Read the Error Message First

When I installed OS X I also installed X11 from the same DVD, and I had to see if I could run X11 applications remotely via ssh on my Linux media center. However, when I tried this X11 just crashed and restarted over and over forcing me to log out before it would stop. A quick search on google brought me to apples official page recommending that the fix for this was to upgrade. I searched around about the upgrade of this distro and found that many people had successfully managed it and that it was a fairly straight forward process. Supposedly, you just have to delete a kext folder, edit the post-install script and then it just works after a reboot and then a hard reboot (it crashes at the first boot). However, it didn’t work out that way.

I followed the direction, deleted the kext, the post-install script interestingly enough did not contain the line I was supposed to change. Isuppose that should have been a sign. I rebooted and the OS just did fast cycling reboots at Darwin. Suspecting that I may have made a mistake I reinstalled and tried again – same reults.

The DVD came with XNU 9.4.0 kernel with sse3 emulation and support for some non-apple hardware. I didn’t think that it would fix the X11 problem but a kernel upgrade was worth a try. I downloaded the XNU Voodoo 9.5.0 from XNU-dev, and this time setup timemachine, did a system backup and upgraded the kernel. This upgrade went fine, and supposedly provides better performance for my rather non standard hardware. It did nothing for X11.

Next I went to, they are the open source project that provides X11 support in OS X. The version that shipped with the DVD was 2.0, so I opted for a modest update to 2.2.1. If it did’t help I could try a newer version easily enough. Of course it did’t help either. Before I downloaded the next version of Xquartz, I looked at the error message, wich was the first thing I should have done and I found this gem:

Unsupported color depth -1

This was the only error and a google search turned up this:

Open Terminal -> defaults write org.x.X11 depth 24

hard setting the color depth that X11 uses fixed it.


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