GNOME on Darwin

Recently my friend and I had a task to design theme for a local Linux distribution. The Linux distro is based on a popular Linux flavor shipped with both GNOME and KDE desktop environments. During this work, I need to have a GNOME desktop available for working and testing the theme components: application theme, window border, background, login manager, icons, etc. While I could only access to a Linux and/or FreeBSD desktop in my office, I have to install GNOME desktop on my MacBook, so I can manage to do the theme design anytime.

I had Fink installed on my MacBook, but the GNOME package available is too old. Its version is still 2.6, or so. So I have to find out other alternatives and found that on MacPorts (formerly called DarwinPorts) the GNOME port is already available at version 2.18. I grab MacPorts and install it on my MacBook.

Very simple step-by-step how-to is in the following…

After MacPorts installed, make sure you have updated MacPorts installation with the latest ports tree. on Terminal window run:

$ sudo port selfupdate

After the MacPorts and its ports tree are updated, you can start install GNOME. To do so, run:

$ sudo port install gnome

That command installs gnome with all of it dependencies. After finished create or edit (if already available) .xinitrc file in your home directory. The file should look like this:

# make sure X11 is MacPorts and /usr/local aware
export PATH

# make the freedesktop menu entries work
export XDG_DATA_DIRS=/opt/local/share
export XDG_DATA_HOME=/opt/local/share
export XDG_CONFIG_DIRS=/opt/local/etc/xdg

# use Metacity window manager
exec metacity &

# start GNOME
exec dbus-launch gnome-session

To start GNOME, run X11. GNOME desktop runs like in the following pictures:

GNOME on Darwin

GNOME 2.18 running on top of Darwin, side by side with Mac OS X 10.4.10. Installed via MacPorts. Apple’s X11 displays GNOME with full screen mode, this make the Mac menu bar on the top invisible.

GNOME on Darwin

GNOME on Darwin

More detailed information can be found here

Author: Widianto Nugroho

Widianto is part time visual artist[1] previously worked with computation / programming media to create software artworks[2]. After graduated with art degree (ceramics major) from the oldest engineering school in Indonesia, Widianto works in IT-related field for more than 10 years. 1. 2.