I'm an avid user of XQuartz and use it for all my computing needs on OS X. Since I essentially don't use any Aqua apps any more, I wondered if it would be possible to start the X window system from console mode on OS X. Figures, I could get rid of the overhead caused by the Aqua window server and I've all the necessary binaries installed in /opt/local/X11 (installed by XQuartz).
First, when logged into console mode (by typing >console as the user name at the Aqua login screen, not by booting into single user mode), I simply tried 'startx': I was faced with an error prompt along the lines of 'cannot connect to server; connection refused'. I then attempted to run 'exec startx', following which I am promptly dropped straight back into the Aqua login screen. Subsequently, if I try to start XQuartz from within Aqua, I get an error message saying a connection to the X server already exists. Grepping all running processes reveals that, indeed, there is an open connection.
I've also tried repeating the processes with common DISPLAY environment variables: :0.0, localhost:0, localhost:X0 (found in /tmp/.unix-X11), etc ... To no avail.
I have the feeling I'm an inch away from my goal but need a last push in the right direction. Hopefully someone knows more about this. I'm running OS X Mountain Lion 10.8.3, for the record.