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X11 for OS X directly from Apple UNIX
I've received quite a few emails on this, as well as a few story submissions. Although Apple introduced 11 (if I counted right) new products yesterday, they didn't mention a word about this one. They released a beta of X11 for OS X, based on the popular XFree86 open source project.

There are many hints here explaining X11, X Windows, and XFree86, so I won't repeat too many details ... but basically, X11 for OS X opens up the world of GUI Unix software to OS X. Apple's implementation includes full Quartz compatability, and a nice Aqua wrapper around each window, allowing it to be minimized or docked, for example. The windows are also fully accelerated.

I downloaded and tested it yesterday with AbiWord, and it worked amazingly well. It truly is a seamless X11 environment (although you can still choose to use your own window manager if you prefer).

As an off-topic aside, thanks for those of you who stopped by yesterday at the show to say hello. It was nice putting some faces to the names. Hopefully my talk wasn't too boring!

I've got a few minutes this morning, and I'll try to post a few of the hints on Safari, but most of them will have to wait for either tonight or tomorrow morning...
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X11 for OS X directly from Apple | 24 comments | Create New Account
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When was it released
Authored by: kreesurgeon on Jan 08, '03 10:07:13AM

Looking at the source code on the apple site, I saw this "CONTENT="Fri, 26 Mar 1999 23:59:59 GMT" also there is no mention of the latest products in the meta tag i.e. Xserve etc. So has this been out for ages and they didn't tell anyone?

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When was it released
Authored by: Glanz on Jan 08, '03 10:26:11AM

You're referring to the kosher X11 from to which Apple always has a link available. Apple's new X11 is the original modified by Apple to use the Quartz-wm and write default paths from the get-go. is the link to Apple's home-spun modification.

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When was it released
Authored by: Lizard_King on Jan 08, '03 10:28:17AM

Uhhh.... I think it would be safe to assume that the web devs at Apple are reusing some html and not that they came out with this technology before the release of OS X (chicken before the egg syndrome). If you take a look at the Apple home page, you'll find a similar meta-tag: "CONTENT="Fri, 26 Mar 1999 23:59:59 GMT"

Don't read too much into it.

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When was it released
Authored by: Pius III. on Jan 08, '03 11:08:31AM

Well, if you look in, it says

XFree86 Version 4.2.1 / X Window System
(protocol Version 11, revision 0, vendor release 6600)
Release Date: 3 September 2002

BTW, if you are german and want your normal keyboard layout, you can simply do a
"sudo cp /System/Library/Keyboards/Deutsch.keymapping /System/Library/Keyboards/USA.keymapping".

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German Keyboard
Authored by: sms on Jan 08, '03 11:55:03AM

Thanks - was looking for that - should be an extra hint IMHO!!!



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International Keymappings
Authored by: iv on Jan 08, '03 02:40:35PM

I tried this with the Finnish key mapping (labeled Svenska.keymapping :-), and it caused more problems than solved - I could not type any option-cued characters, which are often needed with X11.

I noticed, that X11 says "Quitting XDarwin..." when it exits, so I tried to use defaults-entry copied from XDarwin plist to set the keyboard, but with no luck :-(.

So, if anyone can think of a better way to set international keys, please post!

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International Keymappings
Authored by: midan23 on Jan 09, '03 07:59:49AM

You can try xmodmap ...

Use "xmodmap -pke > .xModmap" in your home-dir
(works only after starting X11)

You can the edit the file and adjust all to your needs ...

To use it, put something like "xmodmap .xmodmap" in your xinitrc.

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Authored by: lebowski on Jan 08, '03 11:39:28AM

For those of you without M$ Office v.X, or if have it but want to get rid of it, you'll be pleased to know that with this release by apple you can run on OS X with ease!

Unfortunately an OS X native version is a long way off still, but this will do fie until then. It's no slow at all - easly as fast as M$ Office on my iMac (and u don't have to switch between apps to open .doc/.xls/.ppt files, all of which open perfectly in OO!!).


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Authored by: uisdean on Jan 08, '03 09:48:23PM

That's intereesting that you can get OO to run. I couldn't. I'm getting error's like:

salogl.cxx/GetOGLFnc(): Could not load symbol glFlush
dyld: /Applications/OpenOffice.org1.0.1/program/soffice.bin Undefined symbols:
OpenGL undefined reference to _gll_noop expected to be defined in /usr/X11R6/lib/libGL.dylib
OpenGL undefined reference to _gll_pkey expected to be defined in /usr/X11R6/lib/libGL.dylib
Trace/BPT trap

I have no clue what these might mean. I'm using the script that was given at the end of the installation process to run OO.

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Authored by: quentinsf on Jan 09, '03 04:17:32AM
If X is already running, you can start OpenOffice with something like:
/Applications/OpenOffice.org1.0.1/program/soffice (That's what I put in the X Applications menu) I suspect the script may not be your problem, though...

[ Reply to This | # ] works from applications menu
Authored by: uisdean on Jan 09, '03 07:54:18AM

Thanks! the script was somehow the problem. Putting soffice into the xwindows application menu, as you described, works.

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Authored by: quentinsf on Jan 09, '03 04:38:33AM

I notice the System Requirements on the download page:

Mac OS X v.10.2 "Jaguar" or later.
GL Direct Rendering requires v.10.2.3.

Could the latter be your problem?

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Authored by: jermq on Jan 09, '03 07:08:38AM

Which version do you download to get one that runs under X.11 on MacOSX?

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Authored by: MattHaffner on Jan 08, '03 11:43:27AM
The fink folks have had some info on how to uninstall an X release (theirs or XDarwin). They now have an FAQ entry for how to make the Apple X11 release work seamlessly with their goodies. Check their home page for news and links.

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be shure to download TWO files
Authored by: nick on Jan 08, '03 04:11:39PM
thanks for the link to the fink-site, as it was the first to remind me to download TWO files, not just one, both available from the apple/macox/x11/ site. they're called
X11SDKForMacOSX.dmg.bin X11UserForMacOSX.dmg.bin

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Is there any reason to upgrade from Darwin?
Authored by: wolf10 on Jan 09, '03 12:31:15AM

Just a quick question -- if I already have XDarwin (Xfree86) installed, does it make any sense to install Apple's X11 environment? How easy would it be to remove XDarwin and install the Apple X11 over it?

Thanks -- Tom

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Upgrade from XDarwin? -Yes
Authored by: iv on Jan 09, '03 02:09:09AM

Yes, the speed increase is really noticable. Plus, you get window interleaving, dock minimizing and copy-paste etc. to work. In short the new X11 makes X11-apps feel like "real" mac-apps, a bit like Java apps (exept for the UI and for those with international keymappings).

Installation depends on your setup, if (like me) you have installed the stand-alone XDarwin package in default location (i.e. not through fink), there is no need to remove it. The Apple-X11 will install directly over your existing installation in few minutes. You can still use XDarwin with the new X-executable (you get some of the speed benefits but still get to use your preferred window manager and keymapping). X11 does not alter (or use) /etc/X11/xinit/xinitrc.

Anyway, whatever your system, IMHO it's well worth the installing time.

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Upgrade XDarwin Yes, OroborOSX Maybe.
Authored by: steventamm on Jan 09, '03 03:27:28PM

If you were using raw XDarwin, I would switch in a heartbeat. Everyone else will. Make sure you customize in the installer it to overwrite your config files. Better yet, uninstall XDarwin (with fink or OSXPM).

If you were using OroborOSX, I might wait for at least one more revision. The simpler copy/paste and difference in speed (which I thought was minor, but other people find it to be dramatic) didn't outweigh the different in features for me. Keymapping's other than US seem to not work. Resizing is busted for me, and the resize box is intrusive. I also got used to transparency in my terminal windows. But, that's me.

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Running Gnome in Apples X11
Authored by: cgull on Jan 09, '03 09:00:28AM

I had copied my .xinitrc into my home directory (~/.xinitrc) and noticed that if I tell to open from the command line it actually will load gnome from my .xinitrc file just as I wanted in my XDarwin setup (as I had "exec gnome-session" in my .xinitrc file and had Gnome installed to load as my full-screen XDarwin window manager). If I open WITHOUT the command line, I get NO window borders or anything, so I couldn't move anything around. So I either rename the file or open X11 via the command line.

#open /Applications/

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Running Gnome in Apples X11 (.xinitrc probs)
Authored by: tjfarrell on Jan 09, '03 04:44:53PM

I was running OroborOSX with a .xinitrc file before switching (window manager
was not specified in .xiniitrc) and found that I ended up somewhat similar results when
double clicking

I found that you have to specify the full path to all commands in your .xinitrc file.
(where as with OroborOSX you appear to have your default path).

Additionally, to get the Apple window manager, you have to
start it directly using again with the full path - /usr/X11R6/bin/quartz-wm &
(normal I guess, it is just OroborOSX which normally require you start
the window manager from .xinitrc)

Also note that it appears that stderr and stdout don't appear to be set up to
go anywhere when .xinitrc is run. (Not even to the console). So it is hard
to track what is going wrong.

One cavaet on the above - I have not yet logged out and back in again to see
what the impact of that is on my path.

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apple x11, perl & gimp problems
Authored by: gteague on Jan 09, '03 07:19:20PM

i've downloaded and installed x11, the x11 sdk, the gtk libraries and gimp (along
with some other open darwin pre-built apps at:


the other apps (xcalc, xclock, xchat) work fine, but when i launch gimp i get a perl crash:

Date/Time: 2003-01-09 17:33:59 -0600
OS Version: 10.2.3 (Build 6G30)
Host: roma.local.

Command: perl
PID: 1755

Exception: EXC_BREAKPOINT (0x0006)
Code[0]: 0x00000001Code[1]: 0x8fe01280

and gimp launches anyway. but when i try to open a .jpeg file it is completely
blank (black). this also happens if i use the menu item to do a screen shot from

any ideas or suggestions much appreciated. the perl version is 5.6.0, the gimp
version is 1.2.3.


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apple x11, perl & gimp problems
Authored by: William McCallum on Jan 10, '03 03:59:11PM

gimp installed via fink (at works fine

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Cleaner way to do international keymappings
Authored by: eggert on Jan 12, '03 06:59:37AM
This way:

cd ~
xmodmap -pke > .xModmap
mkdir ~/Library/Keyboards/
cd ~/Library/Keyboards/
cp /System/Library/Keyboards/Dansk.keymapping USA.keymapping

you don't mess up the system keymappings.

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Cleaner way to do international keymappings
Authored by: eggert on Jan 12, '03 07:06:05AM
Ups. The fine name needs to be .Xmodmap and not .xModmap.

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