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Lesson 10

X Windows System Conclusion

This module discussed why X Windows System is a powerful GUI environment. It allows users to configure their environment in a variety of ways, including changing the window manager, border size and colors, and application resources. X even allows you to define classes of applications and configure the entire group at once. The Enlightenment window manager harnesses these powerful features well. Through its GNOME interface, virtually every aspect of the X server is configurable. For more hands-on control, you always have access to .Xdefaults. Which X Windows also allows remote X applications to display on your local X server. This capability means you can manipulate an X applicatio that's actually running somewhere else in the world.
The X Window System is still used in Red Hat Linux. While it may not be the only player in the game anymore, it remains a crucial foundation for graphical user interfaces (GUIs) on the platform. Here's a breakdown:
The Role of X in Red Hat Linux:
  • Core Functionality: X Window System serves as the core graphical server, handling low-level tasks like drawing windows, managing input devices, and interacting with the graphics hardware.
  • Underlying Technology: Several popular desktop environments in Red Hat Linux, including GNOME and KDE Plasma, rely on X as their backend for rendering the graphical elements and handling user interactions.
  • Direct Access: Although most users interact with Red Hat Linux through desktop environments, X can also be accessed directly through command-line tools like `xterm` and `xclock`.

Evolution and Alternatives:
  • Wayland: While X remains dominant, Wayland is emerging as a next-generation display server offering improved performance and security. In recent Red Hat Linux versions, GNOME can optionally use Wayland instead of X, although X compatibility is still maintained.
  • Server vs. Desktop: For server deployments where a full GUI is not needed, Red Hat Linux often comes without X pre-installed. However, it can be easily installed if needed for specific server-based graphical applications.

  • X Window System remains a core component of the Red Hat Linux graphical user experience.
  • Its role is evolving alongside newer technologies like Wayland, but X compatibility is still ensured.
  • Understanding X is crucial for Red Hat Linux administrators and users who want to delve deeper into the graphical underpinnings of the system.

Here's an image depicting the typical architecture of a Red Hat Linux GUI with X Window System playing a central role:

Learning Objectives

Having completed this module, you should now be able to:
  1. Explain how resources are organized into classes
  2. Use the .Xdefaults file to customize the look and feel of X applications
  3. Use the GNOME Display Manager to manage X sessions
  4. Explain the need for a window manager to get the most out of X
  5. List the characteristics of various window managers
  6. Use the GNOME Control Center to select a window manager
  7. Run remote X clients on the local machine
  8. List common X problems and explain how to solve them

Glossary Terms

The following terms were introduced in this module:
  1. Display Manager: Software that allows users to log in via a graphical login window and be taken immediately into an X session.
  2. Panel: A tool that provides a centralized control point on an X display. It can hold applets for system monitors, program launch buttons and the GNOME pager.
  3. Title-bar: Part of a window border that is located at the top of the window and is used to drag the window and access window modification commands such as minimize and Shade. Shade "retracts" the window, leaving the title-bar in its place.
  4. Window manager: Layer of the GUI system responsible for moving and resizing windows and handling other window events.
    It also provides configuration and organization.
  5. .Xdefaults: A standard filename used to specify X resources.
  6. X resource: Mechanism used to give user preference for window appearance to the X server.
The next module shows you how to integrate with the network.

Graphical Environment - Quiz

Before moving on to the next module, click the Quiz link below to take a comprehensive on configuring the client-side graphical environment.
Graphical Environment - Quiz

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