After installing MacPorts and some software through that way, I noticed that MacPorts installed X.Org. I've already installed XQuartz years ago and I'm really fine with it.

My 1. question is: Do I need the installed X.Org from MacPorts to run software like KeepNote or Gedit, which was installed automatically by MacPorts, or am I free to uninstall X.Org and leave XQuartz instead?

My 2. question is: What about the other way round? Keeping the automatically installed X.Org and remove XQuartz?

edit: changed the question and added a second one.

  • That change to variants/conf uses Apple's quartz and not XQuartz(although probably what you want ti use OSX rather than X11) - also which OS are you on also if installed years ago unlikely to work with current OS
    – mmmmmm
    May 12, 2016 at 13:03
  • Ok thanks, so the change in the file does not bother me, right? I'm running OSX 10.9.5 since i got my macbook - no need to wonder if Xquarts is working ;) I'm not quite sure what you are trying to tell me, except for "quartz is not Xquartz" ... am I now free to remove Xorg or not if I leave Xquartz on my OS? May 12, 2016 at 13:16

2 Answers 2


In general you are confusing several things.

XQuartz is a set of libraries to allow X11 applications to be compiled and run on OSX. It is based on the X11 sources from X.org the changes were originally done by Apple.

Quartz is the set of technologies that are in the OSX Core Graphics that deal with 2d from wikipedia

Quartz is often synonymous with Core Graphics

Thus XQuartz is so called as it provides the X11 libraries that work by calling Quartz provided APIs

In the macports variants.conf what you are saying is don't use X11 (i.e. XQuartz) but use Apple's graphics directly and not via X11 so not calling any X.org code

  • Thank you for making things clear! If I understood correctly I'm free to remove X.Org which was installed by MacPorts, as long as I leaf XQuartz installed (because it already provides the needed libraries) ?! I really don't want to waste storage. May 12, 2016 at 22:55
  • Mac ports under OSX 10.11 installs Quartz trac.macports.org/browser/trunk/dports/x11/xorg-server/Portfile - note also read the Macports migration guide when upgrading your OS (basically remove and reinstall you can't keep ports from one OS to another)
    – mmmmmm
    May 13, 2016 at 8:18
  • Haven't you read that I'm using OSX 10.9 ?! ... And I'm not sure why you can't just answer my question, but talk 'bout migration which I obviously don't need? May 13, 2016 at 10:44
  • Sorry also true re OSX 10.9. Also if you have an X.org install that will be from an earlier OSX version
    – mmmmmm
    May 13, 2016 at 12:22

If you want to keep independant your future upgrades of XQuartz and MacPorts, then you will have to keep both installations.

XQuartz is installing libraries, binaries in /opt/X11.

MacPorts is installing sources, configurations, dependancies, libraries, binaries in /usr/local or where you prefarably decided to configure it. In my case to avoid any risk of confusion with other package managers, I configured MacPorts to work on the base of the rootdir /opt/local.

If you remove a needed library within the install path of MacPorts it will have to rebuild it. On the other hand, it will never upgrade anything when you modified the XQuartz version because it is outside of its managed source and install tree.

This practical way of managment stand without problem since Snow Leopard up to Sierra.

  • Thank's for your answer, it looks like a pretty good hint for the future! Nov 22, 2016 at 22:51

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