Integraing X11R6.4 with Carbon


I sent this to the Apple feedback site on OSX, but they may need to hear it alot to take action. So If you agree, pass it on to them on me.

Date: January 9, 2001

To: Apple Computer, OSX Development Group

From: Donald A. Winkelmann, Ph.D.
Assoc. Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine
Chief, Division of Medical Informatics

Re: Feedback on MacOSX Public Beta and a plea for integrating X11R6.4 with Carbon

First, I want to commend you on the look and feel of MacOSX Public Beta. This is a radical step forward which shows some real corporate guts. I have been testing OSX on a G4 Cube with 256 MB RAM. I have experience with Unix, Linux, LinuxPPC, alphaLinux, and of course classic MacOS. I do not do Windows; never have, never will! The Carbon GUI with the Aqua feel is beautiful. The dock is a new departure for classic users, but much more familiar to Unix/Linux users acquainted with window managers like Gnome and KDE. There are of course bugs, and I’m certain you have plenty of people tracking them down and stomping them out. OSX is also sluggish. I’m hoping that is a result of hooks in the beta for debugging. This is most apparent comparing Internet Explorer in OSX with Netscape 4.7 in OS9.04 (running native not as the ‘classic environment’). I’m sure the final release with be a smooth running and relatively bug free, but please consider this request.

I want to urge Apple to take the lead in implementing X11R6.4 into OSX and bundle it seamlessly with the Carbon GUI. You’ve adopted BSD Unix as the core of OSX, so now go the rest of the way and really "Think Different" by implementing X11R6.4. This simple step would make OSX compatible with a wide range of application developed on Unix and Linux workstations. My interest is in the scientific and engineering application area, but there are many Linux and Unix commercial applications that would also be included by this move providing OSX with ported applications ‘not available in NT’. I know Tenon has a beta port of XFree86 with some Carbon specific hooks running on OSX. I’ve tried it along with the Apple Developers toolkit to port an optical deconvolution application for three-dimensional light microscopy. The application runs from OSX as an X-client to an alphaLinux X-server, but it won’t run on my OSX desktop. Obviously, Tenon’s Xtools port is not seamless or fully implemented in OSX with Carbon. But more importantly, a 3rd party port is not the way for Apple to keep OSX and Carbon ‘lean and clean’.

When I first heard of MacOSX, I was excited because I thought OS‘X’ not OS’ten’. The absence of a real ‘X’ in MacOSX is disappointing, and the available remedies are unsatisfactory. Using XFree86 with an X display manager running from console without the Carbon/Aqua GUI is a poor hack of your beautiful efforts. The Tenon port with a rootless X manager running on top of Carbon is an add-on that can’t be accomplished as smoothly or with the acceleration necessary to satisfy professional users. X11R6.4 is in the public domain and bundled into Linux, LinuxPPC and the many Unix variants. So why would you want your MacOS users to pay extra for a 3rd party port of public domain software to your OS? We would prefer to pay the extra to Apple so that you do it right and support it. I am certain that you in turn would win over many new users. Make OSX really something ‘Different’. Please do the X11R6.4 port now and do it right.