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Distribution: Red Hat 8.0, Slackware 8.1, Knoppix 3.7, Lunar 1.3, Sorcerer
Well, yes and no. If your initdefault is runlevel 3, the preferred way to start the X server is to type startx when you are logged in as a non-root user. startx is a shell-script that calls the xinit binary with the appropriate options and that in turn forks the X server and your client apps as read from ~/.xinitrc if one exists.
When your initdefault is 5 or when you telinit(init behaves like telinit when you switch runlevels) to runlevel 5, an xdm server or equivalent ( gdm is default with RH ) gets started it and goes a different route that reads the ~/.xsession instead of ~/.xinitrc. The way I have both runlevels behave the same is by making .xsession a symlink that points to .xinitrc . This works like a champ if you're using xdm, but again you are using GDM and I had to tweak something in the GDM config to read my .xsession . Or I created some file that gdm looks for. I dont remember what.
That was about a year ago and I wiped it to install RH 8.0 so I cant go check. And I havent done it with 8.0 because I dont reboot at all and it wasnt worth the trouble. Let us know if you can get it going.
Inorder to use init you have to login as root right? And then login as someone else when the display manager starts up, is that correct?