowledge of what is, getting in the way of learning what could be. My fear for an X12 would be that, like Wayland (or maybe just Weston, can't tell yet) developers almost did, they would lock-out getting things done the right way.

The X selection mechanism, for another example, is something that could be used to greater effect. But most people think of it as just the PRIMARY selection, the clipboard, and part of drag-and-drop, if that much. Fewer people recognize it's part of window management and the message tray protocol (or whatever it was called). It has more potential, but again you get people who know very well what X is, but don't recognize what it could be.

Re:X12? (2, Interesting)

0123456 (636235) | about a year and a half ago | (#41347191)

Remote display protocols, like X11, VNC, etc., will still be able to render to Wayland displays.

And Wayland will not be able to display efficiently to any other machine. It will require some shitty pixel-scraping technology like VNC.

As the world becomes more networked, the Wayland fanboys are trying to copy Windows by throwing away X11's separation of display and execution.

Re:X12? (4, Interesting)

Paul Jakma (2677) | about a year and a half ago | (#41347447)

And Wayland will not be able to display efficiently to any other machine. It will require some shitty pixel-scraping technology like VNC.

No, that isn't true. Nothing prevents Wayland supporting toolkits from using whatever kind of display protocol they want, from low-level pixel grabs of windows, to using more abstract drawing commands that match the higher-level structure/behaviour of the application. Indeed, a toolkit could easily use X11 as that protocol, if it wished - and that's already possible with XWayland, I understand.

Re:X12? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41347539)

Right, so instead of doing it cleanly in a single place, we're supposed to do it in N different places in likely incompatible ways.

Good plan, there.

Re:X12? (0, Flamebait)

Randle_Revar (229304) | about a year and a half ago | (#41346619)

Too bad Wayland is terrible.

Re:X12? (1, Redundant)

markdavis (642305) | about a year and a half ago | (#41346805)

+1

There is nothing "wrong" with X11 that upgrading the protocol won't help. Wayland is an abomination that I hope fails because it is trying to solve problems by creating a whole bunch of new ones.

What is Wayland? (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41346421)

Posting AC cuz I'm not a karma whore

https://wiki.ubuntu.com/Wayland [ubuntu.com]

Re:What is Wayland? (4, Insightful)

rubycodez (864176) | about a year and a half ago | (#41346459)

Canonical being behind it may cause lag in adoption, since people are fleeing Canonical's UI ideas like creatures from a forest fire, even if they stay within the Ubuntu family it's Kubuntu or Xubuntu or Lubuntu....Unity and GNOME3 are inferior ivory tower designed, user-need ignoring crap

Re:What is Wayland? (4, Informative)

Paul Jakma (2677) | about a year and a half ago | (#41346511)

Wayland isn't a Canonical thing. There's a bunch of people from various companies working on it, including Intel and RedHat.

Re:What is Wayland? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41346881)

How come Slashdot moderators always give points for these shills pointing out that Gnome 3 is ignoring users? They are NOT. They are just ignoring elitistic engineerish power users that Slashdot is full of, and catering to ordinary users. Mods, you are full of shit really.

Re:What is Wayland? (2)

0123456 (636235) | about a year and a half ago | (#41347197)

Hint: who do you think made up most of Gnome's user base?

Re:What is Wayland? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41347675)

Being elitistic and snobby isn't the way to go.

Re:What is Wayland? (1)

westlake (615356) | about a year and a half ago | (#41346999)

Canonical being behind it may cause lag in adoption, since people are fleeing Canonical's UI ideas like creatures from a forest fire

I am tempted to say that the geek takes flight whenever a UI is designed for other users --- a far greater user base.

Re:What is Wayland? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41347121)

GNOME3 may suck, but its innerbits are lovely under Cinnamon... try Mint yet? And do you remember the old assumption that things like UI would always be done badly by big companies? And how that's totally still true? (MS: two steps forward, one back. Apple: recommended for ages 6-12).

The linux community does how it always has, let the big groups do the heavy lifting and the small groups put the buttons in the right place. The big mistake was shifting major distros onto the mainstream.

In a sense... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41346817)

wayland is simply the latest and shiniest x.org fuckup.

I always thought the acceleratedx people were being unprofessional in their public criticism, and they are. But diving into x.org makes it painfully clear why; it's really really hard staying professional looking at what they think passes for "architecture". It's no coincidence that other pile of steaming crap code (yeah, it's proprietary, but there's been leaks, oh yes there's meen leaks) runs circles around the unix world when it comes down to graphics. The x.org code base really is that bad. While wayland feebly tries to fix past mistakes, it still comes from the same people with the same bright ideas they always had. No, I'm not holding my breath. Why do you even ask?

xeyes ... (3, Insightful)

PPH (736903) | about a year and a half ago | (#41346437)

... needs bifocals. But otherwise, it all runs fine.

I can remember back in the 'old days' running X over a 28K dialup. But now, with 100 Mbit and up LANs and decent broadband, I can run most apps without being able to differentiate between local and remote clients.

It still just works.

ssh X11Forwarding even in Cygwin (4, Interesting)

digitalaudiorock (1130835) | about a year and a half ago | (#41346519)

One thing I love about X has always been the ability to run gui apps remotely via ssh using your local X via X11 forwarding. For those who haven't tried (or haven't tried lately) it's even pretty easy to get a shell running within X in Cygwin and run remote gui 'nix applications under Windows...too cool.

Re:ssh X11Forwarding even in Cygwin (1)

lindi (634828) | about a year and a half ago | (#41346557)

X11 forwarding is not very nice since the remote server can fully control your client machine in many cases (e.g. in Debian/Ubuntu "ForwardX11Trusted" defaults to true). I prefer xpra instead.

Re:ssh X11Forwarding even in Cygwin (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41346669)

X11 forwarding is not very nice since the remote server can fully control your client machine in many cases (e.g. in Debian/Ubuntu "ForwardX11Trusted" defaults to true). I prefer xpra instead.

oh noes! however will be change the default setting?! if only there were text editors and human-readable config files...

Re:ssh X11Forwarding even in Cygwin (2)

Paul Jakma (2677) | about a year and a half ago | (#41346701)

Pedantry: The X *clients*[1] may be able to snoop on all your keystrokes, including to other applications, and read what is on your display.

1. The X clients are the applications you run, which connect to the X server. The X server is responsible for co-ordinating drawing to the display. X client may run remote from the X server. The X server typically runs local, on the machine you're sitting in front of, and whose display screen you're looking at. I.e. in X, the server is the local bit (on your machine) and the clients are (potentially) remote, running on other machines - this often confuses people. ;)

Re:ssh X11Forwarding even in Cygwin (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41346785)

If all you need is ssh+X11 under windows, I like mobaxterm [mobatek.net] a lot more than cygwin these days.

Re:ssh X11Forwarding even in Cygwin (2, Insightful)

barjam (37372) | about a year and a half ago | (#41347149)

And it is awful. All remote desktop access to unix/Mac is awful. X, Vnc, no-machine. Windows excels at this which is funny because they started out not having this functionality at all and unix folks would make fun of them for lacking it. Now it is the unix variants that largely lack a usable technology in this space. Of course it is rarely needed as unix servers excel at being administrated via shell and windows sucks at that.

Rdp over ssh works well and is many times faster than X or VNC.

Re:ssh X11Forwarding even in Cygwin (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about a year and a half ago | (#41347215)

If you like RDP that much, then use it on OSX or Linux. There are clients for both.

Personally at work I use both RDP and VNC to remote into various servers, and neither one is particularly better than the other. I get the job done with both.

You Must Be Kiddin (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41347263)

X11 can run over dial-in speed (28K and even less) in a useful way (e.g. rendering an editor app). Show me how to do that with your Redmondian shite.

Re:ssh X11Forwarding even in Cygwin (2)

mpol (719243) | about a year and a half ago | (#41347361)

One thing I really like is the aspect of 2 cut-and-paste buffers. When I explain it to tech-friends of mine they really are amazed.
There's a primary buffer and a secondary buffer. The secondary buffer is like the buffer in Windows and MacOS. You have Ctrl-C for copy and Ctrl-V for paste. Or you can use the context menus.
The primary buffer however is everything you selected, and then ofcourse only the last selection. Pasting is done with middle mouse button.
This way you can use 2 buffers. Like you Ctrl-C the username, and select the password. Place focus on the other app. Paste the password from the primary buffer, and Ctrl-V the username. All in one go.
I just don't want to live without it.

Re:ssh X11Forwarding even in Cygwin (1)

digitalaudiorock (1130835) | about a year and a half ago | (#41347545)

Speaking of the primary buffer, I can't live without my parcellite copy history app. There are others like it of course, like Klipper etc....but I use parsellite because it's nice and lightweight and works well with fluxbox. On the increasingly rare occasions that I use windows, I have a hard time getting used to NOT having my highlighted text copied automatically.

Re:xeyes ... (1)

Animats (122034) | about a year and a half ago | (#41346933)

I can remember back in the 'old days' running X over a 28K dialup.

Right, when the only tools used were XTerm and XClock. XClock wasn't very useful, but at least it was "graphical".

Indeed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41347279)

Running a powerful shell like bash. Or a powerful editor like Emacs. Still much more efficient than most of the blinky-shiny idioms of Windoze. It requires quite some investment in mastering these sharp tools, but then you are easily 500% more precise and 1000% more productive than the point-click-drag bozos.

But, "why do we need a difficult caterpillar, if all idiots master a shovel in five minutes ?"

BSD/Solaris systems (1)

fm6 (162816) | about a year and a half ago | (#41346447)

Solaris is based on System V, The rebranding from SunOS to Solaris (back in 1991!) coincides with the move away from a BSD-based OS.

Happy Birthday (4, Funny)

ADRA (37398) | about a year and a half ago | (#41346461)

I only met you 12 years ago, but I've been obsessed with you ever since. Its been so long, that I just had to say something now.. Please please don't jump the shark like so many others these days... I just love you the way you are!

Re:Happy Birthday (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41346521)

Yeah, it's been around for a quarter century, maybe people will stop calling it X-Windows now, finally!

Better than usual from Phoronix (3, Insightful)

mickwd (196449) | about a year and a half ago | (#41346485)

Surprisingly level-header article, given the source (Phoronix).

I really do hope Wayland sorts out a good scheme for remote access. At the moment it seems to be just ignored.

I wish people who set out to *replace* an existing piece of software would endeavor to replace it in its entirety, not just the subset of features that they happen to be interested in.

Re:Better than usual from Phoronix (1)

Balinares (316703) | about a year and a half ago | (#41346577)

Err... What's wrong with the X11 protocol as a remote access scheme?

Just because we're taking it out of the rendering loop in Wayland doesn't mean we can't still use it outside.

Re:Better than usual from Phoronix (1)

fikx (704101) | about a year and a half ago | (#41346841)

So, How do I run a Wayland app remotely using X11?

Re:Better than usual from Phoronix (4, Insightful)

CajunArson (465943) | about a year and a half ago | (#41347021)

X11 as a remote access scheme is actually craptacular in many ways, with two listed below as a non-complete list:

1. Ever try actually using X11 for anything even remotely graphically complex over even a rather decent broadband connection? You could also gouge your eyes out for a similar effect! Before you say how great X11 is over your cable modem:
a. If it were so great, then Nomachine would never have come into existence and NX would not exist.
b. If I had a dime for every time somebody says that X11 is great *because he is forwarding X-terms over it using an @#K%JJ SSH tunnel* then I'd be rich and they'd be put into a mental asylum where they belong. I'm talking about *real* graphical applications being shot over a broadband network here, otherwise there is no point to "network transparency" to begin with.

2. Real simple scenario that I've known can't work for over 10 years and for which there is no solution available using X:
      a. I run a program remoted to my desktop. Yay network transparency (blah blah blah).
    b. I get up from my desk and grab my notebook/tablet/smartphone/etc. and I want to simply transfer the remotely displayed application to the other device.. *cannot be done*.
Note how I spotted this problem 10 years ago? That was long before everyone was carrying around smartphones/tablets/etc., I was way ahead of the curve and this issue has only gotten more important over time.
  c. What's really hilarious is how many people have called me stupid or moronic for thinking that actually have *real* network transparency over X instead of the crap version from 1985 we are stuck with now would be a good thing.. and many of these same people lovingly brag about how they use screen all the time....

That's 2 issues.. there are many more. People who seem to despise any OS other than Linux for "not innovating" really tick me off when they try to kill the first real piece of innovation in the Linux graphics stack that we have seen in this century.
     

Re:Better than usual from Phoronix (2)

0123456 (636235) | about a year and a half ago | (#41347213)

a. If it were so great, then Nomachine would never have come into existence and NX would not exist.

X11 was designed for LAN use, hence the excessive reliance on round-trip messaging. As NX and other proxies have proved, there's nothing particularly difficult about fixing the protocol for WAN use.

People who seem to despise any OS other than Linux for "not innovating" really tick me off when they try to kill the first real piece of innovation in the Linux graphics stack that we have seen in this century.

X11 was innovative. There's nothing innovative about Wayland, it's throwing away everything that separates Unix graphics from the rest of the world.

Re:Better than usual from Phoronix (3, Interesting)

Paul Jakma (2677) | about a year and a half ago | (#41347259)

    b. I get up from my desk and grab my notebook/tablet/smartphone/etc. and I want to simply transfer the remotely displayed application to the other device.. *cannot be done*.
Note how I spotted this problem 10 years ago?

Actually, I was able to do this just fine, 10 odd years ago with iPaqs handheld and GPE, which was X based. I could bounce GPE applications from my iPaq to main computer, so that I could use my main keyboard and display with the application (much handier than the pen based input on the iPaq). There's nothing in X that stops this from being implemented. It's the clients (i.e. there toolkits) which have to learn to switch between servers. Alternatively, it can be done done with an X server proxy - at least architecturally. (I can't actually remember which way the GPE solution did it).

Re:Better than usual from Phoronix (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41347631)

So, because I can't display a heavily graphical app over a broadband connection, we should remove the ability to do xterms and the like as well?

And for the record, there are networks fast enough to make this happen. It's not only usable by "broadband" connections (implying home usage).

Re:Better than usual from Phoronix (1)

nurb432 (527695) | about a year and a half ago | (#41346609)

Wayland from what i can tell is short sighted and more of a throw back to the island mentality. People who think RDP scenarios can replace network transparency really need to get a clue.

Its the wrong way to head.

Re:Better than usual from Phoronix (1)

Randle_Revar (229304) | about a year and a half ago | (#41346647)

Agreed. And we lose all the window managers, and if you want to write a new one, too bad! You have to write a compositor instead! And don't get me started about the decorations being controlled by the app instead of the WM. Grrr...

Re:Better than usual from Phoronix (1)

causality (777677) | about a year and a half ago | (#41346715)

Agreed. And we lose all the window managers, and if you want to write a new one, too bad! You have to write a compositor instead! And don't get me started about the decorations being controlled by the app instead of the WM. Grrr...

Anyone who has ever used Lotus Notes on WinXP can understand why that's a terrible idea.

"Oh is it checking for new mail? Yeah I can tell because the window is blank, featureless, and won't respond to input for several seconds..." Letting the apps have this control is why so many Windows systems feel subjectively sluggish and less responsive. At least when you're used to X with a low-latency kernel.

I'm aware that it is possible to write Windows applications that don't suffer this problem, so it's not necessarily a failing in Windows per se, but it is a design decision that leaves open an undesirable possibility that doesn't need to be there.

Re:Better than usual from Phoronix (1)

fast turtle (1118037) | about a year and a half ago | (#41346821)

yea! something called Firefox has this problem. Maybe they'll finally get their act together and fix it.

Re:Better than usual from Phoronix (1)

Belial6 (794905) | about a year and a half ago | (#41347305)

I'm an actual fan of Lotus Notes/Domino, and I will agree that that is definitely one of it's warts.

Re:Better than usual from Phoronix (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41347319)

Lotus Notes.

That's a name I've not heard in a long time.

A long time.

(Lotus Notes is a terrible idea. Period.)

Re:Better than usual from Phoronix (1)

markdavis (642305) | about a year and a half ago | (#41346839)

+1

People who don't understand what you said have never used thin clients. We still use them at work and they are great for particular situations. For example- one host manages the login process and window manager and apps are launched on various different hosts and displayed and the user doesn't know they aren't all local on their machine.

X11 might be old, but the architecture is still completely valid. Instead, people are trying to away and destroying forward compatibility. All they chant is how it will be possible to run Wayland apps in an Xserver running under Wayland. But that does NOTHING for apps that are designed for and compiled for Wayland. THEY will have zero network transparency and will not run on remote Xservers.

What should have been the goal is upgrading X11 to perhaps something like X12.

Re:Better than usual from Phoronix (2)

Paul Jakma (2677) | about a year and a half ago | (#41346891)

All they chant is how it will be possible to run Wayland apps in an Xserver running under Wayland. But that does NOTHING for apps that are designed for and compiled for Wayland. THEY will have zero network transparency and will not run on remote Xservers

Where are these apps? Why will their authors have chosen to write their applications directly on top of a low-level rendering library? It's pretty unlikely. Rather, they'll be writing using a toolkit, like GTK+/GDK or Qt, etc. And these toolkits *already* support multiple rendering backends, from bare-framebuffers, to X11 (via Xlib or XCB or whatever).

Re:Better than usual from Phoronix (1)

markdavis (642305) | about a year and a half ago | (#41347201)

There are none right now (since there is really no Wayland). But the whole point of Wayland would be to compile the apps without X11 support. Otherwise, why bother with Wayland at all?

Re:Better than usual from Phoronix (2)

Paul Jakma (2677) | about a year and a half ago | (#41347317)

You seem to have completely missed the point of my reply. Again, apps for Wayland will almost certainly be written to use a toolkit library like GTK+/GDK or Qt. The app itself will *not* be written directly for Wayland - that'd be insane, because that'd require the application to completely re-implement its own child-window and input handling, as well as widgets (i.e. re-implement the stuff Qt, GTK+, etc already provide). So the app will be Wayland agnostic. Instead it will be GTK+/GDK or Qt that does the Wayland rendering. These toolkits *already* support multiple rendering backends, already support X11 (via Xlib or XCB) - and this can be runtime selectable.

So, again, the applications will be written using some toolkit, like GTK+/GDK or Qt, like they already are today. The toolkits will determine what display protocols are supported. These could easily allow you to choose whether to render locally or via X11, at runtime, as they already today are capable of supporting rendering choices at runtime. Hell, they could even do it transparently, without asking you, based on whether DISPLAY is set or not.

Re:Better than usual from Phoronix (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41346945)

unfortunately, i think it's going to end up like the unity debacle. Everyone will hate it, but a few major distros will push it as the standard thing, and it'll do great damage to the public image of linux, further marginalizing linux on the desktop.

The unity folks STILL haven't admitted that it was a mistake, no matter that the hate is all but universal, so i'm not optimistic than wayland will fare any better. They seem just as intent on ignoring feedback as the unity folks are.

It Will Do As Much Damage as Anti-Mohammed Videos (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41347337)

And that means, it will do no *real* damage. If you cannot live with diversity, please relocate to North Korea. Diversity is a good thing and those who need "simple, coherent views of Linux" should take Windoze or OS Thought Police X.

Diversity and competition are the basis of progress. If Wayland indeed brings something useful it will survive, otherwise it will die the death of gnome and KDE. Those two tried to emulate Windows, when all you need in reality is xfce. No, I mean this 100% serious. Miguel Icaza will pursue his love for M$ approaches, but who cares ? Real Unixers will use xfce, vi, LaTeX, wxWidgets and stuff like that.

Re:Better than usual from Phoronix (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41346851)

Yeah, islands tethered to a continent of cloud-based, data-mining, app servers. It's like putting the throttle, brakes, and steering on your car under the control of the people who sell billboard advertising space. Oh, wait, I'm giving It ideas, but It's probably already working on that, given the autonomous vehicle initiative.

At least our monitoring devices will have nice pretty displays that take complete control of your system and decide, well, you didn't really need network transparency after all, did you? I sure hope Wayland isn't just jacking up a vintage Daytona Spyder to run a log splitter, but it looks that way. that's not all that's getting tossed out, and it looks like somebody wants to really dumb down and disempower the desktop, to, oh, Windows level. Or the other commercial alternatives. Follow the money as usual.

Salty the Peanut

Re:Better than usual from Phoronix (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41347209)

And yet, this is contrary to the "Unix Way"- where a particular piece of software does one thing and does it well, but also integrates nicely with other software with clear messaging.

X11 is overly featureful and bloated- jack of all trades and master to none.

Oh Yeasi (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41347373)

I have seen Windows, MacOS, X11 (HPUX, AIX, Linux) and I am quite happy with being an X11 user. Yes, Motif was really nasty, but it appears that modern libs like wxWidgets are nice APIs. Commercialware comes and goes, while X11 is here to stay. Feel free to be ass-raped by M$, Google-NSA, Oracle, Apple and all the other mega-corporations. I'll pass.

From the article (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41346539)

It only took three years to go from X1 to X11

Of course. First X1, then X10, then X11 (to be followed by X100, then X101, then X110, then X111, then X1000, etc.)

You must be new here.

The olden days (3)

gdav (2540) | about a year and a half ago | (#41346585)

The first time I used it was in 1993 when NCSA Mosaic came out. There was a copy on the university Sun box, my office boasted a spare 286 running DOS - some packet drivers and Vista-eXceed for DOS and I was away!

Do YOU NEVER THINK ABOUT THE POOR SHAREHOLDERS ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41347419)

The shareholders of Intel and Micron ? They live by the fact that all three years computer hardware is made obsolete by Windows Lala 20XX and Miguel's latest Gnome-crapola. I always thought you would be more responsible !

The captcha brigade says "vomited".

Wayland? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41346659)

Wayland trying to unseat X11? Does anyone even use Wayland yet? Shouldn't the summary say Wayland is vaguely trying to get a toe-hold?

Whenever Wayland comes up there is always a crowd of people talking about network transparency. Personally, I'm not at all concerned about that. What I am interested in is whether Wayland interface actions (such as clicks and keyboard input) can be scripted as they are with X. Programs like xdotool make it possible to simulate user input on the display and that can be quite helpful. Not sure if Wayland has anything similar, but I hope it does.

Re:Wayland? (1)

jedidiah (1196) | about a year and a half ago | (#41346777)

Everyone has their own reasons for liking "the old things". When snot nosed kids come along repeating 15 year old propaganda from guys that can't even do their own interfaces right, they get all excited and want to tear everything down. New is good and old is bad as an article of faith.

They're full of themselves and think they're smarter than everyone else and thus don't bother to actually consider the end user and what people's requirements might be.

You end up with something that's shiny and new and worthless.

This kind of drama plays out in corporate environments all the time.

Original O'Reilly Manuals (1)

arthurpaliden (939626) | about a year and a half ago | (#41346709)

I still have my original copies of the beta 8.5x11 in spiral bound O'Reilly X11 manuals. My wife was going to thrown them out last year but I saved them.

Re:Original O'Reilly Manuals (1)

chromatic (9471) | about a year and a half ago | (#41346761)

I rescued mine from the castaway bin at HP in '98 or '99 and even used the xlib manual once or twice.

The next time I move, the desire not to carry them will outweigh the nostalgia factor. Pun intended.

age becomes me (2)

at10u8 (179705) | about a year and a half ago | (#41346751)

I remember the first vendor demo workstation arriving with X running on it. I remember GraphOn X terminals, and NCD X terminals. I remember rewriting the Keck CCD image display program not to send each image 3 times and getting live readouts over 28k modem to my living room.

Re:age becomes me (4, Informative)

sconeu (64226) | about a year and a half ago | (#41347441)

Back in the day (1992), we used to run SCO Unix on a 486 box with HDS X terminals connected to it.

d9ick (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41346753)

Never heeded [amazingkreskin.com] am protesting your replies rather also dead, its Raadt's stubborn The Most. Look at and mortifying these chaalenges they're gone Mac

Future (2)

StripedCow (776465) | about a year and a half ago | (#41346759)

Any speculations on the future of windowing systems?

Personally, I wonder when we'll get the first windowing system based entirely on HTML5.

Re:Future (2)

bobs666 (146801) | about a year and a half ago | (#41346957)

I wonder when we'll get the first windowing system based entirely on HTML5.

That would be a web browser. Browsers can run in lots of windows. You can have that already. (right?)

NextStep tried using postscript to render window content. I never got to use one, ... as I understand the problem was the hardware was under powered. Perhaps an idea before its time.

Re:Future (1)

Randle_Revar (229304) | about a year and a half ago | (#41347035)

> That would be a web browser. Browsers can run in lots of windows. You can have that already. (right?)
Pretty sure they mean the WM is written in HTML

>NextStep tried using postscript to render window content
Yes, and Quartz 2d uses something somewhat related to Display PostScript (though it is PDF, not PS).

And Sun wrote NeWS entirely in an extended PS, including WM functions, which NeXT never did with DPS

change is good (1)

Vince6791 (2639183) | about a year and a half ago | (#41346973)

Why are so many people bashing wayland? It's like when Window users were bashing Windows 7 for not being more like Widows XP, but they adopted it and not going back to the old XP. Change is good especially with technology. If ubuntu and opensuse incorporates wayland into their distro's, no biggie, there are other distro's that people can still use with X11. But, wayland will work fine in conjunction with X11 for software compatibility. This project was started by someone at Red Hat.

Re:change is good (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | about a year and a half ago | (#41347147)

well until one of you LN's can give me a reason TO change other than its here, it does stuff, you cant really tell the difference, use it you Luddite! I am really indifferent to wayland.

First release of X ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41347123)

The article mentions that X version 11 was released in 1987.

Does anyone know when the first release of X was?

Re:First release of X ? (1)

Mostly a lurker (634878) | about a year and a half ago | (#41347313)

The first use of the name X was for X1 in June 1984. It originated at MIT. The name X was used to distinguish it from the earlier and rather different W (now you know why a Window system was abbreviate as "X": it was basically "W" mark 2). The obvious follow up question is when was W released? I cannot remember (perhaps never knew) and am too lazy to search the Internet to find out.

DANGEROUS VIRUS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41347175)

First, a little history. The X window system escaped from Project Athena at MIT where it was being held in isolation. When notified, MIT stated publically that "MIT assumes no resonsibility...". This is a very disturbing statement. It then infiltrated Digital Equipment Corporation, where it has since corrupted the technical judgement of this organization.

After sabotaging Digital Equipment Corporation, a sinister X consortium was created to find a way to use X as part of a plan to dominate and control interactive window systems. X windows is sometimes distributed by this secret consortium free of charge to unsuspecting victims. The destructive cost of X cannot even be guessed.

Don't be fooled! Just say no to X. [rahul.net]

Not HTTP-friendly, blew opportunity (2)

Tablizer (95088) | about a year and a half ago | (#41347249)

Something like X-windows could have allowed for desktop-like GUI's over HTTP, but it doesn't handle latency well because it micromanages individual keystrokes and characters. Contrast with an HMTL text-box.

We wouldn't have to fart around with DOM and JS and Microsoft IE unstandards if they did it right.

1. Thinking 2.Babbling (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41347685)

How would your funny contraption handle the problem of immediate feedback ?? HTML interfaces only got ergonomic (as in Google Apps), when they ran Javascript in the local machine and were able to handle every single keystroke and mouse action.

X11 does not have any kind of program-controlled executable code which can be run in the X11 server. So they must send keystrokes and mouse movements quite directly to the program. IIRC programs can control how many events and what type they want to receive.

I could not venture into a criticism of JS and HTML, but I guess it is sufficient to say that there exist many, many better languages than JS. Think of memory-safe Pascal or Ada. (Yeah, I am one of these old farts who was educated by Pascal programming and still loves it over the breadwinning C++, Java, JS shite).

XOrg's X11 (4, Interesting)

jd (1658) | about a year and a half ago | (#41347507)

...is just a "reference implementation". It is NOT the be-all and end-all.

If someone were to produce a wholly new windowing system that had a compatibility layer for the standard X11 API, support for the X11 configuration files, and the option of sending X11 packets over a network, you would have something that was compliant with the reference implementation. It would be a superset, but the reference specification would be 100% implemented according to the standard, agreed?

Indeed, since the current reference implementation is highly modular, you could replace one module at a time with something that solved the problems inherent in X but which remained 100% backwards compatible.

Let us call this new implementation X12, since it's a stepwise upgrade, similar to (but less crippling than) the upgrade from X10 to X11.

What would I imagine this X12 to look like?

Well, X is still horrible for games, so sprites and shaders make sense. (Nothing stops environments like Gnome or KDE from implementing their own, but to make games viable, you've got to have one API that always works even if you have other APIs for each desktop environment.)

Also on games, but also for multimedia, sound would be good. The challenge is that you want a universal "front end" API where you can switch between engines (such as PulseAudio or Jack) without having to change the code. You'd simply get the characteristics you want. The reasoning there is that different sound systems do have different characteristics and you want a different set for different circumstances. But, again, manufacturers don't care about your freedom to choose, they care about being able to sell to the most people with the least variation in the codebase. No problem. If there's a single universal API that forwards what applies, translates those things that are translatable, and ignores the rest, then the manufacturers are happy and the freedom people are happy. Everyone is happy. That's good.

For scientific and engineering work, you get the best results by converting from vectors to pixels at the last possible moment. Metafont/metapost have a good way to describe shapes (though you'd want to "compile" these descriptions into bytecode for efficiency), and transformation matrices aren't complicated. It would take a bit of work to get the system to work efficiently in 4D, but it would make life a lot easier.

The legacy X11 protocols aren't very efficient OR secure. They're needed because there's so many X11 terminals out there, but X12 should only use X11 to talk to X11 systems. X12 to X12 should be designed from the start to be secure, compact and extensible. It should also be transport-independent. Why should X care if it using TCP, UDP, DCCP, SCTP or something yet to be developed? Or what version of the IP protocol is involved? (If it IS involved! What's wrong with X over Infiniband?) So long as both sides of the connection know what to use, and things that have to be reliable are kept reliable, it's just a port as far as 99% of the code is concerned. Only when it comes to building it in the first place will there be any difference and that can all be hidden in an abstraction library.

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