best way to start desired X clients on login with xorg-server?

Richard Cobbe rcobbe at
Wed May 29 05:00:22 UTC 2019

I'm in the process of switching away from XQuartz to macports' xorg-server
package, since it seems the former is no longer supported.

I would like to start X and a client automatically upon login.  Adding
/Applications/MacPorts/ to the list of login items in System
Preferences is easy enough, and it starts X, but it also starts xterm, and
I'd prefer to start urxvt instead, and in a specific environment.

More precisely, I want to do the following on starting X:

    1) xrdb ~/.Xresources
    2) start /opt/local/bin/urxvt in environment that contains the
        following variables:

I'd like to use quartz-wm in rootless mode, and I'd strongly prefer that
the X server continue running even if I close the urxvt started in step 2.
I'd also like to avoid having other extraneous X clients start

I think I've found a way to do this, but it seems a bit sloppy and I'm
wondering if there's a cleaner way.

First, run the command
    defaults write org.macports.X11 write app_to_run /usr/bin/true
This seems to only be necessary once; the setting appears to persist.

Then, create ~/.xinitrc with the following contents:

    ## Tell fontconfig to read ~/etc/fontconfig/fonts.conf
    export XDG_CONFIG_HOME=~/etc

    /opt/local/bin/xrdb ~/.Xresources

    ## start urxvt in my home directory, not the root directory
    LC_CTYPE=en_US.UTF_8 /opt/local/bin/urxvt &
    exec /opt/local/bin/quartz-wm

If I don't change the app_to_run setting in the defaults, then I get an
xterm as well as urxvt, which is undesirable.  If I just delete the
app_to_run setting, then the next time I start X, it resets app_to_run back
to its default value of /opt/local/bin/xterm, and then it starts an xterm
as well as urxvt.  Setting it to /usr/bin/true (effectively a NOP) seems to
be the only way to prevent the unwanted xterm from starting and to have the
setting persist.

Is this the best way to do this?



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