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instead of loading gdm3 when i turn my pc on, i want to load into an xterm with just a window manager (no desktop environment) and i want the xterm to have the login prompt as its first action so that i can login as my user within the xterm. i have the following info in my .xinitrc file:

$ ls -la .xsession
lrwxrwxrwx 1 peter peter 8 Oct  7 18:25 .xsession -> .xinitrc
$ cat .xinitrc 
#!/bin/bash
[[ -f ~/.Xresources ]] && xrdb -merge ~/.Xresources
xterm -maximized &
exec mutter

but this only runs once i login through gnome. i really just want to turn off gnome and run an xterm instead. i'm guessing i will need to modify my /etc/X11/Xsession or my /etc/X11/xinit/xinitrc file to get rid of the gdm3 start and replace it with something. what should i add/remove from these files? i want to bring up a login prompt within the xterm as the first action.

i'm on debian 7 and currently have gnome3 desktop environment with mutter window manager

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You need to disable the gdm service:

service gdm disable

If gdm is what it's called (it should be a shell script in /etc/init.d).

This will mean you boot to console. To try starting X using your xinit, use startx.

You do have to log in before you do that, of course. If you don't use xdm/gdm, then you'll have to do it at the console. If you then want X to start automatically, you could try adding startx to the end of ~/.profile, but I recommend you just type it manually.

[Note this is the current method for Debian and not necessarily other distros.]

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one way to achieve a very similar effect is to boot into the console using grub and then run startx on login. just set

GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT="text"

in /etc/default/grub.

then put the following at the bottom of ~/.bashrc:

[[ -z $DISPLAY ]] && [[ $(tty) = /dev/tty1 ]] && startx

this ensures that when the user logs in through virtual console tty1 only then x will start and then the ~/.xinitrc script will run.

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