[TUHS] Early GUI on Linux

Clem Cole clemc at ccc.com
Tue Feb 28 11:15:47 AEST 2023

I believe Ken Keller wrote the original framemaker using X10 - (maybe 11
but I thought it was 10) running on a Sun3 -  I’ll try ask him.   He was
trying to keep it systems independent and at the time X was the most
promising way to do that.

On Mon, Feb 27, 2023 at 8:09 PM Jonathan Gray <jsg at jsg.id.au> wrote:

> On Mon, Feb 27, 2023 at 06:22:09PM +0100, Paul Ruizendaal via TUHS wrote:
> >
> > Thanks all for the insights.  Let me attempt a summary.
> >
> > What it boils down to is that X arrived on Linux very early, because
> what the Linux hackers needed/wanted was a familiar terminal multiplexer.
> It seems that the pattern persists till the present day (and yes, it
> matches with my own dev setup/needs). I wonder to what extent this is a
> generational thing though. Maybe today’s twenty-somethings spend their days
> in front of Xcode, VStudio, Eclipse, etc. more than using multiple
> terminals.
> >
> > This ties in with another observation on early window systems. The
> earliest Unix window system that I could find (i.e. documented) was NUnix
> from 1981/82. Its desktop was designed around the idea of a dozen or so top
> level windows, each one being either a shell window or a graphics canvas,
> with no real concept of a widget set, dialogs, etc., or even of
> sub-windows. This paradigm seems to have been more or less the same in the
> Blit terminal, and carried through in MGR, Mux and even as late as 8 1/2.
> In the context where this serves the needs of core user group, such makes
> sense.
> >
> > ===
> >
> > It is in stark contrast with developments at the lower/consumer end of
> the market. The original Mac, GEM and Windows all placed much more emphasis
> on being a graphical user interface, with standard widgets and UI design
> elements. On Unix and X it remained a mess. It seems that this was both for
> technical reasons (X not imposing a standard) and for economic reasons (the
> Unix wars). Linux then inherited the mess and the core user/developer
> demographic had no need/wish/time to fix it.
> >
> > It makes me wonder when true graphical applications started to appear
> for X / Unix / Linux (other than stuff like terminal, clock, calculator,
> etc.). The graphical browser certainly is one (1993). StarOffice and Applix
> seem to have arrived around 1995. Anything broadly used before that?
> When did Interleaf and Framemaker have X based versions?
> "Framemaker was the main application everybody would run to prove that
> their X box actually worked"
> Andrew McRae - Sun, Surf and X in California
> AUUGN, Volume 10, Number 4, August 1989
> https://www.tuhs.org/Archive/Documentation/AUUGN/AUUGN-V10.4.pdf
Sent from a handheld expect more typos than usual
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