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Chapter 9. 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 GUI. (We'll refer to the X Window System as X11, 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, an implementation of X11 for Mac OS X is available from the XFree86 Project (http://www.xfree86.org/). The XDarwin project (http://www.xdarwin.org/) provides an easy-to-install binary distribution of XFree86.

9.1. Installing X11

The XFree86 site contains instructions for downloading and installing the X11R6 binaries on a Mac OS X system. The site also provides instructions for compiling the X11R6 suite from source. The easiest way to get X11 for Mac OS X is through either XDarwin or Fink, both of which contain easy-to-install binary distributions of X11. Fink also includes the system-xfree86 package, which is a placeholder package that lets you use the X11 distribution of your choice with Fink. (The placeholder package satisfies the same dependencies as the Fink X11 package.)

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