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Woo, X11

I’ve been playing around with Apple’s recently released implementation of X11 for Mac OS X, and in combination with Fink it’s a fantastically powerful piece of software. All of a sudden, a huge slew of Unix applications just work nicely with OS X, and – most impressive of all – there is almost no performance hit from using an X11 app.
A prime example is AbiWord, an open source word processing package that includes many nice features, and is very easy to use. Downloading, installing and running it using X11 and Fink is easy, and on a subjective level it’s faster than Microsoft Word, which, of course, runs natively on the Mac.
At the moment, X11 apps are still not intergrated well enough with OS X to be usable for the majority of Mac users. But they will undoubtedly have an impact on the OS X software market. When you have XChat, why pay for a shareware IRC client? When Gimp is free, why pay for GraphicConvertor? At the moment, because these apps are real native ones, ease of use means going for them. but one day, that won’t be the case.

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