An Overview of X

X is implemented using a client/server model. X servers and clients can be located on the same computer or separated across a network, so that computation is handled separately from display rendering. While X servers manage hardware, they do not define the look of the display, and they offer no tools to manipulate clients. The X server is responsible for rendering various shapes and colors on screen. Examples of X Servers include:

  • Software from X.Org, which controls your Linux PC’s video cardX.Org software on a separate networked system, displaying output from a program running on your system

  • Other networked Unix systems running their own X server software

  • X implementations for other operating systems, such as Microsoft Windows

  • An X Terminal, which is a hardware device with no computational ability of its own, built solely for display purposes

X clients are user programs, such as spreadsheets or CAD tools, which display graphical output. Examples of X clients are:

  • A browser, such as Firefox or Opera

  • A mail program, such as Evolution or Kmail

  • Office applications, such as OpenOffice, Gnumeric, or AbiWord

  • A terminal emulator, such as xterm, running within an X window

A special client program called a window manager is responsible for these functions and provides windows, window sizing, open and close buttons, and so forth. The window manager controls the other clients running under an X server. Multiple window managers are available for the X Window System, allowing you to choose ...

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