Beginner Questions

Kevin Kinsey kdk at
Thu Jun 8 21:32:21 UTC 2006

Mayo, Richard A RDECOM CERDEC STCD SRI wrote:
> I'm setting up a FreeBSD box for the first time, so naturally 
> I have a bunch of questions.  I'm sure these are addressed 
> on the web somewhere, but I'm not having any luck finding
> anything so here goes:
> What file controls the way Xwindows sets up after I log on?
> I got the graphical login screen, but now I want to start
> Xwindows with kde rather than twm.

Welcome to FreeBSD!

For some reason, the mail servers I use (or perhaps the
FreeBSD server itself) are lagging a few hours behind,
so I hope you've not been flooded with responses.

The general answer is "it depends".  As near as I can
tell in your case, it would be ~/.xsession; in my case,
it is ~/.xinitrc (/home/myusername/.xinitrc).

That is assuming that by "graphical login screen", you
meant that you were looking at "xdm", the "X Display

I boot to a console prompt and then run "startx", so
"xinit" is actually setting up my session; I would have
"exec startkde" in ~/.xinitrc if I wanted to run KDE.
I assume (IANAE) that .xsession is similar.  Take a
look at Xorg(1) and especially xdm(1) for more information.

If you have KDE installed, it comes with "kdm"; the thing
to do might be modify /etc/ttys to run kdm instead of getty
on one of your virtual terminals; lots of folks do this,
from what I understand.

I formerly had this box running GNOME; here's the relevant
bits of /etc/ttys:

     ttyv0  "/usr/X11R6/bin/gdm"            cons25  on  secure
     #ttyv0 "/usr/libexec/getty Pc"         cons25  on  secure

So, this would run the Gnome Display Manager (gdm) on the
first virtual terminal on boot-up, and by default, gdm
called GNOME.  I assume that kdm does the same for KDE.

HTH, (and that I'm not late)

Kevin Kinsey

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