Mac OS X wannabe questions



I'm considering to buy one of thoose G4 cubes for home, to run MacOS X.
I don't know much about the OS more than that it's based on BSD UNIX, that's what made me interested. So please have patience with me if i ask dumb questions here.

As of now i run W2k and mostly use it to run Exceed (X server) to the office Linux machines. So i figured if i could get that functionality to work with MacOS X it would be perfect, i'd be back home again (i started out using Mac's then switched to Linux/Windows).

So, my first question is:
What's the best way to run remote X clients on MacOS X? Is there any native support for this or will i need some separate X server?

I guess i'd probably have less use for this on MacOS X since most of the things i use (like xemacs) will run natively, but it's good to know.
Sorry if this question has been answered before, i didn't find a clear answer when i looked...

Does the native window manager have virtual screens?

This question might be very stupid, but as i said, i don't know much (yet) about this os:
Do you have access to a shell (bash, tcsh etc)?

Does NFS work?
telnetd and/or sshd? (to login from a remote host)

If the answers to theese questions are what i hope and think they are i'll probably switch over as soon as it's released :)

Final question, is the G4 cube a good choice if you want decent performance and nice design to a low price, or would you recomend some other Mac in that price range? (considering the cheapest one and just add some more memory).

Thanks for your time,
Johan Isacsson
Former Mac user

x windows: You can install a commercial x-tools program (, or go the freeware route and install xfree86 on x (sorry, no URL handy but search these forums; the info is here).

virtual screens: Hmm, I don't think so, but this is beyond my expertise.

shells: tcsh by default, z included, and bash can be installed.

NFS: Apparently there, but I haven't had a need to use it (I'm quite new to UNIX overall, so I haven't explored too far yet).

telnet/ssh: Telnet is included, and SSH was in the beta, but removed (legal reasons, we hear) from the final. However, OpenSSH can apparently be installed fairly easily.

Also included is apache, and I've installed mySQL and PHP without any real problems.

Hope this helps;

I've read up on it a bit, and if i got it right Darwin is pretty much plain UNIX. That would mean running telnetd/sshd (the daemons) wouldn't be a problem.
This is cool :)

virtual screens (or desktops) would be very nice (i'm addicted to it, run it on Windows too :p).
It lets you have multiple desktops that you can change between, so you could have a browser on one desktop and some other app windows on another dektop, then just click for instance ctrl-[0-9] to change between them.
Does anyone know anything about this for OS X?(3d party or natively)

Yes, at it's core OS X is BSD unix, with some directories moved and/or renamed, and some Mac-specific stuff added in. For example, the webserver default page location is /Library/WebServer/Documents, which I hand't seen before.

There's a freeware app called "space," which is a start to the answer of multiple desktops. You can find it on VersionTracker (, then the MacOSX section), and it basically works by showing and hiding apps in various virtual desktop modes. Not a perfect solution, but all we have so far. I'm sure someone will be handling this, as it's been requested quite a bit...

Mac OS's answer to virtual desktops has always been the "Hide..." commands in the application menu. These commands and the associated keyboard shortcuts (which many people don't know even though they're listed in the Help) make it very easy to manage large numbers of apps while keeping screen clutter to a minimum.

The catch is, when you're running a rootless X server on OS X, I doubt you can manage the X apps like this.
Just for the record...

I hate X11 and I hate virtual screens.

Buy a G4 minitower instead of a cube and put extra video cards in it if you want a larget desktop. Works a billion times better than virtual screens (which in my opinion are pretty worthless given the Dock allows you to bring any window into the foreground, and that OS X also understands the concept of panels/utility windows/floating windows)
I don't quite agree with you on that. Even with high resolution virtual desktops adds alot of convenience. Imagine having Dreamwaver oen on desktop 1, Photoshop on desktop 2, XEmacs on 3, and lots (i do use lots!) of terminals on desktop 4. You do some html stuff in dreamweaver and realise you have to do a button for the page in photshop. Just hit ctrl-2 and you there. When your're done, hit ctrl-1 and add the button to the page.
Or say that you run XFree86 on one desktop (full screen) and run native stuff on another...

It could be a matter of personal tast but to me this way of working is the way that suits me best. Clicking on the panel sounds like more work to me than working the keyboard (maybe it's possibel to control the hide behaviour with keyboard shortcuts?).

If you don't do alot of different things you could probably live without virtual desktops but for me it would be a pain.

I ordered a cube anyway, i couldn't resist the design of the thing :p I should have it tomorrow, and MacOS X coming this weekend.

Feels nice to be back again :)

You know, what would be nice is if you could switch between apps in OS X in a way that would hide apps as you cycled out of them.

The Command-Tab and Command-Shift-Tab method is convenient enough, but I'd happily hold down yet another key (Option being the obvious candidate) if it meant I could hide apps as I left them.
You can, and it will (lifted from my site with my permission ;-) ...

* cmd+option+click: Switch to selected application and hide all others.

* option+click: Switch to selected application and hide the current application.

* cmd+click: Open and switch to a new finder window containing the selected application (I just found this one this morning; I can't believe I hadn't tried that in over three months of using the PB!).

Virtual desktops are a detriment to productivity. If I can see my apps I can drag stuff between them and check on their status. Virtual desktops defeats the whole purpose behind a windowing environment where I have more than one window.

Think of a better method to manage windows instead of virtual desktops. Also remember that the Dock allows you to select any window which isn't immediately visible.

Virtual desktops are almost as bad an idea as the desktop itself.
Virtual desktops work great.

Sure you might want related apps on the same desktop so you can have them interact with each other, but it is really nice to get unrelated apps completely out of the way of each other.

It's unbeleivable that the mainstream desktop OS vendors (MS and Apple) still don't ship a virtual desktop solution built into their OSs. I've been using them on Unix machines for 10 years.
Forget about virtual desktops :p
Just gimme 4 cinematic displays connected to my mac ;)
(at $3000 each wow... too bad I dont have the dough :p)

the SSH daemon and client have been included sence Mac OS X 10.0.1. An ftp server, and command line client is also included.

sftp, aka secure ftp also works and is included. VNC will let you remotely use a linux's xdisplay. You can even start your xsessions up with a window manager from another computer (solaris, linux, etc etc).

you'll love it ;-)
The SSH server and client are installed in 10.1, I am using both right now. Both have a couple bugs that some people are having but they can be fixed by installing a newer/older version of OpenSSH. The legal issues Apple was having was with wget and some other commands and the GNU GPL I think. I could be wrong though.
My $0.02 on virtual desktops...

I like them. They make it easier for me to manage groups of applications. I like to have a lot of apps open so I'll name a desktop work/school/browser/sys admin. I can just switch over to the desktop I want and do my thing. I love them.

However, I can see why apple and msft don't use them. I've seen new users who thought they lost everything when an app is minimized. Virtual desktops are easy to use but hard to learn.

Unix is general is easy to use but hard to learn. Once your an expert nothing is easier to use than Unix. It does everything you want. The trouble is it's hard to get started.

Windows on the other hand is pretty easy to get started with. However, when you want to do more complicated things it's falls short. I'm too new to the mac world to really pass judgement. So far, I like OSX.