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New book reconsiders the X factor

Dec 21, 2007 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — views

O'Reilly has published a Power Tools book about the X Window System. Chris Tyler's X Power Tools purports to fill a void caused by the lack of recent books about the 20-year-old graphical interface, and it offers a special focus on Linux.

Tyler, a programmer and X Window-savvy Linux network administrator, presents the open-source graphical system anew in light of recent tech developments, says O'Reilly. As consumer electronics memory and processing power increases, embedded Linux developers are increasingly moving to X Window over lighter weight embedded graphics frameworks and windowing.

The book offers dozens of cross-referenced standalone articles on X Window tools and techniques, according to the publisher. Aimed at Unix/Linux system administrators, power users, and owners of self-administered systems, the book focuses primarily on Linux, but also offers notes on Solaris and FreeBSD implementations.

Chris Tyler

Author Chris Tyler (pictured at right), who teaches at Seneca College, Toronto, said, “There has been a renaissance in X development, and there are far more users of the X Window System now than ever before — but absolutely no books on the topic! I wrote the book that I needed to read a few years ago.”

Written in O'Reilly's Power Tools format, X Power Tools provides a thorough overview of the windowing interface and also focuses on the following topics:

  • Changing a desktop's behavior with fonts, keyboard settings, and remote security
  • Using the utility programs distributed with X and other software to enhance it
  • Taking advantage of X's network transparency — the ability to display graphical applications on a remote machine
  • Using multiple monitors, building kiosks, and accessibility issues
  • Employing Virtual Network Computer (VNC) cross-platform display technology
  • X Window innovations and future trends


The 270-page X Power Tools is available for $40 at the O'Reilly site.

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