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Software Overview

X Windows

Overview of X Windows

The X Windows System is a public domain, machine independent, network-based windowing system for graphics workstations. It runs on computers ranging from PCs to supercomputers. X was originally developed as a joint project of MIT's Project Athena, IBM, and Digital Equipment Corporation, as well as many other contributing companies. The primary development effort is now controlled by X.Org.

X supports a large number of bitmapped display controllers and workstations, many text fonts (both fixed and variable width), keyboards and pointing devices (e.g. trackball, mouse).

The X Window System divides the graphics function into two parts - the server, which controls the hardware dependent functions such as the mouse, keyboard and graphics display; and the clients, which are the actual programs which the user wants to interact with. The clients might include a terminal emulator (such as mwm or xterm), a process control application (OpenAPC), desktop publishing (Scribus, LyX, PageStream), or an image processing package like GIMP. The server and the clients may be on the same computer, or they may be connected through the network.

The client applications are usually linked to the standard X library (Xlib) which manages the actual communications with the server. Other libraries, called Toolkits, are available which add more functionality to the X Windows programming environment.

Testing and Verification

The Windows server functionality is verified with the X Test suite. While not capable of testing every last function, it provides a high degree of certainty that the server is functioning correctly.

Rastergraf X Windows Solutions:


The TopazPMC uses the Silicon Motion SM731. Its driver is based on the X.Org Release 5.0. It can be rebuild for later versions if needed.

The X Window servers for the AgatePXC and MerlinPXC are available in two formats:

  • proprietary (closed source) optimized and accelerated distributions for Linux by AMD;

  • open-sourced distribution on X.Org. It is useful to know that the AgatePXC uses the E4690, AKA RV730 or M96. The MerlinPXC uses the Adelaar, AKA "Southern Islands" family or Venus.

The main reason for using the x.org code would be to use it on a PowerPC system. Also is seems like  x.org thinks their server is generally better and more up to date than the AMD server :)

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