Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Multi user mac?

Well who would have thought? I have become a Mac user. After seeing Windows Vista at my moms computer, I decided I had enough of MS. And I love it! No noise, very useful software included, very quick to start and stop, and my girl-friend and I are simply always logged in. Switching takes 2 clicks and 2 seconds. Then an idea struck me. I still have a spare monitor and attaching a second keyboard and mouse is not so hard either: why can we not work simultaneously? Unfortunately this is not supported. But why not? My question of the month: Why is the Mac still a single user system?


  1. Well, you could install ubuntu and run MultiseatX ( .

    I don't know if something similar exists for OsX though... technically it should be possible!

  2. At the risk of sounding like a wiseguy: the Mac could hardly be more of a multiuser system.
    Just ssh into your OS and you can have as many terminals as you want!

    Just because one of the "terminals" is identical to the "server" does not mean it is not a multiuser system.

    But I think you want to know why the Mac HARDWARE is not multiuser enabled.

    Well, first you need to tell the OS to handle IO from different sources on different terminals - that should not be so difficult, especially if you have a USB keyboard. Same for the mouse.

    The screen could be a bit tricky (does your mac support multiple output targets? my dell can only handle one... :( ) but if the hardware supports it, it's also not that difficult.

    Thus I say: the mac hardware IS multiuser enabled! Just write the software that puts it together. :D

    Might be a nice OSS project - spare time anybody? ;)


  3. @Che, indeed, I mean multi-user in the sense that you can use the complete desktop and everything on a second monitor/mouse/keyboard. I guess the term multi-seat is better (but I think not by much).

    OS X is of course very multi-user in the traditional sense. It is based on Unix after all!