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From "Anthony G. Atkielski" <>
Subject Re: [users@httpd] Favorite Linux Distribution
Date Wed, 09 Feb 2005 17:46:48 GMT
Chad Leigh -- Shire.Net LLC writes:

> It may be desirable, but is not required.

Almost all GUI designs require it.  It's the only practical way to get
acceptable flexibility and performance.  The reason for this is that the
display hardware is usually considered "privileged" by the OS (at least
on the console), and cannot be written to directly without a breach of

If you have multiple display devices and you can write to one of them
without having access to any other hardware, you can have a GUI with
good security, but I don't know of any hardware or software
configuration that works this way (it's extremely complicated to

> On a server, a simple frame buffer or VGA X Server may be all that is
> required to get real time data displays. Such thigs do not require
> your intrusive kernel level stuff.

GUIs always require intrusive stuff.  Some have been designed to not
require most security-sensitive hacks, but the hacks creep back in as it
becomes obvious that the secure way is not performant and flexible

Nobody has designed an architecture that would give the complete
flexibility and performance of direct hardware access without a security
breach, at least not on a large scale.  There have been graphics
terminals in the past that could conceivably implement this, but it's
hard to say whether it would be performant or not.  The last experiments
were long ago, AFAIK.

> Prove it.  Show me the stats.  You are wrong.

I have a better idea:  I'll run a server that isn't destabilized by a
GUI, and you run whatever you want.

> You make claims, but many people find the GUI attractive on the server.

Real servers aren't anywhere where people will be looking at them.  I
hardly ever look at or touch the console of my server, although I have
top running most of the time in case I want to see how the system is

> No they don't.  Prove it. Show me studies or test cases or data.

Sometimes experience is the best teacher.  I suggest you run your server
however you wish.  In time, that experience will teach you how best to
configure it.

> It gives you the option if you need it.

Why would you need to?  UNIX got by for years without a GUI.

> You claimed that people having troubles setting up X to do fancy things
> made it unsuitable for a server, making it less reliable.

No, just setting up X at all is enough to destabilize the machine.

> No they don't.  You ought to learn about how these things work.

I learned how these things work years ago.

> Windows has put extensive GUI stuff in the kernel for performance 
> reasons.

Everyone does.

> Things that OS X, and other Unix systems, do not do.

Why does X require that I run FreeBSD at a lower security level, then?

> It is a bad example as MS has made some bad design decisions.

Their decisions are no different from those of anyone else building a

> Not real time data feeds you can't

I've seen it done.

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