Things That Happen When You Say 'X Windows'

An actual X-Windows XCalc screen snapshot (after resizing several times)I was digging through some old papers, and ran across a 15 year old "XNextEvent" newsletter, "The Official Newsletter of XUG, the X User's Group", Volume 1 Number 2, from June 1988. Here's an article that illustrates how far the usage of the term "X Windows" has evolved over the past 15 years. (Too bad The Window System Improperly Known as X Windows itself hasn't evolved.)

Someone on slashdot asks, "Why is it still called X-Windows?". Predictably, the first reply says: "It isn't. It's called 'The X Window System.' Or simply 'X'. 'X Windows' is a misnomer."

He didn't ask why it is "X-Windows". He asked why it's called "X-Windows". You're wrong that it isn't called "X-Windows". It is! It's just that it isn't "X-Windows". Being something is independent of being called something.

The answer to the question 'Why is it still called X-Windows?' is: It's still called X-Windows in order to annoy the X-Windows Fanatics, who take it upon themselves to correct you every time you call it X-Windows. That's why it's called X-Windows.

The following definitive guide to the consequences of saying "X Windows" is from the June 1988 "XNextEvent" newsletter, "The Official Newsletter of XUG, the X User's Group", Volume 1 Number 2:

Things That Happen When You Say 'X Windows'

The official names of the software described herein are:
X Window System
X Version 11
X Window System, Version 11

Note that the phrases X.11, X-11, X Windows or any permutation thereof, are explicitly excluded from this list and should not be used to describe the X Window System (window system should be thought of as one word).

The above should be enough to scare anyone into using the proper terminology, but sadly enough, it's not. Recently, certain people, lacking sufficient motivation to change their speech patterns, have fallen victim to various 'accidents', or 'misfortune'. I've compiled a short list of happenings, some of which I have witnessed, others which remain heresay. I'm not claiming any direct connection between their speech habits and the reported incidents, but you be the judge... And woe betide any who set the cursed phrase into print!

You are forced to explain toolkit programming to X neophytes.

Bob Schiefler says, "You should know better than that!"

The Power Supply (and unknown boards) on your workstation mysteriously give up the ghost.

Ditto for the controller board for the disk on your new Sun.

Your hair falls out.

xmh refuses to come up in a useful size, no matter what you fiddle.

You inexplicitly lose both of your complete Ultrix Doc sets.

R2 won't build.

Bob Schiefler says "Type 'man X'".

Your nifty new X screen saver just won't go away.

The window you're working in loses input focus. Permanently.