Announcement of X Window System Release 4

Skip to first unread message

Dec 2, 1986, 3:18:01 PM12/2/86
Release 4 of the X window system is now available, based on V10 of
the X protocol. This is the LAST release of X based on V10 of the
protocol; work is progressing steadily on the Version 11
implementation and you may expect to hear from us in a few months
about this.

This release will run on the Digital VS-1, VS-2, VS-2/RC under Ultrix
1.2, the DEC VS100 under 4.3BSD, most Sun Microsystems workstations
under 3.0, Apollo Computer workstations under 9.2, Integrated
Solutions workstations under 3.07, and the IBM RT/PC under ACIS 4.2A
release 2 (Not under AIX). X is also being commercially supported
and sold by a number of computer manufacturers; you should contact
them for availability. MIT does not "support" this distribution;
however bugs and fixes and new code are gratefully accepted.

If you do not urgently need the tape at this time, we recommend
waiting until December 15, 1986, when additional material will be
added to the tape. See the note below on toolkits. Updated tapes
will be sent to people shipped tapes before December 15. There will
be an annoucement on the 15th on this additional material.

To order a distribution, send a CHECK for U.S. $100 to:

MIT Microcomputer Center
MIT 11-209
77 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, Massachusetts, 02139
(617) 253-6325

Purchase orders will NOT be accepted. The distribution will come on
a single 9 track 1600BPI tape written in Unix tar(1) format, along
with a single copy of printed documentation. Other distribution
media or formats are NOT available.

Distributions are also available from "" ( on
the Internet, via anonymous FTP.


To: Users of the X version 10 release 4 tape

Subject: user interface toolkit availability

Since the last release of the X Window System, there have been
several groups working on programmer's toolkits, layered above Xlib.
There is a recognized need for more functions that provide common
user interface building blocks for applications, of which XMenu was a

M.I.T has received copies of several such `user interface toolkits'
in the past month. There is considerable similarity in these
projects; i.e. they all offer the most common `widgets'; titlebars,
scrollbars, command buttons, etc. Each has some particular feature
that may make it more suitable for a particular application than the

We would prefer to have a single unified toolkit that combines all
the best features of these several examples (and some ideas that we
haven't yet seen implemented), and we are starting a process with the
various implementors to work toward that goal. In the meantime, we
do intend to distribute the existing toolkits as `user-contributed
software' so that developers don't have to re-invent as many wheels.
Of course, those of you building commercial products may wish to take
appropriate measures to insure future supportability of your
products. (We will only distribute toolkits for which we have
complete source code and we will distribute that source with the

In attempting to balance the various release schedules, we have
decided to pre-ship this Version 10 Release 4 tape now without the
toolkits so that those of you who need the core window system asap
can get it in time for the next academic semester. We will replace
this distribution with an updated distribution on December 15 that
will add the toolkits described above. We also hope to be able to
give you some insights into the future of X User Interface Toolkits
with the December 15th distribution.

We know that there are many of you out there faced with the decision
whether or not to implement your own toolkit before you can write
that favorite application. The toolkits that will be on the
distribution tape will save many of you a great deal of effort in
implementing user interfaces, but we do want to caution you to expect
these toolkits to change as we progress to our goal of convergence.

Changes from release 3 to release 4 of X

There is device dependent code for the Apollo, Integrated Solutions,
and IBM RT/PC displays. The Sun implementation has been improved,
but is not yet complete. The IBM RT/PC implementation has a
reasonably complete implementation which could be used to fill out
the Sun graphics implementation, but we had no manpower to do so.

Release 4 of the system will be the LAST based on Version 10 of the X

libapollo device dependent code for Apollo workstations
Our thanks to the Mark Swanson at the
University of Utah and Doug Orr for this
work. Due to problems in Apollo's
preprocessor, installation may be painful.

libibm device dependent code for IBM RT/PC
workstation. Our thanks to Daniel Stone,
Mike Braca, Dave Bundy at Brown University
IRIS for this work. NOTE: This runs under IBM
ACIS 4.2 Release 2 ONLY, not under AIX.

libis device dependent code for Integrated Solutions

xtrek addictive game; requires shared memory, so
not all machines can run it, though all can
participate. Blame Chris Guthrie

showimg nice imageing program for color displays.
primarily here to give examples.

xcolors program to help figure out what colors to use

xperfmon performance monitor for Unix.


X Bug fixes. Not many, as server is very
stable. Stipple fill, but not really
blessed, as not available everywhere.

Xlib A few bug fixes, a few new routines.

xterm major new version courtesy of Ed Moy at
Berkeley. Can you say "Kitchen Sink"?
Scrollbars, titlebars, 4015 emulation, etc.

doc/Xlib bug fixes.

doc/Paper TOG paper on X. Explains much that has been

man/* updated for new arguments.

XMenu bug fixes in callback stuff.

bitmap line, circle drawing added.

xwd xwud improved to deal with color better. No
longer stores images off screen, so works all
the time on implementations with little
offscreen memory.

Jim Gettys
Ralph R. Swick
MIT Project Athena

Reply all
Reply to author
0 new messages