Setting up X11 as default X-windows system in Mac rather than XQuartz

Brandon Allbery allbery.b at
Fri Dec 21 08:28:54 PST 2012

On Fri, Dec 21, 2012 at 9:56 AM, Corey Cooke <cdcooke at> wrote:

> Does anyone know how to set up the X11 that is available in MacPorts to be
> the default X-windows system that automatically pops up when you ssh -X
> into another machine, or is available as a client when another user ssh's
> into your machine?  I'd like to avoid using the packaged XQuartz because it
> doesn't update automatically, etc.

Erm?  You can configure it to update automatically, I think, but you may
need to find out how to manipulate the Sparkle-related parts of its
Info.plist.  (/Applications/ or substitute
wherever it's installed).  Although it will still not be completely
automatic because it runs the interactive

In any case, to enable MacPorts' xorg-server as the default X server,
disable any current X11 plists:

    $ sudo launchctl unload
-w /Library/LaunchDaemons/org.macosforge.xquartz.privileged_startx.plist
    $ launchctl unload
-w /Library/LaunchAgents/org.macosforge.xquartz.startx.plist

    (these won't be installed on ML)
    $ sudo launchctl unload
-w /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/org.x.privileged_startx.plist
    $ launchctl unload -w /System/Library/LaunchAgents/org.x.startx.plist

Then enable the ones installed by xorg-server, which should be something
like (I can't verify currently):

    $ sudo launchctl load -w
    $ launchctl load -w /Library/LaunchAgents/org.macports.startx.plist

And log out and back in, or reboot (the LaunchAgent can only run properly
when launchd is setting up a new login).

brandon s allbery kf8nh                               sine nomine associates
allbery.b at                                  ballbery at
unix, openafs, kerberos, infrastructure, xmonad
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