Running X11 in MacOS-window-as-X11-display mode?

raf macports at
Mon Dec 7 22:18:57 UTC 2020

On Mon, Dec 07, 2020 at 04:20:29PM -0500, Justin Vallon <justinvallon at> wrote:

> On 12/7/20 4:00 PM, joerg van den hoff wrote:
> > 
> > 
> > On 07.12.20 21:41, Justin Vallon wrote:
> > > I think that XQuartz is the X-server for MacPorts  That
> > > "full screen" mode takes over the entire display (hiding all other
> > > Mac applications).  I would like to have that X display within a Mac
> > > Window.
> > 
> > did not really follow this thread but it seems you just want to run
> > Xquartz *not* in full screen mode? I believe the alternative is called
> > "seamless mode". I am using that and the X11 window manager does then
> > leave the OSX menubar alone and you can switch to different apps with
> > command-TAB selection etc.
> My point is that there are only two options available in, but there
> is a third:
> 1) Seamless mode where each XWindow gets a MacOS Window.
> 2) Full-screen mode where X11 takes over the entire display (and does not
> show any other Mac apps, Dock, menubar, spaces doesn't work, etc)
> 3) Windowed mode where X11 opens a single window, which maps to an XDisplay.
> Inside that display, you can run a window manager, etc, in a full X11
> environment.
> Apps like Microsoft RDP, Mac Remote Desktop, VNC, etc, all have options for
> full-screen mode or (single) window mode. only has full-screen or
> seamless, but lacks single-window mode.  I believe Exceed (Windows app) has
> multi-window, single-window, and full-screen modes.
> > this works especially good with tiling X11 window managers in my view. I
> > just keep one of the OSX virtual "Spaces" desktops reserved for the X11
> > window manager and all X11 apps (including terminal emuators like xterm)
> > I use (dwm).
> I'll try using an alternate wm and spaces as you mentioned.

I was just watching a linuxconfau video from earlier
this year where the speaker used a program called
Xephyr to run an X11 desktop within an X11 window.

  "The Art of the Linux Desktop" - Simon Lees (LCA 2020)

Here are some Xephyr links:

Maybe that can do what you want (with XQuartz in non-fullscreen mode).
port search xephyr doesn't find it, though, so you might need to compile
it yourself.


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