Long-time lurker, first time question-asker.

I am running Debian jessie with XFCE, kernel 3.16.7.

In the course of setting up Conky to run at startup, I wrote a bash script to... well.. run Conky. My next move was to set the script to run at at startup. My research led me to the (easy button) GUI solution of Applications Menu->Settings->Sessions and Startup->Application Autostart. I set up my script to run at startup, and it works (so all is well).

I would like to know what is happening behind the scenes--what settings are changed when I set this up? How can I replicate the process of "checking the GUI box" the hard way (aka, CLI)?

I read through some Debian and XFCE documentation, but didn't find anything that appeared to be relevant. I might have been looking in the wrong place, or didn't read what was blatantly obvious, etc. Hints and sarcasm both appreciated.


Gnome's GDM (Gnome Display Manager) manages graphical display servers and handles graphical user logins. See this page on the ArchWiki for more information.

(from the above link): To autorun programs: Ensure your ~/.xinitrc or /etc/X11/xinit/xinitrc files source ~/.xprofile:

# Make sure this is before the 'exec' command or it won't be sourced.
[ -f /etc/xprofile ] && source /etc/xprofile
[ -f ~/.xprofile ] && source ~/.xprofile

Then, create your ~/.xprofile, and add the commands you want to use when you start your GUI login session.


Unfortunately, there is no simple answer to this question. Many GUI things have no easy cli equivalent, and these days they are even more complicated due to things like dbus, udev, even systemd, and the use of xml instead of simple ini files.

For some actions you may be able to see the result in your home directory. For example, create a timestamp file with touch ~/mytimestamp, then do your GUI action, then try to find files changed since your timestamp with find ~ -newer ~/mytimestamp. Some files may be new and contain something readable. For files that have changed copy them somewhere, redo your GUI action, then compare the two versions of the file.

For xfce you will probably find the files in ~/.config/xfce4/.

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