Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Setting up XDM on FreeBSD 12.1

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


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

1. Install XDM
    sudo pkg install xdm

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

    /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

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