Being a BeOS user (a purely desktop system) and because I code under Linux, I see XFree86 (v4.1 on my machine) as a user and as a developper. And this is where the problem lies. My Gnome or KDE desktops are slow in comparison with other operating systems, but XFree86, the 'engine' behind these desktops, proves me that it's not. Let's look at what I have in front of me: a dual Pentium III at 933Mhz with 512MB of memory, a Radeon 32 AIW, a modified Mandrake 8.0 powered by kernel 2.4.18.
OSNews reader David Chester writes: "I've posted a modified version of freetype with hardcoded hinting options. (There are new hinting options available in freetype CVS, but apparently they will remain unaccessable from outside the library, so it has to be hacked by hand for now.) Anyway, I think the main reason it's nice to have a hardcoded libfreetype like this, is that you can have OpenOffice link against it, which improves the readablity of it's screen fonts to my eyes, and makes OpenOffice finally usable. I have some explanation and comparison screenshots".
Nicholas Petreley explores desktop Linux beyond GNOME and KDE. In this column, he examines and compares several window-managers, detailing which of these applications is best for different types of users. The article is at LinuxWorld.
Cygwin/XFree86 is a port of XFree86 to the Microsoft Windows family of operating systems. It runs on all recent consumer and business versions of Windows and is now installed via Cygwin's setup.exe install. In the meantime, Garnome now is able to build both GNOME 2.0.0 and KDE 3.0.2. Garnome is a tool which automates the process of building GNOME 2 and KDE 3. It keeps track of all the dependencies and standard configuration work. Make sure you export some GCC optimization flags as described here before starting building the software though.
"I understand there are several different philosophies of application development. Some people prefer GTK not because it is the better tool kit, but because the approach makes more sense to them, because GTK is more granular than Qt, prefer C to C++, or another reason. I cannot address all of these factors, but I will try to take them into account wherever they matter." Part I and Part II at LinuxWorld.
"Xlib is a library that allows you to draw graphics on the screen of any X server, local or remote, using the C language. All you need to do is include
, link your program using the -lX11 switch, and you are ready to use any of the functions in the library." Learn to program X with the tutorial at LinuxGazette.
XFree86 has the proud honour of announcing that unlike other technologies that have come and gone, it is now officially 10 years old. What makes this particularly adventful is that it is fully backwards compatible; this is a true testament to the spirit of the original X protocol of which XFree86 is its finest implementation. "Yes there will be parties. Yes there is an international reunion, but sorry, by invitation only. You can wish us well at the xpert mailing list. And don't forget to ask for pictures." the site notes.
David Chester released a second version for his libXFT "hack" which brings better quality anti-aliased fonts under X11 and KDE. "For fonts and sizes that appeared the most fuzzy with hinting completely disabled, this code brings significant improvement" David writes. At his home page you will find comparison screenshots, "before and after", and the actual binary and code for the replacement libxft.
FOX is a C++ based Toolkit for developing GUIs easily and effectively. It offers a wide, and growing, collection of Controls, and provides state of the art facilities such as drag and drop, selection, as well as OpenGL widgets for 3D graphical manipulation. FOX also implements icons, images, and user-convenience features such as status line help, and tooltips. Tooltips may even be used for 3D objects. FOX stands for Free Objects for X. It was first developed under Linux, but it has now been ported to many flavors of UNIX, plus WindowsNT/2k/XP/9x/ME. After 4 years of development, Jeroen van der Zijp released FOX Toolkit 1.0 just a few days ago. FOX Toolkit is the third big cross-platform open source C++ toolkit, after wxWindows and Qt. In related news, Imperial Software Technology announced that it is now shipping X-Designer 7: Enterprise Edition, a major new version of its GUI builder for Motif, Windows and Java.
David Chester has hacked through the Xft library and he achieved an incredibly good quality on antialias rendering under XFree86. With this "hack", at last, XFree can deliver similar aesthetic results with the MacOSX or Windows rendering engines. Check the two screenshots "before" and "after" at his page.
Among other new features, this recent release of the popular font engine which used in many projects "is a must have if you're using XFree86 with anti-aliased text, since it features enhanced glyph rendering and better (more consistent) letter spacing". Download FreeType 2.0.6. Update: As some of our readers have spotted out, FreeType 2.0.8 was released just yesterday.
"X Windows and GTK+ are not the bloated monsters you think they are. Here's how we modified GTK+/X for our device's GUI." Read the rest of the feature article at LinuxDevices.
Motif is the industry standard ToolKit available on more than 200 hardware and software platforms. It is the de facto graphical user interface on UNIX systems in heterogeneous networked computing environments. Motif is also the base graphical user interface for the Common Desktop Environment (CDE) and a number of other desktops. The new version includes the following changes: Ten new widgets have been added to the Open Motif toolkit. These widgets expand Motif's capabilities in areas such as geometry management, resource specification, and user interaction. User-defined "ToolTips" have been added to all widgets that are a subclass of XmPrimitive. Any widget that is a child of a VendorShell gains this functionality.
There is a brand new version of the Unix windowing system, XFree86 4.2, available for download. This is mostly a bug fixed release, no major new features were introduced. Our Take: XFree does the job just right when it comes to serve just what it was designed to do back in the '80s: provide a windowing system to a Unix workstation or server. But these days, everyone seems so busy trying to shapeshift X11 with themes or funky window managers and squeeze its architecture and code hard to push it to perform adequate with 3D games. But X was not designed for all that. Proof of that is the fact that X is not as smooth as MacOSX's Aqua or BeOS is, is not multithreading, it does not have good response times or latencies, it does not support font antialias correctly, no double buffering, and even 3D gaming support is a hack. Should X be pushed to do things it was not designed to do, or should it be re-implemented in such a way that it features all the latest tech gizmos, but in a more "natural" way that it also stays compatible with most of today's X applications? Discuss.
XPwm is an X11 window manager and a desktop that emulates the behaviour of Windows XP. XPwm (which is an evolution of the W2Kwm, both written in Kylix) tries to be an "exact" copy of the Windows XP Interface (except the registered logos), including menu fading/dissolving and taking care of "every pixel" of each element. The author is looking for feedback and bug reports.
It is not just KDE and Gnome for X11 in this world that get new releases. XFCE, the CDE look-alike window manager, reached version 3.8.8 recently, WindowMaker released version 0.70.0 while Afterstep had a new release too after a long time. Coupled with the brand new version of Crux, the lightweight Linux distribution, developed and maintained by a single person in his free time, can work wonders for your... geeky OS experiements this weekend.