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Apple Businesses

Rootless XFree On Mac OS X 138

Mr. McD writes: "The XonX project over at Source Forge is finally seeing some cool results. This time we finally have X windows running along side Aqua windows. See for yourself here and here. The author states that this release is not in a very usable form just yet. A post explaining how it was was done and how you too can run XonX can be found here. Finally!"
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Rootless XFree On Mac OS X

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  • I wasn't talking about GIMP sepcifically, or even GTK+. I was curious as to FUTURE GUIs on FUTURE projects.
  • Heidi,
    I'm a) chivalrous and b) a big fan of your father, so I'll be nice here. Normally I'd flame, so feel flattered.

    No longer limited to the 2D paradigm, Berlin could be easily adapted to 3D displays.

    Can you explain why anyone would want a 3d desktop? How would you navigate a 3d file structure?

    The simple fact of the matter is that 99% of the information you deal with on a computer is best represented in a 2 dimensional space. The simple hierarchial file structure is fast, easy to learn and easy to navigate.
    No one has proposed a decent 3d system for organizing files. Just things that look cooler and take longer to use.

  • Anyway, you can use pre-iMac PPC Macs for useful stuff with Linux, and they won't ever be supported for OS X.

    Yep.. I still have a couple pre-G3 machines around here.. We use one as a file server with a slimmed down version of Mac OS 8.1.. We use one as an FTP server and CD Burner (It's great, there's about 10 accounts, and enough space that we can each upload a CD's worth of data.. It's also a nice place to temporarily back-up critical files).. Then we have a couple little 68k boxes that we run NetBSD on as firewalls. Linux and the BSD family will have plenty of boxes to run on..

  • Aren't there any X servers for mac that already exist?

    For earlier versions of Mac OS, yes. This is Mac OS X -- brand new architecture.

    - Scott
    Scott Stevenson
    WildTofu []
  • I mean, granted, XonX isn't done yet, so it wouldn't be fair, but all the same...

    Neither is OSX.

    - Scott
    Scott Stevenson
    WildTofu []
  • Can OS X run headless and lightweight like NetBSD and PPC Linux?

    Sure.. But you'd be better off running Darwin, if you want to set up a G3 machine as a firewall or router.. There's no need to install, or fire up Quartz.

    At first glance, I thought you were asking what the remote display capabilities of OS X were.. To that I can only answer that NeXT had remote display capabilities, and streaming vector data back and forth to update the local window would ROCK..

  • You're forgetting 1 thing. As much as I like Linux (I use it all the time now - home and work), and even the berlin project will make some serious steps forward in development (which seems they do, but very slowly) - you still need to be backward compatibility.

    Sure, you can hack QT and KDE and GTK(+,--,+-, whatever) and GNOME to use berlin natively, but you got HUGE application base that simply need and want X only.

    Don't forget - there are lots of applications for Linux which are closed source and the vendor wouldn't even listen to you about porting/moving it to berlin, because he uses this code with modifications on Sun, HP, IBM, SGI, *BSD and others, so your chances with closed source applications are slim..

    So you'll probably say "they will have an X compatibility layer" - go ahead, enjoy the huge headache to do this, and this will make your berlin project crawl..

    And I'm not mentioning writing drivers for all the various graphics cards - those who give specs, and those who don't care about you at all and write in-house a driver..

    Good luck
  • At first glance, I thought you were asking what the remote display capabilities of OS X were

    Apple's developer documentation specifically mentions the remote display capabilities of Quartz.

    - Scott
    Scott Stevenson
    WildTofu []
  • rather than those from a company which faces bankrupcy on 2 year intervals

    The last two quarters have been slow (like everyone's), but Apple has about $4 billion in cash and short term investments, and grosses $6-8 billion a year.

    - Scott
    Scott Stevenson
    WildTofu []
  • it should do, how much ram u got?
  • Really? I don't use Tk on a Mac, but I have used it under both Windows and Linux and I've always found it to be very sluggish. I know that under Windows it doesn't actually use native controls but instead uses lookalikes that work through an XLib compatibility layer.

    I've done quite a bit of Tk programming and I've become somewhat disillusioned with it. Not only is it very slow, but the API has a number of rough spots and is a little wordier than necessary. In addition, it is far too easy to miss circular references when programming it in either Perl or Python.

  • First, let me say that I agree that LinuxPPC, YellowDog, Suse PPC, Debian PPC, FreeBSD on PPC, NetBSD, OpenBSD on PPC, etc. are all excellent projects.. Some will be used more than others, but so what?..

    As far as the OS X on an original iMac.. It will work, and quite well actually.. The iMac will need some more RAM (a 128MB chip is like $50 right now), and Classic will be about 90% of it's stand-alone speed, but that's not bad.. I've seen OS X 4K46 on a PowerBook G3/266 with 256MB of RAM and it wasn't bad at all..

    I'm not sure you realize this, but it sounds like a lot of the fluffy effects will be turned off when OS X is installed on a G3 machine.. For example; Launching an App on a G4 results in a little app that bounces in the dock while the App loads. On a G3, the icon appears in the dock, and a small triangle beneath it flashes while the App loads.. This is just one little example.. I'm sure that hacks will begin appearing around March 25th, that allow you to turn off the drop shadows or square up the corners of the windows (both will save a few cycles)..

  • It's not a problem --- All you'd need to do is to use one of the better GTK+ Aqua themes. Same situation on windows, where default GTK looks nothing like default Windows.

  • 64 MB, which kinda sucks, but i'll slap some more in if necessary
  • Apple will port their OS to x86 on the same day that SGI includes the IDO (compilers) with their OS.
  • Actually, all the iMacs are listed as being able to run OSX OSX Requirements []

    But that 1.5GB requirement...shesh..
  • Not this Mac luser.


  • X was stable (and in fact pretty much resembled how it is today, sigh) before NeXT was even designed. The reason NeXT didn't use it is that X sucked, the same reason Apple didn't use X today.

    However, I personally think the approach of all the alternatives to X, which is to force the "toolkit" down into the low levels of the system, is wrong. What we need is the low-level control like X combined with the powerful graphics of these modern systems. Drawing a button and making the mouse click it is trivial, guys, in fact it is probably easier than any of the horrendously complex toolkit interfaces we have developed, including SlashDot faves like Qt, KDE, or even my own fltk.

    While drawing a dithered image with transformations, or interpreting UTF-8 and correctly formatting all the Unicode characters, is HARD. Stop wasting your and my time with these toolkits and get to work on the HARD parts! Thank you!

  • RIGHT ON! I am glad to see that at least one other person agrees with my feelings about these toolkits.

    Writing toolkits is for people who are lazy and want to feel like they are doing something good (believe me, I wrote one, fltk). We need to make a core of the hard stuff, like antialiased graphics, and (probably equally hard) make it have a programming interface that mere mortals can comprehend (read the XRender extention description for an example of an interface that fails this criteria, imho. Check up on PostScript or OpenGL for examples that I feel are ok).

  • Maybe because it falls into the class of things "News for Nerds. Stuff that matters."

    Not all "nerds" have the same interests.

    Further, you are quite able to filter stuff out to your heart's content.
  • Unlike cloning, Apple would be able to control development, pricing, and other factors. They could make a profit any way they see fit. Folks that have no need for a G4 tower enclosure could buy the ATX board from Apple and any sorta enclosure they need... be it a 1U rackmount or full tower deskside case with 12 drive bays.
  • Oh no! I'm being mocked by ZDNet! And we all know how much their opinions matter!!! Now I can never show my face again...wipes tear... ;)

    But seriously, this is neat technology and it's news to some people. You don't get all cranky when the 10:00 TV news runs a story that you saw on CNN at noon, do you? /. doesn't always have the scoop, but they generate a lot of commentary about what they do post, and that's really what I read it for. And if you're not smart enough to figure out that cool new technology (which is presented in a positive light because it's damn cool) often has serious bugs, then maybe you should stick to reading ZDNet rather than slashdot.

    I'll agree that there has been some less-than-responsible journalism on /., but then again I don't think you can necessarily hold up ZDNet as the bastion of responsible reporting either. /. gets it wrong some times, but you know what? Within 10 minutes of the story going up, if the editor or the submitter was on crack, someone will point out that fact. And /. is much more likely to print a front-page retraction than ZDNet.

  • by Xenex ( 97062 ) <> on Tuesday February 20, 2001 @08:42PM (#416449) Journal
    I've read a little about Tenon's [] rootless Xserver for MacOS X, Xtools []. It looks [] as though it's a lot more mature, and a beta is avalable for MacOS X public beta.

    It is commerical though, but that is the way things are sometimes... However the product looks as if it's worth the money.

  • I'm really getting tired of all the /. flaming going on here. Yes, CmdrTaco couldn't type to save his life and we see some duplication of articles, but I have a few things to say to anyone who thinks /. sucks now or whatever.
    1. If you don't like it, then why are you reading? Do you need something to bash that badly? Do you routinly go to around LOOKING for things to rip apart?
    2. Are you running your own news for nerds that is somehow superior? I doubt it. Now I understand that people may want to (constructively) criticize slashdot about things that don't work well, but do we need to re-discuss the mod system every week?
    3. If you like most of /. but just not some of it, why not visit the users page [] and customize it so you don't see things you don't care about? That's what it's for.

    Quite frankly #1 is the one that pisses me off the most. You don't like /.? Well no one is holding a gun to your head making you look at it, go somewhere else. I am here because I DO like Slash.

  • This would be very very bad. Cocoa (formerly OpenStep) is the way to go for this. The core GNUstep libraries are approaching completion and will make porting between MOSX and other platforms very easy.
  • Actually, I think OS X will eventually run just fine on most Macs (in some time of course). When Apple first brought out the Carbon SDK [] with all of its extra windows and effects (such as the translucent window dragging), it was quite slow on many non-G3 computers.

    However, after trying their new 1.2 SDK, it can render everything speedily, even on my 120Mhz PPC 601 machine. Also, Apple has already supported the idea of moving Darwin to older Macs [] as well. I think in time we may see a lightweight OS X for older PowerMacs in the near future, perhaps not running Aqua itself, but something similar.

    I think PowerPC Linux will be great for users who want/need to run Linux, but Apple's software will still find some way to dominate Apple's machines.

  • Not so. Remember X is network transparent so that could mean the apps actually reside on another box across the network while the display is exported to the OSX box. The two computers have different times set and that is all.
  • What makes you think that any of these people have any interest in working on Linux of IA-64? And who are you to tell them what they should be interested in?
  • If Slashdot didn't announce "unstable projects
    and *patchlevels* of the Linux kernel", what
    would they announce, pray tell?

    Why is this article so inappropriate, anyway?

    This *is* primarily a developer site. If the
    mainstream media use it as a source, it's their

    This community you speak of is *primarily* of
    dissidents. You make it sound like it's bad,
    nay un-American, to be a dissident.

  • And the Mac OS X world just got a lot bigger... i love the fact that the X windows are shaded and everything (ie, have shadows) just like the aqua ones.

    Can't wait for March 24!

  • by green pizza ( 159161 ) on Tuesday February 20, 2001 @12:40PM (#416457) Homepage
    Projects such as this make me wonder what the future will hold for full-scale projects such as GIMP or Blender. Will they continue to be designed for X11 or will they evolve into backend framework and "plugable" GUI frontends. Say, perhaps, a Cocoa/Aqua frontend for MacOSX, an X11 frontend for Unix and GNU/Linux, and specific frontends for BeOS and Win32/Win64?

    Any thoughts on this? Any projects doing this already?
  • >> GNUstep represents NeXT circa 1994 More like 1988, if you ignore the fact that the first NeXT systems were monochrome.
  • by deeny ( 10239 ) on Tuesday February 20, 2001 @01:08PM (#416459) Homepage
    "It seems to me that other computer platforms, such as the mac and windows and so forth, are moving onwards and upwards with their windowing systems, whilst Unix lags behind, to a small degree."

    Funny, what is called Quartz (the Display PDF model in MacOS X) is older than a stable X11. X wasn't used on the NeXT because it wasn't stable *yet*. Weird how we think of Quartz as being new when it's old.

    I agree with you that it would be MUCH better if we all moved away from X11, taking the good with and forgetting the stuff that could be better designed. I haven't seriously looked at Berlin, nor, given that I like Aqua and Quartz a lot, am I likely to.


  • I think SGI had a 3D file manager. I believe it was on one of the jurassic park movies. When the little girl turned some doors of or something, that was a 3D file manager she was using. I could be wrong though. And if you think X sucks look at D11 again from SGI.
  • is that *nix & linux developers are paying attention to a different and mainstream platform. The whole point of the OS movement is inclusiveness. "Let's all work together to make something better." I don't want to sound too hippie here, but this could be a really great community. How many kids at home would become programmers but for their parents buying an iMac? With MacOS 9, just a handful. With MacOS X, we've got something to work with. This is an awesome movement, and any little bit helps. If you don't see the point of programming tricks for OS X, maybe it's because you don't need motivation anymore. This is a real and (I repeat) mainstream chance for linux/*nix programmers to make a serious difference.
  • I I'm not sure you realize this, but it sounds like a lot of the fluffy effects will be turned off when OS X is installed on a G3 machine.

    That's news to me. I read an article a few months ago saying that the original Bondi Blue iMacs were not going to be supported; either that was in error, or Apple improved things. Thanks for the correction.

    Anyway, you can use pre-iMac PPC Macs for useful stuff with Linux, and they won't ever be supported for OS X.


  • Why does Slashdot feel the need to announce unstable projects and *patchlevels* of the Linux kernel to the world?

    "News for Nerds. Stuff that Matters." 2.4.2 is something that matters to a lot of nerds. It seems that slashdot is just keeping with the program.

    If cnn & company want to use slashdot as their source, and get stories that don't matter to their readership ... well, that's just shoddy journalism. You can't blame slashdot for that.

    If you feel so strongly that a source of "real Open Source News" is needed, what's stopping you from creating it? The trick is ... if nobody else cares, then you're the one who has to do it. (Please see the nature of Open Source for an example of this in action.)

  • X wasn't used on the NeXT because it wasn't stable *yet*.

    Hmm.. when I tried OpenStep (1996) a little while ago on appropriate age hardware it (DPS) crashed left, right, and centre. The rest of the OS and environment was quite nice and interesting, but since it wouldn't run for more than 10 minutes without dying, I gave up on it - Terminal windows seemed to be the worst culprit for annoying the DPS process. That was the last release of OpenStep - I hope the first wasn't worse, although of course the hardware support is a lot easier when you make that too.
  • by GoRK ( 10018 ) on Tuesday February 20, 2001 @11:51PM (#416465) Homepage Journal
    They did port it. I dont know about system 6, but they ported System 7. Unlike most software these days, it never went out of Apple for alpha/beta testing, but it did exist.

    The original 2 (semi)-public alphas of Mac OS/X (Codename Rhapsody) were released on X86. They were only missing the blue box -- the component that could load and run MacOS inside of Rhapsody. Alpha 3 sadly dropped X86, but then again it was really the first that wasn't just a slightly reworked OpenStep-with-an-apple-menu.
  • OSX is almost usable with 64, but you can basically rule out running Classic apps.
    If you plan on using Classic, get 128+, you'll really need it. Not to mention it will speed things up immensely throughout the OS.

  • Is that Windows-looking controls or native Windows controls? There is a difference.
  • While this is definitely a nifty achievement for OS X users, it really is going the wrong direction. One of the MacOS's greatest strengths is consistency, the fact that if you know how to use one app, you know how to use practically any other. Apple is making this mistake too with it's Classic environment. Older applications don't get the Aqua look or behavior, but appear right alongside the Aqua (and now, X) apps. This is a large step backwards for the mac GUI. Both Classic and X-Windows should not be running side by side in Aqua, but each contained within it's own single window, so the different environments with their different ways of doing things are kept separate, making life easier on the user.
  • Steve is going to FREAK!

    We're ugly-ing up his perty desktop with dirty old X apps :)

    Hey, at least the screenshots had WindowMaker [], which has NextStep look, which in turn was Steve's idea. =)

  • I read this kind a comment a lot on slashdot.
    Lets look at this logically:
    * "News for Nerds" - I am a nerd (I hope :-) and this is news to me
    * "Stuff that Matters" - This story matters to me.

    On both these counts this is exactly the kind of story that should be here! Maybe you've heard about this before but I havent and i'm sure not everyone else has either.
    If you dont like this story why bother reading it or even wasting everyones time posting?
  • whos the bigger fool, the fool or the one who follows him?

    Who is the biggest fuckup...the fuckup or the one who keeps coming back day after day and reading every word the fuckup has to say.

    Ya, thought so. Why does every nobody feel the need to trash slashdot everday. get a fucking life. If its so bad why the hell are you posting? Much less reading this garbage! It just shows how sad you really are. "This place sucks." The next day, youre there again "This place sucks." If it sucks so bad, leave. Not that hard of a choice.
  • by irregexp ( 316757 ) on Tuesday February 20, 2001 @01:12PM (#416473)
    Silly girl, there's a reason why Berlin [] will never succeed.

    It's the same reason why other Open Source projects like the HURD [], GGI [], and Freedows [] are going nowhere fast: Too much design, not enough code.

    Too often, non-programmers (or worse random C newbies) will propose some absurdly difficult endevour ("Just imagine: an Open Source version of Microsoft Office 2000! On my PalmPilot!"). Usually, this will be followed by the registration of a .org domain name, a SourceForge page, and a "0.01" announcement on Freshmeat. Occasionally, one of these ideas will be taken too seriously. Web pages will be written and re-written. Mailing lists will be created. White papers will be written. Developer hierarchies will emerge. Often, one sub-groups ego will be bruised, and they will splinter off to form some equally vaporous project.

    But what never happens is code being written. APIs might be formalized, but that is worthless without working code. The most succesful projects (such as GNU, the Linux kernel, the BSDs, KDE, and GNOME) were founded on the "shut up and code" model. The authors spent time hacking rather than writing press releases or yet another web site revision, or the checking the latest PDF copy of the Offical Project X Standard for Widget Frobbing into a CVS mirror. And who gives us results?

    Berlin is a pipe dream. A nice dream, perhaps, but so are many others.
  • I thought it was display postscript, not display PDF? Of course for all I know they just changed the name because most people today recognize PDF quicker than PostScript.

    "Overrated" is "overfuckingused".
  • Yeah, it's called fsn, and it lives here []. Note: only works with IRIX versions 5.3 and below.
  • Both Classic and X-Windows should not be running side by side in Aqua, but each contained within it's own single window, so the different environments with their different ways of doing things are kept separate, making life easier on the user.

    I agree that X11 and Classic apps need to be separated from the Carbon and Cocoa apps.. BUT, I have a hunch that X11 is not going to be extremely popular outside the scientific, and geek, communities.. My mom isn't going to install XFree86 and Gimp, when she can grab a Carbon version of GraphicsConverter..

    For the science crowd out there, this is actually a big step forward. I can now work on building Data Explorer, SciLab, etc. without switching back and forth between Aqua and X..

    To each their own I guess..

  • Er - did my point just *completely* fly past you?

    PDF is PostScript *based*, however it's not nearly the same thing as Display Postscript (wasn't bicapitalized yet) nor is it PostScript.

    Besides, there's a world of difference between a one-line marketing gloss like you quoted and the specifics or architecture and implementation.

    Again, PDF is not DPS, nor is it even DPS v.2. It's clearly based on DPS (and PS) but it's different enough one can't claim direct descent. Heck, if one could then I expect Adobe would be claiming infringement (which they're not.)

  • Who is seriously going to drop the rock-solid, BSD-based OS X for another operating system which is "free" (in theory anyway), but far less functional?

    Anyone who wants to use standard hardware. Until Apple ports OS X to the PC, its marketshare will be stunted by the need to buy Apple hardware. Most people aren't going to be willing to buy two computers, one to run all their normal software on and a second just to run OS X. In fact the only group willing to do this are the techies. This leaves two area of play for OS X within the marketplace, techies and the people who still use Macs. Neither of these markets is all that large, although the techie market is more influential. In the end, if OS X is to be anything more than a "Gee-whiz" product, it will have to be ported to the hardware platform that 95% of computer users own, the PC. The fact that the PowerPC hasn't scaled as well as the P-III and Athlon is one more reason why Apple needs to wake up and smell the coffee. Of course Apple won't do this. The reason why is that they are not willing to play ball in a game where they don't control everything. This is why they killed the Mac clones. The Mac market is something they want exclusive domain over and they will never do anything that might jeopardize their complete control over it, even if it means creating a bigger market and putting money in their pockets. So instead they've got all the pieces of a continuously shrinking pie. Pretty soon they'll learn a hard lesson, 100% of 0 is nothing. There is a chance of course that they'll get smart, fire Steve Jobs, and become a real company that listens to the market place and works to supply what it is demanding. As it is now the "company" is more like some kind of religion that spends its time and money trying to sell an ideology to people who truly aren't interested or impressed. I for one am tired of hearing them beat on their broken drum.

    OS X will certainly be interesting, and it is refreshing to see a commercial OS that's built right. It's sad to know that it may never ammount to anything beyond what something like the BeOS has simply because it won't run on standard hardware. Apple needs to port it, get out of the hardware business, and work as hard as they can to build developer support for the OS. Microsoft is highly unlikely to create anything for it, which means other developers can create something without having to worry about Microsoft coming along and destroying them. If anything developers should be more than happy to develop for the OS since it means they'll be able to sell software to a user base which is potentially as large as the installed base of PC users.

    Will Apple do this? Probably not, at least not until they're nearly dead and the sharp bite of reality becomes strong enough to make them wake up. At which point it might truly be too late.

    Lee Reynolds
  • Just because an X window shows up on a particular screen does not mean the application driving that window window is running on the same computer.

    My computer's clock is chronically off, mostly because I don't need it to be on time.

    You are right that it could be a fake, but I'd much more strongly suspect that the X clock is from an other system than jump to the conclusion that it is a fake.

    Lee Reynolds
  • if you ignore the fact that the first NeXT systems were monochrome.

    The OS wasn't monochrome. It's the video hardware that was greyscale (the original was 4-bit gray, then 8-bit).

    My NeXT Cube sports a NeXT Dimension board which makes it 32-bit color (w/ alpha channel), under OPENSTEP 4.2, of course.

    Karma karma karma karma karmeleon: it comes and goes, it comes and goes.
  • Does anyone know if you can copy and paste or drag and drop between x apps and cocoa and carbons apps? If not is this a feature that will be implemented in the future?
  • by deeny ( 10239 ) on Tuesday February 20, 2001 @01:14PM (#416488) Homepage
    Well, I assume that The GIMP, and all the other GTK+ programs, will be programed for GTK+, and only for GTK+.

    GTK+ will probably get a port to Aqua, at which point X on X would be worth much less than it is now.

    GTK+ is a good solid toolkit and I don't see any special reason why it just couldn't be wrapped around Quartz (Aqua is the look, Quartz is the GUI layer).

    I know there are projects to port GTK+ to both Quartz and Classic. Given that and the other GTK+ ports (to Windows and BeOS, among others), that would make GTK+ the one truly universal GUI toolkit.

    Providing, that is, that any of us have time to work on these projects. ::sigh::


  • Is Quartz a renamed component from Next? I thought Quartz was new for Mac OS X. I guess that's what they WANT me to believe.. ;)
  • no it is not, that "4:07" clock is a clock icon fpr xclock, not a clock.
  • Have you taken a look at QNX's Photon? Small, light, anti-aliased, full-featured, and more network transparent than X. In a few words, it has it all.
  • The Windowmaker clock shows 4:07 whereas the Mac clock shows 6:01

    If the windowmaker clock client was running on a machine in a different timezone or a nearby machine which for some reason was set to a different timezone or was otherwise wrong, it would account for the 2 hour difference and the 6 minute difference is easily accountable for by not all clocks being in sync.
  • Maybe it's time for a POSIX-like GUI standard, so we don't have to rely on anything non-compiled for our use interfaces? (I'm a BeOS freak. Sub 10ms response or get the hell offa my desktop!)
  • Hey, silly. That 4:07 'clock' is just an icon for the xclock on the right, which reads 6:01, more or less.
  • Heidi,
    I'm curious as to whether you're really theHeidi Wall. I sent an email to your email addy (the real one, not the forwarding address. Just reply back and I'll be convinced.

    Well, I imagine that 3D desktops would be a wonderful boon in many ways. There is no reason why a file structure should not be able to be displayed in a 3D fashion - something like the branches of a tree. Don't forget that the metaphors used in the 2D windowing system are all 3 dimensional, and so all that prevents a decent 3D desktop environment is a lack of imagination (and technology:)

    Not true. The flie structure is completely 2 dimensional. On the y-axis you have parent/child relationships. On the x-axis you have sibling relationships. That's 2 d. While you may want to display more complex relationships, you'll run out of dimensions. You could put "date modified" or "importance" or "file size" as the z-axis, but then you have to remember where things are on the z-axis as they can obscure each other. That'll make things time consuming. Additionally, you'll have to choose the attribute for the z-axis carefully as there's really no way to have a 5 dimensional desktop. For complex relationships, you'd be better of using a relational database not a 3d desktop.

    Sure, some objects need to be viewed in 3 dimensions, but that can be done in a window via opengl. The core components of a gui (desktop, file manager, text editor and web browser) are all best represented in 2d (which includes the use of pseudo-3d for eye candy)

    BTW, I like your writing style - very articulate and lucid.

  • Just ask Jacob Neilsen [], one of the world's foremost usability experts.
  • I am not talking about the Public Beta here! I ended up with two copies of that! $500 level developers are not getting seed betas of OS X newer than PB! You know, like 4K17 and later.

    At least not in the automatic monthly mailings. I suppose if you asked real nice you could get one, but it's not automatic, and I can't find on where one can be downloaded.

    But I don't mind much, since it's so close to release anyhow.

  • Adobe killed DPS and required Apple to use DPDF because it's their "new thang" these days. Promotion of the moment, it seems. But the idea is the same, since PDF is PS.

    False. Apple wrote their own Display PDF (AKA Quartz) in-house, because Adobe's DPS licence fees were outrageous. There's no Adobe code in Quartz.


  • GNUstep has an implementation of OpenStep (Cocoa) as a frontend and it's possible to have any number of backend implementations (DPS and X11 are all we have so far but it's entirely possible to write backends for Berlin, BeOS, or Win32). Of course, the nice thing for MOSX is that we don't *have* to write a backend--with Cocoa, we're source compatible!
  • It does not matter how good the interface to Qt is. My point is that this "hard stuff" should not be mixed into Qt or any other toolkit. It totally stifles any ability to write new toolkits or to come up with new user interface ideas.

    You might as well put the file system or networking code into Qt while you are at it.

    We need to stop this insane design and return to the styles of design that made Unix work. This is the same crap that MicroSoft is handing us, and the fact that I can read the source code is not enough to make up for it!

    I want a drawing library that is toolkit independent. This means it CANNOT refer to a widget in any toolkit, and cannot require that it be called only from methods from a toolkit. It really isn't too hard: there should be a static "state" that indicates what you are drawing onto, and you make calls that draw on it (see OpenGL for an example, and also why this is MT safe). Then the toolkit is free to set up the "state" before calling the user's drawing code, and the user is free to reuse their drawing code under different toolkits!

  • Not true. The flie structure is completely 2 dimensional. On the y-axis you have parent/child relationships. On the x-axis you have sibling relationships. That's 2 d.

    I disagree--I would argue that a hierarchy (which is all that a filesystem is) has no inherent visual representation. The fact that a hierarchy is so difficult to model visually in a way that is simple and yet consistant is a constant thorn in the side of interface design.

    Think about the way that traditional file managers model the filesystem--it's the way you describe, siblings are stacked vertically, and children indented horizontally a bit. Logical and consistant, but very bulky to use: highlight a node deep in the structure and tell me what its parents are. You'll have to scroll up, look for each open node individually, until you get to the root. You've lost your original place by now unless perhaps you highlighted it or something. Now take a heavily expanded tree, take a node somewhere in the middle, and tell me what all its siblings are. It can be done, but it's not natural. This traditional representation becomes awkward whenever your data set becomes large enough.

    Hierarchies are everywhere: filesystems, URL's menus and submenus, OOP class hierarchies; thinking further, there's species classification and mailing addresses. Hierarchies are a very natural way to represent data. However, I think a serious weakness of their use as a tool is how difficult it is to model them visually.

    BTW, I like your writing style - very articulate and lucid.

    Anyway, thanks for the mail, 'PJ', and thanks for the compliment :)

    Yeah, I got your email.
    Cute sig btw.

    Is it just me, or do we have some flirting going on here? :-)

  • Likewise, if we had the ability to use a 3rd axis on all system, we would probably thnk of new (and possibly better) ways to organize our thoughts.

    I don't see this as being very difficult. We can easily adapt to ways of manipulating imagined spaces that correspond to our sense of real space. If you're anything like me, you twitch for the mouse wheel when you get to the bottom of the page in a real-world newspaper.

    Yes, we have two eyes which are unavoidably on the same 2-D plane and can only focus on a 2-D space at any one time.

    But our visual memory (the very short-term peripheral-vision-assisting memory that remembers what your middle finger looks like while you're staring at your index finger) works in 3-D. For that matter, our eyes are healthier when they're working in 3-D space with shifting focus. Our brains and bodies are clearly ready for it. (As if the fundamental fact that everything we do all day away from the computer screen is in 3-D weren't enough)

    Right now I can only see one directory at a time - either the forwardmost window if I'm using a graphical file manager, or the most recent output of 'ls' if I'm being productive. (I'm ignoring those little triangley/pane things because I find them counterintuitive in the way they represent the relationship between spaces, not to mention space-wasting)

    People talk about the file hierarchy being 2-D. But we already use two dimensions for any useful expression of a single point in that hierarchy. Why not use the extra dimension to represent the relationships with other points? If I could navigate forward and backward through parent/child directories, with my inborn visual memory assisted by scaling, transparency, and motion, I suspect I'd work a whole lot faster. It would be one less level of abstraction my brain would have to worry about; it'd be like offloading the job to a hardware accelerator that came free with my head.

    Likewise, if we had the ability to use a 3rd axis on all system, we would probably thnk of new (and possibly better) ways to organize our thoughts.

    Hell yeah! Everything from address books to network maps would make more sense if we organized it the way our brain wants things organized.

    This is not to say that I think we need simulated woodgrain checkboxes and radio buttons just because there is a fair amount of wood in the real world. However we should simulate the aspects of the real world that our brain has labored hard lo these many aeons to get itself around: How multiple entities relate to each other in space; how we can identify and select entites to interact with; how we get feedback from these entities that they are responding or want our attention; and so on.

    3-D is only the beginning. Files and directories should smell. Mice (or their successors) should have physical force feedback. Interfaces should make use of intuited concepts like gravity, reflection angles, inertia, and so on. We don't need to spend anywhere near as much mental energy figuring out what our computers are trying to tell us as we do now.

  • Apple is no longer selling the OS X Beta CD. It's several months old, doesn't support the newest G4 hardware, and doesn't work well with Mac OS 9.1. In little over a month, the final version of OS X will be shipping. If you NEED the beta, check eBay. If you need a more recent build of OS X, join the Apple Developer Connection for $500. You'll get monthly developer tools and newsletters mailed to you, as well as montly beta 'seed' CDs, technical support, hardware discounts, and lots of other goodies.
  • Well, right except that Next used Display Postscript and Apple(Next) is using PDF.

    While PDF is a descendant of DP they're different enough (really different in some ways) that I don't believe one can claim continuity.

    As to Berlin - after all of these years and all of the talk they've produced nothing remotely usable. It's easy to be fully buzzword-compatable when you're vaporware, heck this posting supports anti-aliased text in a syntactically structured environment!

  • Yes, this is exactly what led to the super-solid organized structures of Linux, GNOME, KDE, etc? There is a trade-off here. GNOME and KDE are fairly low quality, lots of features, little polish, and while Linux is very solid, that solidity was won from sheer coding force and skill, not purity of design. I'm inclined to think that if less people would "shut up and code" we'd not only have fewer useless toolkits for X11, but we'd get nice, extendible systems that we wouldn't have to keep hacking and re-hacking and wrapping and layering over as it evolved. What's going on with X11 is obscene. You've got some great projects, but because the X11 protocol seems to have been designed for '80s era hardware (oh, wait...) none of them are being put in core X. So you've got anti-aliasing support, but only for specific toolkits. You've got great desktop environments, but only some apps use them. You've got nice ideas like accelerated desktops with EVAS, but again, only for specific applications. In the case of X11, the whole is less than the sum of its parts.
  • by bugg ( 65930 ) on Tuesday February 20, 2001 @01:23PM (#416514) Homepage
    I wasn't talking about merely going to the Quartz system, but rather a port to Aqua- using the Aqua widgets and toolbars, etc.

    The look and feel could, in theory, become identical to a program written directly for Aqua.

  • by MrBogus ( 173033 ) on Tuesday February 20, 2001 @01:43PM (#416515)
    You are right on, but don't forget that the #1 design goal of the X Window System is to be "policy free" -- so not only is it based on lots of obsolete assumptions (not so bad), it never really solved most problems to begin with (worse).

    In short it was a political comprimise made so that all the waring Unix and Minicomputer factions could at least agree on *something* that wouldn't get too much in the way of whatever proprietary shit they were building. And the open source Desktop Environment people have picked right up on this, building services into their DE instead of the underlying foundation where it belongs.

    The long-and-short of it is that the X desktop is broken from a normal user standpoint, unless all of the apps they run are from the same vendor (er, project). Well, no shit - that was by design from the Commercial Unix forefathers. You want to use a standard clipboard between two apps. Sorry, that's policy. Printing? Policy. The same scrollbars on two different programs? Yup, Policy. How about "It works"? Wasn't that a policy that some people could agree on?

    But, anyway, bitching is no good. X is what you have, and what you are going to have to live with until 2020 at least. Barring Apple open-sourcing Quartz/Aqua, that is.
  • by steveha ( 103154 ) on Tuesday February 20, 2001 @01:50PM (#416516) Homepage
    I have to wonder just whether the effort put forth in the LinuxPPC project is worth the effort.

    Maybe it isn't worth the effort to you, but it is worth the effort to the people actually working on it. Different people have different attitudes.

    One good thing about Linux on PPC: you can use an old PPC box for something useful. Mac OS X is a seriously heavyweight system. To run it you need a fast PPC chip, minimum 128 MB of RAM, and 3D acceleration. There is no chance of ever running this on any computer as old as the first iMac, or older.

    Maybe for the very newest Mac computers, OS X will be better in every way than Linux. But for the marginal computers, the ones just barely fast enough to run OS X, I'll bet GNOME or KDE on Linux would be snappier and thus more fun to use.


  • Well, uh, thanks for the email. I replied to it, but I can't see that it should make any difference.

    Additionally, you'll have to choose the attribute for the z-axis carefully as there's really no way to have a 5 dimensional desktop. For complex relationships, you'd be better of using a relational database not a 3d desktop.

    You are assuming that there need be one attribute per dimension. Why not have one attribute spread over two dimensions? This would allow the file structure to be more easily comprehended, as there would be more space for pattern recognition by our brains. If the file strucure representation were spread in this way, I am sure it would be a lot easier for us to deal with complex directories and so forth - our brains are built for 3 dimensional thought.

    I don't think that the desktop of the future need be fully 3 dimensional, there will always be a place for 2d. Text is unlikely to become 3D, for example, unless we devise a whole new writing system (which is not as unlikely as it may appear, in the long term).

    Overall, I just think that people are too unimaginative when it comes to the future. I can imagine people having similar arguments to this in the days of CLI's and monochrome test. How could color possibly be a useful component of a desktop? Thankfully they were proved wrong.

    Anyway, thanks for the mail, 'PJ', and thanks for the compliment :)
    Clarity does not require the absence of impurities,

  • I hate to tell you this, but the $500 level developers are not getting seed betas. I'm one, and the only one I ever got (including looking for downloads on the Developer Connection web site) was PB. I ran across a 4K17 on a file server one day, but I found that to be less stable for me than PB. So I gave up and upgraded to 9.1 already, since by the time I get a new OS X beta it'll probably support 9.1.

    As the previous poster suggested, Hotline is your best option if you're itching for some beta action.

  • The Dock Clock gets its time settings from NTP, Network Time Protocol. The xclock gets its settings from the local hardware (Macs don't have BIOS like you'd expect.)

    That accounts for the 6 minute difference. The two hours is due to inconsistent time zone settings.

    A host is a host from coast to coast, but no one uses a host that's close
  • the $500 level developers are not getting seed betas

    ...seed betas of OS X that is. You know what I mean.

  • Now Mac OS X can look bloated AND ugly.
  • by bugg ( 65930 ) on Tuesday February 20, 2001 @12:42PM (#416522) Homepage
    Well, I assume that The GIMP, and all the other GTK+ programs, will be programed for GTK+, and only for GTK+.

    GTK+ will probably get a port to Aqua, at which point X on X would be worth much less than it is now.

    Repeat for Qt, perhaps even Motif, etc.

  • It seems to me that other computer platforms, such as the mac and windows and so forth, are moving onwards and upwards with their windowing systems, whilst Unix lags behind, to a small degree. Sure, we have XFree86 V4, but it is hampered by having to retain backwards compatibility with earlier releases. Because the X windowing system was one of the first ever made for the computing environment, it has some no archaic ideas and methodologies coded within it. Everyone would like to start afresh, but with most computing systems this is impossible, and within the Unix culture 'starting afresh' is heresy, as it runs counter to the philosophy of 'use that which has already been done'.

    That is why I am interested in the Berlin window management system. Although it is theoretical at the moment, and there are no stable releases, it still has a valuable role to play in developing the windowing systems of the future.

    No longer limited to the 2D paradigm, Berlin could be easily adapted to 3D displays. It also has an X window emulation layer, and has full support for the latest 'buzzwords' in software development.

    Even if Berlin never sees the light of day, the work done on it may live on in the next big leaps forward, XFree 5 and on.

    I hope that the X Windows developers take a close look at what is being done with Berlin, and with other windowing sytems, when designing and coding the next generation.
    Clarity does not require the absence of impurities,

  • It's not just the graphics... that's just a nice touch. It's that we'll be seeing stuff like Gimp On Mac [] pretty soon now. AND it'll look great.


  • Umm, Quartz is only related to NeXT from an architecture standpoint. The code is based on a different imaging model (PDF, instead of postscript) and seems to be mostly new. If somebody were to keep the good ideas of X11, but rewrite the code without concern for compatibility, you would consider it something different, just as Linux is something different from UNIX release 6. All of this also ignores the fact that Aqua, which is required to make a comparison to Windows or Mac, is totally new.
  • Yeah, I got your email.
    Cute sig btw.
  • I agree wholeheartedly. We should make a and put stuff like this on there. Then you and I could read it. We would keep stuff like this off of and just put stuff that we wanted the media to pick up on there. That way we could get the real stuff and they would only be able to see the stuff that you think is necessary to tell them. I hope they don't catch on and start reading!

    oh yeah, </sarcasm>

    All your events [] are belong to us.

  • by dat00ket ( 249468 ) on Tuesday February 20, 2001 @01:56PM (#416540) Homepage
    The Windowmaker clock shows 4:07 whereas the Mac clock shows 6:01

    So it's true, OS X really is ahead of it's time.

    Funny how when the PR guys say those things, they always make it sound like more than just two hours.

    ________________________________________________ __
  • OSS Quartz/Aqua. That would be seriously cool. Hey, I can dream, can't I?
  • by ikekrull ( 59661 ) on Tuesday February 20, 2001 @12:53PM (#416542) Homepage
    Steve is going to FREAK!

    We're ugly-ing up his perty desktop with dirty old X apps :)

    I can't wait to see if MacOS X will run reasonably fast on my LinuxPPC-running iMac.

  • Are we reading the same web site? I come to slashdot every day and see links to and and with (if I'm really lucky) some pithy little commentary like "are people who use cars automotive engineers cause, like, they have to figure out how to shift and stuff?" They certainly aren't a source of anything (not counting misinformation and biased opinions, I mean; not that there's anything wrong with misinformation and biased opinions, mind you).

    What do you see when you come to slashdot?
  • by Auckerman ( 223266 ) on Tuesday February 20, 2001 @05:48PM (#416548)
    Mr. Gates said, "All Your Innovations Are Belong To Us!"

    For those of you who have NO idea why this is written this way, I provide you with the following link at Arstechnica []

  • You may think that Slashdot is not a software announcement site, and every time Slashdot announces software someone posts "This is not FreshMeat!", but the fact is, they can and do announce software.

    Also, they announce very buggy software, put it in a positive light, and end up being linked to from the likes of cnn, and made fun of by zdnet.

    I would argue that Slashdot is often a place for software announcements, but isn't a place for responsible journalism. In a nutshell, Slashdot is "Stuff That Matters, for Nerds". But it isn't News. Think about that.
  • The code is based on a different imaging model (PDF, instead of postscript) and seems to be mostly new.

    Postscript and PDF really aren't that different, at least from the imaging model concept. For example, in display postscript, there were half a billion PDF readers. Anyone could write one, it was only a few lines of code. The reason they went to Display PDF was that it kept them out of royalty agreements with Adobe that they wanted out of -- without fundamentally changing the code base.

    Far more work was done in porting the OpenSTEP stuff from x86 to PowerPC.

    As far as Aqua being new, yeah, it's a new LOOK. Big woop. Yes, it's gorgeous. I love it. I use it at home. But it's not fundamental.


  • I thought it was display postscript, not display PDF?

    NeXTSTEP was Display Postscript.
    Quartz is Display PDF.

    They are fundamentally same except that Apple doesn't have to pay Adobe any more and Quartz has the Aqua look-and-feel and NeXTSTEP didn't.


  • but you could get a share of the Mac market which is filled with people that are actually used to paying for software.

    Though I'm not entirely convinced that the same group would pay for the typical X11 app. Mac apps that don't feel like Mac apps typically don't sell well. Quality of UI is paramount. However, this stuff may help some Unix people feel at home.

    it is questionable whether there will need to be other code to glue together the Mac's print architecture with that of other Unices

    I'm pretty sure you can just use lpr.

    - Scott

    Scott Stevenson
    WildTofu []
    • While PDF is a descendant of DP they're different enough (really different in some ways) that I don't believe one can claim continuity.
    Yes you can. Apple does [].

    "QuickDraw to Quartz
    Canvas and other high-end graphics applications stand to benefit a great deal from Apple's move to a Postscript-based graphics system. "
  • The core components of a gui (desktop, file manager, text editor and web browser) are all best represented in 2d (which includes the use of pseudo-3d for eye candy)

    I think her point was that these components were designed to be represented best in 2D because that's all we had when they were designed. Also, we have been using 2D displays for most of human history, going back to the Babylonian clay tablets.

    It's sort of like the way we like to count things in base 10, and break up keyboards into three rows, because we have 10 fingers. If we had 32 fingers, we would do things very differently.

    Likewise, if we had the ability to use a 3rd axis on all system, we would probably thnk of new (and possibly better) ways to organize our thoughts.

    In defense of your argument, we are only capable of looking at object from one direction at a time. (Well, two directions that are 4 inches apart, if you want to be pedantic about it), which means that we can really only clearly see two dimensions at once. To perceive a third dimension accurately, we need to either change our viewing anlge, or rotate what we are looking at.

    Still, some things might be nice to have in three dimesnions. We won't really know what the best practical applications are until it has been around long enough for somebody to invent a new concept that relies on it.

  • by digidave ( 259925 ) on Tuesday February 20, 2001 @12:58PM (#416561)
    Bill Gates arose and gazed upon the Aqua/XFree world and saw what it had to offer.

    "I want this," he thought to himself, "I can make users around the world smile with delight by bringing them this."

    And with that, Mr. Gates commanded his army of trained monkey programmers to create an innovative new interface secretly based on Aqua/XFree, but no one will notice, just like what they did for Windows 95.

    Mr. Gates said, "All Your Innovations Are Belong To Us!"

    And thus Windows XP was born.
  • So who cares what the userbase is? LinuxPPC isn't competing with OS X any more than FreeBSD for the Mac Centris was competing with OS 7.

  • by lwagner ( 230491 ) on Tuesday February 20, 2001 @12:58PM (#416563)
    It's kinda funny that WindowMaker [] (which is affiliated with GNUstep [] (hence the logo at the top of the dock)) is running -- since GNUstep represents NeXT circa 1994, I suppose you can have three entirely separate generations of software running.

"Hey Ivan, check your six." -- Sidewinder missile jacket patch, showing a Sidewinder driving up the tail of a Russian Su-27