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Installing the X Window System

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Installing the X Window System

In this chapter

History

    Installing the X Window System

    Configuring the X Window System

    Setting Up XDM/KDM

    Setting Up Frame Buffer Device X Server

    X Display Tips

    Troubleshooting the X Window System

History

The X Window System is an advanced graphical windowing system for UNIX-based systems. The X Window System enables you to have a graphical desktop that uses icons, windows, menus, and so on. If you have worked on the Macintosh operating system or Microsoft Windows, you are already familiar with what a windowing system is.

The X Window System, herein referred to as X, was initially developed in the laboratory for computer science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). It was part of a collaborative effort between MIT and DEC--a project called Athena. The X Window System was first released in 1984 and its origins were heavily based on the "W" windowing package that was developed by Paul Asente at Stanford.

In September of 1987, the first version of X, known as X11, was released by MIT. This release is the same X that we know and use today. By the second release of X, X11R2, X was no longer maintained by MIT. Control passed to the X Consortium, which was formed in January 1988.

The origins of X date back to the 1970s, when the first ideas of a windowing system were born. These ideas were the result of research carried out in Xerox Corporation's Palo Alto Research Center (PARC). During the late 1970s, they were working on the Parc and Star computers. These computers never really made it to market and instead became research material. Xerox used them to demonstrate a window system built to run Smalltalk 80. The idea of a window system took people by surprise and changed their view of using computers. The WIMP (Windows, Icons, Menus, Pointer) interface that Xerox introduced started a revolution in the world of computing.

The primary development on X is currently being done by the X Consortium. Liberal licenses permit other entities to develop their own versions of X, such as the XFree86 effort. This is a collection of X servers designed to work for the Intel x86 platform. This is the release that is bundled with SuSE Linux.

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