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From: "G. Branden Robinson" <>
Subject: [TUHS] OLIT, MoOLIT, and NeWS (was: X11 Conservancy Project)
Date: Sun, 25 Dec 2022 14:51:51 -0600	[thread overview]
Message-ID: <20221225205151.x3kflt7qrjc3b7i4@illithid> (raw)
In-Reply-To: <>

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At 2022-12-25T10:15:19-0800, Michelangelo De Simone wrote:
> The X11 Conservancy Project (X11CP) pulls together the disparate set
> of programs which were being written between the very late 80s, and
> early 90s -- usually for Unix and Linux.

It looks like this must have just gotten started.  All that is present
is xtartan.  Which I do at least remember.  :)

Library support is going to be an issue for a lot of X11 legacy apps.

I remember that the XForms widget library used to be proprietary, and I
recall that it had been freed, but not that this had been done 20 years
ago now[1][2]...albeit still too late to have made itself the center of
the Linux desktop environment, as it could have been if only the
copyright holders had not clung so tightly to The Precious.

Motif and XView similarly got freed (the latter quite early in fact, as
I recall...but night had already fallen for the SunView UI).

But two tooklit variants I've heard of, I've never found out if they
ever made their sources freely available: OLIT and MoOLIT.

As I understand it, OLIT was XView, but written on top of the X Toolkit
Intrinsics library (Xt) as opposed to bypassing it and going straight to

And MoOLIT was, apparently, some kind of shim--whether it supplemented
OLIT or replaced it, I am not sure--that, like XForms and Java's AWT,
allowed you to to write a "look-and-feel-neutral" application.

As I recall, such efforts often failed because they abstracted only the
intersection of available features rather than the union of them, so
except for very simple UIs, programs didn't look or behave
"idiomatically" anyway.

I'd be curious to hear people's recollections of these and especially to
learn of any pointers to source.

Ranging a bit farther afield, I wonder similarly about Sun's NeWS, which
I never saw in the flesh.


    Nowadays its web site does not even mention its proprietary past.

[2] Before that relicensing, I was part of a team at Progeny Linux
    Systems that was contracted by HP to port xforms (and a lot of other
    stuff) to IA-64.  xforms was given to me because I was "the X guy"
    on staff.  I don't remember it being difficult--just the usual
    long/int punning issues.  I don't recollect now whether xforms had
    already been ported to Alpha or SPARC V9; it seems to me that it
    should have been by 2001, or would have been, had it been FLOSS.

    Great merriment was had in those days dogging on IA-64, but the more
    I learned about that ISA the more I liked it compared it to x86,
    though that may be damning it with faint praise.  But apparently
    IA-64 made novel demands with respect to instruction sequencing that
    caused compiler writers--or perhaps more accurately the people who
    would have to pay compiler writers--squeal like pigs in hot oil.
    Intel had a similar "fiasco" with the iAPX 432 fifteen years before;
    that was the ISA for which, infamously, "Ada [was the] intended
    primary language for application programming."  Ada was also
    reviled, ostenisbly because it was too damn hard to write a compiler
    for it, but probably also because its keyword inventory more closely
    resembled Pascal than C, which was already starting to eat the world
    in the mid-1980s.  Strangely enough, as I understand it, the
    compiler innovations demanded by Ada and IA-64, respectively, came
    to be standard and expected, and their benefits enjoyed unthinkingly
    by x86 and C advocates.  Thus do we reward innovation in this

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  parent reply	other threads:[~2022-12-25 20:53 UTC|newest]

Thread overview: 11+ messages / expand[flat|nested]  mbox.gz  Atom feed  top
2022-12-25 18:15 [TUHS] X11 Conservancy Project Michelangelo De Simone
2022-12-25 19:16 ` [TUHS] " segaloco via TUHS
2022-12-25 19:57   ` Michael Kjörling
2022-12-25 20:51 ` G. Branden Robinson [this message]
2022-12-25 21:03   ` [TUHS] Re: OLIT, MoOLIT, and NeWS (was: X11 Conservancy Project) Brad Spencer
2022-12-25 21:38   ` josh
2022-12-25 21:47     ` Ron Natalie
2022-12-26  6:26     ` arnold
2022-12-26 19:37       ` Jon Steinhart
2022-12-26  4:18   ` Warner Losh
2022-12-26  9:59 ` [TUHS] Re: X11 Conservancy Project Lars Brinkhoff

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