what is the definition of X11?

illoai at gmail.com illoai at gmail.com
Wed Jul 4 07:01:19 UTC 2007

On 04/07/07, Jeroen Ruigrok van der Werven <asmodai at in-nomine.org> wrote:
> -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.

Well, those who a horse hae in th' race . . .

But the reality is, as you point out, that the
reality of the term is that X11 is as fungible
as any of the other "improper" terms.

X is the successor to W, which was probably
not the real first windowing system, but who
was there?  X11 is the "current" (I suppose
since 1988 is current) version of the
protocol (or whatever this monster is) and
works as well as an identifying appelation
as anything else, since it would seem we
can't get by with just calling it "Windows"
like a certain other narcissisitc hydra doth.


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