Using MI/X, the MicroImages X-Windows Server to run X-Windows applications on a Mac running Mac OS 9

  1. Typically, an X-windows server is only going to be of use to someone who wants to make use of software running on a Unix host, so you will have to have an account on a unix host. Mac OS X boxes are Unix hosts, although to run X-windows software they need to have the very useful XDarwin software installed.[Update: As of Mac OS X 10.2, Apple's own X11 implementation is included and XDarwin is no longer needed.]
  2. Open a telnet or ssh connection to the host you want to run your applications on. (BetterTelnet 2 is a good Mac OS 9 telnet program, and MacSSH is a good Mac OS 9 ssh client. You could search on VersionTracker for them if you need them.)
  3. Start MI/X on your Mac. Make sure that in MI/X's preferences that the host you want to run your applications on has access to connect to your Mac.
  4. Find out the IP number (or name) of your Mac. There is a menu command in BetterTelnet that will show your IP number. Then in your telnet or ssh connection to the unix host, type:
    setenv DISPLAY 192.168.0.1:0

    Obviously you will have to replace the 192.168.0.1 in the above example with your IP number. Note that this command is CASE SENSITIVE, and don't forget the trailing 0. If you are on a dialup connection, you can use the domain name for your dialup connection, eg:
    setenv DISPLAY myhost.dyndns.org:0
  5. Use the telnet/ssh connection to the unix host to start x applications. I prefer to start by launching an xterm:
    xterm &

    The trailing & command starts the x app in a separate process so that you can still use your shell. If you start the rest of your applications from the xterm, they should display just fine.
  6. You will find the following commands useful for dealing with applications that are running in the background on the unix host: jobs, ps, fg, bg, kill -9. Type
    man jobs
    to see its help page.

Useful files and links:

The MI X FAQ.pdf PDF version of the frequently asked questions page from the Microimages web site
mixppc.sit MicroImage's MI/X X-server for Mac OS 9 (made available here as no longer available from MicroImages.)

Philip Lamb
phil@eden.net.nz