What the big idea behind Pantheon?

Discussion in 'Newbie Questions' started by pupil, Jan 24, 2018.

  1. pupil

    pupil Thread Starter
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    Jan 24, 2018
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    Please bare with me because I am presenting a point of view with evidence, and then I will ask my question!

    X11 is a graphics network protocol that was designed a very long time ago to connect dumb user terminals to UNIX mainframe computers. Things were different in that age. The GUI was on one computer and the number-crunching application was on a another computer - so a networked display protocol like X11 was necessary.

    The alternative approach at the time worked only for very modest tasks on all-in-one computers (i.e. Apple II, Commodore, IBM PS/1 etc.). Decedents of those home and office operating systems still have no network layer sandwedged between their GUI and their applications. Consecutive generations maintained X11 on massive corporate data networks, and simpler media-optimised alternatives in homes and small offices (i.e. Windows, Mac(Classic), Warp, BeOS, etc.)

    The decedents of UNIX (i.e. BSD, Linux, Solaris, etc.) all inherited X11 by default, and they were not universally convinced that this was a good idea. Some of the brainier *NIX gurus made efforts to rid themselves of X11 because needlessly packaging network messages for each screen update on a single machine represented a lot of CPU effort with no user benefit.

    NextStep stunned the world with speed and efficiency, but as is common among new ventures they swiftly went bankrupt. Shortly after some brainiac at Apple had the idea of copying the principles behind NextStep to make MacOS X and the result has been very convincing.

    In contrast, lush Linux desktops (i.e. GNOME, KDE, etc.) and their "native" apps are build on the X11 of antiquity. Various unimaginative shells for Linux resemble media-optimised MacOS X in appearance, but under the hood they are network-optimised X11.

    There is also a GNU copy of NextStep but for unfathomed reasons the authors of GNUStep decided to make their version depend on X11, so it looks to me like Apple stands alone in *NIXland.

    All the other operating systems that were purpose-built for multimedia (i.e. BeOS/Haiku, AmigaOS/"Icarus Desktop") share the same philosophy as Apple Macintosh and Microsoft Windows. I think their design decisions are aligned to the needs of desktop/laptop users, and that leads me to ask the question: why did Pantheon stick with X11?
    #1 pupil, Jan 24, 2018
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2018

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