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UW Computer Science and Engineering Introduction to the X Window System

Summary: UW Computer Science and Engineering
Introduction to the X Window System
original September 1992, revised September 1998 - Warren Jessop (whj@cs)
Chapter 1: Getting Started 1
1 Getting Started
1.1 Window System, Display, Server, and Client
The X Window System is a network-transparent window system that was designed at MIT.
Network-transparency means you can use a graphics workstation to interact with X appli-
cation programs that run either locally on that workstation or on other computers attached
to the network.
Window system means X allows you to build and use programs that follow a "desktop
metaphor" pioneered by Xerox in the 70's, made popular by the Apple Macintosh in the
80's, and dominated by Microsoft Windows in the 90's. Features of that metaphor include
displaying and being able to manipulate multiple overlapping (usually rectangular) windows,
each of which performs some function such as displaying a clock or managing files. In the
case of X all the windows are arranged in strict hierarchies. At the top of each hierarchy
is a root window (the background), which covers each of the display screens, and which is
in turn partially or completely covered by "child" windows. Thus each window, except for
root windows, has a "parent" window. A child window may have its own children, thus
a single application program can create an arbitrarily deep hierarchy of windows on each


Source: Anderson, Richard - Department of Computer Science and Engineering, University of Washington at Seattle


Collections: Computer Technologies and Information Sciences