Running X on MacOSX

To run any Mac Development applications, we need to first download the newest version of Mac OSX Developer Tools. Specifically, this will give us gcc so we (or fink) can compile any source we download. This will require registration with ADC, but this is relatively painless for the free student membership. Next, download Fink. This will allow us to install ported Unix applications to OSX. Run the Fink installer, then modify the .cshrc file in the home directory by adding the line

source /sw/bin/init.csh

Next, run "fink scanpackages" to initialize fink.

From here, we have two implementations of X Windows we can choose: Mac X11 and XFree86. To use X11, install the program available from Apple, then type

fink install system-xfree86

to serve as a placeholder for XFree86. To run XFree86, type

fink install xfree86-base

When installing packages, Fink automatically checks for dependencies and may ask what to install if there are multiple dependencies. I usually choose to take the simplest package available. If a package is a bundle, Fink will ask if the list it provides is ok to install. Simply type 'Y'.

From here, X11 will run as a terminal (There is a handy icon in the Applications folder). You can type "fink list" to list the available packages to be installed. I chose to install the Gnome bundle using the command

fink install bundle-gnome

Once again, I chose to use the base dependencies instead of the secure or dev versions, but those probably would do just as well. After fink has asked about the related and dependent packages, it will start to download and install the packages. This may take a very long time using the bundle!!!! Once this process is complete (several hours later), modify the .xinitrc file and enter the lines

source /sw/bin/init.sh
exec gnome-session

When a new X session is started, Gnome will automatically boot in rootless mode and run alongside the Mac Aqua interface. To boot in fullscreen, run XDarwin in the Applications folder (or from a terminal) and choose fullscreen. Any other Unix applications can be installed using Fink in the same manner. KDE is available, but still needs a bit of work.