Subject: Re: Xinit/startx
To: Izik Kohen <>
From: Michael L. Hitch <>
List: port-pmax
Date: 04/02/1997 10:55:04
On Apr  2, 12:22pm, Izik Kohen wrote:
> when i try running startx, xinit, xfs, or xdm i get:
> <cochrane> [1] (/home/koheni) # startx
> xinit: 1: Syntax error: "(" unexpected

  Hmm - I've gotten this error when I was trying to run an Ultrix binary
and had forgotten to include the Ultrix compatibility mode in my kernel.
I couldn't figure out what was going on for a long time before it finally
hit me.  The kernel was not recognizing the Ultrix binary as an executable
file, and was trying to use it as a shell script.

  That error message looks like it's coming from the shell which is trying
to execute xinit as a script.

> <cochrane> [2] (/home/koheni) # xinit
> bash: /usr/X11R6.3/bin/xinit: cannot execute binary file
> <cochrane> [3] (/home/koheni) # xfs
> bash: /usr/X11R6.3/bin/xfs: cannot execute binary file
> <cochrane> [4] (/home/koheni) # xdm
> bash: /usr/X11R6.3/bin/xdm: cannot execute binary file
> <cochrane> [5] (/home/koheni) # 

  These messages also seem to indicate that base doesn't recognize the
files as executable binaries (or at least it getting an error from the
kernel when trying to execute them).

  What does "file /usr/X11R6/bin/xinit" and "file /usr/X11R6/bin/xdm" show?

> when I run X it gives me an X display (little grey dots)
> and a mouse and i cant do anything else.

  Well, you can't do much else if you can't run any client programs :-).

  What I've done when testing is to execute a script which runs the X server
in the background and then runs an xterm.  If you have network or serial
access to the system, you can also try running xterm or other X clients from
that session to see if any of the clients work.


Michael L. Hitch			INTERNET:
Computer Consultant
Information Technology Center
Montana State University	Bozeman, MT	USA