Setting up X11 on OS X Tiger

After a bit of work, I have my desktop on OS X Tiger working well. I’m used to GNU/Linux, and it took me awhile to find the right combination of tools. Here is a screenshot of my desktop:

click for larger image

Some key issues that I solved that are visible above:
The clipboard works seamlessly X style between the browser and the terminals.
The terminal is fairly customizeable.
I don’t lose Mac OS functionality. X11 and Tiger’s version coexist.
I get desktop paging.
I get a simpler launch.
I have The Gimp.
My desktop background includes dynamic stats. I parse logs and gather the stats, convert them to an image, and use the slideshow background feature that simply toggles between two backgrounds. On my old system I just used Esetroot. Eterm isn’t friendly to OS X. For that matter, it has always been a bit of a pain to get Eterm compiled anyway. Aterm went well. Of course, I’m cheating a bit because fink supports Aterm, but not Eterm. I imagine when fink supports Eterm for 10.4, I’ll probably use that. Gnome-terminal is nice as well. The one big feature I like in Gnome-terminal is that it will detect URLs, so I can open up URLs while tailing logs or verifying HTML. Anyway, you can see my dynamic desktop background. I have details on NetAdminTools spread around if you dig and care.

The key software needed was The Gimp, Aterm, IceWM, X11, Mozilla, and IceWM. For X11, I used the version off of the Tiger install CD. I also installed the xcode tools, GCC 4.0, and the X11 SDK, all Apple software. The Gimp was installed from the site. I did try Darwin Ports and Fink, but this just worked best. Mozilla, IceWM, and Aterm came from fink. To get Aterm looking good, I put this in ~/.Xdefaults:


The xterm entry makes sure you get the correct colors and other term features while in programs like vim, since aterm isn’t widely recognized. My changes to .icewm/preferences:


My changes to .icewm/toolbar:

prog aterm xterm /sw/bin/aterm -geometry 80x30+0+25 
prog aterm xterm /sw/bin/aterm -geometry 80x30+250+25 
prog aterm xterm /sw/bin/aterm -geometry 80x30+0+250 
prog aterm xterm /sw/bin/aterm -geometry 80x30+250+250 
prog Mozilla mozilla /sw/bin/mozilla 
prog Email email /sw/bin/mozilla -email 
prog Gimp gimp "/Applications/ OS/Gimp"
prog xfig xfig /sw/bin/xfig -nosplash -geom 900x680+0+25 -but_per_row 3

And, here is my ~/.xinitrc file:

source /sw/bin/
exec /sw/bin/icewm 

BTW, the option key is center button emulation, and the apple key is the right button emulation when you push the key and click. To copy, just highlight, to paste, option/click.

[Note: on May 9, 2006, it seems that the fink install of aterm is weird. I tried a variety of methods including source; however, the best way to get it runnin g was simply to do this from scratch with the source from here]