The xinit program allows a user to manually start an X display server. The startx script is a front-end for xinit.

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Websitexinit manual page

By default, xinit and startx start an X display server pointing to a display device that is enumerated as :0 and then start an xterm on it. When the xterm terminates, xinit and startx kill the X display server. In general, xinit and startx can start an arbitrary server and run an arbitrary script. Typically, this script runs a number of programs and a window manager.

Two alternative methods for starting an X display server are by using a display manager and by starting the X server and then manually starting one or more clients. On desktop Linux systems, a display manager is the most commonly used method.


  • Valerie Quercia + Tim O'Reilly, X Window System User's Guide, O'Reilly & Associates, Inc., USA, 1993
  • Linda Mui + Eric Pearce, X Window System Administrator's Guide, O'Reilly & Associates, Inc., USA, 1993
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