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  • Hackintosh Xquartz / X11 color depth issue(s)

    Posted on February 20th, 2009 ashinn No comments

    I’ve been diving into OSX a bit more lately, and I’d like to share any tips/tricks I find along the way. I should go ahead and mention that I’m running Leopard on an IBM T43 laptop. That being said, many of the tips I might share are related more to the use of a Hackintosh. Consider this the first post of many stupid workarounds.

    Don’t get me wrong… I’d love to own a new MacBook Pro, but I’m a poor man. These T43’s are suprisingly close to the older MacBooks and pretty much everything works on it.


    As most of you might know, Apple started including X11 on the Tiger media and as a download before that. Someone can correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe its installed by default in Leopard. Either way I was having some issues getting it started on this ThinkPad. In /var/log/system.log I noticed this error:

    Feb 20 00:52:13 FakeMac org.x.X11[438]: Fatal server error:
    Feb 20 00:52:13 FakeMac org.x.X11[438]: Unsupported color depth -1

    This T43 has an ATI Radeon X300, which is nativly supported by Leopard, but the Xserver can’t query the depth from the driver. I find it hard to believe that many other people arent running into this too. You could install the MacPorts X11, but even they reccomend using the native Xquartz.

    Now this is in the man page for startx, but most Mac users are terrified of the CLI for whatever reason.

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

    This hard sets the color depth and viola X11 will now work. If you’re not scared, go ahead and man startx in Terminal and see all the other fun stuff you can do.

    I really needed this to work so I could use the Gimp for OSX and MegaTunix to tune the MegaSquirt in my car 🙂

    Till next time…