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Old 03-25-2003, 11:57 AM   #1
kavius
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General XServer / Client Questions


I have been doing some reading on X11 stuff and have come with something I want to try with remote servers. Unfortunately, the reading I have been doing is confusing me.

I have managed to find lots of information that talks about setting stuff up (getting an environment up and running). I am looking for a more generic explanation (I want to know why stuff works the way it does).

I would really appreciate three things:
1. A general explanation of the XServer/Client architecture.
2. An answer: Does the window manager have to be running on the same computer as the server (I'm getting conflicting information).
3. Most importantly, a good reference that I can keep looking in on when I get more questions (or that answers these questions).

As I understand it (and I don't really):
Server: XFree86
Client: Whatever Window Manager (kde, gnome, and others)

Based on this I should be able to install them on different machines, tell the server to listen on a port and tell the client to check that IP/Port.

Alright....I'll stop rambling....
 
Old 03-25-2003, 05:56 PM   #2
mhearn
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X is simple:

X Server - program that serves up the display of the computer on which it runs. Clients connect, and use the server to display things, and also talk amongst themselves etc.

Window manager - special kind of client responsible for managing other "normal" clients. It can be run from any computer, although if remote it'd be a bit slow. Normally it's run locally, there simply is rarely any good reason to run it remotely.

Client: anything else basically

There isn't really much more to it than that. X is sometimes used for primitive IPC. Umm, oh, X has security built in as well. The DISPLAY variable controls which server it tries to connect to.

Finally, when the client and server are on the same machine, they use various fun optimizations to speed things up.

Any other questions?
 
Old 03-25-2003, 06:08 PM   #3
kavius
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Quick Clarifications:
What do you mean by "other 'normal' clients"?
IPC?
The window manager can be run from a remote location (server/manager on one box, user sitting at a different one)?

Comment:
So basically, it would not be difficult to set the server up on one machine (IP: 123.123.123.123) and have a window manager on another (IP: 321.321.321.321). Then have the window manager talk to the server on the other machine? Is there anything that would have to go between these two pieces (other than a network cable )?
 
Old 03-25-2003, 06:36 PM   #4
mhearn
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Normal clients are your programs, web browser, gimp etc etc

IPC = interprocess communication, ie apps talking to each other

The server is usually run on the machine you are sitting in front of, as it "serves" up the display hardware. Although you can run a server on one machine, and display it on another, that involves using third party remoting protocols and generally abusing X in ways it wasn't designed for, so pretend you just have to run the X server on your local machine.

X communicates via TCP/IP when over a network, so you just need a properly setup cable and network. It can run via the net as well, albiet slowly
 
Old 03-25-2003, 06:41 PM   #5
david_ross
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Have you ever looked at LTSP?
http://www.ltsp.org/

I'm not sure if you are aiming for diskless clients or not (ltsp is) but I had no problem getting this to run with RH 7.3
 
Old 03-25-2003, 06:54 PM   #6
kavius
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david_ross:
Thanks. That was where I was going with this (sort of) and that looks like it might be the best I have seen along those lines so far. But I hate it when things don't make sense so now I am obsessed with understanding this system (that way I can abuse it later ).

mhearn:
Thank-you. You've been very helpful.

general:
I did read somewhere (can't remeber where) that the system was designed the way it was so that you could application serve to other machines (run gimp on the server box w/ xserver, and run window manager on user's box and see gimp there).

Other places have described that the minute you want to do something like that, you need a server on the local machine and the server talks to the remote machine. That configuration seems to me to defeat the purpose I had read at the first place.

I'm probably frustrating people already. It doesn't usually take me very long to do that . Does anyone know of any good reading on the subject that will keep me out of your hair for a week or two?
 
Old 03-26-2003, 02:18 PM   #7
mhearn
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You're making a classic mistake, in X the concepts of server and client are reversed to what they normally are.

A machine, even a thin client with no hard disk, runs an X server. You can then run applications or window managers from any computer that can connect to your local machine, and have them display.

That means, an application server, does NOT run an X server. Instead, it "serves" clients to you. Confusing, eh?
 
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Old 03-26-2003, 02:41 PM   #8
kavius
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OOOOOoooohhhhhhh...... I get it. Well not really, but close enough for this conversation (annoyed now that I got bad information).

So....
Code:
 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
{  HOST COMPUTER    }
{                   }
{  +-------------+  }
{  |             |  }
{  |     NFS     |  }
{  |             |  }
{  +-------------+  }
{         |         }
{         |         }
{  +-------------+  }
{  |             |  }
{  |  Get's Run  |  } Actually runs and does processing
{  |             |  }
{  +-------------+  }
{         |         }
 ~~~~~~~~~|~~~~~~~~~
          |
 ~~~~~~~~~|~~~~~~~~~
{ USER COMPUTER     }
{         |         }
{  +-------------+  }
{  |             |  }
{  |   XServer   |  } Renders/describes the look & feel
{  |             |  }
{  +-------------+  }
{         |         }
{         |         }
{  +-------------+  }
{  |             |  }
{  | Window Man  |  } Applies look & feel
{  |             |  }
{  +-------------+  }
{                   }
 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 
Old 03-26-2003, 02:45 PM   #9
mhearn
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Right. Technically the window manager doesn't have to run on the same machine as the server, but in practice it almost always does.
 
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Old 03-26-2003, 03:23 PM   #10
kavius
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Wow...Thanks.

Too often on forums, people aren't willing to talk concept. I've had people get REALLY offended that I didn't take their solution to my problem. This has been refreshing. Someone willing to help with me wanting to understand rather than just "Here is how you fix it".

david_ross, thank you as well.

After all of that discussion. I think I know what I want to be playing with and how I want to play with it. I have a feeling that it will end up being some comparisons between configurations. At least on of those configurations will involve LTSP. That's a great system.

Again thank-you both.

One last request... reading recomendations (the more technically detailed the better)?
 
Old 03-26-2003, 03:25 PM   #11
mhearn
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Hmm, I don't know of any for X except what you can find on the net.
 
Old 03-26-2003, 03:29 PM   #12
kavius
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Net's ok. Just want something that is not a quick snippet.

I plan on printing off the xserver man pages when I get home. I will check out the xfree86 website (don't have the url handy).

I guess I am just getting sick of little snippets and am looking for some meat.

If no one knows of anything don't worry about it. I will try to remember to post back here with anything good that I find.

Anyone reading this in the future:
If you don't see anything in a month or so, and you are wondering if I did find something, drop me a line. I tend to forget.
 
Old 03-26-2003, 03:32 PM   #13
david_ross
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http://www.xfree86.org/ is what you want

There is an article at linux user that may be worth a look
http://www.linuxuser.co.uk/articles/...ow_About-X.pdf
 
Old 03-26-2003, 03:35 PM   #14
kavius
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Oooo... The "linux user" one looks good. Will print that off too.
 
Old 03-26-2003, 03:40 PM   #15
david_ross
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It also links to www.x.org which has a good section on design.

http://www.x.org/X11.html
 
  


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