Steven's Notebook

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OS X and Xterm

Here’s a follow-on to yesterday’s OS X Terminal tip. Folks coming to OS X from the Unix/Linux world may be wondering about Terminalan icon representing the Terminal application – why aren’t we just using Xterm? Xterm does exist on OS X systems but it requires X11 to run, while Terminal is a native application providing very similar capability. The differences are relatively minor; here are a few. $TERM is set to vt100 rather than xterm, PageUp/PageDown keystrokes are used by Terminal rather than being passed to the application, Terminal uses one process with each window getting a seperate child, and you need to use Command-C to put selections into the clipboard. Unless you’re a super Xterm jockey, I suspect that you’ll adapt pretty quickly.

If that’s not the case and you’re still wanting Xterm, you’ll need X11. To get X11 running, you’ll want to check out XFree86 and the XDarwin project (or apparently your OS X installer disk), and probably dig into chapter 7 of Mac OS X for Unix Geeks.

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