Apple has released X11 for Mac OS X for download. The software is also available in-the-box with Mac OS X 10.3 (Panther).

X11 for Mac OS X is a Mac-friendly version of the X Windows system that is Panther-compatible. It allows applications based on the X11 windowing environment to run side-by-side with native OS X applications. It's a passport to bring Unix applications to Panther, as X11 sees frequent use on Unix.

The software employs the operating system's powerful Quartz graphics engine. Because Quartz uses graphics card capacity to field 2D and 3D imaging, Unix users running X11 applications using the solution see little features, such as faster text scrolling and dynamic window resizing.

Apple says its implementation of X11 offers: "The complete suite of the standard X11 display server software, client libraries and developer toolkits, X11 for Mac OS X makes it even simpler to port Linux and Unix applications to the Mac."


X11 for Mac OS X supports cut-and-paste between X11 and Aqua windows, it will minimize X11 windows to the Dock, and users can use Aqua window controls to close, minimize and zoom X11 windows.

Apple's X11 implementation combines the display and client libraries into one download and install. A public preview version of the software was released in January 2003 – 25,000 users downloaded that initial preview version within five days, Apple later confirmed.

Discussing this at that time, Apple's senior vice president of worldwide product marketing, Phil Schiller, said: "We are hard at work creating a great tools strategy for our developers. We now have one development environment that spans everything, which allows for rapid application development."