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Dumping Aqua On Mac OS X For X11?

Cliff posted more than 7 years ago | from the a-change-in-UI dept.

161

Sagefire asks: "Aqua is a beautiful interface but it can be incredibly resource intensive (especially for older/low-end machines). And, though the open source community has made great strides in reverse engineering proprietary drivers from Mac OS X, I would love to be able to simply keep using the drivers that came with it, for now. Since there is a fully functional BSD variant under the hood, is it possible (using X11.app, darwinports, and/or Fink) to boot to a command line and simply startx? Would it use less RAM to bypass Aqua?"

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Less RAM. (-1, Troll)

Ash-Fox (726320) | more than 7 years ago | (#16979096)

Would it use less RAM to bypass Aqua?
No.

Re:Less RAM. (5, Informative)

maynard (3337) | more than 7 years ago | (#16979174)

Bullshit.

I remember running a full 'nix with X11 and TWM with 4mb of RAM on a Sun 3/80. If you wanted color, a Sun 3/60 could handle it with 8mb; 16mb would give you a "screaming" 4 mips pizza box. When the Sun 3/80s and Sparc 1's came out, a 32mb system with a cg24 sbus card could get you full 24bit color with a megapixel display. And it had plenty of RAM to do real work.

Compare that with a 128mb or 256mb G3 CRT iMac and you've got way more than enough ram and CPU horsepower to run X11 with plenty of useful apps. Christ, I ran X11 on a 486 with 8mb of RAM and a 512kb XVGA card back in 1994 and it worked just fine. (And BTW: NeXTStep on an old cube ran DPS just great in 16mb of RAM too. It's not DPDF that's the hog - it's Aqua).

That should be a Sun 3/50 (1)

maynard (3337) | more than 7 years ago | (#16979200)

I remember running a full 'nix with X11 and TWM with 4mb of RAM on a Sun 3/80.

s/80/50/

Re:Less RAM. (1)

Ash-Fox (726320) | more than 7 years ago | (#16979290)

Compare that with a 128mb or 256mb G3 CRT iMac and you've got way more than enough ram and CPU horsepower to run X11 with plenty of useful apps. Christ, I ran X11 on a 486 with 8mb of RAM and a 512kb XVGA card back in 1994 and it worked just fine. (And BTW: NeXTStep on an old cube ran DPS just great in 16mb of RAM too. It's not DPDF that's the hog - it's Aqua).
I think this [slashdot.org] person puts it nicely.

Re:Less RAM. (2, Insightful)

maynard (3337) | more than 7 years ago | (#16979322)

Mach is a resource hog. But that's not the fault of Aqua. However, Aqua is also a huge resource hog, without much benefit if you only have 2d video acceleration. Might as well just run X11 in that case. And, if you're going to do that - might as well just run Linux or NetBSD as monolithic kernels tend to run much faster.

Re:Less RAM. (1)

Ash-Fox (726320) | more than 7 years ago | (#16979492)

might as well just run Linux or NetBSD as monolithic kernels tend to run much faster.
Agreed.

Re:Less RAM. (1)

no reason to be here (218628) | more than 7 years ago | (#16980750)

uhh, BeOS uses a microkernel, and is quite fast. much faster than Linux or NetBSD for many operations.

Re:Less RAM. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16980854)

Is it really FASTER, or does it just FEEL FASTER?

BeOS (while i never used it, sadly) is supposed to have been heavily threaded, so the UI is resposive, but those threads cut into overall performence (tho, i would say a desktop user would very much say it was faster, but a benchmark should prove its slower).

Re:Less RAM. (3, Insightful)

no reason to be here (218628) | more than 7 years ago | (#16980922)

What you said is somewhat true. the heavy threading made it feel very fast and responsive. it also would handle media (audio, MIDI, video) very quickly. Certain benchmarks, i'm sure, would show it to be slower. but not all types of opearations, as a rule, would be slower, just because of the microkernel or the multithreading.

Re:Less RAM. (2, Informative)

BigBuckHunter (722855) | more than 7 years ago | (#16983402)

I can confirm that Gentoo runs well on an old 266mhz green G3 new world IMac. The machine had 192MB of ram and I used it to test DR17 (get-e.org) on PPC. The biggest problem was installing the DRM drivers for the ATI Rage chip (Have to pull them from CVS). Aside from that everything seemed to work fine, as long as you disabled kernel pre-empt (this might be fixed in modern kernels).

BBH

Re:Less RAM. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16984844)

I call bullshit on your bullshit.

Yes, you *can* run an ancient version of X11 with twm on little RAM; it wasn't very snappy, it didn't offer modern features you expect (like lots of colors), and it offered basically no features (even hardcore Linux geeks today don't run twm).

X11 takes less memory than Aqua if you run it in monochrome mode with a window manager that can barely manage windows. Is that news? I don't think "monochrome X11 with twm" is what he was asking about.

OTOH, I'm using right now the slowest/cheapest Mac you can buy (1.66GHz Core Duo -- the only 32-bit Mac you can buy! -- with Intel GMA950 graphics) and it absolutely screams at graphics. What with doing almost all graphics work on the graphics card [arstechnica.com] these days, it's fast. Really fast. I've never seen a stable X11 setup so fast.

(For starters, most X11 setups still need to redraw a window when it's exposed -- even with a fast CPU, it's noticable. Yes, I know you're running a fancy new compositing manager and it looks just as slick as Aqua. I tried the latest code a couple weeks ago, and it was marginally stable, and completely unusable. Come back when it's the default install for all setups.)

For another example, look again at that ArsTechnica page: Quartz2D is now much faster than QuickDraw (and will become even faster when they flip the switch on Quartz2D Extreme). Not only is that impressive by itself, but I don't see those kind of performance improvements from X11.

Re:Less RAM. (1)

maynard (3337) | more than 7 years ago | (#16986152)

You'll note that on the low end I listed a Sun 3/80 (or sparc 1) with a cg24 24 bit color card. That would have been manufactured from ~1988 or ~1989, and would have had on the high end no more than 16mb to 32mb of RAM. Most shipped with 8mb.

And BTW: color support has nothing to do with window management. At the time the two competing toolkits were Athena (from the original MIT X11 and X10 distribution), Sun Openlook toolkit, and Motif. These widget toolkits are better compared to modern day GTK+ and QT toolkits in use on GNOME and KDE respectively.

And BTW: I own (and am typing on right now) a 2Ghz Macbook w/ 2GB of RAM. It's a fine machine. But a graphical unix can run all the way down to 4mb of RAM, which twenty years ago was a *huge* amount of memory.

Why not use a better OS to do this? (1, Flamebait)

nxtw (866177) | more than 7 years ago | (#16979104)

This seems like an exercise in pointlessness. If you're going to run X11, why not just run Linux? It's more than likely a bit faster (especially in low RAM situations), and there is more X11 software available.

Re:Why not use a better OS to do this? (2, Interesting)

Ash-Fox (726320) | more than 7 years ago | (#16979140)

why not just run Linux?
There is no 3d acceleration then from what I've seen.

Re:Why not use a better OS to do this? (2, Insightful)

Cadallin (863437) | more than 7 years ago | (#16979206)

Riiight. And on this machine (which can't run OS X adequately) yet has outstanding 3D capabilities (a Rage 128 maybe!) you're going to be doing exactly what?

Nope, In my considered opinion, if a machine is too old to run OS X (so we're clearly talking Macs here, remember?) then linux is probably the best option, as it will have the best software support. BSDs are also an option, but again, the software support for PPC BSD isn't going to be as good as PPC linux.

Re:Why not use a better OS to do this? (1)

Ash-Fox (726320) | more than 7 years ago | (#16979246)

Riiight. And on this machine (which can't run OS X adequately) yet has outstanding 3D capabilities (a Rage 128 maybe!) you're going to be doing exactly what?
Maybe you don't notice, but I do notice the difference in X when running in a non-accelerated desktop. The switching of applications is slower. I have more troubles playing movies that I could play originally in Mac OS X/Windows.
Nope, In my considered opinion, if a machine is too old to run OS X (so we're clearly talking Macs here, remember?) then linux is probably the best option
Maybe, the guy isn't very clear on what he wants to use it for.
BSDs are also an option, but again, the software support for PPC BSD isn't going to be as good as PPC linux.
BSD generally needs better support all around.

Re:Why not use a better OS to do this? (2, Informative)

maynard (3337) | more than 7 years ago | (#16979356)

Every Mac going back to the old Beige PPC 601 systems had 2D acceleration support.

Re:Why not use a better OS to do this? (2, Informative)

Lord Kano (13027) | more than 7 years ago | (#16979384)

Hell, even the 68040(and 68LC040) Quadras had 2d acceleration.

LK

Re:Why not use a better OS to do this? (3, Funny)

maynard (3337) | more than 7 years ago | (#16979418)

That's true. And they'll even run NetBSD! 'Cause NetBSD will run on your freak'n toaster, with enough loving care and attention. :P

Re:Why not use a better OS to do this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16980480)

But older ATi cards have relatively good OPEN SOURCE 3D acceleration support under x.org. I run a powermac laptop with linuxppc and 3d acceleration.

Re:Why not use a better OS to do this? (3, Interesting)

nxtw (866177) | more than 7 years ago | (#16979506)

A few years ago I compared OS X 10.2 and KDE 3 (YDL) on a G3 All in One, with perhaps a Rage 128 or some other ATI GPU with 2 or 4 MB of VRAM.

With 256 and later 320MB RAM, KDE was much, much faster, by a long shot. It was a shock, since I'd long held the misconception that KDE/Gnome were slow (coming from the days of running Windows 95/NT vs. Gnome/KDE on old Pentiums with 64 MB of RAM).

OS X did not support that machine's video card for any sort of acceleration, and there was no way to turn down the needless eye candy to a level that made the OS usable.

OS X on that machine was slower than Windows 2000 with 48 MB of RAM.

Re:Why not use a better OS to do this? (0, Troll)

niXcamiC (835033) | more than 7 years ago | (#16981444)

Thats interesting, I had the exact opposite experiance, running OS X 10.4 and KDE 3 (kubuntu) on a g3 ibook with 128 megs of ram, then later 256, and OS X 10.4 was much faster. Not to mention, it ran propraitary software, which is alomst impossible on ppc linux.

Re:Why not use a better OS to do this? (3, Informative)

Lord Apathy (584315) | more than 7 years ago | (#16984396)

KDE is slower when compaired to running a unencumbered fvwm2 desktop. Don't get me wrong, KDE and Gnome are very nice projects. They have done wonders to help the transition to linux from winblows. But there is just something to building a desktop from scratch and watching it run like a cat with a bottle rocket up its arse.

Re:Why not use a better OS to do this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16979792)

Have you even SEEN linux? There are 3d accelerated X servers for most modern graphics cards. If its a Rage 128, there is a 3D accelerated server for it. If its the latest ATI, there are accelerated drivers for it. Maybe you just don't know how to configure a different XServer than the default, but there ARE plenty of 3D accelerated X servers.

Re:Why not use a better OS to do this? (1)

Ash-Fox (726320) | more than 7 years ago | (#16980482)

Have you even SEEN linux?
I use Linux on my primary workstations.
There are 3d accelerated X servers for most modern graphics cards.
I still haven't gotten any 3d acceleration working on PPC Macs yet (last attempt was between 2004-2005 I think).
If its a Rage 128, there is a 3D accelerated server for it.
It wasn't.
If its the latest ATI, there are accelerated drivers for it.
ATi don't make PPC builds of their FGLRX linux drivers to my knowledge.
Maybe you just don't know how to configure a different XServer than the default
Doubt it.

Framebuffer vs 2D accel vs 3D accel (2, Informative)

Short Circuit (52384) | more than 7 years ago | (#16980804)

You don't need 3D acceleration to speed up normal window manager tasks; Window manager tasks (for virtually all current X11 window managers) don't require them. What you need is support for your card's 2D acceleration functions.

Using a common desktop environment like stock GNOME or KDE (or such mildly reworked as with Ubuntu), try running X in framebuffer mode without DRI enabled, then try running X with the correct hardware-specific driver selected, but DRI disabled. Finally, try running X with DRI enabled.

That'll give you a good idea which portions of your video card's hardware acceleration are required for your normal desktop use.

Re:Why not use a better OS to do this? (1, Informative)

jrockway (229604) | more than 7 years ago | (#16982910)

You sound quite ignorant here. There are free (3d-accelerated) drivers for ATI cards called "ati". They work fine on PPC, and are fast enough to allow you to play ppracer (and friends).

If 2d isn't working acceptably, then you simply misconfigured the X Server. This might have been a problem 20 or so years ago, but nowadays it's fine.

I recently switched my old Powerbook G4 from OS X 10.4 to Kubuntu/Dapper Drake, and I find it much more responsive and easier to use. All the nicities of the Powerbook still work fine (notably power management, suspend/resume is nice'n'fast just like in OS X), but you the good OSS apps run much better. (KOffice / KMail/ amaroK / etc. Sorry, Apple's cheap imitations just don't cut it for me.)

Re:Why not use a better OS to do this? (1)

dal20402 (895630) | more than 7 years ago | (#16983988)

(KOffice / KMail/ amaroK / etc. Sorry, Apple's cheap imitations just don't cut it for me.)

I have to say I don't understand this comment. Not that there aren't plenty of good reasons to run Linux on your PB G4, but I don't get this.

There is no Apple Office-style product. iWork is designed and priced to cover a much more basic set of needs. While MS Office is made by Satan and can be absurdly expensive it is not a "cheap imitation" of KOffice or OOo -- they are imitating it, sometimes successfully, sometimes less successfully.

The great thing about OS X Mail is that it is *not* an imitation of Outlook like every other email client out there, including KMail. While it has some holes it also has unique capabilities, especially in the interface -- I love the fact that it (unlike any other client I've ever used) will seamlessly combine all my IMAP inboxes and sent-mail folders.

And if you're trying to say that iTunes is a cheap imitation of Amarok... wow. Your *K*ool-Aid is stronger than the stuff Mac zealots are drinking.

Re:Why not use a better OS to do this? (1)

flydpnkrtn (114575) | more than 7 years ago | (#16986170)

Attitudes such as the parent AC's post are what will keep Linux out of the mainstream limelight.

Yes, maybe he hasn't 'seen' Linux. Maybe he's read about X11 becuase he read about getting OpenOffice working on OSX (and didn't know about NeoOffice).

This condescending tone is what keeps "Linux off the Desktop," and will continue to do so.

Come on people stop acting like it's a religion that only we the chosen few have gained knowledge of from the Gods or something.

Re:Why not use a better OS to do this? (1)

abradsn (542213) | more than 7 years ago | (#16979480)

What do you consider low ram? 1gb? Get real.

Re:Why not use a better OS to do this? (1)

maynard (3337) | more than 7 years ago | (#16979714)

This is a great point. Kids today... they just don't realize how good they've got it. I remember Sun 2s having VME 1mb RAM boards populated with 21256 (256K) chips. Work it out, that's 9 chips (parity) per 256K, or 36 chips just for 1MB of RAM. Add on a bunch of TTL and components to fill the board out and you've got one hell of a heat generator. Also, the damn machine was useless without at least 2MB, and really only useful with 4MB (especially if you added a megapixel display).

And that computer did useful work. Back in the day when you were lucky to get 256K - 512K in a desktop computer (and, yes - PCs really maxed out at 640K).

s/21256/41256 (1)

maynard (3337) | more than 7 years ago | (#16979766)

sigh, I really should preview more often.

Re:Why not use a better OS to do this? (1)

irc.goatse.cx troll (593289) | more than 7 years ago | (#16982894)

My retort to that kind of analysis (that my dad was so fond of when growing up) is this:

Kids today don't know how shitty they have it compared to kids in 20-30 years.

Unfair relativistic comparisons go both ways and in the end its all perspective-- I'm pretty hungry right now. In Ethiopia there are entire villages that have eaten less than I've eaten today, surely they're more hungry than me.. But that doesn't make me feel any less hungry.

Re:Why not use a better OS to do this? (1)

uofitorn (804157) | more than 7 years ago | (#16980088)

For some people, not running Linux is an exercise of principle.

Re:Why not use a better OS to do this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16981910)

A truly excellent post in only 11 words.

Re:Why not use a better OS to do this? (1)

jrockway (229604) | more than 7 years ago | (#16982940)

What principle is that? Throwing your freedom (and money) away?

Re:Why not use a better OS to do this? (1)

TheGreek (2403) | more than 7 years ago | (#16986852)

What principle is that? Throwing your freedom (and money) away?
I think it's the principle of using software whose primary design goal is innovation instead of being "a free clone of [software package]."

Re:Why not use a better OS to do this? (1)

Handlarn (911194) | more than 7 years ago | (#16983230)

There are a lot of software which Mac is famous for running very smoothly, for example a lot of audio and graphics software. Most of these programs are only available for MacOS and Windows.

(Although since I have very little experience of Mac, I don't really know whether running X11 instead of Aqua would break functionality of these programs, so maybe they wouldn't even run satisfactory on X11.)

Re:Why not use a better OS to do this? (1)

nxtw (866177) | more than 7 years ago | (#16984988)

That software most likely requires the Aqua interface via Cocoa or Carbon...

Re:Why not use a better OS to do this? (1)

ATMD (986401) | more than 7 years ago | (#16984842)

Maybe he just doesn't want to run Linux?

Is that so hard to believe?

Sorry (1)

poopdeville (841677) | more than 7 years ago | (#16979110)

If you intend to use X11 to completely replace Aqua, you may as well run Darwin or Linux or one of the BSDs. Sorry, but getting rid of all the Aqua stuff is going to involve extensive customization. And if you don't load Aqua's libraries, you aren't going to be able to run OS X apps anyway.

I tried that (5, Informative)

clang_jangle (975789) | more than 7 years ago | (#16979120)

But even without running Aqua OS X is extremely resource-hungry. Test it yourself by logging in as username ">console" (without the quotes) for a command prompt and you'll see what I mean. Wish I had better news...

Re:I tried that (2, Interesting)

maynard (3337) | more than 7 years ago | (#16979232)

That's because Mach spends a shit of of resources passing messages and servicing real-time interrupts. That has nothing to do with the difference between X11 vs. Aqua in terms of resource consumption. Stick Yellow Dog or NetBSD on that old G3 if you want performance.

Re:I tried that (4, Informative)

the_humeister (922869) | more than 7 years ago | (#16979316)

Not quite. The best way to test this is if you enter the command-line directly by either going into single-user mode or editing the /etc/ttys since these methods don't load Aqua at all. If you use the >console method, I don't think the system unloads Aqua from memory.

Re:I tried that (1)

fatphil (181876) | more than 7 years ago | (#16982972)

How do you go into single user mode? I'd dearly like to liberate several hundred megs of RAM in order to use it for my own memory-intensive applications rather than have the GUI (which I also don't see eye-to-eye with) swallow it all up.

Re:I tried that (1)

ktappe (747125) | more than 7 years ago | (#16984482)

How do you go into single user mode?
Hold down Command-S while (re)booting.

-Kurt

Don't Bother (3, Informative)

quanticle (843097) | more than 7 years ago | (#16979148)

Is X11 really that much better than Aqua? I don't think so. Remember, Aqua has been optimized for Mac hardware. X11 (unless you've compiled it yourself) probably hasn't been optimized to as great of an extent. You can try switching, but I don't think you'll se much of an improvement with X11 vs. Aqua.

Re:Don't Bother (1)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 7 years ago | (#16979236)

X11 is a hell of a lot less eyecandy and resource heavy than Aqua. X11 has been running since the 80s- computers didn't have as much total memory then as your smallest program likely does now.

Re:Don't Bother (1)

quanticle (843097) | more than 7 years ago | (#16979368)

X11 has also been worked upon since the '80s. That means about 20 years of cruft, vs. Aqua's 6. I'm just saying that X11 today isn't the same X11 from the '80s.

Re:Don't Bother (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16979454)

Aqua has more than 6. Remember, OS X is just the most recent version of NeXT.

Re:Don't Bother (2, Interesting)

maynard (3337) | more than 7 years ago | (#16979498)

What are you smoking? DPS (and the more recent OS X variant DPDF) goes back to 1988, with the introduction of NeXTSTep on the NeXT cube [wikipedia.org] . Mac OS X is really just NeXTStep. Aqua, however, is an Apple addition and - IMO - is a real improvement. But it's also a resource hog.

Re:Don't Bother (3, Informative)

mpaque (655244) | more than 7 years ago | (#16979852)

DPS (and the more recent OS X variant DPDF) goes back to 1988, with the introduction of NeXTSTep on the NeXT cube [wikipedia.org].

The Mac OS X window system and the Quartz and PDF rendering layers are completely new in Mac OS X, and do not share any code with the Display PostScript system from NeXTSTEP.

Re:Don't Bother (1)

maynard (3337) | more than 7 years ago | (#16979922)

That's a fair point. However, you must admit that within the context of Aqua+DPDF vs. X11 for performance on old hardware, to bring up the historical significance of DPS on NeXTStep is fair. DPS worked great on that old hardware - just as did X11. Which is not to diminish the advances of Aqua on modern 3D accelerated hardware.

1991 "fast" isn't 2006 "fast" (1)

seawall (549985) | more than 7 years ago | (#16980872)

> DPS worked great on that old hardware - just as did X11.

  True to a point but I do have some old hardware around and I used to have WAY
more patience back in the day; "fast" response then isn't even slow response now.

  In particular I remember sitting at a NeXT cube and going "WOW! This will be
GREAT! as soon as they speed it up to something useable!"...but, like the Mac
before it, those speedups were a looooooong time coming. Even at the time the
NeXT was slow at its introduction (in part because getting a model with a hard
drive was like pulling teeth; you run the NeXT OS off a Magneto-optic drive and
it's gonna be slow).

  Speedups have been nowhere near linear with better hardware but Aqua on my
G4 laptop spins circles around X11 on a Sun 4/110. ....and as for the relationship between NeXT-step and Aqua;
an awful lot of those Aqua functions start with "NS"....and I'm pretty sure
NS doesn't stand for "New Stuff"!

Re:Don't Bother (2, Informative)

muuh-gnu (894733) | more than 7 years ago | (#16979332)

> Aqua has been optimized for Mac hardware. X11 (unless you've compiled it yourself) probably hasn't been optimized to as great of an extent.

Thats bullshit.

How do you think you can "optimize" some widget library for the hardware? You either have drivers for the graphic card running or you dont. Just recompiling some text editor doesnt "glue" it more to the underlying hardware. Or, by going with your logic, why couldnt someone just offer an "optimized" version of X for the Mac hardware in the first place?

Re:Don't Bother (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16979778)

Incorrect, recompiling a text editor (suppose it was a static build) may glue it closer to the hardware if the libraries used were rewritten to take advantage of features such as Core Image, Quartz Extreme etc.

Remember that OS X does the majority of the rendering leg work with the GPU using OpenGL, not in a software rendering layer. X11 is way behind on this, maybe XGL will level the playing field.

The original poster was confusing Aqua with Quartz which is the system that does the rendering, Aqua is just a Look & Feel.

Also have a look at http://www.misplaced.net/fom/X11/8.html [misplaced.net] which is the Quartz enhanced WM designed for X11 on OS X. So yes, someone did offer an optimized system, or at least part of it and look at http://developers.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=752 57&cid=6734612 [slashdot.org] (a post by one of the Quartz developers) which talks about why Quartz was chosen over X11.

So really to the point, X11 is NOT optimized for mac hardware, doesn't render like Quartz, and doesn't use the GPU like Quartz Extreme.

Re:Don't Bother (1)

jZnat (793348) | more than 7 years ago | (#16982114)

New CPUs have new assembler op codes available, and ever since MMX, SIMD (useful for graphics-related processing for one) has been enhanced with each new CPU. Programs that can use SSE, for example, can take advantage of native op codes for SIMD rather than emulating it with a lot more code.

Re:Don't Bother (1)

BenjyD (316700) | more than 7 years ago | (#16982824)

Aqua is optimised for the hardware in that it is drawn using the 3d hardware of the graphics card. That's why things like window dragging are so much smoother under Aqua than X11.

Re:Don't Bother (2, Informative)

seebs (15766) | more than 7 years ago | (#16983224)

Well, actually, that would be rather wrong. One of the innovations of OS X's GUI is closer tie-ins with the rendering hardware; the GUI really does make more direct use of the GPU than a typical X11 interface does. The X11 interface is written in very generic terms to make rendering calls which are then handled in an optimized way... But it's still a bunch of separate rendering calls. Aqua knows quite a bit about what GPU features are necessarily available to it, and tweaks the GPU directly.

On the other hand, an X11 interface may well be enough simpler to more than make up the difference.

Why bother? (2, Insightful)

chrisv (12054) | more than 7 years ago | (#16979172)

Yes, there are already comments along the lines of "why use OS X if you're not going to use Aqua?"; that's basically what it amounts to. You get few, if any, benefits from ditching Aqua if you're still running OS X - the only thing that you get from it is the drivers that came with the system in the first place, and if that's all you want, you can always run Darwin instead and copy in the necessary kexts for the hardware that doesn't already have drivers with it, especially since, under the hood, Darwin and OS X are the same, except that Darwin comes configured to run primarily as a *nix-type command-line based system instead of as a desktop with a nice GUI.

Could it be done? Yes, but it would probably take a larger investment of time to figure out how to remove or disable the stuff you don't want than it would be to start from a system that comes ready to run the way you want it anyway.

Re:Why bother? (1)

delire (809063) | more than 7 years ago | (#16983692)

You get few, if any, benefits from ditching Aqua if you're still running OS X
There may be benefits. OS X is extremely resource intensive and has terrible memory management. A fine place to start if you're interested in a performant machine would be to strip back Aqua.

I work with 3D alot and have been surprised by just how much of an under-acheiver OS X is (Core Duo or PPC) compared to a Linux install on the same machine. OS X won't ever compete with Linux in 3D workstation market until it makes it easier to get rid of the bling. The last thing I want on a graphics workstation is having my graphics memory full of texture data and my GPU running hot on some vector math - before I even begin 3D modeling.

>console (1)

adavies42 (746183) | more than 7 years ago | (#16979208)

You can log in as >console, and get to a pure text interface. I assume you can run X from there, though I've never actually tried.

I've been bypassing Aqua for ages... (5, Funny)

Channard (693317) | more than 7 years ago | (#16979212)

.. ever since I heard 'Barbie Girl' in fact.

It's possible (5, Informative)

the_humeister (922869) | more than 7 years ago | (#16979214)

But you're better off using something else (eg some Linux variant, BSD, etc.)

However, if you really want to try, do the following:

1) open /etc/ttys. The first two lines that begin with "console" has one which is commented out. Uncomment that one and comment out the second one. Now the next time you reboot, you'll enter the console directly

2) Install XDarwin [xdarwin.org] , which can be started from the command-line as opposed to the X that Apple provides which can only be started alongside Aqua.

Have fun, but it's not really that interesting.

Yes, it's possible (5, Informative)

baryon351 (626717) | more than 7 years ago | (#16979226)

Since there is a fully functional BSD variant under the hood, is it possible (using X11.app, darwinports, and/or Fink) to boot to a command line and simply startx? Would it use less RAM to bypass Aqua?"

Yes, it's possible. At least, it was a few years ago, when I first installed KDE via fink then logged in at the login prompt as user ">console" (with no password) and performed a startx. I didn't use it for a terribly long time as a KDE-only box, and it was more an experiment to see what was possible - but it worked just like any other KDE setup. I didn't use Apple's own X11, but had XDarwin installed instead.

A note too - Aqua is only the default theme with OSX, and just describes the look of the OSX GUI. Quartz is the engine underneath that performance depends on. There was no noticeable difference in speed with XDarwin over Quartz, but perhaps that could be improved with more work on XDarwin.

Heathen (-1, Offtopic)

bar-agent (698856) | more than 7 years ago | (#16979268)

Sacrilege! Burn the unbeliever! Burrrnnn him!!!

Re:Heathen (1)

cheese-cube (910830) | more than 7 years ago | (#16981280)

I think the only thing around here that will be burning is your karma.

Re:Heathen (1)

bar-agent (698856) | more than 7 years ago | (#16981442)

You turned out to be correct, sir.

Re:Heathen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16983834)

Oh for crying out loud! This was a joke! It wasn't off topic. It was a funny post! Will you damn moderators pull you heads out of your asses and pay attention here? This is why I no longer post what I believe to be funny or true information on slashdot anymore. The damn moderators have their heads so far up their asses that they cannot even see simple humor. Combine that with their ignorance of the topics' threads and their elitist views of the world and you get piss poor moderation.

MODERATORS: Grow the fsck up!

Re:Heathen (1)

pbailey (225135) | more than 7 years ago | (#16984594)

Just a thought here, but you would probably get a better response from moderators if you didn't log in as Anonymous Coward.

What for? (3, Insightful)

kosmosik (654958) | more than 7 years ago | (#16979270)

What for you would like to do it? Just for the sake of it? None of Apple/OSX strenghts would really show up in such setup:

1. Drivers - If you need, a decent BSD with X11 go use FreeBSD and craft yourself hardware that works with FreeBSD. It should not be hard to specify a set of fully working hardware with great drivers for FreeBSD. I think you have much more options with PC hardware and FreeBSD (working decently) than with OSX. Or maybe go Linux, not much different from BSD really.

2. Software - None of OSX software (such like Photoshop, Office etc.) will work under X11. And in fact it is less decently packaged X11 software than for FreeBSD or Linux.

3. Support, quality etc. - you won't get any of this from Apple in such setup. With FreeBSD or Linux you will get decent quality and community support because running kernel and userspace/X11 on top of it is what we do with Linux/FreeBSD.

So I don't really see benefits of such setup. Go get yourself decent PC or laptop with supported hardware. Install FreeBSD or Linux on it and you will have that what you are seeking in quite polished form.

Re:What for? (1)

Ash-Fox (726320) | more than 7 years ago | (#16979472)

Drivers - If you need, a decent BSD with X11 go use FreeBSD and craft yourself hardware that works with FreeBSD. It should not be hard to specify a set of fully working hardware with great drivers for FreeBSD. I think you have much more options with PC hardware and FreeBSD (working decently) than with OSX. Or maybe go Linux, not much different from BSD really.
I have never gotten 3d acceleration working in FreeBSD on PPC Macs. I do notice the difference in the desktop speed when I don't have them on X11.

Re:What for? (1)

maynard (3337) | more than 7 years ago | (#16979516)

Why do you need 3D acceleration on an old Mac? Most of them never had 3D hardware support anyway. 2D acceleration is perfectly fine for good X11 performance.

Re:What for? (1)

Ash-Fox (726320) | more than 7 years ago | (#16979762)

Why do you need 3D acceleration on an old Mac?
Mainly for faster task switching (I don't really notice any redrawing taking place) and being able to play movie files (hardware overlay support provided by 3d accelerated drivers).
Most of them never had 3D hardware support anyway.
Never owned one that old.
2D acceleration is perfectly fine for good X11 performance.
Perhaps it is for you, but I don't like staring at the screen redrawing.

Re:What for? (1)

maynard (3337) | more than 7 years ago | (#16979820)

An old g3 with a good Rage 128 might have enough horsepower to display an mpeg. But step down to older hardware, and forget it. 2D acceleration for lines and fills was the standard for NuBus video cards from that era (early to late nineties) And before that it was just a flat frame buffer.

Re:What for? (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 7 years ago | (#16980026)

An old g3 with a good Rage 128 might have enough horsepower to display an mpeg.

I think you mean that the old G3 might have enough horsepower to display an MPEG, or maybe not. I don't think you'd be using any special technology with the Rage.

I don't think ATI had on-chip MPEG decoding until Radeon. Even then, Apple's record for taking advantage of GPU accellerated MPEG decoding was spotty at times. My G4 mini didn't use its GPU MPEG decoder for DVD playback, it used more than half the CPU. This is compared to a PIIIm Windows notebook of similar CPU power but with a much older Radeon that barely used any CPU at all.

Re:What for? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16980438)

Hardware overlays are NOT provided by 3D hardware, it part of the
2D accelaration. It is no better today on a top end 3D card than
it was almost 10 years ago on a good 2D card.

Hardware overlays is a 2D blittler that puts YUV video on top of whatever the video card is outputting.

Re:What for? (1)

Ash-Fox (726320) | more than 7 years ago | (#16980528)

Hardware overlays are NOT provided by 3D hardware, it part of the
2D accelaration. It is no better today on a top end 3D card than
it was almost 10 years ago on a good 2D card.
Interesting, but, I can only recall ever getting overlays working when I got 3d acceleration working.

Re:What for? (1)

kosmosik (654958) | more than 7 years ago | (#16979788)

PPC Macs are out. ;) Didn't you know that?

just install Linux (3, Interesting)

oohshiny (998054) | more than 7 years ago | (#16979344)

There are several Linux distros for Mac hardware, just install one of those. I'd give regular Ubuntu [ubuntulinux.org] a choice, and if that's too heavy-weight, try Xubuntu [xubuntu.org] .

Ubuntu comes with a lot of software pre-installed, it feels a lot more responsive than OS X on the same hardware, and it has very much a Mac-like feel. I'm running it on an old iMac and have been quite happy with it.

Not so cut and dry. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16979520)

What you're talking about doing practically speaking wouldn't allow you to run any of the GUI apps that come with OS X or those that are sold for it. If you take that away it's not really OS X. As some have already said, one wonders what the point of that is.

There's no way of knowing what part of the system is the cause of your performance issues without profiling it. ( You could do a 'System Trace' with the latest version of Shark. )

Aqua is part of the Apple HIG. It defines what UI elements look like and how they behave but the name does not refer to an implementation. Apple ships at least two implementations of many UI elements in their Carbon and Cocoa frameworks.

'Older' machines generally performed adequately with the software that shipped with them. Meanwhile every new Apple OS requires more cycles from the machines it's installed on. This is to be expected. I'm betting that the source of your problems is that you're running a 10.4 with all kinds of add-ons on a Mac that first shipped with 10.1 Even with more RAM I'd expect this to be slow.

-Harv

MacOnLinux (1)

davidwr (791652) | more than 7 years ago | (#16979768)

A few years ago, I had my PPC Mac booting to Yellow Dog Linux and ran MacOS under Mac On Linux [maconlinux.org] .

It wasn't perfect but when it did run it ran well.

All my "usual" apps like OpenOffice and browsers ran in Linux without the Mac overhead. When I needed a Mac app, I could fire it up under MacOnLinux.

MacOnLinux hasn't been updated in a couple of years now. With the demise of the PowerPC Mac I wouldn't hold your breath.

YES YOU CAN (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16979836)

Ive been a new mac user for the past 2 years. About a month ago, I had a day to play with my macbook.

I totally disabled Aqua, and got X running, etc... I don't know about gnome or KDE as window managers, but I did use the X session and ran a WHOLE Fedora desktop remotly off the network, which involved starting X, using Xauth, and then playing with all those initalization scripts on my linux box I was launching the session from.

Looked pretty sweet, but still, limited app functionality due to either a) not being supported by fink, and b) try compiling alot of your normal Xwindows apps on a macbook, even with the Xcode tools goodluck matching all the dependancies...

I R Stephen, and this is my 2 cents...

Use the force (play with the X commands after you configure the box to boot into console mode)

And so you bought a mac because? (4, Insightful)

coaxial (28297) | more than 7 years ago | (#16979974)

Why would you want to do this? Seriously. Why? You bought a mac, but you want to remove all the mac specific stuff from it. Why didn't you save you're money and just by a PC and install linux on it. If you're not using the mac apps, (and let's be honest, Darwin doesn't count. It's just another BSD clone, which is essentially just another unix.) then you bought the hardware to look cool. If you absolutely have to look cool, but not run any of the macosx apps, then just dual boot.

The whole point of a unix guy owning a mac is that it's unix in all the way he wants (command line, symlinks, standard unix tools) and none of the ways he doesn't (insmod, recompiliing kernels, fucking with wpasupplicant and buggy ass drivers). It Just Works(tm). You seem bent on ignoring THE advantage of the mac, and turning it into just another piece of commodity hardware, only at luxury prices. It's absolutely pointless.

Re:And so you bought a mac because? (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 7 years ago | (#16980106)

The article wasn't about the new machines but the older ones. The new machines, even the cheapest ones sold new, run OS X exceedingly well, though it helps to have a good amount of memory. Given that memory is pretty cheap for the most part, I don't think that's really a problem.

Re:And so you bought a mac because? (1)

Epicyon (777863) | more than 7 years ago | (#16980284)

I think you hit the nail on the head, although maybe not intentionally. I'm also wanting to replace the Aqua interface with X while still using OS X. The reason? Customization. I don't want to give up all of the "It Just Works(tm)" stuff in order to tweak the UI to a degree I enjoy. I'm running OS X on an intel Mac and am quite happy with it. The one niggling lack is the inability to tweak my UI in the same way I can with X. I do have another laptop running debian which I've enjoyed tweaking and use for quite a bit. And I'm sure this will set off a storm, but I don't feel I can rely on OpenOffice (specifically) or wine to get some of proprietary work done day to day. OO.o died 4 times Monday afternoon while trying to create a document. (It seemed to happen during a cut and past operation from IE6 under Wine, which I realize is a bit iffy in the first place.) But my point being, I don't yet have the confidence in the available applications to do day to day work, that I can get done under OS X. I don't want to completely remove Aqua, but rather have the ability to disable as needed.

Re:And so you bought a mac because? (1)

chill (34294) | more than 7 years ago | (#16981928)

By "It just works", are you referring to hardware and drivers or software?

If software, will it run without Aqua? I mean, can you get something like iTunes or GarageBand to run under X?

If hardware, well...you should have just run Linux. I mean, if you want "It just works" then just buy known-supported hardware. The reason "It just works" on Mac is because Apple controls the hardware. You won't have to fiddle with driver one if you do some homework on what is supported under Linux, first.

My last couple of machines I purchases/built had no issues what-so-ever with hardware and drivers. It all just worked.

  Charles

Re:And so you bought a mac because? (1)

Epicyon (777863) | more than 7 years ago | (#16985344)

Hardware and drivers for the most part. The current challenge I'm working on is EAP-TLS with wpa_supplicant on the debian box. It's far more straightforward and reliable on OS X or even XP. I don't mean to imply I'm trying to use Apple apps under X. I'm willing to switch over as necessary to Aqua. But a considerable amount of work is done in Terminal or makes use of apps which aren't Apple specific and work just fine under X. I've considered replacing OS X with a linux distro, and likely will once I'm confident I can get the day to day work done I need.

Re:And so you bought a mac because? (1)

Pink Tinkletini (978889) | more than 7 years ago | (#16984682)

Aqua is quite customizeable, thanks to Objective-C and the Cocoa framework's highly dynamic runtime. Look up method swizzling and class posing and learn how to tweak every last aspect of your desktop. Mind-blowing stuff there.

Re:And so you bought a mac because? (1, Informative)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 7 years ago | (#16982962)

``And so you bought a mac because?''

Maybe because he likes the hardware? I know that's why I've been buying iBooks (unfortunately, they have been discontinued). Good battery life, easy to carry, well supported by Linux, and, as far as I can tell, pretty durable.

You may run Apple's own X11 server on Aqua (1, Insightful)

Eravnrekaree (467752) | more than 7 years ago | (#16980174)

It is possible to run an X server on Mac OS X that will display all of your X applications straight to your Aqua desktop. This way you can run Aqua and X11 applications side by side, and it is very easy to get it running. For more information:

http://www.apple.com/macosx/features/x11/ [apple.com]

Re:You may run Apple's own X11 server on Aqua (1)

eratosthene (605331) | more than 7 years ago | (#16981016)

Wow, are you an Apple marketing exec? You've ignored the whole point of the question (as ill-advised as it is), which was to run X11 *without* running Aqua. I think just about everybody on this site knows you can run X apps under OSX.

other services (2, Informative)

fermion (181285) | more than 7 years ago | (#16980540)

I have OS X running on older G4 machines. I find the X11 performance on these machines, for instance OO.org, to as bad as the OS X performance, although the performance of most applications is good. Really, the only applications that are horrible are the iLife application, which run slow even on the high end G4 machines.

I will say this. Make sure that services that do not need to run, like the dock or Apache, are not running. If you want to run X11, things like emacs are great, if you get to know to use them. There is really no reason to not have most things running in X11, although I have gotten used to mail.app.

Of course, the big issue in these machines seems to be memory. *nix likes memory and always has. It has seldom been the OS for small footprints. Most G4 macs can accommodate at least 512 MB, and if you running a G3 mac, you likely have other difficulties.

Re:other services (1)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 7 years ago | (#16983110)

``*nix likes memory and always has. It has seldom been the OS for small footprints.''

Must be because it was originally written on a lowly, mostly abandoned PDP-7. Seriously, I'd argue that *nix systems are pretty light as operating systems go. Even today, you can get *nix systems to run in under a megabyte of memory (e.g. MINIX 2).

``Most G4 macs can accommodate at least 512 MB, and if you running a G3 mac, you likely have other difficulties.''

My desktop setup normally uses around 128 MB of RAM, and CPU speed isn't much of an issue. I am confident that, if I had a G3 Mac, I could work on it comfortably (I only have a 6100 and a G4, though). Of course, if you run memory-hungry things like desktop environments, OpenOffice.org, Firefox, etc. you will need more memory.

What I would like to know (2, Funny)

Geoffreyerffoeg (729040) | more than 7 years ago | (#16980734)

is if it's possible to run Aqua / Quartz apps rootless on an X11 desktop (exactly the opposite of what X11.app does). This way I can use xlogin, GNOME, etc. for the default desktop UI, but still be able to run Mac-specific programs.

Re:What I would like to know (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16982242)

no it isn't possible.

Re:What I would like to know (2, Informative)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 7 years ago | (#16982500)

It's not exactly what you asked, but I just wanted to point out that, if you run Linux on a PowerPC Mac, you can run OS X (and OS 9, and earlier) apps. Using Mac-on-Linux [maconlinux.org] , you can boot other Power Mac operating systems in their own virtual machines.

aqua is fine for older machines (0, Offtopic)

steak (145650) | more than 7 years ago | (#16981384)

i have a pismo powerbook [everymac.com] and os x 10.3.9 works fine. granted not as good as my moms shiny new macbook. but it still runs surprisingly well for a 6 year old laptop.

Here is how to use X11 on Mac (1)

Ilgaz (86384) | more than 7 years ago | (#16983120)

1)Get YDL from http://www.terrasoftsolutions.com/tss_home.shtml [terrasoftsolutions.com]

2) Have fun on your X11 running optimised PPC Linux

Sorry but why don't we discuss the Disk image mounting exploit ( http://www.reghardware.co.uk/2006/11/22/mac_zero_d ay_bug/ [reghardware.co.uk] ) , some real stupid "Spyware experiment" ( http://www.reghardware.co.uk/2006/11/24/mac_os_x_a dware/ [reghardware.co.uk] ) on Slashdot Apple?

I understand the slow news due to Thanksgiving but I can't figure the meaning of discussing of X11 on Apple hardware. Yes, if you have nothing to do with Aqua, better install/run Darwin or Yellow Dog Linux.

If you want Apple frameworks, desktop technology, run X11 Aqua on OS X.

Have a nice day

Just run NetBSD (1)

bplipschitz (265300) | more than 7 years ago | (#16986642)

It's a real PITA to install, but once you're there I think you'll be happy. Whether to install Linux or BSD depends upon what you're going to do with the machine.

I've got a couple of Macs running NetBSD, and they are quite responsive.

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