[TUHS] tangential unix question: whatever happened to NeWS?

Larry McVoy lm at mcvoy.com
Mon Jan 25 04:36:53 AEST 2021

On Sun, Jan 24, 2021 at 12:04:09PM -0500, Clem Cole wrote:
> I suspect NeWS was justified internally differently and the marketing types
> saw it as a revenue stream.  Larry, can you enlighten us at all?

NeWS was too much, too soon.  This was back in the days of Mhz rather than
Ghz and NeWS was slow and clunky whereas X11 was good enough.

I don't know what the deal was with locking it up.  I don't even know if
they got any revenue out of it, the only people that I remember liking
it were sort of "zealots" for lack of a better word.  They felt like it
was better answer and just had mumble, mumble when performance was 
brought up.

But I'm a weird person to ask because I started my career as a contractor
at Lachman and the first thing I did on any project was bring up X10,
later X11, and use that.  I'm still carrying around my startx stuff.
To me, having the same UI on every platform dramatically out weighed
any "advantage" $VENDORS window system had.  And in reality, if you had
decent frame buffer drivers, X11 was usually faster than the VENDOR stuff.

So I have little insight into VENDOR UI, I rarely used it for longer than
it took me to build X11.

The only UI stuff I've ever seen that I liked better that X11 was:

Sunview (the X version) because of the clever UI, every interface was
widget(key, value, key, value) and all keys (if I remember correctly)
had defaults that were reasonable.  Super pleasant.

Ousterhout's Tk (but not the tcl stuff, jesus that was horrible).
He approached GUIs from a much higher level and you can throw together
working tools in very few lines of code.  I've still never seen anything
as well thought out though I haven't looked in the last ~5 years.
It wouldn't surprise me at all if his stuff is still the best.

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