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Windowing system

windowing system, elements of windowing system
In computing, a windowing system or window system is a type of graphical user interface GUI which implements the WIMP windows, icons, menus, pointer paradigm for a user interface Each currently running application is assigned a usually resizable and usually rectangular shaped surface of the display to present its graphical user interface to the user; these windows may overlap each other, as opposed to a tiling interface where they are not allowed to overlap Usually a window decoration is drawn around each window The programming of both the window decoration and of available widgets inside of the window, which are graphical elements for direct user interaction, such as sliders, buttons, etc, is eased and simplified through the use of widget toolkits


  • 1 Technical details
  • 2 List of windowing systems
    • 21 For Unix-like operating systems
    • 22 For Windows NT-family operating systems
    • 23 Web windowing systems
    • 24 Other
  • 3 See also

Technical detailsedit

The main component of any windowing system is usually called the display server, although alternative denominations such as window server or compositor are also in use Any application that runs and presents its GUI in a window, is a client of the display server The display server and its clients communicate with each other over a communications protocol, which is usually called display server protocol, the display server being the mediator between the clients and the user It receives all the input from the kernel, that the kernel receives from all attached input devices, such as keyboard, pointing devices, or touchscreen and transmits it to the correct client The display server is also responsible for the output of the clients to the computer monitor The output of sound is usually not managed by the display server, but the sound volume, is usually handled through GUI applets and it is the display server who decides which applications are on top A windowing system enables the computer user to work with several programs at the same time Each program presents its GUI in its own window, which is generally a rectangular area of the screencitation needed

From a programmer's point of view, a windowing system implements graphical primitives For example:rendering fonts or drawing a line on the screen It provides an abstraction of the graphics hardware for use by higher-level elements of the graphical interface such as a window managercitation needed

A display server protocol can be network capable or even network transparent, facilitating the implementation of thin clientscitation needed

List of windowing systemsedit

For Unix-like operating systemsedit

  • 8½ and rio for Plan 9
  • FramebufferUI fbui in-kernel windowing system
  • HP Windows
  • ManaGeR MGR
  • Metisse
  • Mir
  • NeWS / OpenWindows
  • NeXT DPS
  • Qt Extended
  • Quartz Compositor Mac OS X
  • SunView
  • Twin Text WINdows
  • W Window System
  • Wayland
  • X Window System
  • XFast
  • Xynth

For Windows NT-family operating systemsedit

  • Desktop Window Manager DWM in Microsoft Windows Vista and later
  • ReactOS Explorer
  • Classic Shell
  • Pokki
  • RetroUI
  • Talisman Desktop

Web windowing systemsedit

  • Dojo
  • ExtJS
  • TIBCO General Interface
  • Web Window Manager


  • DM
  • GEM
  • OPIE
  • Intuition
  • Microwindows
  • MiniGUI
  • OOHG
  • Visi On

Commercial systems such as Microsoft Windows XP, 9x and earlier, the classic Mac OS version 9 and earlier, and Palm OS, contain a windowing system which is integrated with the OScitation needed

See alsoedit

  • History of the graphical user interface
  • Widget toolkit
  • Desktop environment

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