More X11

As you really seem to like my last posting about the Apple X-Server, I hereby do a followup:

I’ve not spent much time with the tool as I am primary a Linux- and Windows guy. Although I really like Mac OS X and the nice design of the Apple computers, I do not own one and thus can only use the one that Richard has in our office.

We are currently in the last phase of a big project which leads to less free time for me and Richards computer being occupied most hours of the day…

Anyway: Apple recently opened a mailing list which I have subscribed myself to. It’s quite cool to read the messages: The level is quite high – as is the traffic. And best of all: People from Apple working on the project are activly posting there.

Someone already created a unofficial FAQ (the official one is still a text-document posted to the mailinglist). One Article deals with the Keymapping, but goes a bit further and explains how to get the Alt-Keys working.

Unfortunately I’ve not yet had the time to check it out, but I will keep you updated…

Apple X11 – cool

OK. It took me quite some time to review the X-Server (and to fix the one big problem I’ve head with it – but see below). I got tired and had to go home so I’m writing this now.

First: The thing is fast. I am used to the speeds of XDarwin and so I was really surprised about Apple’s work. It launches in about half a second on Richard’s mac and launching Eterm or nedit just happens instantly without any remarkable delay. I’ve read that the X-Server is not only 2D-accelerated (which alone is a big improvement over XDarwin), but also provides OpenGL-Support for X11-Applications. I’ve not tried that out yet.

When launched, the Server starts an Xterm with it and I’ve not yet found out how to change that. I was really disappointed to see that it used an US keymap which, although I know where one or another character lies on my swiss keyboard, is not an option for production use.

It turns out, that the US-Keymap is hardcoded in this release, so it cannot be changed. But a workaround exists anyway: Create a Symlink from /System/Libarary/Keyboards/<<your keymap>> to ~/Library/Keyboards/US.keymapping and the X-Server will use your keymapping. Of course this breaks US-Keyboards possibly plugged with your account, but if you really have an US keyboard, there is nearly nothing to stop you from using it ;-)

The Xterm provided by Apple is not able to display umlauts which may as well be a configuration problem. I’ve yet to find that out, although I am not really motivated to do so. Eterm is a much better alternative.

So I am quite happy with Apples solution – even Copy & Paste works between Aqua and X – something XDarwin fails to be able to. The only Problem: Characters you get by combining your Keys with the Alt-Modifier cannot be created (which is maybe the reason why Apple hardcoded the US-Keymap) but the only one of those characters I use really often is the @-sign which I can create with Copy & Paste for now.

Another tipp: I’ve written yesterday that Safari does not support Window-Cycling-Shortcuts. This turned out to be not true: The shortcuts are just not added to the Menu and are Command-> and Command-<. This allows Richard to use the browser and makes me happy as he will finally stop using IE ;-)

Downloadscript fixed

They have just fixed their download-script for the X-Server. I am downloading now… The archive is 40 Megabytes in size.

What I am keen to see: I have Fink and with Fink, XDarwin installed on this machine here.

We’ll see, what the Mac-X-Server does to the current X11-installation ;-)

New Year / Macworld Keynote

First of all: A happy new year to my fellow readers. I was in Paris from december 26th to january 2nd which (at least partially) should explain the lack of updates here.

I’ve just watched the quciktime stream Steve Job’s keynote on this years Macworld in San Francisco. And I mostly like what I saw.

OK. The loooooong introduction of iDVD was quite boring and the presentation of iMovie was quite uninteresing (to me), but the rest was quite cool.

The whole thing began with this little thing which I really like but is much too expensive for what it is. Then a down-stripped version of Final Cut Pro, Final Cut Express has been introduced. Not quite interesting for me.

The renewed i-Applications</a> where also not that interesting to me. One exception: iPhoto seems quite cool to me and I will try it out on Richard’s Mac here in the office when it’s available. What I really liked: Apart from what “analysts” where saying (and from what slashdot gladly picked up), the i-Apps remain free to use.

The new presentation software Keynote really looks interesting. Maybe I should give it a shot. If it’s just half as annoying as PowerPoint, I will really like it.

I was quite surprised to see the new Webbrowser Safari which was announced just after Keynote. I just went to and downloaded it. Some points:

  • It does not support tabs
  • There is no shortcut for window-cycling (which will render it useless for Richard)
  • It’s fast.
  • It’s reat-looking
  • I’ve no idea why it’s in the metal-look

    I was surprised to learn that Apple did not use the Gecko-Engine but took KHTML from the KDE Project. This is now the second big project prefering KHTML before Geko (the other one will probably be Wine). Stefe Jobs produly announced that Apple will give the community back any modifications they made to KHTML. he told that Apple belongs to the nice guys respecting Free Software. But when I think of it, I come to the conclusion, that they really had to give the source back. Actually the even must provide us with the full sourcecode of Safari (which they have not yet done so) because KHTML as the rest of KDE is licensed under the GPL and Safari definitlely is a “dereived work”.

    I hope to see the sorcecode soon. Mostly because I want to see this browser with Tab-Support.

    And then came those Powerbooks

    I really like them and one of those will definitely be the first Mac i am going to buy myself. I am not quite sure which of them as both of them have a flaw:

    • The 17”-PBis just a little to big to carry around. Additionally I am asking myself why they did not use the free space to enlarge the keyboard. It seems quite small to me and the wide free space right and left of it looks stupid.
    • The 12”-PB is too small for my likings. I prefer a bigger resolution than 1024×768 (which is very high for a 12” display).

      Anyway: The devices are qute cool and I really want to get one.

      After all, the Keynote was cool to watch and I am looking forward for the next one.

      PS: When downloading Safari, I came across an XFree86 based X-Server by Apple but the download-script for collecting Email-Adresses did not work so I could not get it (yet). I wonder: Does this have something to do with FilmGimp? And: Does the clipboard work with this X-Server (it did not with XDarwin)? I’ll keep you informed…