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Mountain Lion to deprecate X11, some Carbon APIs

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]

by MacNN Staff



  1. Makosuke

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Not exactly depreciated

    The Carbon thing will eventually be a backward-compatability issue with people with a lot of legacy apps, although if anything probably less-so than the removal of Rosetta. We're still in purely hypothetical territory, though, since even ML will still support Carbon APIs.

    X11, though, is if anything a sort of upgrade--if you're wanting to run something as niche as an X11 app, having the latest version of the runtime from an active OSS source is probably better than a built-in version that lags the current one and is usually only updated during major releases.

    Java you could complain a little more about, but it's still exactly the same way Windows treats Java--install whatever Sun gives you. Same with X11 on Windows, except in that case it's actually harder to get working from what I can tell.

    Point here being that Apple never treated X11 as a full citizen anyway, and it's not like they're removing alternative runtimes or making the Unix guts of OSX any less Unix.

  1. thedude

    Joined: Dec 1969



    I really don't understand your article. This move does not really benefit the users of X11. The latest version of Xquartz does not work well. Not to mention all the hooks that the apple version had are now gone or at least in the developer preview of ML they are. I would do a little research and not just copy the marketing directly from Apple.

  1. Mr. Strat

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Just fix the damned thing

    How about fixing SMBX so that it has the same functionality that Samba did?

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969



    I'm more concerned about the Carbon thing. Sure, they say your apps will still run, but for how long? Since they threw that stupid excuse out for Rosetta ("Oh, apps for the PPC are like 5 years old and aren't using the latest tech, so you're being cheated of great functionality!" ignoring 5 year old intel apps that also aren't using latest tech, but apparently aren't cheating the user)

    I would be very afraid apple will just dump both the carbon api and 32-bit cocoa api. "All 64-bit, nothing else! Gotta move forward! No looking back! Who cares about upgrade costs! Not our problem! We can't be expected to spend money on this old stuff! We're eking by as it is!"

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