Graphical Boot-up? I Don’t Think So (Revisited)

Graphical Boot-up? I Don’t Think So

Posted by V. T. Eric Layton on Apr 9, 2010

It’s a Slackware thing, baby. Real Slackers don’t use a graphical boot-up screen.

Ever since I can remember, I’ve modified my /etc/inittab in every distribution I use to boot-up using runlevel 3 as the default. This gives you full multi-user with no X running. Why do I do it this way? Well… it’s COOL! Seriously though, I just prefer it and it serves some practical purposes, also.

Even though I started my Linux journey a few years ago with Ubuntu, I had Slackware up and running as my primary operating system shortly thereafter. You might even say I cut my Linux teeth on Slackware. This is the Slackware way… lightness of being, simplicity, efficient use of resources.

I do a lot from the command line in most of my distros. I just find it easier to start off with no X running in case I do have system chores that need doing, like updating or editing config files for some reason or another. Command line? Bet you thought that went out with octal machine code, huh? Well, it didn’t.

The command line still offers a FAST way to perform functions within the operating system. But hey… it’s not for everyone. It’s a great skill to have at least a passing knowledge of, but you can be perfectly content as a 100% GUI penguin. Nothing wrong with that. Linux ain’t about dictating how you do things. It’s ALL about giving you choices and options to get your work done.

If you feel the need to explore the dark side of Linux, the command line interface, you can modify your /etc/inittab configuration file to boot you into runlevel 3 as a default, as I do. Once you’re done with your stuff and want your graphic interface up and running, just type “startx” at the prompt (no quotes). This command will start the X Window System on your Linux.

In some rare cases, where you’re using certain windows managers/desktop environments, the startx command will not work. You’ll need to know the specific command to launch your graphical interface. For instance, in my Sidux installation, which uses LXDE/Openbox desktop environment/windows manager, I have to type “startlxde” (again without quotes) to fire up the graphic interface. 99% of the time, though, startx will work.

For more information in the /etc/inittab file and runlevels in Linux check out Sandra Henry-Stocker’s recent piece over at ITWorld : Unix How-To: the Linux /etc/inittab file

Have FUN while you’re learning.

Until next time, folks…



This article was originally published on my Nocturnal Slacker | Lockergnome blog. You can see the original by clicking HERE.


4 Comments on “Graphical Boot-up? I Don’t Think So (Revisited)”

  1. Let me tell you something, this wednesday while upgrading my Mint LMDE, the graphic card stop working after the reboot, I mean it was missconfigured and I was only able to run it in 640×480.
    I tried to fix it, but made a mistake and in the next boot I was not able to see anything, ALT+F2 did not worked, nothing, and ssh was off by default.
    I had to reboot in “maintenance” mode, and fix it there, but I would have loved to be in init level 3.
    Or at least have ssh on by default like in Slackware.

    • AHA! Guillermo, you prove my point wonderfully with this recent experience of yours. I’ve had this happen numerous times over the years. It’s wonderful to have RL 3 and be able to troubleshoot/repair without having to depend on another distro or Live CD and chrooting.

      Any Linux distro can be started multi-user w/o X running. It’s just a matter of modifying /etc/inittab. I do it no matter the distro I’m using at the time. It’s worth the time to do it, as you’ve discovered. So you don’t get a pretty login screen. Big deal. It’s more important that you can work under the hood when needed, in my opinion.



  2. leftystrat says:

    Then there’s us garden variety geeks that use RL5 and can use both graphical and GUI interfaces.

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