[TUHS] Early GUI on Linux

Leah Neukirchen leah at vuxu.org
Mon Feb 27 01:50:34 AEST 2023

Warner Losh <imp at bsdimp.com> writes:

> - was there any discussion of alternatives to X?
> Discussions yes. But not much more than talk.
> There were vgalib apps that ran graphics on the console, but I never used
> them.

I have some first hand experience with svgalib programs around 1999.
Back then I didn't have enough disk space to install X11 and TeX at
the same time, so I mostly worked on the 80x25 console and used
dvisvga as a previewer, which ran MetaFont in the background and then
rendered a quite readable preview of your DVI file.

I also remember using zgv, an image display program that used svgalib.
The fractal renderer XaoS also could do svgalib.

IIRC, my screen could only display 1024x768, not 1280x1024.

AFAIU, svgalib directly poked the graphics card memory on x86, so all
programs using it had to be SUID to allow this.  There was no
kernel-provided framebuffer, this came a bit later (2.1.109 says
Wikipedia; I used kernel 2.0.36 back then), but by then I had switched
to X11 already.

Leah Neukirchen  <leah at vuxu.org>  https://leahneukirchen.org/

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