What is X?

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  • On : Feb 25, 2006
Everyone likes pretty pictures. The newsagent?s stand is now crowded with glossy magazines, roadside advertisements glare out at you as you drive along the freeway, you see a wondrous mosaic as you look at all the packaging on supermarket shelves. Television long ago replaced the radio as standard home entertainment and the fact that you cannot judge a book by its cover doesn?t prevent the vast majority of the human population from doing so. The same applies to computers now. The GUI (Graphical User Interface) or ?windows functionality? has become part of the machine that everyone now takes for granted.

X is not a GUI?it is an infrastructure that a GUI uses

One of the most confusing aspects of X is the naming of the parts, in that the terms server and client are the opposite of what many would expect. An X server is the screen and keyboard, what a lot of MS Windows people would automatically think of as the ultimate client. An X client is a program that opens and uses windows, such as a browser, email client, word-processor and so on. To go into why this is so I will compare an X-server to a file server…

A file server is a machine on a network where files exist and other machines, or clients, can connect to it to open, read, write or manipulate files. Often, of course, the file server and the client is the same machine, but sometimes it isn?t. What a file server is serving is data in files.

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[tags] linux, x, gui, server, client [/tags]