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[Discuss] In praise of X11 (Was Why use Linux)

>> From: at [mailto:discuss-
>> at] On Behalf Of
>> markw at
>> OK, so, I can ssh to a linux box from another linux box, and run an X
>> program and use it, transparently, as if it were any other application
>> on
>> my desktop.
> *sigh*  Is this seriously a "Linux is the best OS" flame war?  Very
> uninteresting.  The honest truth is, every OS is better than every other
> OS, each in its own way.
> You've named the one positive feature of X11.  The reason it's not
> included by default with windows or mac (but installable on both) is
> because in many other ways, it's antiquated and non-performant.  They
> *actively* chose not to distribute it with the OS, and in the case of OSX,
> they formerly included it and later discontinued shipping it with the OS,
> because they're better off leaving it in the past.  But still available as
> a separate download package for those who need it.

I see a serious problem in the "consumer" UNIX marketplace. Because
something is not new, it is seen as obsolete. I'm not sure I fully
understand this. Maybe it is a technological deconstructionism, who knows?

All competing technologies has pros and cons, and is almost never A is
better than B. So that's why we have these discussions, because the answer
is not obvious. A is better than B in some cases and B is better than A in
others. You are left with Venn diagram from which you must choose the
features you need that are outside the most common set.

With X11, I see one downside, gaming and super fast rasterization. The
networking of the GUI is something that is so cool that when you show
Windows or Mac users what you really can do with it, it takes a minute to

You can copy and paste from one application to another, no mater where
they are running. I can run GUI applications on one machine and display on
another, without having to import a whole desktop. The way the
applications communicate with the server is very well designed and works
very well.

Is X11 complicated? Yes. Is X11 source code getting harder to read, yes it
is getting very mature.  That's the nature of software. I say this,
NOTHING on the market comes close to what X11 does.

So, by abandoning X11 in Apple, they have made a system that doesn't work
well in a UNIX/X11 environment and they loose so much richness in
capability.  I actually think that this hurts the application environment
as a whole. If Android and Apple were fully X11, can you imagine the
interoperability you would have? How cool would that be to run any program
in the cloud and display its X11 on the device of your choice?

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