Steer Clear of X11

Look, I’m not here to tell you what to do with your computer. That’s not my game. However, I do have experience using the three major consumer computing platforms (Windows, Linux, and OS X). I believe that I am qualified to offer my opinion on matters like running X11-only applications like The Gimp on OS X.

For those of you that don’t know what I am talking about. X Window (X11) is an open source windowing system. It is available for all UNIX-like platforms, and that includes OS X. Some applications that will run on OS X don’t use the native windowing system. This means that when you launch an application like The GIMP, it will launch X11, and then run The GIMP inside of itself. This means that it will look different, and function differently than your standard Mac application. For example, if you Cmd+C to copy some text in TextEdit, you’ll have to use Ctrl+V to paste it into OpenOffice running in X11.

A couple of my friends that are familiar with Linux love the idea of having X Window on the Mac. They are familiar with it, and that makes them happy. However, running X11 detracts from the Mac platform in my opinion. OS X is all about being beautiful and easy to use. X11 certainly doesn’t offer either of those. Running X11 offers you the ability to use some more applications, but it makes your Mac less of a congruent entity.

All I am saying is that if all you really want to do is run Linux applications, just use Linux.

Grant Brunner

Grant is a writer from Delaware. In his spare time, Grant maintains a personal blog, hosts The Weekly Roar, hosts Quadcast, and writes for video games.