You need to add the X Window System executables to your path. Your path
is the list of directories to be searched for executable commands.
The X11 commands are located in
/usr/X11R6/bin, which needs to be
added to your path. XDarwin does this for you by default and can also add
additional directories where you have installed command line applications.
More experienced users will have already set their path correctly using the initialization files for their shell. In this case, you can inform XDarwin not to modify your path in the preferences. XDarwin launches the initial X11 clients in the user's default login shell. (An alternate shell can also be specified in the preferences.) The way to set the path depends on the shell you are using. This is described in the man page documentation for the shell.
In addition you may also want to add the man pages from XFree86 to the list
of pages to be searched when you are looking for documentation. The X11 man
pages are located in
/usr/X11R6/man and the
environment variable contains the list of directories to search.
On Mac OS X, you can run XFree86 from the Darwin text console or in parallel with Aqua. To get to the text console in Mac OS X you need to logout and type ``>console'' as the user name. This will shutdown Core Graphics and bring up the console login prompt. Login again as your user.
From the text console you can start the X Window System by typing ``exec startx''. After a brief wait at least one terminal window should pop up for you. So far it probably isn't very impressive as you might not even have a window manager running to allow you to move windows around.
When you are ready to quit XFree86 type ``exit'' in the main terminal window or quit with the window manager if you have one running. Unfortunately the X server does not shutdown correctly and if you did not start with ``exec startx'', you will get an apparently frozen screen with only a spinning beachball cursor on it. Nothing you type shows up on the screen, but in fact your keystrokes are being received by the console. Type ``logout'' to return to normalcy after a brief delay. With Darwin, this should put you back at the text console login prompt. With Mac OS X, Core Graphics will restart and you should be given a login window.
To start XFree86 in Quartz mode you can launch the XDarwin application
/Applications folder, or from the command line type
``startx -- -quartz''. By default this will give you a mode picker to
choose between full screen or rootless mode. You can change the default
to always use a particular mode in the preferences, or you can specify
the ``-fullscreen'' or ``-rootless'' options on the command line instead
Customize the X Window System
The X Window System is very customizable and you will certainly want to
change some things. There is a lot you can do to control how your windows
look, how the windows are moved, resized, etc. You will likely want to
get a fancier window manager than twm, which is included with
.xinitrc file in your home directory controls what
programs are run when you start the X Window System. You can find a sample
.xinitrc file in
There are many window managers that have been ported to Darwin. The following pages contain collections of window managers and other X window system clients: