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Church Of The
Swimming Elephant

Index | Description | Starting Up | Displays | Access Control | Geometry Specification
Window Managers | Fonts | Colors | Keyboards | Options | Resources | Examples | Diagnostics



There are two main ways of getting the X server and an initial set of client applications started. The particular method used depends on what operating system you are running and on whether or not you use other window systems in addition to X.

xdm (the X Display Manager)

If you want to always have X running on your display, your site administrator can set your machine up to use the X Display Manager xdm. This program is typically started by the system at boot time and takes care of keeping the server running and getting users logged in.

If you are running xdm, you will see a window on the screen welcoming you to the system and asking for your username and password. Simply type them in as you would at a normal terminal, pressing the Return key after each. If you make a mistake, xdm will display an error message and ask you to try again. After you have successfully logged in, xdm will start up your X environment.

By default, if you have an executable file named .xsession in your home directory, xdm will treat it as a program (or shell script) to run to start up your initial clients (such as terminal emulators, clocks, a window manager, user settings for things like the background, the speed of the pointer, etc.). Your site administrator can provide details.

xinit (run manually from the shell)
Sites that support more than one window system might choose to use the xinit program for starting X manu- ally. If this is true for your machine, your site administrator will probably have provided a program named "x11", "startx", or "xstart" that will do site-specific initialization (such as loading convenient default resources, running a window manager, displaying a clock, and starting several terminal emulators) in a nice way. If not, you can build such a script using the xinit program.

This utility simply runs one user-specified program to start the server, runs another to start up any desired clients, and then waits for either to finish. Since either or both of the user-specified programs may be a shell script, this gives substantial flexibility at the expense of a nice interface. For this reason, xinit is not intended for end users.


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