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Re: X and other visions

From: Rian Hunter
Subject: Re: X and other visions
Date: Sun, 13 Jun 2004 14:17:54 -0400

On Sun, 2004-06-13 at 10:34, "Sören Schulze" wrote:
> Alfred M. Szmidt wrote:
> >    I know about Xnest and I think it's a good idea, but it does not
> >    fix general design lacks in XFree86.
> > 
> > Fixing XFree86 is kinda out of the scope of GNU/Hurd...
> Of course.
> AFAIK GNU/Hurd will mainly support GGI/KGI instead.
> (doesn't mean it won't support XFree86 any further, but I don't know ...)

AFAIK kgi/ggi are just graphic interface layers. Not window systems, If
someone ever gets around to actually providing a KGI type hurd server,
the X server will run in pure user space on that, instead of providing
video drivers (that have always belonged in the "kernel", microkernel +
servers for us). We'll always need X (or some other maybe newer
(fresco!) windowing system). Every desktop O/S needs a window system
(for multiplexing graphic applications within a single console).

> >    Things like these are typical tasks for a console user:
> >    - turn off the computer (on desktop machines)
> > 
> > Also a typical task for a remote user; atleast w.r.t. to rebooting
> > which is essentially the same with some minor details.
> I don't think it is nice any user from network can reboot the system.
> OK, it may be useful if the system I/O is blocked and you have to reboot,
> but in this case the admin should do that anyway.

I think you are forgetting that this is UNIX(-like) and not Windows or
Mac OS (traditionally single-user systems). It is perfectly alright for
a root user to reboot the machine whenever he wants or requires, albeit
a little unfriendly. And since I last checked only root was able to
reboot or turn off the system, not "any user". Please don't forget the
goal of the GNU project.

> >    - access the sound card and the mixer
> > 
> > Ditto.  I infact use the mixer and play songs remotely each and
> > everyday.
> You play songs on computers of other people? May be a nice surprise ...

Having a raw audio device is comparable to having a raw framebuffer
device. That's why X was created, so maybe you should use a sound server
(or port one) that multiplexes sound output or integrate sound into the
console. So that changing your volume doesn't changes others, or playing
songs, doesn't sound on other's consoles.

> > Take the example of file-systems, one could quite well argue that one
> > needs console support to set a file-system translator on a "device";
> > since a physical user put the "device" into the system.
> > 
> > But this "device" could be a hard-disk, or just a plain file.  Where
> > would you draw the line in this case?
> Your example is simple to solve:
> Nobody but root should usually be permitted to set a translator to a
> partition of a physical hard disk.
> So we simply deny any direct access to the HD.
> (perhaps that doesn't work how I expect it to - excuse my lacking knowledge
> about the Hurd)

Please Please Please Don't forget the goals of the HURD! It defeats the
purpose of the HURD to only allow root to set translators.

> Sören


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