[Xorg] Server side widgets

Sean Middleditch elanthis at awesomeplay.com
Sun Jul 11 10:20:14 PDT 2004

On Sun, 2004-07-11 at 19:22 +0300, Ely Levy wrote:
> Hey,
> latly I saw quite a few flame wars about server side widgets,
> People from projects like y-windows and onyx claim for performance
> improvments and nicer cleaner implementations,
> as well as that X doesn't support it from the plain reason it is old.
> I got the impression it was a design descision, which lead to many
> diffrent tool kits.
> My question is, why did X chose not to use server side widgets (if it was
> ever concidered)?
> and what other advantages/disadvatages it has?

First, it's policy in the server.  X is designed to have zero policy,
and to let the users over-ride it.

Second, how do users modify those widgets, such as with themes?  The
server still generally requires root access; do you really want users to
be able to modify the code that runs there?

Third, speaking of root, do you really want all that complex code in
such a process?  The more code you have, the more potential bugs and
security holes.

Fourth, a vast array of applications use custom widgets.  How would
those work?  You'd either need to still allow client-side drawing (and
then all the client-side support to mimic the themes and styles of the
server-side widgets) or let clients upload code/scripts to the (again)
root-running server.

Fifth, how do you advance the state of the art?  We started off with
things like Xt, Motif, etc.  GTK+/Qt are much better than those in so
many ways.  They probably couldn't have developed so quickly and with so
much innovation if they were limited to using a pre-defined protocol for
server-side widgets, and had to run in the display server.

Sixth, who has _proven_ they're actually faster in the server?
Especially for more complex widgets?  Imagine something like the tree
view in GTK+ - the server would need access to all that information so
that if the user scrolls around, it knows what to display.  No way that
could be faster in the server.

> This is really not ment as a flame question, just honest will to know:)
> Ely Levy
> System group
> Hebrew University
> Jerusalem Israel
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