[TUHS] X and NeWS history (long)

Grant Taylor gtaylor at tnetconsulting.net
Wed Sep 13 12:43:21 AEST 2017

On 09/12/2017 06:56 PM, Jon Steinhart wrote:
> Wow, big topic.  Rather than getting into it in detail at the moment I'm curious
> as to why you think that it's important for it to work over a network.

I personally really like the ability to SSH to a machine (*) using -XY 
and run Oracle's installer such that it's display shows up on my notebook.

I find that SO MUCH EASIER than trying to get the iDRAC / RSA / IMM / 
etc to work.  Usually they require multiple ports and protocols (often 
UDP, which is a pain through SSH).

For me, X11 forwarding just works.  -  Thank you to everyone that spent 
so much time and energy getting it to work.

> Before you bite my head off for that question, I'm not suggesting that there's
> no value in taking data from somewhere on a network and using it on a local
> machine.

I think there's a distinct and large difference in data and display I/O.

> Back in the darker ages of the Green Flash (Tektronix storage tubes like the
> 4014) it was common to display remote data on a local system.  The data in
> those days arrived via RS-232.  Depending on the application, one could shovel
> 4014 commands over the wire or just raw data and use a local program to generate
> drawing commands.

I've often contemplated SIXEL graphics in an error prompt from remote 
systems.  (This is a different topic, which itself relies on answer back.)

> I've never been convinced that the way that X did it made sense.  Sure, you'd
> here people say things like "your remote Cray can draw stuff on your local
> screen."  But it wasn't just that; using X your Cray also had to draw and
> manage your user interface: scroll bars, buttons, and so on unless you wanted
> to create a separate protocol so that you could run your user interface
> locally and have it communicate with the remote application.  Of course, X was
> enough of a pig that maybe using a Cray to drive a scroll bar made sense :-)

Maybe I'm a n00b and don't know better, but I'd think that would be a 
use case for nested X running on a local (closer than the Cray) machine. 
  So all the Cray needed to do was to send program I/O to the (nested) X 
server.  Then the (nested) X server could handle scroll bars and other 
local window manager eye candy.

I think the Cray would run something much like X does if you aren't 
running a window manager.  Simple, single application, no frills.

I think.

> So before getting off into graphics APIs I think that it would be interesting
> to hash this out.
> BTW, one of the best things about NeWS was the fact that with a reasonable set
> of conventions the user interface personality could live in the server and be
> applied to all applications.  Contrast that with X where each application links
> in a UI library, and if your screen looks anything like mine there isn't a lot
> of consistency because different applications use different libraries.
> One of the problems with NeWS was that this was so much fun to play with that
> the people doing the work kept on coming up with new ideas faster than they
> could implement the old ones so there was difficulty completing toolkit
> projects.


Feeping Creatureism?

Grant. . . .
unix || die

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