xinit

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Revision as of 09:19, 8 August 2013 by Lahwaacz (Talk | contribs) (Preserving the session: merged into General Troubleshooting#Session permissions - moving all info into one place)

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Summary help replacing me
An overview of the primary configuration file for the xinit (startx) program.
Related
Display Manager
Start X at Login
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: Make sure to uncomment only one exec line, since that will be the last command run from the script; all the following lines will just be ignored. Do NOT attempt to background your WM by appending a `&` to the line.

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

$ startx
$ xinit
$ xinit -- :1
Note: xinit doesn't handle multiple session if you are already logged-in into some other vt. for that you have to specify session by appending -- :session_no. If you are already running X then you should start with :1 or more.

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.

Making a DE/WM choice

If you aren't using any graphical login manager or don't want to, you might have to edit the ~/.xinitrc very frequently. This can be easly solved by simple few line case addition which will take the argument and load the desire DE/WM.

#!/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

# Here xfce is kept as default
case $1 in
        gnome) exec gnome-session;;
        kde) exec startkde;;
        xfce);;
        *) exec startxfce4;;
esac

After editing ~/.xinitrc, you can easily start desire DE/WM by passing argument.

$ xinit
$ xinit gnome
$ xinit kde
$ xinit xfce -- :1

Preserving the session

See General Troubleshooting#Session permissions for details.

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.