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Questions and Answers

Your Questions About X11 Mac

April 1, 2013

Jenny asks…

What is a free program/software I can shrink photos with and add text?

For MAC, please!
I downloaded Gimp, but I got this error: Failed to start X11. Gimp.app requires Apple’s X11

My Mac is version 10.4.11…

Where can I find a version of Gimp for MY Mac?!?!?

Administrator answers:

GIMP is an acronym for GNU Image Manipulation Program. It is a freely distributed program for such tasks as photo retouching, image composition and image authoring.

It has many capabilities. It can be used as a simple paint program, an expert quality photo retouching program, an online batch processing system, a mass production image renderer, an image format converter, etc.

GIMP is expandable and extensible. It is designed to be augmented with plug-ins and extensions to do just about anything. The advanced scripting interface allows everything from the simplest task to the most complex image manipulation procedures to be easily scripted.

GIMP is written and developed under X11 on UNIX platforms. But basically the same code also runs on MS Windows and Mac OS X.

I have used this, and it works very well-I would suggest this to anyone!

Steven asks…

How is Linux different from Windows?

Administrator answers:

Linux itself is the kernel of an operating system which allows you to run programs such as GNU Tools and X-Windows which together make up the GNU Linux operating system. As such it is slightly more forgiving than UNIX but otherwise often indistinguishable.

This results in the two essential differences: many people say Linux itself is not the OS (using Linux now in the sense that you are) but the various distributions are the Operating Systems. Linus Torvalds himself says that Distros are just an easy way to put Linux on your computer and I like to say, Linux is a Do It Yourself Operating System kit. Fiddle with it long enough and you will be reading documents and getting support for making changes which Microsoft and Apple would treat you as criminal for making on their OSes. And of course you may find yourself occasionally using UNIX and having a hard time telling the difference.

And that is the other essential difference. Linux and Unix assume you WILL poke around. I have a Compaq Armada 7792 DMT laptop vintage 1998 which I got from a friend a few years ago I’ve just finishing updating Gentoo on. It ran Gentoo when I got it but I had debian on it for a while before reinstalling gentoo. I’ve had to freeze the kernel I use at 2.6.21 even though this more modern machine is using 2.6.28 (release candidate 9 since 28 is not out yet) and no, if you mean knowledgeable I am not a nerd. Even if you use Ubuntu, most drivers come with the kernel and are installed with it. I believe Nvidia and some wireless providers supply their own drivers to Linux for various reasons (though the wireless providers usually have drivers/firmware that runs in ndiswrapper or madwifi) butt even so Linux is not always plug and play and it is not uncommon, even in Ubuntu, to edit the xorg.config file to TELL X-windows what video driver to use for your computer (though the prefered way to tell it in Ubuntu is run dpkg-reconfigure xserver-x11 and on gentoo or slackware xorgconfig or xorgcfg).

The irony for me was, I learned Windows Linux and the Mac OS simultaneously in college, couldn’t afford a computer for a while when I left, got a free UNIX account to practice programming, then when I could afford a computer my experiences on Windows vs my experiences on my UNIX account led me to purchase Red Hat 7.0 and I haven’t looked back (before red hat split up into fedora and rhel they sometimes sold copies of their os for forty dollars apiece). As I got more involved with Linux my understanding of what an operating system was changed and grew more flexible. I found myself thinking about the computer room monitor at college who when I asked what OS he ran said “It used to be Linux but I changed it”. Most Unixes use many of the same packages, and the story goes about a senior programmer at Sun Microsystems who assigned to port an important program from Solaris, their UNIX to Linux, returned with it in a very few hours and when asked how he did it said “Very simple. I just typed make” (in other words it compiled without change and the binary created by the Linux-compiled version tested as running without obvious bad side effects — even though he hadn’t altered the source code in any way).

That leads to what is the toughest to understand difference: Open Source. It is a survival of the attitudes and customs of the time when computers were so expensive the only way anyone could afford software was for everyone who could afford it to maintain a programmer who worked with the manufacturer’s programmers to maintain and customize code which was provided for free. In other words to the REAL Open Source people who have been around from the start MICROSOFT and Wall Street are the ones with the new-fangled ideas which are going to ruin everything. It is assumed that Open Source companies like Ubuntu Mozilla and Red hat will have trademarked and copyrighted material, such as the graphics which with consulting and customizing they will make money off of. Also selling proprietary programs on *nix is not the end of the world — given what the man said about the program he ported, there was no reason at the time for Sun to publish the source code and allow anyone to compile it — unless they wanted to — because the copyleft says IF YOUR PROGRAM WILL NOT RUN without open source libraries, it must be open source. And obviously he had access to libraries which were not open source on Solaris which were not open source but which would run it too. EDIT: if you can compile and run your program on another compiler, including Visual C++, Borland/Turbo C++, or Digital Mars C/C++ unchanged and without Open Source Libraries there is no reason you have to publish your code and allow free redistribution of it even if you developed it on GCC which is an Open Source Program. There are Open Source Programs on Windows (though you can be fired for using any of them on the Microsoft Campus). And there are proprietary programs for *nix like Cedega and Crossover Express which run Windows games on Linux. In fact, many games use *nix and open source software for development but do not publish source code (though those that do often face a serious problem of people pirating the images, game maps and so forth which they do not have the right to because they are explicitly not covered by the copyleft which is the Foss license — most people don’t appreciate the distinction).

Linux in other words is part of a whole different culture from Windows.

Linda asks…

Does anyone know a good alternative for picture editing on Macs?

I used Microsoft Picture It! on my PC and loved it, but cannot find anything similar for macs thats freeware

Administrator answers:

Http://www.gimp.org It’s really powerful- it’s trying to be a competitor for Photoshop and it’s free. It is a Unix app, not a Mac app so it requires X11 (if you have Leopard or Snow Leopard, it’s already on your computer)

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