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[News] X Marks the Spot, PoorlyANN.lu
Posted on 15-Jul-2000 15:26 GMT by greenboy17 comments
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OSOpinion features a nice editorial stating that Linux is rather bloated and that X Windows is largely responsible. It further presents QNX's floppy demo as an example that such bloat does not have to be. How does this affect Amiga Inc and QNX chances? Photon and QNX become the example of what can be done, what has been done. The next version of Photon - that will be appearing in QNX's RealTime Platform release - is similarly minuscule yet even more refined. Note also that RtP's [Neutrino] microkernel is a considerably-advanced replacement for the QNX4 microkernel featured on the QNX demo floppy.

The Photon concept is a real mind-blower, as rectangle servers go. So simple, so powerful. But what can actually be done with it is only beginning. As some of fifteen-to twenty-thousand new sets of hands start tinkering with Photon-driven GUIs, things should really start heating up. Particles will be flying!

At the five-day QNX2000 trade show one of the keynote speakers was the founder of LinuxDevices.com, Rick Lehrbaum. I had the pleasure of dinner in his company, where we debated the merits of various (more than ten) Linux-oriented efforts at realtime determinacy and talked about the statistics he would be presenting the next morning - statistics which by the way give much hope for hybridization of Open Source ethics and IP-for-a-living-dammit concerns. Also a big topic was how Photon could become a big reason to use a POSIX-compliant OS that wasn't Linux, a commercial OS with Open Source leanings, a model QNX has dubbed "Accessible Source".

I posit again that many of us have become inveterate twiddlers. Many lean years for Amiga have given us more hacks than apps. Articles like the one on OSOpinion often mention that developers are responsible for code bloat. That lets the reader who is often primarily a user off the hook for demanding so much in terms of features, eye-candy, gewgaws. I hope that the influence of embedded philosophies in the emerging infopliance/pervasive market will help change the emphasis from rococo, meandering, option-tweaking-must-have-everything GUI labyrinths...toward spare, focused-yet-FUN interfaces that best do the jobs at hand.

And then there are the many examples in Linuxland, where programmers seem to express themselves more readily under the guise of widget sets, Windows managers, and enticing GUIs for apps - but where's the beef? These days I just don't see too many cutting-edge apps brightening up the X Windows or the Amiga Public Screens.

I hope that will change as people begin coding for the new Ami and RtP systems - with a nod to the glories of the early Amiga - when whole new categories of apps were invented and creativity was truly Kweeng...

As Amiga Inc continues to support porting from Open Sources that are Largely Linux, and as QNX's "GetQNX" program will again imprint upon the consciousness of the Linux community as it did a few months ago when it was first announced with favorable results - it could get interesting. For these worlds threaten to intersect. I know we are going to be learning something from the Linux community (if we have not already). I'd wager that we...Amiga, Phoenix, QNX...will show them some things as well. Like innovation, a different balance of license usage, a new style of energy, and maybe even something even more hardy than the penguin.

Here's hoping!

X Marks the Spot, Poorly : Comment 1 of 17ANN.lu
Posted by Michael Jantzen on 14-Jul-2000 22:00 GMT
People are forgetting that X-Windows is not just a graphics metaphor. X is flexible enough that I can run remote desktops from any x-server (in this context its important to know the difference between an X-Server and the X-Client) and thin clients. X is also cheaper and more flexible then alternatives like Win-Frame.
I use X on a daily basis to manage my Linux and Solaris computers from my PC and my Hp Envizex X-Server. I can't think of any other desktop system that works that way.
X Marks the Spot, Poorly : Comment 2 of 17ANN.lu
Posted by John Millington on 14-Jul-2000 22:00 GMT
But the example that the article gave of a tiny graphics system (QNX's Photon)
can do that too. The networking features of X, while they are cool, don't
really justify its bloat.
X Marks the Spot, Poorly : Comment 3 of 17ANN.lu
Posted by Michael Jantzen on 14-Jul-2000 22:00 GMT
In reply to Comment 2 (John Millington):
In all the reading I did about QNX photon and Neutrino nowhere did it mention XDMCP or any X-Protocol spec.
In what way does it allow me to do remote logins?
X Marks the Spot, Poorly : Comment 4 of 17ANN.lu
Posted by greenboy on 15-Jul-2000 22:00 GMT
In reply to Comment 3 (Michael Jantzen):
:In all the reading I did about QNX photon and Neutrino nowhere did it mention XDMCP or any X-Protocol spec.
Ah, my friend - and if I am using X Windows, will I find any mention of Photon Protocols?
:In what way does it allow me to do remote logins?
And again, let me reframe the question: Can X do Photon? Because Photon can do X. That's right, it can host X Windows sessions using the XPhoton utility. Not that it needs it for anything but X compatibility, or for migrational ease from *nix platforms to RtP.
Actually, RtP is also slated to run Linux applications transparently using lnxrun, with no adverse performance hits (its just a mapping layer for a handful of calls after all, emulation isn't really needed). This is supposed to be in the first or second wave of the GetQNX [http://get.qnx.com] release.
X Marks the Spot, Poorly : Comment 5 of 17ANN.lu
Posted by XDelusion on 15-Jul-2000 22:00 GMT
Well Be runs a version of X as well, I don't know much about X,
but I know Be uses it. Anyhow, perhaps X is good, though not very
compact which does suck, none the less it does have great promise,
though I have yet to see signs of that in Linux. :O/ If linux ran
like Be runs, it would serve as my Desktop OS, as well as my
server. But for now, I sometimes go into X for a little of this
and that, other times, I am running Be.
BTW I got some sort of QNX demo, it is like 132Mb or something,
the only down fall is it seems to only work in GUI mode on a monitor
that can go above 800x600, which I do not yet support. :O/
X Marks the Spot, Poorly : Comment 6 of 17ANN.lu
Posted by Johan Rönnblom on 15-Jul-2000 22:00 GMT
In reply to Comment 3 (Michael Jantzen):
Check out
http://www.qnx.com/literature/whitepapers/photonmicrogui.html
and you'll see that Photon doesn't doesn't just allow for "remote
login" like X, but takes the concept of display transport even
further.
X Marks the Spot, Poorly : Comment 7 of 17ANN.lu
Posted by Chris Roccati on 15-Jul-2000 22:00 GMT
In reply to Comment 5 (XDelusion):
| Well Be runs a version of X as well, I don't know much about X,
| but I know Be uses it.
The BeOS does NOT run his gui on top of X; once there was a project to
produce an X server for BeOS (in the same likes of AmiWin for the
amiga), but I never heared about that anymore...
X Marks the Spot, Poorly : Comment 8 of 17ANN.lu
Posted by Abigail Xartrapas on 15-Jul-2000 22:00 GMT
why are you discussing so much?
X is bloated as Un*x in general are, that's a fact...
just junk accumulated since the 70s and they
call it an OS.
X Marks the Spot, Poorly : Comment 9 of 17ANN.lu
Posted by Michael Jantzen on 16-Jul-2000 22:00 GMT
In reply to Comment 4 (greenboy):
If its important enough X could do it. Thing is QNX really isn't used (yet) outside of the embeded real-time application market.
Of course I don't really know anything about QNX, mostly because they haven't released the free version yet...
Michael Jantzen ^_^
X Marks the Spot, Poorly : Comment 10 of 17ANN.lu
Posted by Michael Jantzen on 16-Jul-2000 22:00 GMT
In reply to Comment 6 (Johan Rönnblom):
But (and this is the question I have been asking really) can you log into a XDM host (running on QNX) from a remote x-server? I'd probably guess not.
I mean Microsoft Windows can run X (as I've mentioned...), but I don't know of any XDM session manager for Windows.
Michael Jantzen ^_^
X Marks the Spot, Poorly : Comment 11 of 17ANN.lu
Posted by michael jantzen on 16-Jul-2000 22:00 GMT
In reply to Comment 8 (Abigail Xartrapas):
Its important to me because Unix systems can do a lot of stuff that no other system can. Like ip-masqing (nat), firewalling, and UDP forwarding.
Not to mention ANN/Dreamhost run Unix...
Also why nail X as being bloated? Its really not that big... I think maybe 20 megs at its largest (core) in fact I just checked my linux system its 122 megs, and that includes all my applications (netscape, x-chat, icq, gimp, etc etc), gnome/helix desktop, and X-Developers kit (for compiling X apps)
In comparison my Solairis 7 system openwindows software (its X system) uses up 393 megs, which includes CDE - which I'll fully admit is pretty bloated.
Michael Jantzen ^_^
X Marks the Spot, Poorly : Comment 12 of 17ANN.lu
Posted by greenboy on 16-Jul-2000 22:00 GMT
In reply to Comment 10 (Michael Jantzen):
Yeah, the complete X11r5 image is available there. xdm included.
X Marks the Spot, Poorly : Comment 13 of 17ANN.lu
Posted by greenboy on 16-Jul-2000 22:00 GMT
In reply to Comment 9 (Michael Jantzen):
:If its important enough X could do it.
Now, Michael, that sounds real nice. But fact is, its *important* to have something that isn't 20 megs or more when you want to run regular old user desktops (like for mom and dad and little sis). And embedded/pervasive devices sure don't need no steenking X and all that other stuff. I know I don't want it on my next PDA.
Scalable; its all relative ;  }
X Marks the Spot, Poorly : Comment 14 of 17ANN.lu
Posted by the man in the shadows on 16-Jul-2000 22:00 GMT
You know... this is extremely familiar... Back about 8 or so years ago, weren't we all sitting around the BBS chat rooms talking about how bloated MUI was... How bad were those battles of MUI vs ClassAct? I know people that broke friendships due to that. Sad isn't it.
MUI is proof that bloatware isn't as bad as you might think. But then again, there's windows... hmm...
X Marks the Spot, Poorly : Comment 15 of 17ANN.lu
Posted by Ralph on 16-Jul-2000 22:00 GMT
In reply to Comment 11 (michael jantzen):
-Its important to me because Unix systems can do a lot of stuff that no other system can. Like ip-masqing
-(nat), firewalling, and UDP forwarding.
No other system??? What about Amiga and MiamiDx? Can do all of the above. :-)) Okay - not in the business
world, but - it's possible!
X Marks the Spot, Poorly : Comment 16 of 17ANN.lu
Posted by Johan Rönnblom on 16-Jul-2000 22:00 GMT
In reply to Comment 10 (Michael Jantzen):
Michael Jantzen wrote:
: But (and this is the question I have been asking really) can you log
: into a XDM host (running on QNX) from a remote x-server? I'd
: probably guess not. I mean Microsoft Windows can run X (as I've
: mentioned...), but I don't know of any XDM session manager for
: Windows.
As far as I know you can't, and why would you want to? If you want to
log in remotely onto a QNX machine, then surely this is because you
want to use some application available on this machine. But QNX
doesn't run X so what use would there be for an X server? QNX runs
Photon. And you can run a Photon server. Then you can log in remotely
on the Photon server with a Photon client running under X windows. All
this is explained in the URL I posted earlier.
( http://www.qnx.com/literature/whitepapers/photonmicrogui.html )
X Marks the Spot, Poorly : Comment 17 of 17ANN.lu
Posted by Johan Rönnblom on 16-Jul-2000 22:00 GMT
In reply to Comment 16 (Johan Rönnblom):
Doh, as greenboy already commented you *can* run X (with X apps) and
an X server on QNX. I missed that so maybe someone else missed it
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