what is the definition of X11?

Jeroen Ruigrok van der Werven asmodai at in-nomine.org
Wed Jul 4 05:43:12 UTC 2007

-On [20070704 01:39], Ben Kaduk (minimarmot at gmail.com) wrote:
> Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/X11) seems to imply that the X
> window system is a protocol (for the client/server communication?), so
> then X11 is a version of this protocol, and Xorg and XFree86 are
> implementations of this protocol (but I am loth to blindly trust
> wikipedia).
> If this is true, then the above quote isn't quite right, as the
> inclusion should somehow be the other way -- Xorg and XFree86 both
> implement X11 (``include'' it in them).  Of course the text could be
> changed to say that the X11 protocol is used by many different
> softwares, including both Xorg and XFree86, but that still seems a bit
> awkward.
> Any comments from someone who knows more than I about what all these terms 
> mean?

It's difficult, since you are now in the shady zone of accepted word usage
that's a bit beyond the original definition.

People typically say: X, X11 (since that has been, over the past 10 years at
least, the dominant/only version left), X Windows (how wrong it may be), or X
Window System.

So when people say X or X11 they refer to their desktop/window manager
commonly. Yes, pedantically X11 is just a protocol.
If you want to be less ambiguous you could opt for 'X Window System' instead
of X11, but in the Unix community X11/X is readily understood. And then the
question becomes: would it make a difference for any newcomers?

I wonder what X.org says actually.

Jeroen Ruigrok van der Werven <asmodai(-at-)in-nomine.org> / asmodai
イェルーン ラウフロック ヴァン デル ウェルヴェン
http://www.in-nomine.org/ | http://www.rangaku.org/
When you blame others, you give up your power to change...

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