[TUHS] X and NeWS history (long)

Larry McVoy lm at mcvoy.com
Wed Sep 13 08:58:51 AEST 2017

On Tue, Sep 12, 2017 at 03:11:03PM -0700, Jon Steinhart wrote:
> In many respects Sun botched NeWS politically.  Large numbers of businesses
> relied on applications that ran on Sun's SunView window system which was
> heavily hooked into the OS and not even remotely portable.  

The rest of your story is great, just one small correction.  SunView started
as something Sun specific but it pretty quickly became a library on top of
X11.  I'm not sure if it ever worked on X10, I think it did but I'm not sure.

Source: I've hacked up GUI interfaces for the SCM I did at Sun in Sunview.
This would have been around 1990, is that still X10 or X11?

> We showed XTool off at some shows.  People would come by the booth and ask
> "how did you get it to run so fast?"  Being me, I loudly answered "We cheated.
> We designed ours first."  Turns out that one of these times Keith Packard and
> Jim Gettys were walking by which resulted in some long-standing animosity.

Heh.  I can only imagine.  ROTFLMAF.

> Wrapping this up on a happy note, some years ago I was hanging out yakking at
> the Hacker's Conference when this guy I didn't recognize due to hair loss came
> up to me and said "I'm not going to say that you weren't an asshole because
> you were, but you were right."  It was Keith Packard who was trying to get X
> running on the OLPC and had run into the issue of clients allocating server
> memory that couldn't be freed.  Been good friends since.  Same with Gettys.


> Well, that's the whole sordid take from my point of view.  Hope that you
> enjoyed it.

I sure did, love to meet you some time, where are you?


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