updated 08:00 pm EST, Mon February 20, 2012
Users who need X11 now get updated version
Apple's next major version of OS X will continue Apple's recent moves to deprecate built-in support for alternative platforms and its own Carbon APIs. Users who want to keep X11 will continue to be able to get it directly via an Apple Knowledge Base page, but like Java last year Apple will no longer bundle it but rather contribute to open source development outside the company via XQuartz.
The move will actually benefit those who rely on X11, since they will be free to install a more-recent version of XQuartz than comes bundled with Lion. In Mountain Lion, if an application that needs X11 is launched, the user is prompted to click an "Install" button that will take them to an Apple Knowledge Base Article that instructs them how to install the latest version of XQuartz, reports AppleInsider. At the moment, Mountain Lion testers can use the version posted today (2.7.1). X11 is primarily used by those who want to run graphical UNIX apps that don't offer a native Mac front-end GUI.
Apple has also chosen to deprecate more Carbon APIs as it tries to forcibly wean developers off 32-bit development. The success of iOS, which relies entirely on Cocoa-only 64-bit development APIs, has made it easier for developers to quickly go all-Cocoa compared to the previous main transition from 68K processors to PowerPC, which supported emulated code for 68K programs for nearly a decade.
Carbon has been losing support within Apple since 2007 and with Mountain Lion the company has made clear that all apps will need to transition to full 64-bit support as quickly as possible. It's very likely that the update to OS X in 2013 will further reduce support for Carbon apps. Ultimately, the move to full 64-bit will benefit users tremendously with powerful new capabilities, but those who are slow to upgrade or heavily reliant on old apps will, as they have in previous transitions, experience the most inconvenience. [via AppleInsider]