Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Setting up XDM on FreeBSD 12.1

This is how I got XDM working on my Thinkpad T430 in 2020

Prerequisites:

FreeBSD 12.1 Installed and Running on T430
Xorg up and running with TWM (default)

Steps:
1. Install XDM
    sudo pkg install xdm

2. Edit /etc/ttys and turn xdm on
    change
        ttyv8   "/usr/local/bin/xdm -nodaemon"  xterm   off secure
    to
        ttyv8   "/usr/local/bin/xdm -nodaemon"  xterm   on secure

3. Create a basic .xsession file
    xrdb -Dhostname=astra $HOME/.Xresources
    xset c off s 300
    twm &
    xterm -geometry 80x24+0-0

4. reboot
    sudo reboot

Notes:
    /etc/ttys is the terminal control file and it's what starts all of
    the pseudo terminals. ttyv8 is the 9th tty (CTRL-ALT-F9)
   
    .xsession is basically .xinitrc for xdm, if it's missing xdm won't
    start a session when you login, so you will endlessly enter your
    name and password wondering why nothing is starting.
   
    xrdb will load your .Xresources file - here's an example
        XTerm*foreground:   green
        XTerm*background:   black
   
    the xset sets keyclick off and sets the screen saver to 5 minutes

It's not magic, but oh how long it took me to figure it out... I just
received my copy of X Window System Users' Guide for X11 R3 and R4
by Valerie Quercia and Tim O'Reilly Volume Three in the mail - written in 1990,
but still amazing book. If it weren't for this book, I'd still be in the dark
about .Xdefaults, .Xresources, .xsession, .xinitrc, and three dozen other
Xisms.
   

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