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Learning Debian GNU/Linux

Learning Debian GNU/Linux

By Bill McCarty
1st Edition September 1999
1-56592-705-2, Order Number: 7052
360 pages, $34.95 , Includes CD-ROM

Previous: 4.5 Useful Linux Programs Chapter 5 Next: 5.2 Installing X

5. Installing and Configuring the X Window System

This chapter helps you install, configure, and use the X Window System (often known simply as X). Once X is up and running, you can choose how to start X. This chapter explains your options and also gives some tips on optimizing the performance of X.

5.1 What is X?

X is the standard graphical user interface for Linux. Like other graphical user interfaces such as Microsoft Windows and Mac OS, X lets you interact with programs by using a mouse (or other pointing device) to point and click, providing a simple means of communicating with your computer.

Originally implemented as a collaborative effort of Digital Equipment Corporation and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, X was first released in 1987. Subsequently, the X Consortium, Inc. became responsible for the continued development and publication of X.

Despite its age, X is a remarkable and very modern software system: a cross-platform, network-oriented graphical user interface. It runs on a wide variety of platforms, including essentially every variety of Unix. X Clients are available for use, for example, under Windows 3.x, 9x, and NT. The sophisticated networking capabilities of X let you run a program on one computer while viewing the graphical output on another computer, connected to the first via a network. With the advent of the Internet, which interconnected a sizable fraction of the computers on the planet, X achieved a new height of importance and power.

Most Linux users run XFree86, a freely available software system compatible with X. XFree86 was developed by the XFree86 software team, which began work in 1992. In 1994, The XFree86 Project assumed responsibility for ongoing research and development of XFree86.

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