[TUHS] X, Suntools, and the like

Lyndon Nerenberg lyndon at orthanc.ca
Fri Mar 17 09:29:50 AEST 2017


> On Mar 16, 2017, at 4:04 PM, Josh Good <pepe at naleco.com> wrote:
> 
> The real problem is that X11 predates the "GUI desktop metaphor".

The Mac proclaimed the bitmap screen interface to the world, but X11 (and Sunview) pretty much invented the GUI desktop metaphor.

Into the mid-late 1990s I was managing shops that were using NCD X11 network terminals to run all sorts of GUI-based office applications (WYSIWIG word processing, spreadsheets, what have you) off UNIX hosts, well before the web was anything more than a curiosity.  And that pedigree dates back to the mid-1980s, where SunOS 3 helped define the concept of diskless clients.  Which isn't quite the same thing, but all of this was happening long before, say, Windows came along. And *well* before Windows had the concept of remote GUI access.  And that was *well* *well* before those Windows machines grokked the concept of multiple-users-on-independent-graphical-desktops remote access.

Circa 1994, a batch of 20 colour NCD X terminals talking to something like an SGI Onyx would kick the living daylights out of an equivalent set of 20 80486 Windows 3.11 desktops, on compute performance, for the GUI desktop environment they provided, and overall functionality and productivity.

--lyndon



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