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Commands and references ( GNU / linux kernel 2.4.18-3 and 2.4.18-14 )   
Linux is a registered trademark of Linus Torvalds

The commands with their most common usage are in brackets like this: [ command ].
Don't type the brackets, just what is inside of them.

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Start a basic X server:
[ xinit ]
( holding the   Ctrl   Alt   Backspace   keys down simultaineously will get you out of this )
After you have xinit running, move the mouse cursor into the window where the command prompt is located and type the command of the window manager you want to run like this:
[ gnome-session ] or
[ startkde ] or
[ twm ]

Here is the manual page: (commands may not have brackets)

XINIT(1)							      XINIT(1)

       xinit - X Window System initializer

       xinit [ [ client ] options ] [ -- [ server ] [ display ] options ]

       The  xinit  program  is	used to start the X Window System server and a
       first client program on systems	that  cannot  start  X	directly  from
       /etc/init  or  in  environments that use multiple window systems.  When
       this first client exits, xinit will kill the X server and  then	termi-

       If  no specific client program is given on the command line, xinit will
       look for a file in the user's home directory called .xinitrc to run  as
       a  shell	 script	 to start up client programs.  If no such file exists,
       xinit will use the following as a default:

	    xterm  -geometry  +1+1  -n	login  -display	 :0

       If no specific server program is given on the command line, xinit  will
       look  for  a file in the user's home directory called .xserverrc to run
       as a shell script to start up the server.   If  no  such	 file  exists,
       xinit will use the following as a default:

	    X  :0

       Note  that  this assumes that there is a program named X in the current
       search path.  However, servers are  usually  named  Xdisplaytype	 where
       displaytype  is	the  type  of graphics display which is driven by this
       server.	The site administrator should, therefore, make a link  to  the
       appropriate  type  of  server  on the machine, or create a shell script
       that runs xinit with the appropriate server.

       Note, when using a .xserverrc script be sure to	"exec"  the  real  X
       server.	 Failing  to  do  this can make the X server slow to start and
       exit.  For example:

	    exec Xdisplaytype

       An important point is that programs which are run by .xinitrc should be
       run  in	the  background	 if  they do not exit right away, so that they
       don't prevent other programs from starting up.  However, the last long-
       lived  program  started (usually a window manager or terminal emulator)
       should be left in the foreground so that the script won't  exit	(which
       indicates that the user is done and that xinit should exit).

       An alternate client and/or server may be specified on the command line.
       The desired client program and its arguments should  be	given  as  the
       first  command line arguments to xinit.	To specify a particular server
       command line, append a double dash  (--)	 to  the  xinit	 command  line
       (after  any  client  and arguments) followed by the desired server com-

       Both the client program name and the server  program  name  must	 begin
       with  a	slash  (/) or a period (.).  Otherwise, they are treated as an
       arguments to be appended to their respective startup lines.  This makes
       it  possible  to	 add arguments (for example, foreground and background
       colors) without having to retype the whole command line.

       If an explicit  server  name  is	 not  given  and  the  first  argument
       following  the  double  dash (--) is a colon followed by a digit, xinit
       will use that number as	the  display  number  instead  of  zero.   All
       remaining arguments are appended to the server command line.

       Below  are  several examples of how command line arguments in xinit are

       xinit   This will start up a server named X and run the	user's	.xini-
	       trc, if it exists, or else start an xterm.

       xinit -- /usr/X11R6/bin/Xqdss  :1
	       This  is	 how  one  could start a specific type of server on an
	       alternate display.

       xinit -geometry =80x65+10+10 -fn 8x13 -j -fg white -bg navy
	       This will start up a server named X, and will append the	 given
	       arguments  to the default xterm command.	 It will ignore .xini-

       xinit -e widgets -- ./Xsun -l -c
	       This will use the command .Xsun -l -c to start the  server  and
	       will  append the arguments -e widgets to the default xterm com-

       xinit /usr/ucb/rsh fasthost cpupig -display ws:1 --  :1 -a 2 -t 5
	       This will start a server named X on display 1  with  the	 argu-
	       ments  -a  2  -t	 5.   It will then start a remote shell on the
	       machine fasthost in which  it  will  run	 the  command  cpupig,
	       telling it to display back on the local workstation.

       Below  is a sample .xinitrc that starts a clock, several terminals, and
       leaves the window manager running as the "last" application.	Assum-
       ing that the window manager has been configured properly, the user then
       chooses the "Exit" menu item to shut down X.

	       xrdb -load $HOME/.Xresources
	       xsetroot -solid gray &
	       xclock -g 50x50-0+0 -bw 0 &
	       xload -g 50x50-50+0 -bw 0 &
	       xterm -g 80x24+0+0 &
	       xterm -g 80x24+0-0 &

       Sites that want to create a common  startup  environment	 could	simply
       create a default .xinitrc that references a site-wide startup file:

	       . /usr/local/lib/site.xinitrc

       Another approach is to write a script that starts xinit with a specific
       shell script.  Such scripts are usually named x11,  xstart,  or	startx
       and  are	 a  convenient	way  to	 provide a simple interface for novice

	       xinit /usr/local/lib/site.xinitrc -- /usr/X11R6/bin/X bc

       DISPLAY	      This variable gets set to the name  of  the  display  to
		      which clients should connect.

       XINITRC	      This  variable  specifies	 an init file containing shell
		      commands to start up the initial windows.	  By  default,
		      .xinitrc in the home directory will be used.

       .xinitrc	      default client script

       xterm	      client to run if .xinitrc does not exist

       .xserverrc     default server script

       X	      server to run if .xserverrc does not exist

       X(7x), startx(1), Xserver(1), xterm(1)

       Bob Scheifler, MIT Laboratory for Computer Science


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