25. The X Window System


The X Window System, also called X11 or simply X, is the foundation for most graphical user environments for UNIX and Linux. X is the natural successor to a window system called (believe it or not) W, which was developed as part of MIT’s Project Athena in the early 1980s. Version 10 of the X Window System, released in 1985, was the first to achieve widespread deployment, and version 11 (X11) followed shortly thereafter. Thanks to the system’s relatively liberal licensing terms, X spread quickly to other platforms, and multiple implementations emerged. Much as in the case of TCP/IP, X’s elegant architecture and flexibility ...

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