An Introduction to the X Window System

This chapter describes the features of a typical X display, while introducing some basic window system concepts. It also provides an overview of the X Window System's client-server architecture and briefly describes the most commonly used clients.

In This Chapter:

Anatomy of an X Display

Standard X Clients versus Motif Clients

X Architecture Overview

The X Display Server


The Window Manager

The xterm Terminal Emulator

The Display Manager

Other X Clients

Customizing Clients


An Introduction to the X Window System

The X Window System, called X for short, is a network-based graphics window system that was developed at MIT in 1984. Several versions of X have been developed, the most recent of which is X Version 11 (X11), first released in 1987.

X11 has been adopted as an industry standard windowing system. X is supported by a consortium of industry leaders such as DEC, Hewlett-Packard, Sun, IBM, and AT&T that have united to direct, contribute to, and fund its continuing development. In addition to the system software development directed by the X Consortium, many independent developers are producing application software specifically for use with X, including spreadsheets, database programs, and publishing applications.

First, we'll take a look at a typical X display and consider some general system features. We'll also briefly compare a standard X application (written with the X Toolkit) to a Motif application (written with the Motif ...

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