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11 posts


Topic # 26384 20-Sep-2008 22:44
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I have missed not having Freehand since I upgraded to the newer iMac which doesn't support OS 9. Recently I discovered "inkscape" which is a free vector graphics program. I downloaded this but on running it, it wants to know where X11 is.

I've looked on my installation discs, but can't seem to find it. Tried the Apple site and thought I had found it, but when downloaded it seemed to disappear.

Would be grateful for a little explanation and help.

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812 posts

Ultimate Geek
+1 received by user: 13


  Reply # 165895 20-Sep-2008 23:47
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Hi John,

The Mac OSX is based on BSD, which is loosely "a kind of Unix". X11 is the traditional *nix GUI platform from the olden days. I think it still persists to this day but I've seen it called XFree86 these days - I'm a bit muddled about the details these days so I'm sure someone will correct me.

Basically Inkscape is built on top of X11, as opposed to Mac OS X's native Cocoa framework. What version of OSX have you got? It should already come with X11. IIRC Inkscape is downloadable as a Mac binary, isn't it? Are you compiling from sources?


Android user, software developer, a semi-typical (not a gamer) geek, and a Bernese Mountain Dog nut! |

80 posts

Master Geek

  Reply # 165999 21-Sep-2008 12:47
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Indeed X11 is ONE of the various builds of "The X server" or "Xorg Server", "XFree86" "X11" etc etc etc. The main problem with running FREE software on Macs is that they don't want you to, just the same as they don't want you to be able to virtualize the MacOSX Operating System, it's extremely difficult to install MacOSX in a virtual machine.

To my knowledge (And I don't know much about MacOSX in terms of it's code and how it's written because it's closed source) MacOSX DOES use a variation of the "Xorg Server" to run it's GUI but it isn't one of the freely available, open source versions, it's a MacOSX specific release. You'll find that SOME free software will run on MacOSX but not all of it, especially when you're talking about image manipulation software, it needs to "HOOK INTO" the X11/Xorg Server and if it can't find the appropriate hooks it just won't work.

Not sure if you've already seen it or not, you may even be the person who posted the original comment, I'm unsure, but a quick google search brought this link up :

Take a look there and you may find your answer. :D


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  Reply # 166129 21-Sep-2008 23:52
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Thank you, guys, for coming to my rescue.

I have followed all the links suggested, but apologise for not originally indicated that I am currently running OS 10.4.11. The links seem to point towards OS 10.5.

As I said earlier, I thought I had downloaded X11, but I subsequently can't find it on my HD. And Inkscape can't find it, either.

Any suggestions for another less picky vector drawing program?

80 posts

Master Geek

  Reply # 166142 22-Sep-2008 07:15
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Hi John,

unfortunately to my knwoledge the only two vector drawing programs on earth that are actually worth their salt are Inkscape and Adobe Freehand, my partner used to use something in the Corel suite of programs as well but I'm unsure.

You could always try running a virtual machine on your Mac, install a program called Virtualbox made by Sun, then install Linux on that (Really easy to install, I recommend a distribution called Mandriva, because it will automatically work without any toying in the Virtual Machine), then just install inkscape through the Linux distributions Package Manager, which should just be a case of opening the add/remove programs feature of the distribution, typing "inkscape" into the search field and clicking the result to install.

Let me know how you get on.

112 posts

Master Geek

  Reply # 166318 22-Sep-2008 16:52
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Another Vector Art program I stumbled across is LineForm 
I dont do vector stuff much, but this has won a bunch of awards and from the simple things I've done with it, it seems pretty good. Might be a solution?

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  Reply # 166386 22-Sep-2008 21:38
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Thanks everyone for your suggestions. Some were a bit too involved for me, so I finally followed up Patrick's suggestion and tried Lineform. It looked to be good enough for my purposes and loaded and ran without problems.

Not a free program, of course, but I was pleased to note that it is currently on special so bought it for US$50.

Just as a final P.S. though, I still haven't found any reference on my HD to the location of X11 -- which I tried to download again only to be given the response that "this upgrade is not needed at this time"! (Presumably because the latest X11 is already in there!

Very mysterious -- but at least now I don't have to bother.

Cheers all.

112 posts

Master Geek

  Reply # 166443 23-Sep-2008 08:06
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I think it generally hides in the Developer folder at the root of your OS X drive. I installed what I think is the X11 toolkit, and that folder appeared, so I think thats it Smile

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Wannabe Geek

  Reply # 168663 2-Oct-2008 17:03
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If you have a Tiger install disk, you shoud install X11 with the SDK.
My X11 (used to run gimp) is in my Applications folder and I have a Developer folder that contains SDK and X11 inside.
If you coldn't find the installer, follow this link:
or directly get the version 1.0 from apple: update to 1.1.3 :
it is freeware
good luck!

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