x3270 installation
on Mac OS X

x3270 is an IBM 3270 terminal emulator for the X Window system.


Before you can compile and install X applications on your Mac, you need to install these items either during the operating system installation or after the fact: It's been my experience that Apple doesn't install these by default so you will have to install them seperately on a system you buy but when you upgrade your operating system that you can tell it to install them during the upgrade.

x3270 install steps

This install was performed on: Your mileage may vary...

I'm not a Unix guy and here's what I did while stumbling through the x3270 install:

Download the latest tgz file from the x3270 download page and put in your ~/Downloads directory (or wherever you want). Currently (2007-02-01) this file name is x3270-3.3.4p8.tgz but you may get a newer one.

Get into the Macintosh Terminal application and enter these commands:

Change to your download directory:

cd ~/Downloads

Uncompress the zipped TAR file:

tar -xvzf x3270-3.3.4p8.tgz

You will now have a directory called x3270-3.3 in that ~/Downloads/ directory, so change to it:

cd x3270-3.3

Start following the instructions from the x3270 build page:


This may not happen to you
On my system it got this error message (maybe because X11 isn't installed correctly):

configure: error: 'Cannot find xmkmf'

I was able to fix this for my current session by issuing this command:
PATH=/usr/X11R6/bin:${PATH}; export PATH
I think if X11 is installed right, you won't get this xmkmf error. I do the Configure again:
This time the configure ended with no errors

Continuing with the commands from the x3270 page:

make depend

I got a bunch of errors which I ignored! I hope I don't need dependancies whatever that is...

Enter the next command:


make ended with no errors...

Click on the X11 icon in the Utilities folder inside the Applications folder. That will start an xterm window. Enter the following commands in xterm:

Change to the download directory:

cd ~/Downloads/x3270-3.3

Initial test of x3270 to ensure it got built correctly:

./dryrun hostname

I checked out various parts of x3270 and it looks good and now I exit x3270.

Switch back to the Terminal window where I enter these commands:

make install

I got this error: install: /usr/X11R6/bin/x3270: Permission denied

So I install using root:

sudo make install

I get prompted for my Mac password and it now looks to have installed correctly.

Go back to the xterm window to complete the install of x3270:

Ensure that I will find x3270 from the regular Unix search path:

cd /

Then enter this command to fix the fonts (only needed this one time):

xset fp rehash

Now x3270 is ready for use, invoke x3270:

x3270 hostname | IP address 

Success: x3270 is working as expected!

I probably won't be able to help you if you run into problems here. Hey I'm a mainframe guy not a Unix guy.

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Last Updated: 2008-06-15
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