To support, or not support… They answered that question.

My ignorance regarding the nature of the OSX/X11 integration has been cured, thanks to comments below, and if you are looking for tips regarding copy-and-paste in X11 under OS X, read on. Regardless, I’m still irked that Apple Care couldn’t so much as point me in the right direction. I leave this posting here in the hopes that it helps someone else who had the same issues.

I know I’m going to buy the Apple Care support package. After all the problems I had with my Sony during its third year I would have to be nuts not to buy a three year support package on my shiny new PowerBook. But, damn it, I won’t be buying it today! I’m too irked at Apple’s support policies. They apparently only marginally support some of the applications that come on the 10.4 (Tiger) install DVD, and of course that would be the application currently giving me a headache…

My PowerBook came with OS X 10.4 pre-installed. Basic install, none of the optional packages. During the course of installing all my favorite applications I found that Visual SlickEdit requires X11 be installed. (I would not be having this problem if they wrote a native OS X implementation; but given OS X supposed flexibility, porting one of their unix versions to use X11 on OS X seems reasonable. Seems…)

I installed X11 off of 10.4 disk 1. It launches. An xterm window opens. As far as Apple is concerned, their support stops here. It matters not to them that copy-and-paste doesn’t work. I can select text in this xterm window, go to Edit/Copy and when I go back to Edit the Paste option is greyed out. Nothing made it to the buffer when I did my Copy. Apple doesn’t support X11 beyond launch because they don’t want to support third party X11 applications. Completely reasonable, except my problem exhibits itself in the xterm application that came with X11 that came with Tiger on a DVD with the Apple logo. That didn’t sway the position of the Apple Care support person, Elliot, with whom I spoke. It launches, so he is off the hook as far as supplying a useful hint or suggestion or, gods forbid, a solution. Elliot did offer to email me a URL to a support page regarding X11. I gave him my email address but the email never arrived.

I’ll buy Apple Care later, because Apple doesn’t Care today.


ps. Please DO NOT reply to this posting on the LJ feed account (tampagypsy_feed). Follow the links back to my webite and reply there if you feel the need. There is no way to easily integrate comments from the LJ site back into my own weblog, so the effort of posting to the LJ site is wasted as I will never read it…

10 Replies to “To support, or not support… They answered that question.”

  1. Thanks for the suggestions folks. Yes, I ran the DiskUtil and did a ‘Fix Permissions’… Before I called Apple Care. 🙂


  2. Highlight the text you want to copy. Place cursor where you want to paste text. Then option+left click. This simulates the middle click, which will paste your text. There is probably a way to make my middle mouse button paste like it should, but I haven’t looked into it to much.


  3. Well I’ll be damned… If I hook up a three button mouse and use the middle button it does copy-and-past the selected text. The bitch of it is that the clipboard remains empty. So, while I can get that single instance to copy-and-paste, I can’t get that data out of the xterm window and into another application. That falls into the category of sorta-works, and not like the Apple documentation says it should work. 🙁

    Ah… I found how to make slacks’ suggestion work. I had to go into Preferences and check Emulate Three Button Mouse. But, see above, it still doesn’t do what I need.


  4. Edit->Paste doesn’t work because there’s no way to get that to work globally for X11 apps. Use middle-button (or option-click) to paste, just like you would usually do under X11.

    Copying: Command-C (Edit->Copy) will move text from the X11 pasteboard to the OS X Pasteboard.

    Also, take note of the _pbcopy_ and _pbpaste_ commands. They will serve you well.

  5. xyzzy says:
    > Copying: Command-C (Edit->Copy) will move text from the X11 pasteboard to the OS X Pasteboard.

    OK, I’m a doofus. A doofus who has lots of people coming to this page from slashdot…

    I was trying to get text INTO X11 so I never tried this as a test case. So, Command-C copies text from the xterm into the OS X Pastboard, where it can then be Pasted into textedit, or other OS X applications, but the Paste option remains grey and Command-V doesn’t paste the text back inside the xterm window iself.

    Still, that is progress over where I had been. Now I’m futzing with it to map out the weird combinations…

    In xterm:
    – button-3 will copy-and-paste selected text. This text does not remain in the buffer and can not be pasted into a TextPad. (If there was already text in the OS X pasteboard that is what will be pasted.)
    – Command-C will copy text into the OS X pasteboard. It can not be pasted back into the xterm window using Command-V but it CAN be pasted back into teh xterm window using button-3. It can be pasted into TextEdit using Command-V.

    In TextEdit
    – text placed into the OS X pasteboard using Command-C can be pasted into xterm using button-3, but the Paste option in the X11 Edit menu remains grey, which is misleading.

    Somewhat inconsistant, but livable. I’m still not thrilled that Apple Care wouldn’t suggest so much as enabling three button mouse emulation. That alone would have gotten me thinking in the right direction.


  6. From the FAQ at:

    Q: How do I copy and paste using X11 for Mac OS X?

    A: X11 for Mac OS X allows cut and paste between X11 and native applications using PRIMARY and PASTEBOARD selections.
    You can cut text from X11 applications by selecting the text, performing a cmd-c or copy operation. You can paste in native Mac OS X applications as usual using Cmd-V.
    Because there is no standard for pasting in X11 applications (some use middle mouse button, some use control-v, etc.), cmd-v doesn’t work for pasting in X11 applications by design. As a result, the “Paste” menu item will be grayed out when X11 applications are in focus. You should use the control-v or the middle mouse button instead for pasting (See X11 Preferences for emulating a middle mouse button).
    The “Paste” menu option will be active when non-X windows are active within (e.g., when entering text in the “Customize Applications” menu item).
    A common request has been to make cmd-v work across all X11 applications. This isn’t possible without re-writing all X11 applications to standardize on a single approach, which is outside the domain of X11 for Mac OS X.

  7. I wonder if this is the same link that Elliot said he would email me, but which never arrived in my inbox.

    Thank you!


  8. ChrisKnight writes:
    > OK, I’m a doofus. A doofus who has lots of people coming to this page from slashdot…

    Welcome to the joys of what JWZ calls the “lazyweb”. Ask your pressing questions publicly and gratingly enough, and you shall be richly rewarded with quick answers from the fanbois.

  9. I can live with that. In high school a read a book on Kendo that started with this quote:

    To ask is but a moment’s shame.
    Not to ask, and remain ignorant, is a life long shame.

    I’ll take my moment of shame, and I’ll walk away with useful knowledge about how OS X integrates with X11. I think I’m the winner in this.


    ps. I think that grating, half baked, posts make up at least 75% of all weblogs anyways…

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