[TUHS] Early GUI on Linux

Paul Ruizendaal pnr at planet.nl
Tue Feb 28 03:22:59 AEST 2023

> On 26 Feb 2023, at 03:21, Jonathan Gray <jsg at jsg.id.au> wrote:
> On Sat, Feb 25, 2023 at 10:31:22PM +0100, Paul Ruizendaal wrote:
>> I vaguely recall an OS from the late 90’s that mixed Linux with a partly in-kernel GUI called “Berlin” or something like that, but I cannot find any trace of that today, so maybe I misremember.
> The Berlin project started incorporating code from the earlier Fresco
> project, and then renamed to Fresco.

Thank you for those links, that refreshed my memory. Yes, this was the project that I had lingering my mind. At the time I had the impression it was dependent on the GGI (General Graphics Interface) project and its kernel part (KGI, Kernel Graphics Interface).

It would seem to me that there was a fair amount of complaining about X in the 1998-2004 time frame, beyond the complexity of getting it configured. The key complaints seem to have been:
- The XShm is a poor fix for fast local operations (it opened the door for X as a compositor though)
- There is no standard widget set (too many credible runners: Gtk, Qt, Tk, FLTK, etc.)
- The server should handle basic widget interaction, not the client.
- There is no alpha blending

The proposed fixes include Berlin/GGI/KGI, DirectFB and Y-windows (http://www.y-windows.org); probably there are others. None of these seem to have had much traction (with the possible exception of DirectFB).

Am I missing major initiatives in this space?

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