peteg's blog - hacking - mac - 2007 07 30 X11

Die, X11, die...

/hacking/mac | Link

This whole Unicode fiasco has finally killed X11 as a viable option for me. I wouldn't have thought it was so very hard to provide a complete set of easily-usable Unicode fonts, but there it is.

So, on André's advice, I've switched to:

  • Aquamacs, GNU Emacs with a shiny-happy Mac OS X face. Apart from a lot of minor irritations that come with losing about a decade's worth of XEmacs configuration, it seems quite slick. I tried Carbon XEmacs but it doesn't support Unicode out of the box, and I refuse to spend (more) hours fiddling with it.

  • Terminator, an xterm-alike written in Java, is possibly the best thing ever to run on the JVM.

  • A new bash from MacPorts that speaks Unicode better than the crusty old one that comes with Mac OS X 10.4.x.

Of course I'll still need X11 for sundry old-school things like Isabelle, but there the pain is much less.

So, why Aquamacs rather than a fancy closed-source editor? Well, TextMate crashed on me after about twenty minutes of use — I tried to open a file while saving-as another one, and was madly switching programs trying to navigate the directory tree — and so I recall the cardinal rule of editors: anything less than twenty years old hasn't been tested enough. Whether the (relatively shallow) differences that Aquamacs has to GNU Emacs matter is something I will soon discover.