Today Marks 30 Years Since The Release Of X11

Written by Michael Larabel in X.Org on 15 September 2017 at 01:33 PM EDT. 32 Comments
The X11 window system turns 30 years old today! X11 which still lives on through today via the X.Org Server on Linux, BSD, Solaris, and other operating systems is now three decades old.

It was on this day in 1987 that Ralph Swick of MIT announced the X Window System Version 11 Release 1. As explained in the announcement compared to earlier versions of X, X11 offered "This release represents a major redesign and enhancement of X and signals it's graduation from the research community into the product engineering and development community. The X Window System version 11 is intended to be able to support virtually all known instances of raster display hardware and reasonable future hardware, including hardware supporting deep frame buffers, multiple colormaps and various levels of hardware graphics assist."

X11 has been extended many times over the years and with a wealth of extensions not envisioned back in the 80's, but it's still living on. Of course, a codebase of 30 years does bring with it a lot of bugs and security issues have especially come to light in the past few years with the xorg-server.

Wayland continues making more inroads as more compositors begin nearing parity to their desktop support under X11, but the X.Org Server is still expected to live on for years to come for X11 application compatibility for software that may never see native Wayland support, other operating systems lacking all the infrastructure at this time for Wayland, etc.

Happy 30th birthday X11!
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