Note: X11 is installed by default on Mac OS 10.6, and 10.7 so this page is really only useful if you have an old system. SS 9/9/2011

Steven Sahyun’s super-simple guide for

getting GIMP and OpenOffice to run on Mac OS X 10.2

using Apple’s X11 app in non-gibberish terms.


Note 1: I didn’t include any pictures here. If you want pics, see the linked guides. This is a short, simple, step-by-step commentary of how I got these programs running on my computer. Perhaps it will be of some use to others who are trying to do the same.


Note 2: You will need to type commands in the terminal and Xterm windows. I have used the Courrier font for these commands. You will need to press the “return” key after entering the commands.


Note 3: Yeah, I did this page in Word; it’s a mess but what the hack, I’m lazy today.


1. Get X11


First you need to download the X11 app from Apple:


This will unstuff as a folder called “X11 User for Mac OS X”

Open this folder and double click on the X11UserForMacOSX.mpkg program and follow the dialogs.


You will now have the X11 program in your Applications folder. To test it, open your folder and double click on the X11 app. A “Terminal”-like window called Xterm will appear, this is your X11 interface. You can test X11 by typing “xeyes” (control-c exits).



for a more detailed explanation on getting X11 up and running if you need it.


2. Get and install the Apple X11 SDK. This is available from Apple at:

(The link is at the bottom of the right-hand column).


3. Get FINK

A complete instruction set on installing FINK and GIMP is given in a tutorial on installing the Gimp


Basically it boils down to:


You will need to download FINK

Double click on the “Fink 0.5.1 Installer.pkg” (version number will change) and follow the dialogs.


Note: The Fink readme states:



To actually use the programs installed by Fink, you must edit the configuration file of your shell. Open a new window and type Œpico .cshrc’. A text file editor will pop up. Enter the following line right at the top:


source /sw/bin/init.csh


Then, press Ctrl-O, press Return, press Ctrl-X. Quit and restart it. You're now ready to use Fink.


Do it.


Open the terminal and type: “fink selfupdate

(at the y/N prompt, type N)


For the next step you will need root or superuser access. One way to do this is to set/turn-off root access, you will need to use the “NetInfo Manager” app located in the utilities directory and then use the Authenticate in the Security menu. You would then need to login as “root” (at the terminal, type “user” to get the login prompt.) For more on this process and related security issues see:

If you do this, remember to disable root user access after you are done. To turn off root access from Netinfo. You may have to quit Netinfo and restart it to do so (I found that the menu choices were grayed out until I did so.)


A much better way is to use the sudo command.


In the terminal type:

sudo apt-get update

Enter your password and follow the default prompts.


4. Get GIMP


To get GIMP, while in the Xterm window type:

sudo apt-get install gimp


After the install script is finished running, you should quit and restart X11.


To run GIMP, double click on the X11 app, then in the Xterm window (if you don’t see an X11 terminal, use the Applications -> terminal menu item to open a new one) type


and the program will run!


Note: you can also add GIMP to your Applications menu list by choosing the Applications Customize menu item. Click on the Add Item button, which gives a new blank line. Click in the Name field and type “GIMP”. Click in the Command field and type “/sw/bin/gimp”

Click on the done button. Then to run GIMP, choose it from the Applications menu list.



5. Installing OpenOffice

Go to

and get the OpenOffice program (OOo 1.0.1 X11 Final Beta or later)

Double click on the Install_OpenOffice.org1.0 icon


Follow the dialogs; you will have to click on many ok’s, confirm, accept buttons and enter your password a couple times.


To start open office, go to your Applications folder, choose the “” app. A dialog will open as to what X11 client program you wish to use. Choose your X11 app from the list.


A detailed explanation on getting OpenOffice to work is given at the site:


Basically it boils down to this:

The “Start” app doesn’t. You will need to add the application to the Applications menu item in the X11 program. To do this, start X11, click on Applications, then choose “Customize”.


Click on the Add Item button, which gives a new blank line. Click in the Name field and type “”. Click in the Command field and type “/Applications/OpenOffice.org1.0.1/program/soffice”

Click on the done button. To run OpenOffice, choose it from the Applications menu list.


There you have it. I hope this helps.


Steven Sahyun

Physics Dept.



June 12, 2003