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Apparently it is possible to do this using cygwin ports, as can be seen in screenshots. I followed this how-to to get apt-cygports set up, and I used it to install gnome-session.

This how-to supposedly gives the commands needed to run Gnome or KDE, but whenever I try to run Gnome, a blank X-window pops up and then quickly disappears.

Here is the terminal output:

$ startx /usr/bin/dbus-launch gnome-session
xauth:  file /home/jpthomps/.serverauth.4168 does not exist

Welcome to the XWin X Server
Vendor: The Cygwin/X Project
Release: 1.10.3.0
OS: Windows 7 Service Pack 1 [Windows NT 6.1 build 7601] (WoW64)
Package: version 1.10.3-12 built 2011-08-22

XWin was started with the following command line:

/usr/bin/X :0 -auth /home/jpthomps/.serverauth.4168

(II) xorg.conf is not supported
(II) See http://x.cygwin.com/docs/faq/cygwin-x-faq.html for more information
LoadPreferences: /home/jpthomps/.XWinrc not found
LoadPreferences: Loading /etc/X11/system.XWinrc
LoadPreferences: Done parsing the configuration file...
winDetectSupportedEngines - DirectDraw installed, allowing ShadowDD
winDetectSupportedEngines - Windows NT, allowing PrimaryDD
winDetectSupportedEngines - DirectDraw4 installed, allowing ShadowDDNL
winDetectSupportedEngines - Returning, supported engines 0000001f
winSetEngine - Using Shadow DirectDraw NonLocking
winScreenInit - Using Windows display depth of 32 bits per pixel
winFinishScreenInitFB - Masks: 00ff0000 0000ff00 000000ff
Screen 0 added at virtual desktop coordinate (0,0).
MIT-SHM extension disabled due to lack of kernel support
XFree86-Bigfont extension local-client optimization disabled due to lack of shared memory support in the kernel
(II) AIGLX: Loaded and initialized /usr/lib/dri/swrast_dri.so
(II) GLX: Initialized DRISWRAST GL provider for screen 0
winPointerWarpCursor - Discarding first warp: 637 478
(--) 5 mouse buttons found
(--) Setting autorepeat to delay=500, rate=31
(--) Windows keyboard layout: "00000409" (00000409) "US", type 4
(--) Found matching XKB configuration "English (USA)"
(--) Model = "pc105" Layout = "us" Variant = "none" Options = "none"
Rules = "base" Model = "pc105" Layout = "us" Variant = "none" Options = "none"
winBlockHandler - pthread_mutex_unlock()
winProcEstablishConnection - winInitClipboard returned.
winClipboardProc - DISPLAY=:0.0
winClipboardProc - XOpenDisplay () returned and successfully opened the display.
xinit: XFree86_VT property unexpectedly has 0 items instead of 1
xinit: connection to X server lost

waiting for X server to shut down winClipboardProc - winClipboardFlushWindowsMessageQueue trapped WM_QUIT message, exiting main loop.
winClipboardProc - XDestroyWindow succeeded.
winClipboardProc - Clipboard disabled  - Exit from server
winDeinitMultiWindowWM - Noting shutdown in progress
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migrated from stackoverflow.com Oct 26 '11 at 9:20

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2 Answers 2

Did you make sure that the last command in your .xinitrc is not sent to the background.

For example to start the clock and a terminal window, you would put

xlock &
xterm

Nota bene: xclock has the ampersand to allow the xinit script to fall through to the next command. xterm is the last one in the chain and does not get th ampersand. As soon as this specific xterm is closed, the X-Server will terminate.

So if all your x-programs in xinitrc have the ampersand, the X-Server will immediatly shut down again after the last command in xinitrc.

This would look like the behavior you are seeing.

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Have you tried CyGNOME? http://cygnome.sourceforge.net/

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1  
cygnome was for GNOME 1.x, which is ancient and unsupported. –  Yaakov Mar 20 at 5:27

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