5.2. Using the X Desktop Manager

If you wish, you may use the X Desktop Manager (``xdm'') to start up the X Window System automatically at system boot time. This allows your Linux system to always run under X (although you can switch from the GUI to the regular consoles with <Ctrl>-<Alt>-<F1>, and then back again to the GUI with <Alt>-<F7> as needed). This is a nice way of providing an attractive and friendly environment for you and your users, and avoid having to type ``startx'' all the time.

To enable xdm, simply edit the ``/etc/inittab'' file and change the line that reads "id:3:initdefault:" to the following:


The above change will switch Linux to run level 5 upon system boot up; this run level, by default, will start xdm. You may also wish to check your ``/etc/inittab'' file, probably near the bottom, to ensure the following line is present:

x:5:respawn:/usr/bin/X11/xdm -nodaemon

If you have enabled xdm and wish to use a higher ``bpp'' value than the default of 8 (and your video card and monitor will support it), you will need to modify the ``/etc/X11/xdm/Xservers'' file as follows:

:0 local /usr/X11R6/bin/X -bpp 24

The above change will start the xdm at 24 bits per pixel.

You may also wish to edit the ``/etc/X11/xdm/Xsetup_0'' file and with a ``#'' character, comment out the line that starts ``xbanner'' as shown:


This will prevent the default xdm banner screen from displaying for a split second between KDE sessions. Aesthestics, I know, but...

Tip: Tip: Sometimes you may find it necessary to switch back to the console (for example, certain games run under the console but not under X). There are two ways of doing this. To temporarily switch away from X to the console, press <Alt><F1>, and to switch back to X again, press <Alt><F7>. Or, if you wish to terminate X altogether (thus freeing up your available memory), you can type ``/sbin/telinit 3'' as "root" to switch the system run-level; this tells XDM to terminate. To switch back, type ``/sbin/telinit 5''.