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A Network Computing Devices NCD-88k X terminal.
An X server runs on the X terminal, connecting to a central computer running an X display manager. In this example, client programs (xterm and xedit) are running on the same computer.

In computing, an X terminal is a display/input terminal for X Window System client applications. X terminals enjoyed a period of popularity in the early 1990s when they offered a lower total cost of ownership alternative to a full Unix workstation.

An X terminal runs an X server. (In X, the usage of "client" and "server" is from the viewpoint of the programs: the X server supplies a screen, keyboard, mouse and touchscreen to client applications.) This connects to an X display manager (introduced in X11R3) running on a central machine, using XDMCP (X Display Manager Control Protocol, introduced in X11R4).[1]

Thin clients have somewhat supplanted X terminals in that they are 'fattened' with added flash memory which contains software that duplicates much of the various Microsoft operating systems, thus acquiring the ability to "speak" a range of remote desktop protocols. Due to the existence of free software implementations of multiple protocols X terminals which do not have this extra flash memory have been commercially obsoleted by more general-purpose thin clients and by low cost PCs running an X server.

Vendors

In the early 1990s, several vendors introduced X terminals including Network Computing Devices (NCD), Hewlett Packard (HP), Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC, later absorbed by HP), IBM and Tektronix.[2]

References

  1. ^ Linda Mui and Eric Pearce, X Window System Volume 8: X Window System Administrator's Guide for X11 Release 4 and Release 5, 3rd edition (O'Reilly and Associates, July 1993; softcover ISBN 0-937175-83-8)
  2. ^ Corcoran, Cate (1992). "Study shows 115 percent increase in X terminal sales for 1991". InfoWorld 14 (3): 26. http://books.google.com/books?id=9T0EAAAAMBAJ&pg=PA26&dq=x-terminal&as_pt=MAGAZINES&ei=409GS76uE5OCzASD3LXyDQ&cd=3#v=onepage&q=&f=false. "Network Computing Devices dominated the market... NCD, HP, Digital Equipment Corporation, IBM and Tektronix - the top five X terminal vendors - accounted for 74 percent of shipments...".  
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