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X is nice! Was: Re: SEUL: Berlin is openning up! YES!!!!!

Reinventing the wheel again?

When I worked with electronics design, I used to do my CAE work using my
33 MHz 486 with 8MB RAM as a Linux X terminal. It swapped a bit if Netscape 
was running at the same time as I had the 20" screen filled with a hundred 
electronic components or so. It zoomed quicker than if I say on the Sun SS10 
where the application (Mentor Graphics) was running though. With an upgrade 
to 66MHz and 16MB the harddisk got silent and I had no complaints whatsoever 
about speed for my usual work.

On my next work, as a programmer, I had a 100MHz Pentium with 32MB and
Windows NT. When I started Lotus Notes memory usage increased 11MB, and
the disk started to swap. If I wanted to control an application that was
actually running on another PC I needed something clumpsy as PCAnyWhere.

Moral of the story?

XFree96 is not a resource hog in comparision with the competition, and 
for people in a network with other unix machines, X11 and its client/server
capability is very useful. (Before I installed Linux/X11 on my PC I had to 
drag all my drawings and papers to another wing in the building only to find 
that someone was sitting at the work station using 5% of the CPU but 100% of 
screen, mouse, keyboard and chair!)

>If a third of what they're saying is true, Berlin will be *far* better
>than X for SEUL!

The web page is very pretty. Is there anything more here than vapourware?

>Only problems is apps ... we won't be able to distribute any of the
>(few) good end-user type apps that exist for X.  But the Warsaw toolkit
>will (hopefully) make development of those apps much easier than X!

This is critical.

>What do you think???

I'm for it when Tk, Netscape, some good word processor, some good spreadsheet
etc exists. Maybe... if it can be used as an X-terminal. Hey, I can run
X apps over the internet today. It's very slow over a modem, but it is
certainly quicker than going a 100 miles if that is how far away the
computer is. Removing this possibility is as clever as removing the
possibility for the user to write shell scripts. This ability is really
good. One of the main advantages with unix is that it allows several people
to log in and use the same computer at one time. Without X11 this is reduced
to the ability to telnet into the computer - what is that worth? I had a
telnet deamon running on my old PC with Windows 3.11 - not very hot! 

With X11 and Wabi on a PC running Solaris our programmers at Saab Ericsson
Space with Sun stations could sit in their normal environment and run MS Word
or Excel as the rest of the company that used PC's. There was one (1) plain 
Pentium PC with Solaris, Wabi, Word and Excel. As long as not everybody tried 
to repaginate long documents at once, half a dozen people could certainly be
running Word at the same time from their Suns with reasonable perfomance.
That's certainly much cheaper and more ergonomical than to squeeze in a PC
next to the unix box!

There are lots of reasonable GUI development tools for X11. There are
lots of useful apps. I'm sure it would be good if resource usage could
be reduced. That's something to work on. I'm dead sure that the user
interface for apps ought to be made much more consistent. We have lots
to learn from the Mac there. But don't throw out the baby with the bathing
water. Don't dump X11. That is suicide.


Magnus Lycka, Folktrov. 6C, 907 51 Umea, Sweden
+46(0)90 198 498, magnus.lycka@tripnet.se, www1.tripnet.se/~mly

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