Linked by Eugenia Loli on Tue 22nd May 2007 03:43 UTC
General Unix Would you be able to survive one full day without using the X server? Linux offers us a wide assortment of CLI based tools which use curses and/or framebuffer for functional user interfaces. There is no reason why you shouldn't be able look up stuff online, read your email, look at pictures, watch movies and listen to music as you are trying to configure X.
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No X? Sure
by w-ber on Tue 22nd May 2007 12:10 UTC
w-ber
Member since:
2005-08-21

I'm already using almost exclusively console applications: mutt, lynx, ViM, {ogg,mpg}123, mplayer, and the like. I have a Matrox G450, so matroxfb and the framebuffer console work very nicely: good for watching movies and viewing images. I don't edit photographs, and for text documents, I use LaTeX exclusively. One can even view PDF documents in framebuffer console with fbgs.

Do I still use X? Yes. The reasons are twofold:
- It's more convenient to have several or dozens of console sessions open. I could use GNU screen, and I sometimes do, but dwm is a comfortable solution.
- Some websites I use daily simply do not work with lynx, links, or elinks. This is sad, and I have to resort to Firefox.

Lynx is actually more convenient to use than Firefox, believe it or not. Having said this, people will no doubt point me to all Firefox plugins that allow me to navigate pages with ViM keys, add numbers next to each link and textfield (and one can then follow the link by typing in the number), and allow me to edit textfields with ViM, not the built-in editor. Lynx has one more advantage: it's superfast in rendering pages. Of course, this has to do with lack of image, CSS, and Javascript support...

Could yes live without X? Sure. Does it make sense? Not really, unless you are running on ancient hardware (such as a 486).

Reply Score: 2

RE: No X? Sure
by Almafeta on Tue 22nd May 2007 17:38 in reply to "No X? Sure"
Almafeta Member since:
2007-02-22

Sure. Does it make sense? Not really, unless you are running on ancient hardware (such as a 486).

Then again, there would probably be a use for a text-only OS that could bring old Goodwill machines back to life. There was an article here just the other day about the TRS m100.

(My next-door neighbor still uses his 286, and wonders why nobody is making software for it anymore...)

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[2]: No X? Sure
by w-ber on Tue 22nd May 2007 17:58 in reply to "No X? Sure"
w-ber Member since:
2005-08-21

FreeDOS is not a shabby alternative. Linux or OpenBSD are not either, but as time goes on, they both accumulate more and more features and use more and more disk space. It's still possible to install both on less than a first-generation Pentium, but it may not be trivial.

I have used Slackware 10 on a 486 laptop with 8 MB of RAM comfortably -- but installing it took a couple of days, some null modem cable magic, and a special boot floppy, not to mention a custom kernel image. If you can live with old software, you can certainly use something from the same age as the hardware. In my case, that would be Slackware 3.4.

The problem with old software is that it may be full of security holes. This is not always true, as many security holes are created by adding features, but I think it is a concern, especially if you decide to put into use dozens of old machines as, say, network terminals. Personally, I don't mind old software at all, because it's usually sleeker and even faster than more feature rich one, and it still gets the job done marvellously.

If it were not for my DVD movies and FLAC collection, I could downgrade to a 486 any day. Sure, it might take longer to compile a program, but I'm not in a hurry.

Reply Parent Score: 1