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 ;-)