I want to use i3, which is available in Mac Ports. I've installed it and xorg (with ports install xorg). Now I want to boot into that. I've tried created an ~/.xinitrc and an ~/.xinitrc.d/99_i3 script (both had +x). But in neither occasion did X start up with the script. Is it possible to use Xorg on boot and jump into i3 instead of the normal OSX Window Manager?

You can find a very similar question on SuperUser here.

Just to be clear, I don't want any OSX functionality. I'm only not reformatting and installing GNU Linux because my company prohibits it. I want to bootstrap a parallel configuration with ports and boot into an i3 environment (ideally with no dock, Aqua, Finder).

  • X quartz is x11 and not the usually osx windowing the latter is quartz. Also x quartz is the current version of x.org. What are you asking?
    – mmmmmm
    Mar 24, 2019 at 14:30
  • I've installed Xorg through macports, I want to use it instead of X quartz. Mar 24, 2019 at 14:32
  • Macports installs x quartz not.org. macports.org/install.php What exactly have you done and which instructions have you used?
    – mmmmmm
    Mar 24, 2019 at 14:36
  • 1
    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because thjis question is making incorrect assumptions about OSX also what the OP is asking for cannot be done.
    – mmmmmm
    Mar 24, 2019 at 18:23
  • 1
    @historystamp but to run Darwin you have to reinstall it and the OPs company will not allow that
    – mmmmmm
    Mar 24, 2019 at 19:51

1 Answer 1


If I have understood you correctly, what you actually want to do is to get rid of the Mac graphic environment, and run a "classic" X11 session instead. Correct?

I don't think you can get rid of the Mac graphic environment entirely (short of installing some other OS, like *BSD or Linux), but you can hide it to a certain extent.

Configure Xquartz to run in full-screen mode (it's in the settings somewhere...). This means you won't see any Mac stuff. Create an ~/.xinitrc file. Xquartz will run that file on start-up, just as would normally happen with startx or xinit. In that file, you can start any window manager you like. e.g. good old twm. (If you don't have an .xinitrc file, Quartz will start the quartz-wm window manager, which gives a "Mac look" to your X windows.) It should be theoretically possible to get an entire Gnome desktop running, but I have not tried that... You'll still have to boot into MacOS and log in to a Mac desktop, but after you have started Xquartz, you should be back in familiar X11 land.

(I get the impression that you believe Xquartz is the standard graphic Mac environment. It isn't. Xquartz is an X server that runs on top of the Mac graphic environment. I think Xquartz is just a packaging of the Xorg server, built for macOS, but I could be wrong on that.)

  • Is there any web browser built for X11? Mar 25, 2019 at 13:19
  • Lynx? ;-) It seems there was a firefox-x11 package in Homebrew ages ago, but it was dropped for lack of maintenance. It should be theoretically possible to get Firefox or Chromium running on X11/macOS (after all, they run on X11/Linux which isn't all that different) but my guess is that you will have to compile it yourself... Mar 25, 2019 at 13:28

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