I got a new Mac laptop last winter, and am still in the process of getting all of my old software installed on it. I spent most of the evening struggling with xfig, and want to record this my discovery for anyone else who is having the same problem.
I installed xfig using fink, and got the message
Either you have a very old app-defaults file installed (Fig),
or there is none installed at all.
You should install the correct version or you may lose some features.
This may be done with "make install" in the xfig source directory"
Running “make install” was useless. I found the solution here. In summary, if you are in the habit of running xfig by bringing up an X11 terminal and typing “xfig”, you probably want to be typing
source /sw/bin/init.sh ; xfig instead.
I know very little about what’s going on here, so I won’t try to explain more, but I found quite a number of message boards where this bug was discussed before finding one where it as solved, so I thought it might be useful to disseminate the solution. All credit goes to Alexander Hansen, whomever he may be, for figuring this out.