Start X

Starting a Window Manager

When the idea of a graphical system for Unix was first introduced, there was a basic (very basic) graphical screen, based on what some of you will recognise as xdm. That is all well and good, but for those of us that like the CLI (Command-Line Interface), you can use:


to force a normal console-login to start your desired window-manager. Graphical login managers use the underlying configuration file:


While startx uses:


Although, if no ~/.xinitrc file is present, startx will read ~/.xsession quite happily.

Initially (unless you have added one to /etc/skel/), these [continued…]

Multimedia keyboard hot keys


A lot of keyboards now have multimedia hot keys on them. For example, most of the Logitech keyboards have the ability to mute the sound and turn the volume up or down. It is possible to use them under X on Linux.

Keyboard keys pass through a ludicrous number of different remappings on Linux before X applications receive them.

But they’re not “remapped” at all. The XServer has to communicate back to the XClient (via the window manager) the key that was pressed. This isn’t remapping whatsoever.

  • The keyboard generates scancodes
  • The Linux console driver remaps these to Linux [continued…]