This is the original text which was eventually edited, translated and published in the August 1994 issue of iX Magazine, the German "Multiuser, Multitasking Magazine".

Xhibition is put on each year by Integrated Computer Solutions, Inc.

Xhibition 94

X11, Internet and NT Conference

San Jose, California, USA

Overall Impresssions

As usual, Xhibition was a good balance of introductory and advanced material. Distribution between the various talks, panels and tutorials was about average.

Overall, the conference was the smallest to date. This is probably due to several things:

Personally, I find the wealth of information and the peer communication that takes to place to be well worth the cost.

X Development

In general these talks and tutorials did well. Vania Joloboff's expert Motif 2.0 tutorial was especially thorough and helpful, as was Todd Brunhoff's introductory Imake tutorial. Doug Young's intermediate talk on C++ and Motif was another winner, as was the System Administration and X talk by McNutt and O'Neal (or am I just biased?)

No really startling news came out regarding CDE/COSE. Most people seem to have a "wait & see, if it works, fine" attitude. Had they arrived two years earlier, I think they would have been welcomed with more fanfare.

UNIX Unification

This conference was OK. No really startling news came out that wasn't available elsewhere.

NT Development

I couldn't find many people to talk about this.

Internet Conference

The internet sessions were well-attended, especially considering the late addition of this package to the show. Especially popular were Rob Raisch's talk on marketing via internet, and the panel session on creating information services on the internet, including WAIS, publishing, Rockwell's almost accidental leveraging of the World Wide Web, and NetPages (soon to be online!)


The floor show was also smaller this year. Prominently missing were Sun (again) and IBM. DEC had the largest vendor booth this year, with some very impressive things to show, such as an Alpha box running Ultrix, using a Kubota graphics card to show 3d faster than I've ever seen under X.

Trident has an awesome touch screen, which they were showing on HP's X terminals. The response is very good, and the screen doesn't seem to get dirty easily (a common problem with older screens). Trident can work with any vendor willing to work with the X Input Extensions.

Speaking of HP, their X terminals are fast. I wish I could get Frame to run that fast on my workstation (not an HP)! Their new flagship line includes a terminal which accepts scanners, lets you mount diskettes via NFS, and in general do nearly everything you migt ask of such a beast. They support SLIP and CSLIP, with PPP coming soon.

Tenon showed their Berkeley UNIX and X product (Mach 10) on a new Power Mac, and it's a screamer. I never cared that much for A/UX; Tenon has done it right, with a Berkeley feel, a mach kernel, and all the X you need.

Quadralay was showing their Global-Wide Help and Information System (GWHIS), based on NCSA Mosaic, which adds a whole new dimension to "help" in your applications, and UDT, a very nice, easy-to-use, "COSE-compliant", OO development tool. (Almost everyone was COSE-compliant this year - it's the hot buzzword among vendors.)

AVS showed off Express, their new tool for creating data visualization applications under X. I haven't seen the API, but the results are very nice.

NCD seems to really be behind Z-Mail, and may even be making it affordable for the rest of us.

O'Reilly, as always, had lots of books and giveaways, and mockups of their new Motif Tools and X User Tools books.

Dux showed some nice productivity software, but what raelly snagged my attention was a multi-player Sim City for UNIX and X! I had no idea there was such a thing. Unfortunately the floor closed before I expected it to, so I was unable to pick up a copy at the show price. A demo version is available from in vendor/dux/SimCity .

Lat year, everyone had an editor. This year, everyone wanted to get you on the information highway. Mosiac and its clones were probably the single mnost prevalent Windows app, with several products available for X as well. Other than Quadralay's value-added GWHIS, nothing really stood out for me.

Various vendors donated hardware for an Internet Showcase booth, featuring Mosaic access to online show docs and telnet to the world so attendees could handle email.


Scott Adams is High Cartoonist to a large segment of the engineering industry. His Tuesday talk was excellent, a high point of the show for many. Everyone who could got him to autograph one of his books (Shave the Whales was on sale at the conference), a tee shirt, or something else. His Ratbert drawings were especially popular with the ICS crew.

On Wednesday, "one of the most sought-after speakers in the world", Alvin Toffler, put modern technology (especially computers) in its place. Spanning 4,000 years of technologigacal development, he went on to show where we can go in the future. This was a very good talk, by all accounts.

I was espcially curious about Dr. Timothy Leary, the ex-Harvard psychologist. He was a god to the godless acid freaks of the 60s, but to the establishment he was part of the problem. I had always assumed he was just a refugee from a South Georgia fruitcake factory.

Alas, I was right. Dr. Leary, waving his lavendar gloves, spent very little of his time really addressing technology's impact on us (and the best part of that was about the era of radio). A well-done, 60s-esque psychedelic light & sound show was used as a bully pulpit to attempt to brainwash the audience with Leary's worldview, despite his promise not to do that. He seemed very intent on vilifying the establishment, especially anything even vaguely like a non-eastern religion, and his unnecessary nastiness managed to offend a great number of people. A number of people suggested that he never recovered from his earlier acid trips. So much for enhancing our brains with technology!

At the close of the show, a life-size, inflatable Dilbert was raffled off. The lucky winner, apparently drunk with excitement, sold the prize to a bystander for a paltry $35US.

Last updated: 10 July 1996

Copyright 1994 Miles O'Neal, Austin, TX. All rights reserved.

Miles O'Neal <> [remove the "XYZZY." to make things work!] c/o RNN / 1705 Oak Forest Dr / Round Rock, TX / 78681-1514