Linked by the_randymon on Tue 29th Jan 2013 00:20 UTC
X11, Window Managers Any modern operating system consists of layers upon layers of systems, services, and libraries. Increasingly, no one can possibly have full understanding of all the layers of the cake. Here's RedHat developer Peter Hutterer's description of what it takes to move the cursor on your screen. Interesting to get back to the basics, and a good reminder of how complicated this stuff really is.
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I wrote a few GUIs myself in dos, and though they weren't powerful by any stretch, they were certainly much more expressive and creative than what you'd find in a standardised toolkit today. When you have full control over the whole stack, you can come up with some interesting ways of doing things. And though nothing is necessarily stopping you from designing creative interfaces today, it's a foregone conclusion to most modern programmers to use components that already exist and not even contemplate how one might do it from scratch.

Plus - users probably were less happy with one-off UIs everywhere :p

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