O'Reilly logo

Learning Unix for OS X by Dave Taylor

Stay ahead with the world's most comprehensive technology and business learning platform.

With Safari, you learn the way you learn best. Get unlimited access to videos, live online training, learning paths, books, tutorials, and more.

Start Free Trial

No credit card required

Chapter 9. Of Windows and X11

OS X comes with great applications, and a trip to Apple’s App Store can bag you quite a few more, but a flood of applications are available to you solely because of OS X’s Unix core. Many of these are applications that have been around for a long time, and many are flowing in from other members of the Unix family, including Linux and FreeBSD.

What’s different about these applications is that they’re not commercial apps like Microsoft Office or Adobe Photoshop, they’re not shareware like Graphic Converter and Fetch, and they’re not free, public domain applications either. Most of the programs now available to the Mac community from Unix are part of the open source movement. These applications are free to download—including source code, if you want it—but there are constraints on what you can do with the programs, and if you’re a programmer and make any modifications to the source, you have an obligation to share those changes with the rest of the open source community. It’s a very different distribution model for software, but don’t let the lack of a price tag fool you: open source applications are often just as good (and sometimes better) than their commercial equivalents; and having distributed teams of programmers building the apps means that if you do find a bug and report it, the fix often shows up sometime the same day—a level of responsiveness that Apple and Microsoft certainly can’t match.

Much of this open source software comes from university ...

With Safari, you learn the way you learn best. Get unlimited access to videos, live online training, learning paths, books, interactive tutorials, and more.

Start Free Trial

No credit card required