The Development Of A Graphical User Interface Computer Science Essay

My instance survey is on the TheA Development ofA aA Graphical User InterfaceA including Desktop EnvironmentsA inA theA LinuxA Operating System. In my instance survey I talk of the initial demand for a GUI and the grounds why and where it was developed.

I so travel onto the first computing machines to include a GUI both the commercially successful 1s and the non so commercially successful. I talk about the history behind the X Window System and the patterned advance to the desktop environments. I have besides included some history and observations about three of the most successful desktop environments KDE, GNOME & A ; Xfce.

1.1 What is a GUI?

A GUI ( Graphical User Interface ) is a manner of interacting with a computing machine utilizing symbols and icons. Before GUI users would hold to input complicated bids utilizing a bid line interface like DOS.

With GUI undertakings can be carried out much easier and quicker by the simple chink of a button.

1.2 Development of GUI

In the early 70 ‘s Xerox was doing its luck merchandising photocopiers.

Then Xerox realised a whole new universe of computer science was about to get down they decided they better have their interest in this approaching market, this lead to the formation of PARC ( Palo Alto Research Center ) . Here the top computing machine scientists from all over the state gathered to work together researching and contriving new thoughts for the hereafter of calculating. One of their first innovations was a optical maser pressman which demanded a more graphical manner for a computing machine to fix paperss ( Ref 2.1 ) . A computing machine like this did non be at this clip so PARC decided to construct their ain, this lead to the creative activity of the Alto.

1.3 The Alto

The Alto which was foremost completed in 1973 was a comparatively little machine.

It had a screen the same size and orientation as a printed page. It was the first system to work on all of the elements of the modern Graphical User Interface ( Ref2.2 ) . The machine was ne’er really sold as it was meant for research but some were donated to assorted administrations and many were used within the PARC installations. Some of the characteristics included:608*808 tall monochromatic bit-mapped picture showMouseKeyboard2.5MB cartridge512kb memory

1.4 Apple Lisa

1979 & A ; Steve Jobs is working with the Apple Lisa squad. This would be Apples first effort to sell a computing machine which was able to run a graphical user interface but the undertaking was chiefly aimed towards the concern market instead than place users.

The monetary value is said to hold been around $ 10,000 which was much excessively expensive for the mean client. In 1982 Jobs was kicked off the Lisa squad. He so teamed up with applied scientist Jeff Raskin who together created The Macintosh.

1.5 Macintosh

The Macintosh was released in 1984. It besides featured a graphical user interface. Desk accoutrements included a notepad, reckoner and dismay clock.

Monetary values are said to hold been around $ 2,500 at the clip which was a far call from the $ 10,000 required to buy the Apple Lisa which lead it to be the 1st commercially successful merchandise to utilize a multi-panel window GUI ( Ref2.3 ) . This lead to the diminution in gross revenues of Lisa & A ; Lisa was subsequently taken off market around 1985.Features of the Macintosh included:128kb ( built in ) memory subsequently expanded to 512kb with the Macintosh5123.5inch floppy disc thrust9 ” inbuilt proctorMouseKeyboardDesk accoutrements included reckoner, notepad & A ; dismay clock

1.6 X Window System

In 1984 work began on the X Window System in MIT & A ; Stanford. This was a coaction between Jim Gettys ( Project Athena ) & A ; Bob Scheifler ( MIT Laboratory for Computer Science ) .

Scheifler required a useable show environment for debugging the Argus system whereas Getty ‘s needed a platform- independent artworks system to associate multiple seller systems. These jobs were overcome with the X Window System by a protocol that could both run local applications and name on distant resources.X Window System is an unfastened, cross-platform, client/server system for pull offing a windowed GUI in a distributed web ( Ref2.4 ) . It is non a merchandise by Microsoft. X Window System is a web environment designed from the land up as a multi-user system. X Window System is a bed that sits between the hardware and the GUI besides known as the hardware abstraction bed.

X Window System is more frequently referred to as X or X11 ( latest version ) .Ten consists of X Server, X Client, Window Manager, Desktop Environment & A ; Video Adapter Card Hardware.Ten Server acts as the show to which plans are drawn onto. These plans are known as the X Client. X Client can be run either remotely or locally.

Ten Client can include applications like word-processors and games. Although the X Server performs the undertaking of exposing the X Client it is non cognizant of the hardware the X Client is running on. The Window Manager is an Ten Client. The X Server on its ain can non pull off window undertakings alternatively it uses Window Manager to pull off the undertakings of Windowss, doodads, minimising and maximising Windowss among other undertakings. Before the Desktop Environment became common the chief function of the Window Manager was the expression and feel of the GUI which the Window Manager could merely execute at the window degree.


7 Forks of Ten

Forks of the X Window System included the XFree86 which was released in the 1990 ‘s ( Ref2.5 ) and the XOrg. Both are Open Source Software and are freely available.

1.8 Desktop Environments

A desktop environment normally includes a window director, file director, libraries and subjects which work together to supply expression, feel and functionality to the desktop. Two of the most common desktop environments are KDE & A ; GNOME.

1.9 KDE

KDE ( K Desktop Environment ) was created in 1996. KDE is maintained by an international community working on the development and distribution of Free, Open Source Software for desktop and portable computer science ( Ref2.6 ) . KDE was built for users on Linux and Unix type machines. It acts as a Windowing Manager and Graphical User Interface. KDE uses a Window Manager called KWin and runs on a toolkit known as Qt ( C++ ) .

Qt ( made by Trolltech ) is besides found on platforms including nomadic phones and even Windows. Qt was originally non under a free package license as Trolltech was besides a commercial company but the license was subsequently granted under the GPL free package license in 1998 ( Ref2.7 ) . Some of KDE ‘s characteristics include Konqueror, a browser ( like Windows ) to shop files both local and on the net and KOffice Software ( like Microsoft office ) which includes Kword, kpresenter, Kcalc and Kontact. It is the default working environment for many Linux distributions such as Kubuntu and is suited more towards new theoretical account computing machines.

1.10 GNOME

GNOME ( GNU Network Object Model Environment ) was ab initio released in 1999 and is chiefly developed by Red Hat employees.

It besides acts as a desktop environment and uses the Metacity Window Manager. It is besides composed wholly of free and unfastened beginning package. GNOME is based on the GTK toolkit ( C ) ( Ref2.8 ) . GNOME uses the Nautilus as its default file browser. It includes public-service corporations such as an image spectator, film participant, text editor, reckoner and more. Like KDE it is said to run better on new theoretical account computing machines.


11 Xfce

Xfce is another popular desktop environment. Developed in 1996 XFCE originally stood for XForms Common Environment but was subsequently renamed to Xfce. Xfce originally used the XForms toolkit which was the chief ground it was non included in Red Hat Linux. Red Hat Linux merely accepted unfastened beginning package, the package besides had to be licenced under the GPL or similar license but Xfce was closed beginning at the clip.

Xfce like both KDE & A ; GNOME runs on UNIX-like runing systems and similar GNOME is uses the QTK toolkit. ( Ref2.9 ) Xfce is known as a lightweight but powerful desktop environment and is said to run a batch better on older computing machines. It features core constituents like a Window Manager, Desktop Manager, Panel, Session Manager, Application Finder, File Manager and a Setting Manager. Other basic applications are available as plugins and these include terminal copycat, text editor, sound sociable, iCal and a Cadmium and DVD burner ( Ref2.

10 ) .

1.12 Main ocular differences from a user point of position between KDE, GNOME ( latest Versions ) .

KDE is much like Microsoft Windows.

The KDE start bill of fare is positioned in the same topographic point as Microsoft Windows and by default has one bill of fare saloon but this can be changed by the user to their preferable scenes. GNOME has its toolbar at the top of the screen and a pop-out dock on the left. The KMenu ( Navigation Menu ) provides some quick-access short cuts and hierarchical menu at the underside of the bill of fare saloon and has a ready to hand hunt saloon at the top. GNOME does n’t hold menus alternatively you press the chief button so merely type in what you ‘re looking for.

When re-naming a file you have a normal ( Microsoft ) pop up bill of fare but in GNOME this is done inline. The file directors are really different excessively, KDE has a bill of fare with 6 chief options and each option has legion other options in submenus whereas GNOME has listed options and tabbed pages.


13 Latest Versions

KDE developers have now started to name it the ( KDE SC ) KDE Software Compilation.Some alterations of KDE include Konqueror ( file director ) which has now been updated to the Dolphin file director besides KDE ‘s bill of fare has had an update from KMenu to Kickoff. GNOME has had some alterations excessively. GNOME Shell replaced the original GNOME Panel and Mutter replaced Metacity as the GNOME default window director. Some of the default applications have besides gone like GNOME Color Manager and GNOME Contacts.


I have tried to include what I think are the most of import facts and most relevant information to which I have based my instance survey.

While researching the background of the GUI I came across some interesting events in history involved in the patterned advance of GUI that I have n’t mentioned in my Case Study. First the celebrated PARC visit in 1979 where Steve Jobs from Apple went to see the PARC labs and saw the Alto, so there ‘s the 1984 commercial for Macintosh that was aired during the Super Bowl in January 1984 which I have to state I thought was astonishing. I besides read a batch of reappraisals and certification on both KDE & A ; GNOME. Although KDE is likely the more visually delighting I would be given to hold with the bulk and say I find the KDE menus a batch harder to voyage around than GNOME but that is merely my sentiment. Besides the attempt and dedication that the two communities both KDE and GNOME put in to supply us with Free Open Source Software is another of import point and factor to its development. The hereafter of the GUI is difficult to conceive of but with Computer Scientists like Pranav and Sixth Sense Technology or John Underkoffler and his informations interface from Minority Report it looks like it ‘s traveling to be astonishing.