Linux: Ways to start desktop manager and desktop environment


1. Video driver installed.

2. dbus installed and loaded.

3. consolekit installed.

4. true type font (like ttf-dejavu) installed.

5. Input drivers installed: xf86-input-mouse and xf86-input-keyboard.

6. gamin installed. (For monitoring files and directories)

7. System fully upgraded (At least for Arch Linux, this is a recommendation)

8. Power utilities program for hibernate, shutdown, reboot and suspend. Example pm-utils and upower. User must be a member of power group.

9. Run as normal user not as root, we should not invoke desktop environment as a root user.

10. Good to have ~/.xinitrc for startx to load your correct desktop environment. If you do not have copy one from /etc/skel/ or touch one yourself.

11. If do not have ~/.xinitrc file then you have to invoke with xinit /path/to/de-script.

Start desktop environment manually at tty after you have successfully login

Method 1

1. Insert this exec ck-launch-session dbus-launch <startlxde | startkde | openbox-session | enlightenment_start | gnome-session>, depend on the type of DE you use. Save the xinitrc.

2. Run startx in tty. Everytime you landed in terminal you just need to type startx.

Method 2

1. xinit /usr/bin/<startlxde | startkde | openbox-session | enlightenment_start | gnome-session>

Start desktop environment automatically at tty after you have successfully login

1. Edit ~/.bash_profile. Notice this bash_profile is individually associated to each user.

if [[ -z $DISPLAY ]] && [[ $(tty) = /dev/tty1 ]]; then
exec startx

See above on how to edit xinitrc to startx correctly.

The above bash script is very minimum, your DE will not start if you are at tty2-6.

About Desktop Manager

Desktop manager is the graphical login. Many DM has choice of choosing different DE at login.

Start Desktop Manager after boot up

Method 1

1. Edit /etc/inittab. Uncomment id:5:initdefault: and comment id:3:initdefault:

2. Uncomment one of the following that is appropriate:

#x:5:respawn:/usr/bin/xdm -nodaemon
#x:5:respawn:/usr/sbin/gdm -nodaemon
#x:5:respawn:/usr/bin/kdm -nodaemon
#x:5:respawn:/usr/bin/slim >/dev/null 2>&1
#x:5:respawn:/user/sbin/lxdm >& /dev/null

Method 2

1. Insert desktop manager daemon into MODULES(….) array in /etc/rc.conf

2. The list:

KDE desktop manager – kdm

Gnome desktop manager – gdm

SLiM desktop manager – slim

LXDE desktop manager – lxdm


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s