Linux X Use
Entering and exiting Linux Xwindows
startx - To enter xwindows
CTRL-ALT-BS - To exit xwindows quickly
Depress the left mouse button on the desktop to get a menu to let you exit for some windows managers.
X windows is usually started by typing "startx". To find out where the startx script file is that is used for this process type "which startx". Then you can look at the script file using "less". In the script file there is a statement near the top like "sysclientrc=/usr/X11R6/lib/X11/xinit/xinitrc" which tells you where the initrc file is. The user configuration file will be in /home/your user name/.xinitrc. At the bottom of the file /usr/X11R6/lib/X11/xinit/xinitrc there is a statement like "exec fvwm" which tells the program to execute your windows manager. This may be inside an if statement to determine the existence of the users preferred window manager or the existence of a particular manager then trying others in series when the first listed is not available. To modify the x window manager for the user, you need to copy the xinitrc file to /home/your user name/xinitrc and modify it.
A current list of good windows managers:
- wmaker - window maker
- KDE - The K desktop environment
- The program xfs is the xfont server
- The program xdm is an X Display Manager
How to set up X managers for different users
To set your preferred windows manager, on Redhat and possibly other systems, make a file, /etc/sysconfig/desktop, and put the string "KDE" or "GNOME" in it depending on the preferred system wide X manager. However this will not allow users to select their own favorite window manager. Note: This is exclusive of users who are running remote X services such as VNC as explained in "The CTDP Linux User's Guide". To allow users to select their own manager independent of system settings do the following:
- Copy the file "/etc/X11/xinit/Xclients" to the users home directory, renaming it with a period as its first character
cp /etc/X11/xinit/Xclients /home/username/.Xclients
- Modify the following lines in /home/username/.Xclients from:
if [ -f /etc/sysconfig/desktop ]; then
if [ -n "`grep -i GNOME /etc/sysconfig/desktop`" ]; then
elif [ -n "`grep -i KDE /etc/sysconfig/desktop`" ]; then
elif [ -n "`grep -i AnotherLevel /etc/sysconfig/desktop`" ]; then
if [ -f $HOME/.desktop ]; then
if [ -n "`grep -i GNOME $HOME/.desktop`" ]; then
elif [ -n "`grep -i KDE $HOME/.desktop`" ]; then
elif [ -n "`grep -i AnotherLevel $HOME/.desktop`" ]; then
- Make a file, $HOME/.desktop, and put the string "KDE" or "GNOME" in it depending on the user's preferred X manager. The user can do this step.
To remotely use Xwindows from Microsoft Windows
This section describes how to set this up for the MI/X server program to run on windows. I have not been able to get this server to run with KDE or gnome, and many graphic images do not seem to work with it. See the section on using X remotely for a better solution. This section is still here for anyone who wants to experiment with it.
- Get a copy of an X windows server program for windows such as MI/X for windows from MicroImages at http://www.microimages.com.
- Install the package according to instructions on your windows box.
- Set up a shortcut to MI/X to run XS.EXE on the windows box.
- Invoke the shortcut to begin the Xwindows server program.
- Telnet to your linux box from your windows box
- Type "fvwm –display mark:0 &" where "mark" is the name of your windows box
- To exit X windows quickly or if the video is working improperly, use the <CTRL><ALT><BACKSPACE> key combination.
- To increase or decrease graphic mode use <CTRL><ALT><+> or <-> respectively. This will toggle through video modes on the modes line in the screen section of the XF86Config file.
- The command "X -showconfig" lists the video chip names known to the X server.
- The command "X -probeonly > /tmp/test.out 2>&1" lists supported chipsets and other useful information.
- The command "X > /tmp/test.out 2>&1" runs X bare. Use Ctrl-Alt-BS key combination, then examine the contents of the output file to help debug X startup problems.