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Understanding the working of X11 from the ground up, Hacker News


                 

Introduction

        

            The goal of Explanations is to try to allow people to play with fun parts of computers. Graphics,             compression, audio. The tagline is my biggest inspiration: “Play, don’t show”, riffing off the             typical “Show, don’t tell” rule of writers and authors everywhere. Why bother giving a diagram when             I give you an inspector and let you poke at things yourself!         

        

            It takes me a long time to write an Explanation, so these might not come out as quick as you like,             but I do plan on writing these as long as I’m able to. I also don’t claim to be the world expert             on most everything I’m writing about. I might be wrong! Please let me know by             emailor through             a GitHub issue.         

        

            Previously, this series was known as “Xplain” and was more focused on the X 11 window system and             protocol, but I’ve been slowly moving towards anything that interests me, and I’m hijacking this             project for it since I really like the format and style I’ve developed. The code for every single             one of these demos is available in the             GitHub repo, and I do try to comment heavily and             go into even more depth there! Play with the code! Use it for one of your own projects! It’s all             MIT / X 11 licensed. I very much appreciate followup questions and any sort of feedback through the             links mentioned above.         

        

Table of Contents

        

    Credit where credit’s due

            

                The source code to this article and all demos is freely available under the MIT / X 11 license on             GitHubfor inspection.         

            

                Some of the more tricky code in there has been ported from the             Xorg X serveritself along with its helper library,             Pixman.         

            

                Some of the images in this article have been adapted from other images on the web. The two kitten images             in the Expose event demo were adapted from photos taken by             quatre mainsand             fazen, shared under a             CC-BY-2.0license. Thanks to             [placekitten]for finding these images for me.         

            

                The cursors and icons used in the demos have been adapted GNOME’s default theme,             Adwaita.             Some of the icons in the inspector have been adapted from the             GNOME Art             Libre Symbolic Icon Theme, shared under the LGPL and CC-BY-SA-3.0. All rights reserved.         

            

                Special thanks toKeith Packard,             Alan Coopersmith,             Adam Jackson,             Peter Hutterer, and             Owen Taylorfor digging into the source code, protocols, mailing lists             and other archives to help me figure out some of the more odd and hairier X 11 semantics when I was working             on this. Sorry for driving you guys crazy with this project.         

            

                Thanks to my friends and colleagues who have sent me feedback on work-in-progress articles,             and to anybody who has sent me a pull request. You guys rock.         

            

        

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