I just installed Arch from a live cd, set up network, installed wifi drivers, catalyst for my gpu (mobility hd 5470), xorg with all stuff it needs and then I started to try to use

startx gnome-session


xinit gnome-session

as well as starting it with/without xterm, but nothing ever appears, just a black screen, ideas?

3 Answers 3


If you get only a black screen, odds are that X is running. Have you checked your /var/log/Xorg.0.log for errors?

I'd start my debugging by ruling out Gnome all together.. Install TVM and xterm (and xclock, alternativly comment that row out)

# pacman -S xorg-twm xterm xorg-xclock

Then copy the contents from the default xinitrc to yor local .xinitrc

$ cat /etc/X11/xinit/xinitrc > ~/.xinitrc

If twm starts with some terminals (and xclock) the problem is in your gnome session. At least, if it works, you can now install a web browser and debug from within twm..

Also, please post your /var/log/Xorg.0.log if it does not work.. There might be a Catalyst problem, try using the open source driver if this fails (after checking your Xorg.log)..

Good luck

  • This is really a comment and not an answer to the original question. To critique or request clarification from an author, leave a comment below their post - you can always comment on your own posts, and once you have sufficient reputation you will be able to comment on any post. Please read Why do I need 50 reputation to comment? What can I do instead?
    – DavidPostill
    Apr 27, 2016 at 11:31
  • Well. First of all thank you got the link. Second, I feel this comment falls under the "But I can't write a good answer without more information!" Part of the link you sent me. But it's a matter of opinion, and this answer is the first step to solving the problem. But if you still feel this answer is more of a comment, then you are welcome to delete it.
    – chico1976
    Apr 27, 2016 at 15:59

You can't just run startx gnome-session. Properly configure your .xinitrc to boot GNOME, then just run startx. (Better solution: boot into GDM -- instructions can be found on the Arch Wiki.)

  • Still, it doesn't show up anything when trying to run it by xinit/startx, only a black screen, from what I've read about it I should have access to somekind of interface after booting into X, so that's not really -that- helpful
    – P.K.
    Feb 7, 2013 at 22:51
  • Pastebin your .xinitrc and post a link here and I'll tell you if there's anything wrong with it. Also, "startx" doesn't take any arguments. Make sure of that.
    – easyegoism
    Feb 8, 2013 at 4:17
  • It was empty, after few hours I noticed that I had to use xorg1.12 not 1.13 because it's not supported by fglrx, it took some time to backport it
    – P.K.
    Feb 8, 2013 at 18:51
  • your .xinitrc shouldn't be empty if you're trying to use it with gnome-session... it should contain "exec gnome-session" or something similar.
    – easyegoism
    Feb 8, 2013 at 21:05
  • Yea, I noticed that later aswell, still now I have another problem with it freezing and forcing me to hard-restart with almost no opned programs
    – P.K.
    Feb 8, 2013 at 21:06

In most cases, X11 will not initialize the mouse cursor until the first client has connected.

I have no idea why.

A usable, no-fuss way to start X successfully is to do something like

X & sleep 1; DISPLAY=:0 xterm &

Possibly substitute xterm for another program like urxvt or even something like openbox. On exceptionally old systems (<2005) the sleep delay might need to be extended.

The right way to launch X is to use startx or xinit as these programs will start the X server, wait until it's running and can receive connections, and then execute the contents of .xinitrc - but if you don't want to edit config files the above command will work okay.

Source: for almost a year I've been using CTRL+SHIFT+R to relocate the above command in my history, and starting X that way. (I'm crazy, I know)

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