Difference between revisions of "Xinitrc"

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(all of the examples should source files in xinitrc.d now)
(Getting started: need to start X on the same vt, the xinit example is bad since it doesn't mention the caveats (needs -nolisten tcp, and you'll have to manually set up Xauthority))
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After editing {{ic|~/.xinitrc}} properly, it's time to run X. To run X as a non-root user, issue:
 
After editing {{ic|~/.xinitrc}} properly, it's time to run X. To run X as a non-root user, issue:
  $ startx
+
  $ startx -- vt$XDG_VTNR
 
+
or
+
$ xinit
+
  
 
Your DE/WM of choice should now start up. You are now free to test your keyboard with its layout, moving your mouse around and of course enjoy the view.
 
Your DE/WM of choice should now start up. You are now free to test your keyboard with its layout, moving your mouse around and of course enjoy the view.

Revision as of 15:36, 22 October 2012

Summary help replacing me
An overview of the primary configuration file for the xinit (startx) program.
Related
Display Manager
Start X at boot
Xorg
xprofile

The ~/.xinitrc file is a shell script read by xinit and startx. It is mainly used to execute desktop environments, window managers and other programs when starting the X server (e.g., starting daemons and setting environment variables). The xinit and startx programs starts the X Window System and works as first client programs on systems that cannot start X directly from /etc/init, or in environments that use multiple window systems.

One of the main functions of ~/.xinitrc is to dictate which client for the X Window System is invoked with the /usr/bin/startx and/or /usr/bin/xinit program on a per-user basis. There exists numerous additional specifications and commands that may also be added to ~/.xinitrc as you further customize your system.

Getting started

/etc/skel/ contains files and directories to provide sane defaults for newly created user accounts. (The name skel is derived from the word skeleton, because the files it contains form the basic structure for users' home directories.) The xorg-xinit package will populate /etc/skel with a framework .xinitrc file.

Note: ~/.xinitrc is a so-called 'dot' (.) file. Files in a *nix file system which are preceded with a dot (.) are 'hidden' and will not show up with a regular ls command, usually for the sake of keeping directories tidy. Dot files may be seen by running ls -A. The 'rc' denotes Run Commands and simply indicates that it is a configuration file. Since it controls how a program runs, it is (although historically incorrect) also said to stand for "Run Control".

Copy the sample /etc/skel/.xinitrc file to your home directory:

$ cp /etc/skel/.xinitrc ~

Now, edit ~/.xinitrc and uncomment the line that corresponds to your DE/WM. For example, if you want to test your basic X configuration (mouse, keyboard, graphics resolution), you can simply use xterm:

#!/bin/sh
#
# ~/.xinitrc
#
# Executed by startx (run your window manager from here)

if [ -d /etc/X11/xinit/xinitrc.d ]; then
  for f in /etc/X11/xinit/xinitrc.d/*; do
    [ -x "$f" ] && . "$f"
  done
  unset f
fi

# exec gnome-session
# exec startkde
# exec startxfce4
# exec wmaker
# exec icewm
# exec blackbox
# exec fluxbox
# exec openbox-session
# ...or the Window Manager of your choice
exec xterm
Note: It is important that only one exec line is uncommented, or else only the first uncommented line will be run.

After editing ~/.xinitrc properly, it's time to run X. To run X as a non-root user, issue:

$ startx -- vt$XDG_VTNR

Your DE/WM of choice should now start up. You are now free to test your keyboard with its layout, moving your mouse around and of course enjoy the view.

File examples

Following is a simple ~/.xinitrc file example, including some startup programs:

~/.xinitrc
#!/bin/sh

if [ -d /etc/X11/xinit/xinitrc.d ]; then
  for f in /etc/X11/xinit/xinitrc.d/*; do
    [ -x "$f" ] && . "$f"
  done
  unset f
fi

xrdb -merge ~/.Xresources         # update x resources db

xscreensaver -no-splash &         # starts screensaver daemon 
xsetroot -cursor_name left_ptr &  # sets the cursor icon
sh ~/.fehbg &                     # sets the background image

exec openbox-session              # starts the window manager

Prepending exec is recommended as it replaces the current process with the process, so the script will stop running and X won't exit even if the process forks into the background.

File configuration

When a display manager is not used, it is important to keep in mind that the life of the X session starts and ends with ~/.xinitrc. This means that once the script quits, X quits regardless of whether you still have running programs (including your window manager). Therefore it's important that the window manager quitting and X quitting should coincide. This is easily achieved by running the window manager as the last program in the script.

Note that in the first example above, programs such as cairo-compmgr, xscreensaver, xsetroot and sh are run in the background (& suffix added). Otherwise, the script would halt and wait for each program and daemons to exit before executing openbox-session. Also note that openbox-session is not backgrounded. This ensures that the script will not quit until openbox does.

The following sections explains how to configure ~/.xinitrc for Multiple WMs and DEs.

On the command line

If you have a working ~/.xinitrc, but just want to try other WM/DE you can run it by issuing xinit followed by the path to the window manager:

xinit /full/path/to/window-manager

Note that the full path is required. Optionally, you can pass options to the X server after appending -- - e.g.:

xinit /usr/bin/enlightenment -- -br +bs -dpi 96

The following example ~/.xinitrc shows how to start a particular window manager with an argument:

~/.xinitrc
#!/bin/sh
#
# ~/.xinitrc
#
# Executed by startx (run your window manager from here)

if [ -d /etc/X11/xinit/xinitrc.d ]; then
  for f in /etc/X11/xinit/xinitrc.d/*; do
    [ -x "$f" ] && . "$f"
  done
  unset f
fi

if [[ $1 == "fluxbox" ]]
then
  exec startfluxbox
elif [[ $1 == "spectrwm" ]]
then
  exec spectrwm
else
  echo "Choose a window manager"
fi

Using this example you can start fluxbox or spectrwm with the command xinit fluxbox or xinit spectrwm.

At startup

See Start X at Login.

Tips and tricks

PolicyKit

Various desktop environment features and applications expect PolicyKit and to be active, and will produce errors if absent. A common error to notice is the inability to access shutdown or reboot prompts from desktop environment windows, and failure to mount USB devices, CD-ROMs etc. without root permissions. Most modern display managers will start PolicyKit automatically. When only using ~/.xinitrc with e.g. startx, you need to make sure that X starts on the same tty where you logged in.

Note: Beware that polkit must be present in your installation.