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X Window installation tip UNIX
I would have never really pushed to get this to work, but I needed to have xwindow working for a class that I am taking... After all the work I put in I figured I would give a few pointers that took many hours to figure out (mostly because of my unix ignorance). First of all download the files from xfree86 download. I put all the files into a folder called xfree86 and stashed it onto my harddrive. I then fired up the terminal and got to the xfree86 directory. Next I entered
sudo perl
I tried it the first 2 times with out sudo and it did not work very well. After this runs go to and download the newer XDarwin. This runs rootless (this means that OS X is still visible in the back ground). It takes a little while for the whole thing to load, but it seems to work. Granted I do not know much about this whole thing... but it may be nice to know if you are like me, that using Sudo makes the install actually work!
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XDarwin + Gnome?
Authored by: Chas on Aug 30, '01 06:18:33AM

Thanks for the tip, it was the first completely straightforward instruction on installing XWindows that I've seen. But has anyone gotten Gnome or any other relatively modern window manager to install on top of this XFree886/XDarwin configuration? The window manager that comes with XFree86 looks like twm, it's pretty spartan. I installed Fink successfully, I tried to use Fink to install Gnome, it dies when it tries to install freetype or giflib. I'm stumped.

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XDarwin + Gnome?
Authored by: goEphs on Aug 31, '01 10:36:22AM

You can get the most excellent WindowMaker, which is an implementation
of NextStep, Gimp, and other X applications from:
accompanied with good installation instructions.
Best of Luck with XDarwin!

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try rebuild
Authored by: putamare on Sep 10, '01 11:26:36AM

I was having some trouble with a few packages like readline, but when I tried 'fink rebuild readline' it worked.

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Authored by: Roboman on Sep 24, '01 04:57:30AM

As an alternative I installed Xtools and even licensed it . I would like to get gimp and Nedit working . I have some experience on an Sgi running Irix. Some observations:
The client path seems to based on the fact that after installation all clients are placed in /usr/X11R6/bin/ , any new ones you have should then go here. I couldnt get absolute paths to work.
Installed mc but get "segmentation error" when i try to start it. Despite downloading and running the pkg as root. I am getting a bit suspicious of packages. I installed Apache/Php andMySQL all from the source and ignored pkg's they all worked fine.
Mouse buttons on Xtools do not work.
couldnt compile Nedit. Shame its a nice editor. I didnt percevere as much with the installation though so , when I get more time.....

if anyone has any tips on uninstalling stuff that would be usefull.
or any good faq's on XWindows


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Authored by: adrianu on Oct 07, '01 06:12:07AM

The NEdit homepage has a link to a Makefile that allows compilation of nedit for xtools.

Anoyone that wants it for use with XFree86/XDarwin, I have a link to precompiled binaries on the following page (as well as what may be some useful info to help with troubleshooting XDarwin problems):

Hope that helps!

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Authored by: owain_vaughan on Aug 30, '01 06:30:52AM is (as its name suggests) a bourne-shell script.
The first line contains the '#!/bin/sh' shebang, so the command you really meant was:
sudo (or sudo sh if you want to be sure you're running it through the correct interpreter).

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Authored by: Chas on Aug 30, '01 07:10:32AM

well that's really odd, I did it like this:

su [password]

and it worked OK, it yielded a working XWindows config. I kinda wondered why this was a Perl script. Easy answer: it isn't. But no harm done.

I'm still stumped on the window manager problem. Looks like I'll have to build Gnome one piece at a time from source, or else settle for a prebuilt package of fvwm2.

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Authored by: raster on Sep 05, '01 12:27:30PM

The reason it worked when running it with perl is bacause perl does 'the right thing' and looks at the first line to determine how the file should be processed. perl took care of handing off the task to the shell... that's perl for ya!

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re Perl?
Authored by: eagle_eyes on Aug 31, '01 02:38:47AM

I am very new in the unix world and was trying anything to get the stupid thing to work :) I did not know what .sh ment...

I started to look at KDE2 (a friend suggested it) but it looks like it may be a bear to get working... long weekend coming, maybe I will try then!

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Can't get XDarwin to work
Authored by: macubergeek on Sep 03, '01 06:10:31PM

Xfree86Darwin installed fine.
When I download and lauch XDarwin I get an applications folder where Xdarwin is and a /usr/XllR6 folder....where does that stuff go?
I launch XDarwin and it asks me if I want to go full screen I say yes, screen goes black then typical xwindows grey screen comes up with X cursor then XDarwin craps out and dies.

During the install I got this warning
You appear to have a termcap file: /usr/share/misc/termcap
This should be edited manually to replace the xterm entries
with those in /usr/X11R6/lib/X11/etc/xterm.termcap

So in response to this I backed up /usr/share/misc/termcap to /usr/share/misc/termcap.bak and replaced it with /usr/X11R6/lib/X11/etc/xterm.termcap

Where does the /usr crap I downloaded with XDarwin go? in the respective main directories?
How come I'm the only one who can't get this to work?


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RE: Can't get XDarwin to work
Authored by: eagle_eyes on Sep 05, '01 01:55:40AM

Don't feel bad it took me many hours of fiddling to get it working. Make sure that when you ran the install script for Xfree86 you were in sudo mode (see the first post).

The newer xDarwin I just put in an application folder in my user directory, because since I installed the older xDarwin as root it would not let me replace it. Then just run it from there and it should work. Sometimes it does crap out on load, just try again.

If nothing else try just running the older xDarwin (the one in the applications folder) that should also work and since there does not seem to be any great improvment (other then rootless) between the two. Just keep in mind that there will be two xDarwins and make sure you are loading the one that you really want.

Ignore the stuff about the xterm, I don't know what it means, but it does not seem to do anything.

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Me neither !
Authored by: yorran on Oct 09, '01 11:04:29AM

You're not the only one : I followed the instructions step by step on my 10.1, and XDarwin simply crashes short after I launch it.

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Great tip on XDarwin
Authored by: swessels on Sep 06, '01 04:54:37PM

I agree with other comments here.

This actually worked for me too. Although it's still not obvious enough. And then to top it off the FTP site was heavily loaded and it was hours before I could get access to the files.

So now I finally have X running on X. Very nice. I connect to Unix (Sun/Solaris and SGI/Irix) boxes at the office all the time. Now I should be able to run X-Windows applications on my Mac too.
The next puzzle to solve is how to get that ugly console window on the left side of the display to be a lot smaller and work like an XTerm. I'm assuming that's a console window. It's a bvit awkward but then I'd be careful not to look a gift-horse in the mouth. As the saying goes.

Does anyone know how to make a telnet session on a remote box talk back to XDarwin? I got a connection refused when I tried it by launching "nedit" from the remote session.

- Steve

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Great tip on XDarwin
Authored by: computercowboy on Oct 07, '01 10:36:32AM
xhost +ip address of remote system should do it for you.

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Great tip on XDarwin
Authored by: bozhe_moy on Oct 20, '01 12:09:00AM

Thanks for the tip. xhost command added the remote server succesfully but when trying
to launch nedit it returns this message. I am a newbie and probably doing something wrong. Please help.

[andre@top,5,~]$ nedit &
[1] 31926
NEdit: Can't open display
[1] Done nedit

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Great tip on XDarwin
Authored by: bozhe_moy on Oct 20, '01 03:59:25AM

I found the solution that actually works in the forum

ssh -X -l (user-name) (where-you want to connect; i.e.

(-l stands for -"letter El not a vertical stick)

You may get a message and if you don't understand say yes and wait for paswrd prompt.
When you get in:


xterm &
(in that particular window , not the others that you might have open already on you desktop)
this will send a xterm to you machine

Then type

nedit &

it warks in my case

It was not my solution and I can't give a person a proper credit since he/she shows as Anonymous in that forum. Check forums on on "darwin"

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Problems Launching XDarwin
Authored by: brainyboy7 on Oct 15, '01 05:33:35PM

Hi. I'm a total Unix newbie. I just installed XFree86 using Fink and am anxious to start playing with window managers. I can start the XDarwin environment by launching the Mac OS X XDarwin application. Everything works fine. When I try to launch XDarwin from the Terminal, however, it reports a nonspecific error with xinit and cannot continue. (This is using the command "startx -- -quartz"). When I login as console and type "startx", XDarwin starts, gets to "Display Method: IOKit", and freezes. I'm sure I'm making some ridiculous newbie error and that this has been explained 1000 times, but all your help is really appreciated. Thanks a lot,

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Problems Launching XDarwin
Authored by: brainyboy7 on Oct 15, '01 06:44:05PM

While I'm at it... 2 more things... When using XDarwin (launched from Mac OS X app), three different terminal windows appear on the screen... One runs the entire length of the left-hand side, one occupies about 60 percent of the right, and the third takes up the bottom 40 percent on the right. Only the left window seems to be active, and the text extends beyond the bottom of my screen. It is virtually unusable because I can't see what's going on below the bottom of the screen. How can I adjust these dimensions/margins? Also, an unrelated question: when I login as >console, it tells me I have 10 mail messages. These are messages returned to me when I tried to use my system as an SMTP server (without success). How can I delete them? Thanks a lot,

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Problems Launching XDarwin
Authored by: adrianu on Oct 16, '01 05:53:51PM

Here's a couple of web pages that might help.

For info about downloading and installing XFree86 & XDarwin, as well as links to some very helpful forums devoted to these topics:

For some troubleshooting tips I've put put together regarding problems with XDarwin:

Hope that helps!


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Problems Launching XDarwin
Authored by: brainyboy7 on Oct 16, '01 07:59:36PM

Thank you so much!!! I tried all the Orobus troubleshooting tips, and one of them certainly worked! It's great! I love it! Thanks again! Sorry for being a little overly excited... I've been stewing about this a long time...)

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I Spoke In Haste
Authored by: brainyboy7 on Oct 16, '01 08:43:18PM

Well, apparently I spoke too soon. XDarwin now launches properly in the Quartz environment, but it still will not launch when logged in as console. It gets to the Display Method: IOKit stage and feezes, as before. Any ideas on this specifically? It seems odd to me that XDarwin should work so perfectly in conjunction with OS X, but not at all when running in the pure Darwin environment. Also, could you briefly tell me how to scroll up in an XDarwin terminal window with no scroll bars? The up arrow cycles through previous commands, and no other combination of keys I've tried seems to work. Thanks a lot,

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I Spoke In Haste
Authored by: adrianu on Oct 17, '01 05:34:25AM

Hmmm... that is odd! I suggest you look for any error messages in the output and post to one of the forums I link to on the "Introduction to X11 on OSX" page (probably the XDarwin one is worth starting with).

With regard to the terminals, I presume you are talking about 'xterm' -this is a standard terminal program that comes with X11. It is very basic.

Unfortunately, X11 has a history which is based upon three mouse buttons. To scroll an xterm you have to click in the scroll bar with the left button for down, the right button for up, and the middle button allows you to drag to a specific place.

OK, I know what you're thinking... you have only one button...

Well, XDarwin emulates middle and right clicks using modifier keys: option-click and command-click.
Try it and see...

P.S. one thing to beware of: in X11 the middle button is often used to paste. This rather silly choice does tend to make it somewhat too easy to paste loads of junk you've just selected into an xterm, or xedit, or just about anything... so beware!


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I Spoke In Haste
Authored by: adrianu on Oct 18, '01 09:53:18AM

Are you using OS X 10.1...?

If you head over to the XonX forum at Sourceforge, you might find a relevant thread:

It appears that IOKit has changed from 10.0.x to 10.1, and an incompatibility has been introduced which causes certain builds of XDarwin to fail...



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Fink Rocks!
Authored by: serversurfer on Oct 17, '01 07:56:13PM
You guys should check out the Fink package manager.
It automates the installation of lots of unix software, including XFree86 (418 packages, right this minute). I have been using it for several months now, and I have only had two or three packages fail to compile (and they were all from the unstable tree).

P.S. If you are Finking XFree86 on 10.1, you will get a keyboard error. (you can only tell if you launch from the Terminal). The solution for this can be found in the FinkFAQ

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Fink Rocks!
Authored by: bozhe_moy on Oct 19, '01 11:54:41PM

Thanks about the keaboard tip. X darwin starts up fine now but it complains about some nonexisting file
.Xauthority in my local use directory. I installed X window using Fink from my local directory
not as root. Does it have anything to do with it? Or shoudl I just create an empty .Xauthority text file to make this error disappear?
What is that second error about locate? Anyone can help me out?
Below is what I get when I start XDarwin.

XFree86 Version / X Window System
(protocol Version 11, revision 0, vendor release 6510)
Release Date: xx June 2001
If the server is older than 6-12 months, or if your hardware is
newer than the above date, look for a newer version before
reporting problems. (See http://www.XFree86.Org/FAQ)
Operating System: Darwin
Display mode: Rootless Quartz
cat: /Users/tkachuk/.Xauthority: No such file or directory
cat: /Users/tkachuk/.Xauthority: No such file or directory
cat: /Users/tkachuk/.Xauthority: No such file or directory
cat: /Users/tkachuk/.Xauthority: No such file or directory
cat: /Users/tkachuk/.Xauthority: No such file or directory
Warning: locale not supported by C library, locale unchanged
Warning: locale not supported by C library, locale unchanged
cat: /Users/tkachuk/.Xauthority: No such file or directory
Warning: locale not supported by C library, locale unchanged

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