Apple releases X11 Update 2006

Apple yesterday released “X11 Update 2006” which addresses several issues in the X11 for Mac OS X package, enabling it to better handle:

• GLX stereo visuals
• offscreen rendering to GLX Pbuffers and Pixmaps

To tell X11 to take advantage of stereo visuals, enter:
$ defaults write enable_stereo -bool true

X11 for Mac OS X offers UNIX users the ability to run thousands of X11 applications concurrently with other Mac OS X applications.

System Requirements
• Mac OS X 10.4.8 or later
• X11 1.1 or 1.1.1

More info and download link (51MB) here.

More info about Mac OS X and X11 here.


  1. Spark,

    In my experience, there are none. It is nice when I have something I need to use Unix for, because then I can feel like a true nerd and I like that. However, I have yet to find a Unix program that is fun to use and isn’t for some sort of math research I am doing.

    However, if you are just tring to break away from using standard stuff and nerd yourself up a little, you could start word processing with open office. In my experience it runs a little slow, and I would rather just shake hands with the devil and use word (not quite as slow), but a lot of people swear by open office.

  2. Spark. X11 is mainly useful for those of us who work in science research, where a lot of the apps are UNIX based. I use X11 every day, but for the normal user, its not that useful. The only X11 App I can think of that an “ordinary person” might be interested in using on OS X is OpenOffice, and there are non-X11 versions of that either coming soon or in Beta. X11 apps rarely play nice with the OS X GUI, so look pretty out of place.

    Personally I can’t live without X11 right now, but for most its just a curiosity.

  3. the gimp is just about the only x11 app i use. i use neooffice specifically because i hate running OO.o in x11.

    Wow, i just re-read the above, and it doesn’t make sense at all, unless you’re a nerd…

  4. “the TAB” runs in X11. It’s a great animation program:

    But as stated on this page from their website …

    “Mac OS X 10.4.5 or later may experience some running problems, because the TAB was released before those Mac OS upgrades were released. Please install the trial version available for download to check if the TAB can run on the Mac OS version installed on your computer.”

    I’m wondering if this X11 update from Apple may help alleviate this problem. I haven’t been able to run this software since upgrading beyond 10.4.3.

  5. There are many X11 applications that offer good value – all Linux applications need it (see Fink). Several people have mentioned OpenOffice (I personally find it very “windows 95” in generation, but it gets the job done). However, the other two applications well worth a look include:

    – The GIMP – an opensource Photoshop equivalent. Very good.
    – Inkscape – an opensource Adobe Illustrator equivalent. Also excellent.

  6. From Wikipedia:

    “In computing, the X Window System (commonly X11 or X) is a protocol and associated software to provide windowing on bitmap displays. It provides the standard toolkit and protocol to build graphical user interfaces (GUIs) on Unix, Unix-like operating systems, and OpenVMS, and almost all other modern operating systems support it.”

    “X features network transparency: the machine where application programs (the client applications) run can differ from the user’s local machine (the display server). X’s usage of the terms “client” and “server” reverses what people often expect, in that “server” refers to the user’s local display (“display server”) rather than to a remote machine.”

    MW: students … as in CS students often first get exposed to this at university

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