[Xorg] A possible upgrade path for X (was Re: anti-x11 response)

Andy Sy andy at nospam.com
Wed Jul 28 16:18:36 PDT 2004

Regardless of how many arguments are given against X, I believe
there is one major reason that you cannot really rebut against
and that is backwards compatibility.  There are just so many useful
apps written in X that indeed, there would be more to lose than
to gain by not using it anymore.

However, thanks to X's network-transparent design, achieving
backwards compatibility is conceptually straightforward.  You just
have to implement an X server running on any windowing system,
whether Aqua or Win32 or whatever and you've got your backwards

So if it is deemed that X's architecture is so outdated (certainly
not a conclusion that everyone shares) that it can't be properly
fixed / retrofitted, there is still a way to salvage all the old
X programs.

Two approaches come to mind:

1) Build a completely new windowing system from the ground up,
    but implement an X server running on top of it.

2) Invent a server which uses an over-the-wire protocol that's
    transparently backwards compatible with old X clients but can
    be negotiated to switch to using a modern, streamlined one when
    servicing newer clients.  (i.e. a kind of backwards-compatibility
    through encapsulation-of-older-subsystems approach which Microsoft
    has proven works amazingly well in the case of Windows XP running
    Win16 and DOS apps)

Sean Middleditch wrote:

> Hi all,
>  I was wondering if there are any official or semi-official well-written
> rebuttals to things like Fresco's "Fresco vs X11" page
> (http://wiki.fresco.org/FrescoVsX) or the Y-Windows explanation of why
> X11 is out-dated?  I'm just thinking it'd be nice to have the URL of a
> good write-up to point people to when trying to explain X11 to people
> that've been brainwashed and believe the misinformation or outright lies
> certain other projects try to spread.
>  Thanks,

reply to: a n d y @ n e t f x p h . c o m

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