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I wasn't able to run X11 or Terminal after rebooting my Mac. After digging around, I got them to work when I commented-out this line in my .cshrc:

xset b off

It appears that xset will attempt to launch X11 if it isn't running already, and since X11 will launch the default shell through xterm and thus encounter the xset line above, we will have an infinite loop.

I would like to keep the above line in my .cshrc. Is there a way to prevent X11 from launching itself?

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

Commands used during the initialization of the X server should be placed in ~/.xinitrc. You may want to copy (or source) the default found at /etc/X11/xinit/xinitrc as a starting point.

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Open terminal, copy and paste the following

sudo rm -rf /tmp/.X11-unix

then force-close x11. It should have stopped.

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As I explained in the question, the culprit was that X11 was being launched by the xset command in my .cshrc. Ignacio pointed-out that the command should be in .xinitrc. The issue has nothing to do with the presence of a temporary file. – chrisaycock Jun 19 '12 at 22:43

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