History question again. Does anybody know when .xsession-errors were started. The oldest I can find about from /usr/share/doc/xserver-xorg/ is from 2005 which tells about the X11R7.0.0 release . Does anybody know what used to the state before that ?

  • Opinion-based questions/answers don't get very far here; you may want to trim off the second question.
    – Jeff Schaller
    Oct 21, 2016 at 1:49
  • I can't remember not having .xsession-errors on Linux (of course I may be wrong). And I think I even had it when I was using dedicated X terminals at university (though I'm not 100% sure). So it must have been there quite early. X11R5 is still around ('91 or so), so I guess you could check.
    – dirkt
    Oct 21, 2016 at 7:08
  • 3
    It's in the R5 Xsession, but not R4. The R5 has this version tag: $XConsortium: Xsession,v 1.7 92/08/06 11:08:14 gildea Exp $. What preceded it was apparently the user session just inherited stderr from the xdm daemon, which caused error messages to get lost to /dev/null or in some system log file or on the console where the user couldn't see them.
    – user41515
    Oct 21, 2016 at 18:55
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    As @WumpusQ.Wumbley said, it looks like it's very old (which matches what I thought) but just to corroborate that I am looking at an actual .xsession-errors file lying around here in an archived home directory that was last written on 27 October 2000. I could probably find another one somewhere that is closer to the 1992 date but I'd have to dig in offline archives.
    – Celada
    Oct 21, 2016 at 20:25
  • @WumpusQ.Wumbley back in those days it was very common for users to run xconsole so they could keep track of messages logged to the console. You could turn your comment into an answer, that's as good as it's going to get I think... Oct 24, 2016 at 7:30

1 Answer 1


In the old X Consortium upstream sources, it was added in 1991 to replace logging to a system-wide log file that users might not have access to:


but that had only been introduced a month before, and hadn't made it out into a release yet:


before that, it appears to be as @WumpusQ.Wumbley said in the comment above - it wasn't being captured by the Xsession and instead either lost or logged with the xdm stderr logs.

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