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i've been using linux for a couple years, and i've never been able to get a gui to launch with numlock on. it's such a simple thing, you'd think someone would have an easy solution. but nothing i've tried has ever worked. search google and try the various methods, maybe you'll have better luck.
numlockx doesn't work for me, either. maybe it's because i'm using xfce4 and it's not going through startx but startxfce4? after it didn't work in ~/.xinitrc, i put it in both ~/.xfce4/xinitrc and in the global xfce4 xinitrc, but still no numlock. it flashes for second while X is starting, then it turns off again, but it does that normally anyway. i've resigned myself to the fact that i'm just never going to have default numlock in linux.