Getting Started in CSE 303 OS X Addendum

There are at least two ways to complete the assignments for 303 on an OS X computer. You can run an X server on your computer, log in to attu (or any other departmental machine), and run commands exactly as you would with Reflection X on a Windows machine. Alternatively, you can use the Terminal program and a native OS X version of Emacs to do all the work on your own computer. For 303, I recommend the former, because it is more like what your peers are doing and you will run into fewer gotchas. In your future work, I recommend the latter, because it's much nicer to work on your own machine where you can be confindent that all the native shortcut keys will work.

Installing and running the Apple X Windows server

Apple calls their X server "X11", and the following web page has a great deal of information on installing and running it. I think in 10.4 it is installed automatically in the Applications/Utilities folder, but I'm not sure.
Once you have X11 installed, you should be able to run it and ssh to attu from the xterm window that pops up when you run X11. To forward X connections, use "ssh -X", or "ssh -Y" if the former doesn't work. Now you have a connection just like the Reflection X connection from Windows and you should be able to complete all the assignments for the class without any additional technical difficulties.

Using native OS X tools

Doing all of your "UNIX-y" work through X11 on some other computer has some downsides, like dealing with network latency, and OS X has most of the tools you will learn about in 303 built in. The Terminal program in the Applications/Utilities folder gives you a bash shell just like the shell on attu. There is an OS X-ified version of Emacs called Aquamacs that you can use to get all of the fun features of Emacs in nice OS X wrapping.


If you have any questions or problems with UNIX or X Windows related tools under OS X, send an email to Benjamin.