X is a portable, network-transparent window system(GUI). Version 11(X11) is the latest version. Only god knows if|when there might be a v12( but X11R7.6 is due this year ). XFree and Xorg are the collection of programs that implement X11 for computing systems(not limited to *nix).
Linux OS does not give a hoot whether X is installed. Many would say that Linux OS is not even designed for X and that X is the afterthought for implementing various desktop environments. I agree.
X is the only fully implemented windowing system for Linux. So, yea, if you want the GUI to just work, that's it.
XFree | Xorg are not the only way to get there. There are commercial versions. E.g., Xi ( http://www.xig.com/
). ( I'm not sure if the others survived ...) You can look at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/X_Windo...mpetitors_to_X
Using the framebuffer, DirectFB(as mentioned), DRI framebuffer or curses(ncurces) interface are ways to get around installing X but I have never seen a "desktop" that uses any of them. The "gpm" can provide the mouse so there's no reason it cannot be done(other than being limited and butt-ugly,
Midnight Commander, with (gpm supplied) mouse, is the closest thing I know of a desktop that does not require X however many UNIX users would also say that you can load emacs and "never need to leave it" so it functions somewhat like a desktop. The combination of those with GNU "screen"(previously mentioned) might get you what you want. ...
However, NO programs that are GUI bound(need X) will run. Every "GUI" program would have to have the X requirement removed and hooks placed to use fb or something else. I seriously doubt that will never happen - too much work for too little benefit.
The Window Maker
DE uses a dockbar(gallery
). It emulates the look and feel of the NeXTSTEP graphical user interface. It has been around for ages ... at least ten years. Their goal is "the de-facto minimalist yet extremely functional window manager
" for *nix(RE: Wikipedia
It might be sufficient ...
is another NeXTSTEP-like GUI DE.