User Tools

Site Tools


Introduction to X

X (also called X11 or more formally, the X Window System) is the standard windowing system for most UNIX systems. It is supported by MINIX 3, but not part of the basic distribution (due to its great size).

To use X, you must first fetch and install it. See InstallingBinaryPackages for more information on how to install packages with packman and pkgin.

When installation is completed, be sure you are logged in as root and type:


You will get a login screen. Just log in with your MINIX 3 login name and password. The default window configuration will appear. You can modify the default using the .Xresources and .Xsession files, as described elsewhere in this handbook.

If you did not set the username and password then see the Post Installation or Managing Users topics for information. You can escape from the window by pressing CTRL+C. Immediately type “shutdown” to reboot and then start again after you added a user account. Otherwise the login window might keep trying to show itself even though you pressed CTRL+C.

If you try to login as root and you have not set a password for root then follow the instructions to set the password using the passwd command and it will then allow you to login as root. This is not recommended practice but you might not care so it will work with root, but you must set the password first. If using a VM it will seem strange when you use the passwd command because it might not show characters when you are typing the new password. It is recognising it though so hit the keys and press enter and it will work even though it might look like nothing is happening.

After Starting

Once the window manager password box is satisfied, it will start an X11 desktop. Note that this is not a full featured Linux install. There is no big list of programs or anything like that. Just the desktop and some shell terminals. If you need more programs you will need to install them or build them.


If you are running MINIX releases earlier than 3.1.4, you may have problems running X if you don't run run chmem to increase the memory allocation of the X server.

chmem =64000000 /usr/X11R6/bin/Xorg


The following guides from The Linux Documentation Project give useful explanations of X and its components:

The X Window User HOWTO


For MINIX releases 3.1.4 - 3.2.0, the official X documentation can be found below:

Documentation for the X Window System Version 11 Release 6.8.2 (X11R6.8.2)

releases/3.2.0/usersguide/introductiontox.txt · Last modified: 2014/11/11 14:52 (external edit)