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Re: [OT] Why does X need so much CPU power?

on Tue, Sep 02, 2003 at 08:51:22PM +0200, Yves Goergen (nospam.list@unclassified.de) wrote:
> On Tuesday, September 02, 2003 8:00 PM CET, Erik Steffl wrote:
> >    btw the overhead of client/server isn't anything that one needs to
> > be concerned about even on 386 (X with reasonable WM performs
> > same/better
> > as windows)
> Could be, yes (I don't know). Just as a note, Windows has the same feature.
> OK, a similar one. You can connect to a remote desktop and see all
> applications/windows on your client. It's called 'Terminal Services' and
> works a bit like X connections. 

This is more analagous to VNC than it is to X11.

In the case of WTS or VNC, the display and all clients live on the
remote side of the connection (I'll refrain from saying "server" given
X11's backwards client/server terminology).  While you can export an
entire desktop, you cannot export a single application window (though I
hear rumors this is changing.  Some remote admin clients for legacy MS
Windows (e.g.:  radmin, and others like it) allow remote control of a
single desktop.  Unlike these, WTS allows you to run several
simulataneous WTS sessions.  However you cannot run multiple local

Contrast this to some of the capabilities of X11:

  - Run a local window manager, but remote apps from one or more remote

  - Tunnel these remote apps through a secure, authenticating,
    encrypting tunnel via ssh.

  - Run your entire X session off an XDMCP server (not secure, but
    acceptable on a trusted network).

  - Run two or more local X sessions.  These can be toggled between with
    <ctrl><alt><F[7890]> (ctrl, alt, and a function key), or  you can
    navigate directly with 'chvt'.  Note that this is *not* fast user
    switching.  You're actually toggling between displays.

  - Nested displays.  Want to run a particular session in its own
    window?  Run Xnest and launch its own window manager and X clients.
    Useful for demoing specific WM features.

  - Move windows between different displays using xmove / xmovectrl.

  - Switch window managers or desktop environments on the fly, without
    killing your session (OK, so Microsoft now lets you kill and restart
    EXPLORER.EXE on the fly).  Every few weeks I may have to send
    WindowMaker a SIGUSR1 to reset itself.

  - Because the window manager, not the application, is aware of its
    location, position, and display status, if an application locks up,
    you can manipulate its windows yourself, rather than being stuck
    with a bunch of unresponsive rectangles on screen.

The legacy MS Windows display model can only handle a very small subset
of these capabilities.

> Servers are available with Win2k Terminal Server or WinXP. Clients
> (also from third-party) work on any recent Windows.  Some of them even
> display single windows on the 'server' as independant windows on the
> client desktop... nice feature.

You have details on this last?


Karsten M. Self <kmself@ix.netcom.com>        http://kmself.home.netcom.com/
 What Part of "Gestalt" don't you understand?
   A guide to GNU/Linux partitioning:

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