Preventing from automatically opening an XTerm on launch

Mac OS X X11 Server, called, is configured to open a new xterm on launch by default. This default behavior can be pretty annoying, but can be easily disabled.

In order to stop Mac OS X from launching a new and empty xterm when launched for the first time, one must install a customized .xinitrc file into $HOME.

During start, looks for $HOME/.xinitrc and, if no one is found, it executes /etc/X11/xinit/xinitrc. It’s the /etc/X11/xinit/xinitrc script the one that launches an empty xterm.

To stop from launching an empty xterm:

  1. cp /etc/X11/xinit/xinitrc $HOME/.xinitrc
  2. Edit $HOME/.xinitrc and remove the line that reads "xterm &"

This will prevent from starting useless client applications, like xterm, on launch.

9 thoughts on “Preventing from automatically opening an XTerm on launch

  1. Thanks, this is about the only source of this information that I could Google. Can you publish it in so that other people can benefit from it?

  2. I’m having this problem. I found xinitrc only in X11/lib, not in /etc. The xinitrc I found did not contain a line starting xterm, rather it starts quartz-wm. Commenting out that line solved my problem. Apparently quartz-wm is a window manager for x.

    @Macintosh-2 ~ % locate xinitrc

    @Macintosh-2 ~ % cat .xinitrc


    # merge in defaults and keymaps

    if [ -f “$sysresources” ]; then
    xrdb -merge “$sysresources”

    if [ -f “$sysmodmap” ]; then
    xmodmap “$sysmodmap”

    if [ -f “$userresources” ]; then
    xrdb -merge “$userresources”

    if [ -f “$usermodmap” ]; then
    xmodmap “$usermodmap”

    exec quartz-wm

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