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December 23, 2005

More Mac Peeves

Filed under: — Sven @ 18:48 IST

First of all, X11 on the Mac sucks. It crashes form time to time, unlike on Debian. Its full screen mode sometimes killed my entire system! I don’t use Mac’s X11 in full screen mode anymore.

My X11 applications include locally run xterm, remotely run GNU Emacs built from CVS, and a few remote programs running from Mac servers. They go on the left side of the screen. On the right goes Safari, FireFox, Mail, iTunes and any other Mac applications I need. As my fingers do act up from time to time I try not to use the keyboard when I can; it bugs the hell out of me that I seem to be forced to use the Copy and Paste keyboard bindings when in the Dashboard.

Most of the time I do stuff from within X11, it’s great! Left click to copy, center to paste, no menus or keyboard. I will admit that on the Mac it’s cool that you can highlight text you want to blow away without clobbering your clipboard. Then I have to copy something from a Mac application on the right side of the screen. Apple’s Edit menu is on the left. Miles roll off my mouse’s odometer going up to that edit menu.

So, I thought, lets switch. X11 or the right, Mac on the left. As I said, most of the time I’m in X11. When composing long SQL queries, or viewing the results, it’s quite nice to make the terminal wider. I don’t want to full screen this thing as that would cover up my Perl code in Emacs. With X11 on the left side of the screen things work great as Apple places the drag resize thingy on the lower right of the window. Now with X11 stuff on the right side of the screen I have to move the window between resizing it.

Several X11 window managers offer ways to maximize terminals horizontally or vertically, usually by using a different button on the maximize button. No matter which button I click the ⊕ icon with on the Mac, it fills upt the entire screen. I guess I should use another window Manager then Apple’s, but when tried that a few months ago for a different reason it kept crashing Apple’s X11 after a few hours. I would ask about installing GNU/Linux on it but I need same Mac for some applications including Office (shudder) at work. Perhaps there is a way to reverse what’s on the Menu bar, or to put the Menu bar on the application.

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