Re: [dev] Siemens RTL Tiled Window Manager

From: Paul Onyschuk <>
Date: Mon, 19 Dec 2011 21:40:02 +0100

On Mon, 19 Dec 2011 18:03:29 +0100
Christoph Lohmann wrote:

> It was one of the early tiled window managers and has some ideas
> of dwm, but is something different. Just try it out.

Just to give some idea about time frame (mostly based on sparse
informations from discussion group):

- RTL was useful back in 1986, although it was based on Adrew Project.
- In 1987 porting to X11 began.
- First wider public release was made in 1988, RTL version 5.1 was
distrusted on X11R3 contrib tape.
- (Not sure about this) Later on RTL was available on MIT ftp in X11
contrib section. I found information about RTL version 5.2pl1. Hard to
say if it is true, because it seems that X11R3 contrib was wiped out
from MIT servers completely.

It is one of the first tiling window managers, and I would say first
for X11. Project is interesting thanks to availability of source code
and detailed documentation. Source code is licensed on permissive/copy
free terms [1]. So called advertising clause was used, so it is
incompatible with GPL.

Anyway it seems like it wasn't popular back then. I guess there are few
reasons for that. Tiling was used by Digital Research and Microsoft
back in the days, not because they wanted - it was direct result of
Apple lawsuit. Secondly it was pretty big program back then - people
behind RTL steeped into unknown water, and as research project they
ended up with huge number of options and ideas.

I can point out some features about RTL after some early usage:
- It is 100% mouse driven.
- Using maximal space is secondary goal, main principle was to not
overlap windows.
- It has some kind of grouping support using settings (need further
- Icons are used to represent "closed" windows.

Was is the point of digging out 20+ year old code? Tiling isn't new
idea, but evolved over the time. Watching video and making assumptions
is very different from playing with one of the tiling ancestors. It
also showed the state of X11 - old code isn't removed at all.

Received on Mon Dec 19 2011 - 21:40:02 CET

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