X Window Systemcomputing dictionary

<operating system, computer graphics> A specification for device-independent windowing operations on bitmap display devices, developed initially by MIT's Project Athena and now a de facto standard supported by the X Consortium. X was named after an earlier window system called "W". It is a window system called "X", not a system called "X Windows".

X uses a client-server protocol, the X protocol. The server is the computer or X terminal with the screen, keyboard, mouse and server program and the clients are application programs. Clients may run on the same computer as the server or on a different computer, communicating over Ethernet via TCP/IP protocols. This is confusing because X clients often run on what people usually think of as their server (e.g. a file server) but in X, it is the screen and keyboard etc. which is being "served out" to the applications.

X is used on many Unix systems. It has also been described as over-sized, over-featured, over-engineered and incredibly over-complicated. X11R6 (version 11, release 6) was released in May 1994.

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See also: Andrew project, PEX, VNC, XFree86.

Usenet newsgroups: comp.windows.x, comp.x, comp.windows.x.apps, comp.windows.x.intrinsics, comp.windows.x.announce, comp.sources.x, comp.windows.x.motif, comp.windows.x.pex.

(01 Apr 1999)

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