Chapter 5. The X Window System
Although the X in "Mac OS X" is not the same X as in "The X Window System," you can get them to play nice together.
Most Unix systems use the X Window System as their default GUI.
(We'll refer to the X Window System as X11 instead of X, to avoid
confusion with Mac OS X.) X11 includes development tools and
libraries for creating graphical applications for Unix-based
systems. Mac OS X does not use X11 as its GUI, relying instead on
Quartz (and, on compatible hardware, Quartz Extreme), a completely
different graphics system. However, Apple's own implementation of
X11 for Mac OS X, based on the
This chapter highlights some of the key features of Apple's X11 distribution and explains how to install Apple's X11 and the X11 SDK. It also explains how to use X11 in both rootless and full-screen modes (using the GNOME and KDE desktops). You'll also learn how to connect to other X Window systems using Virtual Network Computer (VNC), as well as how to remotely control the Mac OS X Aqua desktop from other X11 systems.
From Aqua to X11, there's no shortage of graphical environments
for Mac OS X. The operating system's solid Unix underpinnings and
powerful graphics subsystem make it possible for developers to
support alternative graphical environments. For this reason, a
5.1 About Apple's X11
As noted earlier, Apple's X11 distribution is based on the
5.2 Installing X11
Apple's X11 for Mac OS X is available as an optional installation bundled with Mac OS X. To install it when you first install (or upgrade an existing installation of) Mac OS X Panther, you must customize the installation (in the Selection Type phase) and select the X11 checkbox. If you don't install X11 during the Mac OS X installation, you can install it later by inserting the Install Mac OS X Disc 3 CD, then finding and double-clicking the X11User.pkg package in the Packages folder.
The installation places the double-clickable X11 application in the /Applications/Utilities folder. If you're going to build X11-based applications, you'll need to install the X11SDK, which is located as an optional package on the Xcode Tools CD ( /Developer Tools/Packages/X11SDK.pkg ). Instructions for building X11 applications are included in Chapter 8; this chapter simply focuses on using X11.