Jim Gettys

Jim Gettys (born 15 October 1953) is an American computer programmer. He was involved in multiple computer related projects.

Jim Gettys1
Jim Gettys at linux.conf.au, January 2006.


Gettys worked at DEC's Cambridge Research Laboratory.

Until January 2009,[1] he was the Vice President of Software at the One Laptop per Child project,[2] working on the software for the OLPC XO-1.[3]

From 2009 through 2014, he worked at Alcatel-Lucent Bell Labs.

Since 2010 Gettys has been a core member of the group investigating Bufferbloat and the effect it has on the performance of the Internet.[4]

He is one of the original developers of the X Window System at MIT and worked on it again with X.Org, where he served on the board of directors.

He served on the GNOME foundation board of directors.

He worked at the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)[5] and was the editor of the HTTP/1.1 specification in the Internet Engineering Task Force through draft standard.

Gettys helped establish the handhelds.org community, from which the development of Linux on handheld devices can be traced.

One of his main goals at OLPC was to review and overhaul much of standard Linux software, in order to make it run faster and consume less memory and power. In this context, he has pointed out a common fallacy among programmers today: that storing computed values in memory is preferable to recomputing those values later. This, he claims, is often false on current hardware, given fast CPUs and the long time it takes to recover from a potential cache miss.

He holds a BSc degree from MIT in Earth and Planetary Sciences (course 12 — EAPS).[6]


He won the 1997 Internet Plumber of the Year award on behalf of the group who worked on HTTP/1.1.

Gettys is one of the keepers of the Flame (USENIX's 1999 Lifetime Achievement Award) on behalf of The X Window System Community at Large.


  1. ^ Gettys, Jim. "So long, and thanks for all the fish". Retrieved 30 August 2017.
  2. ^ Interview about the One Laptops Per Child project, by LWN.net (June 2006): part I, part II.
  3. ^ "User:Jg". Retrieved 1 February 2012.
  4. ^ Gettys, Jim (May–June 2011), Bufferbloat: Dark Buffers in the Internet, IEEE Internet Computing, 15 (3), IEEE, pp. 95–96, doi:10.1109/MIC.2011.56, retrieved 2012-02-20
  5. ^ Nielsen, Henrik Frystyk; Gettys, Jim; Baird-Smith, Anselm; Prud'hommeaux, Eric Wium; Lie, Håkon; Lilley, Chris (24 June 1997). "Network Performance Effects of HTTP/1.1, CSS1, and PNG". World Wide Web Consortium. Retrieved 14 January 2010.
  6. ^ "HP Labs inventor profile: Jim Gettys". Archived from the original on August 6, 2007. Retrieved 2005-08-08.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)

External links


Bufferbloat is a cause of high latency in packet-switched networks caused by excess buffering of packets. Bufferbloat can also cause packet delay variation (also known as jitter), as well as reduce the overall network throughput. When a router or switch is configured to use excessively large buffers, even very high-speed networks can become practically unusable for many interactive applications like voice over IP (VoIP), online gaming, and even ordinary web surfing.

Some communications equipment manufacturers designed unnecessarily large buffers into some of their network products. In such equipment, bufferbloat occurs when a network link becomes congested, causing packets to become queued for long periods in these oversized buffers. In a first-in first-out queuing system, overly large buffers result in longer queues and higher latency, and do not improve network throughput.

The bufferbloat phenomenon was initially described as far back as in 1985. It gained more widespread attention starting in 2009.

Charles Francis Murphy

Charles Francis "Silent Charlie" Murphy (June 20, 1858 – April 25, 1924), also known as Boss Murphy, was an American political figure, and longest serving Head of New York City's Tammany Hall from 1902–1924. Murphy was responsible for transforming Tammany Hall's image from one of corruption to respectability, as well as extending Tammany Hall's political influence to the national level. Known as a reticent politician and a first rate political chess master, Murphy would be responsible for the election of three mayors of New York City, three governors of New York State, and two U.S. Senators, even though he was never listed as a sachem of Tammany Hall.

Citizen Kane

Citizen Kane is a 1941 American mystery drama film by Orson Welles, its producer, co-screenwriter, director and star. The picture was Welles's first feature film. Nominated for Academy Awards in nine categories, it won an Academy Award for Best Writing (Original Screenplay) by Herman J. Mankiewicz and Welles. Considered by many critics, filmmakers, and fans to be the greatest film ever made, Citizen Kane was voted as such in five consecutive British Film Institute Sight & Sound polls of critics, and it topped the American Film Institute's 100 Years ... 100 Movies list in 1998, as well as its 2007 update. Citizen Kane is particularly praised for Gregg Toland's cinematography, Robert Wise's editing, its music, and its narrative structure, all of which have been considered innovative and precedent-setting.

The quasi-biographical film examines the life and legacy of Charles Foster Kane, played by Welles, a character based in part upon the American newspaper magnates William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer, Chicago tycoons Samuel Insull and Harold McCormick, and aspects of the screenwriters' own lives. Upon its release, Hearst prohibited mention of the film in any of his newspapers. Kane's career in the publishing world is born of idealistic social service, but gradually evolves into a ruthless pursuit of power. Narrated principally through flashbacks, the story is told through the research of a newsreel reporter seeking to solve the mystery of the newspaper magnate's dying word: "Rosebud".

After the Broadway successes of Welles's Mercury Theatre and the controversial 1938 radio broadcast "The War of the Worlds" on The Mercury Theatre on the Air, Welles was courted by Hollywood. He signed a contract with RKO Pictures in 1939. Unusually for an untried director, he was given the freedom to develop his own story, to use his own cast and crew, and to have final cut privilege. Following two abortive attempts to get a project off the ground, he wrote the screenplay for Citizen Kane, collaborating on the effort with Herman Mankiewicz. Principal photography took place in 1940 and the film received its American release in 1941.

While a critical success, Citizen Kane failed to recoup its costs at the box office. The film faded from view after its release, but was subsequently returned to the public's attention when it was praised by such French critics as André Bazin and given an American revival in 1956. The film was released on Blu-ray on September 13, 2011, for a special 70th anniversary edition.

Citizen Kane trailer

The Citizen Kane trailer was a four-minute, self-contained, "making of" promotional featurette by Orson Welles and the Mercury Theatre, released in 1940 to promote the film Citizen Kane. Unlike other standard theatrical trailers of the era, it did not feature a single second of footage of the actual film itself, but was a wholly original pseudo-documentary piece. It is considered by numerous film scholars such as Simon Callow, Joseph McBride and Jonathan Rosenbaum to be a standalone short film, rather than a conventional "trailer", and to represent an important stage in the development of Welles's directorial style.

David Dawes

David Dawes (born 3 December 1964), is one of the founders of the XFree86 project. He was one of four people who started it in 1992 (together with David Wexelblat, Glenn Lai, and Jim Tsillas), and became the project president in 1994.

The XFree86 Project used the MIT/X11 license until 2004, when Dawes, as the XFree86 president, decided to license XFree86 4.4 under the newly devised XFree86 License 1.1. The new license includes a "credit clause" similar to the old BSD License advertising clause. The Free Software Foundation determined that the new license was incompatible with the version 2 of GNU GPL. The move was protested by free software leaders such as Richard Stallman and Theo de Raadt.

While Dawes explained this as an attempt to make sure the XFree86 developers get their due credit (apparently in response to the Xouvert fork), the decision was contested in the XFree86 community, notably by Jim Gettys and Keith Packard, and the dissenters subsequently forked the project into the X.Org Server. The fork superseded XFree86, as other projects found the new license unacceptable.Dawes still heads the XFree86 Project and maintains XFree86 without corporate sponsorships; however, the last release of the software was in 2008. Dawes also runs his own small private company called X-Oz Technologies, which provides project management and consulting services.

GNOME Foundation

The GNOME Foundation is a non-profit organization based in Orinda, California, United States, coordinating the efforts in the GNOME project.

GNU/Linux naming controversy

The GNU/Linux naming controversy is a dispute between members of the free software community and open-source software community over whether to refer to computer operating systems that use a combination of GNU software and the Linux kernel as "GNU/Linux" or "Linux".Proponents of the term Linux argue that it is far more commonly used by the public and media, and that it serves as a generic term for systems that combine that kernel with software from multiple other sources.Proponents of the term GNU/Linux note that GNU alone would be just as good a name for GNU variants which combine the GNU operating system software with software from other sources. GNU/Linux is a term promoted by the Free Software Foundation (FSF) and its founder Richard Stallman. Proponents call for the correction of the more extended term, on the grounds that it doesn't give credit to the major contributor and the associated free software philosophy. GNU is a longstanding project begun in 1984 to develop a free operating system. It is argued that when the Linux kernel was independently created in 1991, it merely provided a substantial missing piece. Several distributions employ the FSF-endorsed name, such as Debian, Trisquel and Parabola GNU/Linux-libre.


Gettys is an anglicised Irish-language surname, a variant of Getty. Notable people with the surname include:

Jim Gettys, American computer programmer

Reid Gettys, American basketball player and lawyer

Samuel Gettys (fl. 1780s), American settler and tavern owner, founder of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania

Thomas S. Gettys (1912–2003), American politician, U.S. Representative from South Carolina


The OLPC XO, previously known as the $100 Laptop, Children's Machine, and 2B1, is an inexpensive laptop computer intended to be distributed to children in developing countries around the world, to provide them with access to knowledge, and opportunities to "explore, experiment and express themselves" (constructionist learning). The XO was developed by Nicholas Negroponte, a co-founder of MIT's Media Lab, and designed by Yves Behar's Fuseproject company. The laptop is manufactured by Quanta Computer and developed by One Laptop per Child (OLPC), a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization.

The subnotebooks are designed for sale to government-education systems which then give each primary school child their own laptop. Pricing was set to start at $188 in 2006, with a stated goal to reach the $100 mark in 2008 and the 50-dollar mark by 2010. When offered for sale in the Give One Get One campaigns of Q4 2006 and Q4 2007, the laptop was sold at $199.The rugged, low-power computers used flash memory instead of a hard drive, and came with an operating system derived from Fedora Linux as their pre-installed operating system with the Sugar GUI. Mobile ad hoc networking via 802.11s Wi-Fi mesh networking, to allow many machines to share Internet access as long as at least one of them could connect to an access point, was initially announced, but quickly abandoned after proving unreliable.The latest version of the OLPC XO is the XO-4 Touch.

Outline of free software

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to free software and the free software movement:

Free software – software which can be run, studied, examined, modified, and redistributed freely (without any cost). This type of software, which was given its name in 1983, has also come to be known as "open-source software", "software libre", "FOSS", and "FLOSS". The term "Free" refers to it being unfettered, rather than being free of charge.

Sources for Citizen Kane

The sources for Citizen Kane, the 1941 American motion picture that marked the feature film debut of Orson Welles, have been the subject of speculation and controversy since the project's inception. With a story spanning 60 years, the quasi-biographical film examines the life and legacy of Charles Foster Kane, played by Welles, a fictional character based in part upon the American newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst and Chicago tycoons Samuel Insull and Harold McCormick. A rich incorporation of the experiences and knowledge of its authors, the film earned an Academy Award for Best Writing (Original Screenplay) for Herman J. Mankiewicz and Welles.

The Art of Unix Programming

The Art of Unix Programming by Eric S. Raymond is a book about the history and culture of Unix programming from its earliest days in 1969 to 2003 when it was published, covering both genetic derivations such as BSD and conceptual ones such as Linux.

The author utilizes a comparative approach to explaining Unix by contrasting it to other operating systems including desktop-oriented ones such as Microsoft Windows and the classic Mac OS to ones with research roots such as EROS and Plan 9 from Bell Labs.

The book was published by Addison-Wesley, September 17, 2003, ISBN 0-13-142901-9 and is also available online, under a Creative Commons license with additional clauses.

X11 color names

In computing, on the X Window System, X11 color names are represented in a simple text file, which maps certain strings to RGB color values. It was traditionally shipped with every X11 installation, hence the name, and is usually located in /lib/X11/rgb.txt. The web colors list is descended from it but differs for certain color names.Color names are not standardized by Xlib or the X11 protocol. The list does not show continuity either in selected color values or in color names, and some color triplets have multiple names. Despite this, graphic designers and others got used to them, making it practically impossible to introduce a different list. In earlier releases of X11 (prior to the introduction of Xcms), server implementors were encouraged to modify the RGB values in the reference color database to account for gamma correction.As of X.Org Release 7.4 rgb.txt is no longer included in the roll up release, and the list is built directly into the server. The optional module xorg/app/rgb contains the stand-alone rgb.txt file.

The list first shipped with X10 release 3 (X10R3) on 7 June 1986, having been checked into RCS by Jim Gettys in 1985. The same list was in X11R1 on 18 September 1987. Approximately the full list as is available today shipped with X11R4 on 29 January 1989, with substantial additions by Paul Ravelling (who added colors based on Sinclair Paints samples), John C. Thomas (who added colors based on a set of 72 Crayola crayons he had on hand) and Jim Fulton (who reconciled contributions to produce the X11R4 list). The project was running DEC VT240 terminals at the time, so would have worked to that device.In some applications multipart names are written with spaces, in others joined together, often in camel case. They are usually matched insensitive of case and the X Server source code contains spaced aliases for most entries; this article uses spaces and uppercase initials except where variants with spaces are not specified in the actual code.

X Athena Widgets

X Athena Widgets or Xaw is a GUI widget library for the X Window System. Developed as part of Project Athena, Xaw was written under the auspices of the MIT X Consortium as a sample widget set built on X Toolkit Intrinsics (Xt); Xt and Xaw are collectively known as the X Toolkit. Xaw has been largely superseded by more sophisticated toolkits like Motif, GTK+, and Qt but it is still maintained (by the X.Org Foundation) and is available as part of most X Window System installations. The library, like other core parts of X, is licensed under the MIT License.

In a talk for USENIX, X pioneer Jim Gettys remarked that although Athena widgets were "ugly", they were often used in the period of X history that he describes as the "GUI wars", as a safe alternative to the competing Motif and Open Look toolkits. Today Xt is often used as a base toolkit if none of the other options are available.

X Image Extension

X Image Extension, or XIE was an extension to the X Window System to enhance its graphics capability. It was intended to provide a powerful mechanism for the transfer and display of virtually any image on any X-capable hardware. It was first released with X11R6 in 1994. It is no longer included in the X11 reference distribution, having been removed with X11R6.7 in 2004.

XIE never gained significant usage — according to Jim Gettys, "it failed due to excessive complexity and lack of a good implementation."While not intended for use as a general purpose image-processing engine, XIE did provide a set of image rendition and enhancement primitives that could be combined into arbitrarily complex expressions. XIE also provided import and export facilities for moving images between client and server, and for accessing images as resources. The client side programming library, XIElib, was documented in the Prentice Hall book Developing Imaging Applications with XIElib by Syd Logan (ISBN 0-13-442914-1). In addition to the server and client library, a performance and test tool, xieperf, was included in X11R6. This client was also written by Syd Logan.

XIE was developed under contract to the X Consortium by a San Diego, CA company (no longer extant) called AGE Logic. Principal team members include Larry Hare, Bob Shelley, Dr. Dean Verheiden, Dr. Ben Fahey, Dr. Gary Rogers, and Syd Logan.

For all practical purposes, the Image Extension is obsolete. Adequate image performance is instead gained through use of the ubiquitous MIT-SHM extension, which allows transfer of large images between the client and server on the same machine (the common use-case) via shared memory.

X Window System

The X Window System (X11, or simply X) is a windowing system for bitmap displays, common on Unix-like operating systems.

X provides the basic framework for a GUI environment: drawing and moving windows on the display device and interacting with a mouse and keyboard. X does not mandate the user interface – this is handled by individual programs. As such, the visual styling of X-based environments varies greatly; different programs may present radically different interfaces.

X originated at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1984. The X protocol has been version 11 (hence "X11") since September 1987. The X.Org Foundation leads the X project, with the current reference implementation, X.Org Server, available as free and open source software under the MIT License and similar permissive licenses.

X Window System core protocol

The X Window System core protocol is the base protocol of the X Window System, which is a networked windowing system for bitmap displays used to build graphical user interfaces on Unix, Unix-like, and other operating systems. The X Window System is based on a client–server model: a single server controls the input/output hardware, such as the screen, the keyboard, and the mouse; all application programs act as clients, interacting with the user and with the other clients via the server. This interaction is regulated by the X Window System core protocol. Other protocols related to the X Window System exist, both built at the top of the X Window System core protocol or as separate protocols.

In the X Window System core protocol, only four kinds of packets are sent, asynchronously, over the network: requests, replies, events, and errors. Requests are sent by a client to the server to ask it to perform some operation (for example, create a new window) and to send back data it holds. Replies are sent by the server to provide such data. Events are sent by the server to notify clients of user activity or other occurrences they are interested in. Errors are packet sent by the server to notify a client of errors occurred during processing of its requests. Requests may generate replies, events, and errors; other than this, the protocol does not mandate over a specific order in which packets are sent over the network. Some extensions to the core protocol exist, each one having its own requests, replies, events, and errors.

X originated at MIT in 1984 (its current release X11 appeared in September 1987). Its designers Bob Scheifler and Jim Gettys set as an early principle that its core protocol was to "create mechanism, not policy". As a result, the core protocol does not specify the interaction between clients and between a client and the user. These interactions are the subject of separate specifications, such as the ICCCM and the freedesktop.org specifications, and are typically enforced automatically by using a given widget set.


xrdb (X resource database manager) is a program used for accessing the X resources of a server. Its main use is to read a set of resources from a file and store them in the server at startup.

This program can access the resources in both read and write mode. In particular, it can read the resources stored in the server and can store a set of resources on the server, replacing or adding to the previous ones. It can operate either on the general display resources or on the ones specific to a screen. The main use of xrdb is however to load the resources when the X display server is started. For example, the instruction xrdb -load $HOME/.Xresources can be placed in scripts that are executed when the server is started to read the user preferences from the file .Xresources in his home directory.

The original version of xrdb was written by Jim Gettys and later rewritten by Bob Scheifler and Phil Karlton.


In computing, xterm is the standard terminal emulator for the X Window System. A user can have many different invocations of xterm running at once on the same display, each of which provides independent input/output for the process running in it (normally the process is a Unix shell).Xterm originated prior to the X Window System. It was originally written as a stand-alone terminal emulator for the VAXStation 100 (VS100) by Mark Vandevoorde, a student of Jim Gettys, in the summer of 1984, when work on X started. It rapidly became clear that it would be more useful as part of X than as a standalone program, so it was retargeted to X. As Gettys tells the story, "part of why xterm's internals are so horrifying is that it was originally intended that a single process be able to drive multiple VS100 displays."After many years as part of the X reference implementation, around 1996 the main line of development then shifted to XFree86 (which itself forked from X11R6.3), and it is now maintained by Thomas Dickey.

Many xterm variants are also available. Most terminal emulators for X started as variations on xterm.

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