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Chapter 1

Manual Pages

X - a portable, network-transparent window system


The X Window System is a network transparent window system which runs on a wide range of computing and graphics machines. It should be relatively straightforward to build the X Consortium software distribution on most ANSI C and POSIX compliant systems. Commercial implementations are also available for a wide range of platforms.

The X Consortium requests that the following names be used when referring to this software:

X Window System
X Version 11
X Window System, Version 11

X Window System is a trademark of X Consortium, Inc.


X Window System servers run on computers with bitmap displays. The server distributes user input to and accepts output requests from various client programs through a variety of different interprocess communication channels. Although the most common case is for the client programs to be running on the same machine as the server, clients can be run transparently from other machines (including machines with different architectures and operating systems) as well.

X supports overlapping hierarchical subwindows and text and graphics operations, on both monochrome and color displays. For a full explanation of the functions that are available, see the Xlib - C Language X Interface manual, the X Window System Protocol printed specification, the X Toolkit Intrinsics - C Language Interface manual, and various toolkit documents.

The number of programs that use X is quite large. Programs provided in the core X Consortium distribution include: a terminal emulator (xterm), a window manager (twm), a display manager (xdm), a console redirect program (xconsole), a mail interface (xmh), a bitmap editor (bitmap), resource listing/manipulation tools (appres, editres), access control programs (xauth, xhost, and iceauth), user preference setting programs (xrdb, xcmsdb, xset, xsetroot, xstdcmap, and xmodmap), clocks (xclock and oclock), a font displayer (xfd), utilities for listing information about fonts, windows, and displays (xlsfonts, xwininfo, xlsclients, xdpyinfo, xlsatoms, and xprop), screen image manipulation utilities (xwd, xwud, and xmag), a performance measurement utility (xllperf), a font compiler (bdftopcf), a font server and related utilities (xfs, fsinfo, fslsfonts, fstobdf), a display server and related utilities (Xserver, rgb, mkfontdir), a clipboard manager (xclipboard), a utility to terminate clients (xkill), and a utility to cause part or all of the screen to be redrawn (xrefresh).

Many other utilities, window managers, games, toolkits, etc. are included as user-contributed software in the X Consortium distribution, or are available using anonymous ftp on the Internet. See your site administrator for details.


















RESOURCE MANAGER root window property

SCREEN_RESOURCES root window property









X Standards- X Consortium Standards

The major goal of the X Consortium is to promote cooperation within the computer industry in the creation of standard software interfaces at all layers in the X Window System environment. The status of various standards, and the software in the X11R6 distribution, is explained below.

The following documents are X Consortium standards:

X Window System Protocol
X Version 11, Release 6
Robert W. Scheifler

Xlib - C Language X Interface
X Version 11, Release 6
James Gettys, Robert W. Scheifler, Ron Newman

X Toolkit Intrinsics - C Language Interface
X Version 11, Release 6
Joel McCormack, Paul Asente, Ralph R. Swick, Donna Converse

Bitmap Distribution Format
Version 2.1
X Version 11, Release 6

Inter-Client Communication Conventions Manual
Version 2.0
X Version 11, Release 6
David Rosenthal, Stuart W. Marks

Compound Text Encoding
Version 1.1
X Version 11, Release 6
Robert W. Scheifler

X Logical Font Description Conventions
Version 1.5
X Version 11, Release 6 Jim Flowers, Stephen Gildea

X Display Manager Control Protocol
Version 1.0
X Version 11, Release 6
Keith Packard

X11 Nonrectangular Window Shape Extension
Version 1.0
X Version 11, Release 6
Keith Packard

X11 Input Extension Protocol Specification
Version 1.0
X Version 11, Release 6
George Sachs, Mark Patrick

X11 Input Extension Library Specification
X Version 11, Release 6
Mark Patrick, George Sachs

The X Font Service Protocol
Version 2.0
X Version 11, Release 6
Jim Fulton

PEX Protocol Specification
Version 5.1
Cheryl Huntington (architect), Paula Womack (editor)

PEXlib Specification and C Language Binding
Version 5.1
Jeff Stevenson

Inter-Client Exchange (ICE) Protocol
Version 1.0
X Version 11, Release 6
Robert Scheifler, Jordan Brown

lnter-Client Exchange (ICE) Library
Version 1.0
X Version 11, Release 6
Ralph Mor

X Session Management Protocol
Version 1.0
X Version 11, Release 6
Mike Wexler

X Session Management Library
Version 1.0
X Version 11, Release 6
Ralph Mor

The Input Method Protocol
Version 1.0
X Version 11, Release 6
Masahiko Narita, Hideki Hiura

X Synchronization Extension
Version 3.0
X Version 11, Release 6
Tim Glauert, Dave Carver, Jim Gettys, David P. Wiggins

X Image Extension, Protocol Reference Manual
Version 5.0
X Version 11, Release 6
Bob Shelley

XTEST Extension
Version 2.2
Kieron Drake

Big Requests Extension
Version 2.0
X Version 11, Release 6
Bob Scheifler

XC-MISC Extension
Version 1.1
X Version 11, Release 6
Bob Scheifler, Dave Wiggins

The following documents are currently draft standards of the X Consortium.

X Image Extension Library
Public Review Draft
Gary Rogers

Extending X for Double-Buffering, Multi-Buffering, and Stereo
Version 3.3
Public Review Draft
Jeffrey Friedberg, Larry Seiler, Jeff Vroom


The following include files are part of the Xlib standard.

< X11/cursorfont.h>
< X11/keysym.h>
< X11/keysymdef.h>
< X11/X.h>
< X11/Xatom.h>
< X11/Xcms.h>
< X11/Xlib.h>
< X11/Xlibint.h>
< X11/Xproto.h>
< X11/Xprotostr.h>
< X11/Xresource.h>
< X11/Xutil.h>
< X11/X10.h>

The following include files are part of the X Toolkit Intrinsics standard.

< X11/Composite.h>
< X11/CompositeP.h>
< X11/Constraint.h>
< X11/ConstrainP.h>
< X11/Core.h>
< X11/CoreP.h>
< X11/Intrinsic.h>
< X11/IntrinsicP.h>
< X11/Object.h>
< X11/ObjectP.h>
< X11/RectObj.h>
< X11/RectObjP.h>
< X11/Shell.h>
< X11/ShellP.h>
< X11/StringDefs.h>
< X11/Vendor.h>
< X11/VendorP.h>

The following include file is part of the Nonrectangular Window Shape Extension standard.

< X11/extensions/shape.h>

The following include files are part of the X Input Extension standard.

< X11/extensions/XI.h>
< X11/extensions/XInput.h>
< X11/extensions/XIproto.h>

The following include files are part of the PEXlib standard.

< X11/PEX5/PEX.h>
< X11/PEX5/PEXlib.h>
< X11/PEX5/PEXlibint.h>
< X11/PEX5/PEXproto.h>
< X11/PEX5/PEXprotost.h>

The following include files are part of the ICElib standard.

< X 11/ICE/ICE .h>
< X 11/ICE/ICEconn.h>
< X11/ICE/ICElib.h>
< X11/ICE/ICEmsg.h>
< X11/ICE/ICEproto.h>
< X11/ICE/ICEutil.h>

The following include files are part of the SMlib standard.

< X11/SM/SM.h>
< X11/SM/SMlib.h>
< X11/SM/SMproto.h>

The following include file is part of the Synchronization standard.

< X11/extensions/sync.h>

The following include files are part of the XIElib draft standard.

< X11/extensions/XIE .h>
< X11/extensions/XIElib.h>
< X11/extensions/XIEproto.h>
< X11/extensions/XIEprotost.h>

The following include file is part of the XTEST standard.

< X11/extensions/XTest.h>

The following include file is part of the Multi-Buffering draft standard.

< X11/extensions/multibuf.h>

The X11R6 distribution contains sample implementations, not reference implementations. Although much of the code is believed to be correct, the code should be assumed to be in error wherever it conflicts with the specification.

The only X Consortium standards are the ones listed above. No other documents, include files, or software in XllR6 carry special status within the X Consortium. For example, none of the following are standards: internal interfaces of the sample server; the MIT-SHM extension; the Athena Widget Set; the Xmu library; the Xau library; the RGB database; the fonts distributed with XllR6; the applications distributed with XllR6; the include files < X11/XWDFile.h>, < X11/Xfunsproto.h>, < X11/Xfuncs.h>, < X11/Xosdefs.h>, < X11/Xos.h>, and < X11/Xthreads.h>; the bitmap files in < X11/bitmaps>

The following are works in progress within the X Consortium, and are neither standards nor draft standards: Fresco; Low Bandwidth X; X Keyboard Extension; Record Extension.


X Consortium- X Consortium information

Release 6 of X Version 11 is brought to you by X Consortium, Inc.

The X Consortium is an independent, not-for-profit Delaware membership corporation. It was formed in 1993 as the successor to the MIT X Consortium. The purpose of the X Consortium is to foster the development, evolution, and maintenance of the X Window System, a comprehensive set of vendor-neutral, system-architecture neutral, network-transparent windowing and user interface standards.

The X Window System was created in the mid-1980s at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In 1988, MIT formed a member-funded consortium to provide the technical and administrative leadership necessary to support further development of the X Window System. In 1992, MIT and the membership decided it was in their best interests to move the consortium out of MIT and create an independent, stand-alone organization. All rights to the X Window System were assigned by MIT to X Consortium, Inc. on January 1, 1994.

The X Consortium is financially self-supporting through membership fees. There are no license fees associated with the use of X Window System standards and code developed by the X Consortium. Membership in the X Consortium is open to any organization willing to execute a membership agreement.

The X Consortium is a highly participative body. Members are encouraged to actively cooperate with the staff and other members in the design and review of proposed specifications, and in the design, coding and testing of sample implementations of those specifications.

The X Consortium accomplishes most of its work using electronic mail over the Internet, with individual mailing lists for working groups. Internet electronic mail connectivity should be viewed as a requirement for useful participation in X Consortium activities. Meetings are held as necessary, often in conjunction with industry conferences and trade shows.

President: Bob Scheifler,, phone: (617) 374-1010
Office Manager: Janet O'Halloran,, phone: (617) 374-1011
Technical Director, Integration Technology: Ralph Swick,
Technical Director, Application Toolkits: Matt Landau, matt@
Technical Staff: Donna Converse,, Stephen Cildea,, Jay Hersh,
Kaleb Keithley,, Ralph Mor,, Dave Wiggins,
SysAdmin: Gary Cutbill,

The X Consortium's activities and affairs are managed under the direction and oversight of a Board of Directors, elected annually by the Members. The Board is responsible for reviewing the achievements of the Consortium, approving planned work, appointing a President and other officers of the Consortium, and setting membership dues. The current Directors are:

Robert W. Scheifler, President, X Consortium

Dr. Porest Baskett, Senior VP of R&D, Silicon Graphics Computer Systems
Harold D. Blair, Partner, Partnerwerks
Roger S. Gourd, VP and Chief of Staff, Open Software Foundation
David Harris, Director, Adobe Systems [ex officio as Chairman, X Industry Association]
Dr. Robin Hillyard, Chairman and Chief Technical Officer, Novasoft Systems
Dr. Chong Lee, President and CEO, Phase X Systems, Inc.
Don McGovern, Vice President - UNIX Systems Group, Novell, Inc.
Therese E. Myers, President and CEO, Quarterdeck Office Systems
Peter 1. Shaw, President and CEO, AGE Logic, Inc.
Dan N. Turner, President and CEO, Petrotechnical Open Software Corporation

The X Consortium can be reached at:

X Consortium

One Memorial Drive
Cambridge MA 02142-1301
Tel: (617) 374-1000
Fax: (617) 374-1025

You can reach the X Consortium on the Wide World Web

or anonymous ftp to:

Adobe Systems Inc.
Apple Computer, Inc.
Cray Research, Inc.
Digital Equipment Corp.
Fujitsu Limited
Hewlett-Packard Company
Hitachi Ltd.
Hughes Aircraft Company
IBM Corporation
Kubota Corp.
Megatek Corp.
Motorola, Inc.
NCR Corporation (representing ADDS/NCR/AT&T)
NEC Corporation
Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation
Oki Electric Industry Co., Ltd.
OMRON Corporation
The Santa Cruz Operation, Inc.
Siemens Nixdorf Informationssysteme AG
Silicon Graphics, Inc.
Sony Corporation
Sun Microsystems, Inc.
Tektronix, Inc.
Unix Systems Laboratories (includes Novell)

ASSOCIATE MEMBERS CETIA - Compagnie Europeene des Techniques de l'Ingenierie Assistee
Network Computing Devices
Quarterdeck Office Systems
Walker Richer & Quinn, Inc.

AGE Logic, Inc.
BARCO Chromatics, Inc.
Congruent Corp.
Diagnostic/Retrieval Systems, Inc.
Gallium Software, Inc.
Georgia Institute of Technology
Human Designed Systems, Inc.
Hummingbird Communications Ltd.
Integrated Computer Solutions, Inc.
Investment Management Services, Inc.
IXI Limited
Japan Computer Corporation
Jupiter Systems
KAIST - Korean Advanced Institute of Science and Technology
Labtam Australia
Locus Computing Corporation
Mercury Interactive Corp.
Metheus Corporation
Metro Link, Inc.
M3i Systems, Inc.
Object Management Group, Inc.
Open Software Foundation O'Reilly & Associates, Inc.
ParcPlace Systems
Performance Awareness Corp.
Peritek Corp.
Petrotechnical Open Software Corp.
Phase X Systems, Inc.
SOUM Corporation
Tatung Science and Technology
Tech-Source, Inc.
User Interface Technologies Ltd.
Veritas Software, Inc.
VisiCom Laboratories, Inc.
VisionWare Ltd.
Visix Software, Inc.
Visual Information Technologies, Inc.
White Pine Software, Inc.
The XFree86 Project, Inc.


appres - list X application resource database

appres [[class [instance]] [- 1] [toolkitoptions]

The appres program prints the resources seen by an application (or subhierarchy of an application) with the specified class and instance names. It can be used to determine which resources a particular program will load. For example,

% appres Xterm

will list the resources that any xterm program will load. If no application class is specified, the class -AppResTest- is used.

To match a particular instance name, specify an instance name explicitly after the class name, or use the normal Xt toolkit option. For example, % appres XTerm myxterm


% appres XTerm - name myxterm

To list resources that match a subhierarchy of an application, specify hierarchical class and instance names. The number of class and instance components must be equal, and the instance name should not be specified with a toolkit option. For example,

% appres Xman.TopLevelShell.Form xman.topBox.form

will list the resources of widgets of xman topBox hierarchy. To list just the resources matching a specific level in the hierarchy, use the - 1 option. For example,

% appres XTerm.VT100 xterm.vt100 - 1

will list the resources matching the xterm vt100 widget.

X(1), xrdb(1), listres(1)

Jim Fulton, MIT X Consortium


bdftopcf - convert X font from Bitmap Distribution Format to Portable Compiled Format

bdftopcf [ -pn ] [ -un ] [ -m ] [ -l ] [ -M ] [ -L ] [ -t ] [ -i ] [ -o outputfile ]fontfile.bdf

Bdftopcf is a font compiler for the X server and font server. Fonts in Portable Compiled Format can be read by any architecture, although the file is structured to allow one particular architecture to read them directly without reformatting. This allows fast reading on the appropriate machine, but the files are still portable (but read more slowly) on other machines.

- pn Sets the font glyph padding. Each glyph in the font will have each scanline padded in to a multiple of n bytes, where n is 1, 2, 4 or 8.
- un Sets the font scanline unit. When the font bit order is different from the font byte order, the scanline unit n describes what unit of data (in bytes) are to be swapped; the unit i can be 1, 2 or 4 bytes.
- m Sets the font bit order to MSB (most significant bit) first. Bits for each glyph will be placed in this order; i.e., the left most bit on the screen will be in the highest valued bit in each unit.
- I Sets the font bit order to LSB (least significant bit) first. The left most bit on the screen will be in the lowest valued bit in each unit.
- M Sets the font byte order to MSB first. All multi-byte data in the file (metrics, bitmaps and everything else) will be written most significant byte first.
- L Sets the font byte order to LSB first. All multi-byte data in the file (metrics, bitmaps and everything else) will be written least significant byte first.
- t When this option is specified, bdftopcf will convert fonts into "terminal" fonts when possible. A terminal font has each glyph image padded to the same size; the X server can usually render these types of fonts more quickly.
- i This option inhibits the normal computation of ink metrics. When a font has glyph images which do not fill the bitmap image (i.e., the "on" pixels don't extend to the edges of the metrics) bdftopof computes the actual ink metrics and places them in the .pcf file; the - t option inhibits this behavior.
- o output-file-name By default bdftopcf writes the pcf file to standard output; this option gives the name of a file to be used instead.


Keith Packard, MIT X Consortium


bdftosnf - BDF to SNF font compiler for X11 Compiled Format

bdftosnf [-p# ][-u# ][-m][-l][-M][-L][-w][-W][-t][bdf-file]

bdftosnf reads a Bitmap Distribution Format (BDF) font from the specified file (or form standard input if no file is specified) and writes an Xll server normal font (SNF) to standard output.

- p# Force the glyph padding to a specific number. The legal values are 1, 2, 4, and 8.
- u# Force the scanline unit padding to a specific number. The legal values are 1, 2, and 4.
- m Force the bit order to most significant bit first.
- l Force the bit order to least significant bit first.
- M Force the byte order to most significant bit first.
- L Force the byte order to least significant bit first.
- w Print warnings if the character bitmaps have bits set to one outside of their defined width.
- W Print warnings for characters with an encoding of -1; the default is to silently ignore such characters.
- t Expand glyphs in "terminal-emulator" fonts to fill the bounding box.

X(1), Xserver(1)
"Bitmap Distribution Format 2.1"


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