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A specification for device-independent windowing operations on bitmap display devices, developed initially by mit's Project athena and now a de facto standard supported by the x consortium. X was named after an earlier window system called "W". It is a window system called "X", not a system called "X Windows".
X uses a client-server protocol, the x protocol. The server is the computer or x terminal with the screen, keyboard, mouse and server program and the clients are application programs. Clients may run on the same computer as the server or on a different computer, communicating over ethernet via tcp/ip protocols. This is confusing because x clients often run on what people usually think of as their server (e.g. a file server) but in X, it is the screen and keyboard etc. which is being "served out" to the applications.
X is used on many unix systems. It has also been described as over-sized, over-featured, over-engineered and incredibly over-complicated. X11R6 (version 11, release 6) was released in May 1994.
See also andrew project, pex, vnc, xfree86.
usenet newsgroups: news:comp.windows.x, news:comp.x, news:comp.windows.x.apps, news:comp.windows.x.intrinsics, news:comp.windows.x.announce, news:comp.sources.x, news:comp.windows.x.motif, news:comp.windows.x.pex.