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X11R6.3 (Broadway) Overview


Screen Shot
An application executing within a
web browser using The Open Group's
X11R6.3 Technology

Broadway, was the code name for a ground-breaking initiative evolving the X Window System for creating and accessing interactive applications on the World Wide Web. The resulting technology is the latest release of X, X11R6.3. Any application linked to the Web using X11R6.3 can be located, accessed and executed with the same tools used for accessing static HTML documents today - Web browsers.

Benefits of X11R6.3 Technology

You can now have something you've always dreamed of: access to any application, from anywhere on the planet. X11R6.3 just may be the most powerful innovation ever introduced to the World Wide Web. X11R6.3 provides seamless access to remotely hosted programs over the Internet and World Wide Web.

Market Context

The real purpose of the Web is information sharing. HTML was designed to allow static documents to be easily published and accessed using the Web. HTML has been clearly successful as demonstrated by the growth of the Web over the past several years. But HTML does have its limitations. Technologies like Java(TM), Shockwave(TM) and others are poised to fill in the gap between the capabilities of HTML and the demands of the users. Like X11R6.3, each is a tool best suited to solve specific problems.

Access to applications is a major shortcoming of the Web. A lot of information in our world today is stored in the form of applications. Applications that either are the direct repositories for information, say training or simulations apps, or applications that are the gateways to information, like database query and reporting tools. None of this vast repository of information is easily available to today's Web users. X11R6.3 addresses this limitation by allowing existing shrink-wrapped or custom applications to be seamlessly accessed from within an X11R6.3 enabled Web browser. A major breakthrough in computing and connectivity! <>

Architectural Overview

The design center of the initial implementation of X11R6.3 requires absolutely no changes to application programs. We have gone out of our way not to create new APIs that developers must code to allow their applications to be "Web accessible".
There are five X11R6.3 key components:
1) Remote Execution,
2) Web Browser Plug-in,
3) Security,
4) LBX (Low Bandwidth X), high performance Internet distributed graphics protocol.

Remote Execution

A central concept in X11R6.3 is the ability to remotely invoke applications. There are several tools for effecting this in existence today - UNIX "r" protocols e.g., rsh, rexec, and others. Even CORBA object requests can be looked at as fitting general description. There are several problems common to the existing - approaches e.g., they're not available on all computing platforms and they are too hard for the average user (non-developer) to get their arms around. The remote execution component of X11R6.3 is designed to overcome these problems. First, it has been seamlessly integrated into the structure of the web; this addresses the ease of use issue.

Universal Access(TM)

Second, X11R6.3 integration with HTTP protocols makes access to applications platform independent. This is what we call "Universal Access", referring to the capability to find, launch and interact with any application from anywhere - a breakthrough in connectivity.

Web Browser Plug-in

Going hand in hand with Remote Execution is the embedding capability implemented as a Web Browser plug-in. Recognizing that Web browsers are quickly becoming a choice of desktop for some users and information providers, X11R6.3 embeds the output of applications directly within a page of a Web browser, adding significant power to the "Web Browser Desktop".

From point of view of the a Web page creator, X11R6.3 gives exacting control over how a Web page looks, in a way not available using HTML alone. It provides layout control with internationalization and allows for a full graphics capability, not just static pre-created images.


X11R6.3 security works with, and in addition to, existing Web security; it was designed for worldwide export, and requires no changes to applications. The X11R6.3 security model is simple, dividing applications into two classes: Trusted and Untrusted. Trusted applications are applications inside your firewall gateway. Untrusted applications are outside the firewall. X11R6.3 security prevents untrusted applications from stealing, destroying or modifying any trusted application's data. The security system consists of three pieces. First, a small piece of code that runs in the corporate firewall. Second, security extensions in the X11R6.3 server. And third, a security manager that works with the user to authorize exchanges between trusted and untrusted applications.


The X protocol was originally designed for a high-bandwidth connection - a local area network environment running Ethernet at 10Mb/sec. The Internet is not that bandwidth rich...yet. The target for LBX is WAN and serial line use including direct dial up from home to office and through an Internet server provider (ISP).

The LBX implementation includes many state of the art optimizations including caching and short-circuiting and compression. And, like the rest of X11R6.3, it works without any changes to existing applications.

Performance testing for LBX has put it in the "best of breed" tier for similar products with a key difference - it's an Industry Open Standard.

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