[svlug] X Sessions

Rick Moen rick at svlug.org
Fri Nov 14 20:42:33 PST 2014

Scott wrote:

> Now if I decide I don't want an _entire_ KDE system running x2 I can
> just comment out the line in ~/.xinitrc and use basic X. Very cool!

Moreover, you can configure any degree of complexity you wish between those
two points, as well.  You might decide that you really like a particular
window manager you've seen in GNOME systems (like, say, metacity), but 
prefer Thunar, XFCE4's file manager (the 'desktop' thing that shows icons
for files and lets you drag-print file icons, etc.), and you love the
Kdeutils.  Why not start exactly the things you _want_ to run, a la carte,
cherry-picking the apps you most like without any particular regard for
which DE (if any) they are generally bundled with?

Anyway, sooner or later, you'll probably get tired of relying on startx 
following console login, and will switch to lauching your graphical setup of
choice from an X Display Manager   When you do, don't forget that there's a
rich array of choices available there, too:


Annoyingly, if I recall correctly (and I'm really not sure I do in this
instance), some of the X11-related conffiles that
get parsed when you use startx are _not_ parsed if you use an X Display
Manager, and vice-versa.  In any event, if switching  between those methods
of X startup, you may need to debug some of your startup files, e.g., 
.xinitrc / xinitrc, .xsession / xsession, etc. to make sure they're still
being read.

Speaking of such files:

> 1. I don't seem to have ~/.xinitrc which means
>	A. Create a new one @ ~
>	B. ln -s /etc/X11/xinit/xinitrc
> [...]

Erik Steffl answered your question, but I just wanted to elaborate a bit

~/.xinitrc and  /etc/X11/xinit/xinitrc are an example of a more general 
pattern that is extremely useful to be aware of:

You see a file etc/FOOrc (for some value of FOO[1]).  That is going to be the
default startup configuration files for the FOO software.  For eample,
/etc/vimrc holds the system default confugurathon for the Vim editor.

Any user _may_ elect to create a ~/.xFOOrc file.  If present during a user's
login session, that file will be pared for the FOO program's startup
defaults in preference to the file in /etc.

So, for eample, it is common to copy the system /etc/bashrc file into one's
home directory as .bashrc, and then begin customising it, on the theory that
the system bashrc file probably is an excellent place to start.

(Local news:  Here in the Barbados area, I encountered an unaccustomed dose
of midday radiation from a yellow dwarf star, resulting in a slight
darkening of parts of my skin.  This 'tanning' effect is said to be
recoverable, but I wanted to warn people of the possibility.)

[1] 'rc' is an antique bit of computing jargon from pre-Unix days that has
survived to the present day in Unix:  In the CTSS operating system, there
were 'runcom' (run command) files, and an 'rc' ending to a filename
indicated that the file was a runcom file.

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