I just wondered if some old computers laying around here could still be used for some games if I completely cut off the display manager. Is there a way to start a gui program from the command line in a new (and only) Xsession, even without lxde? I doubt it doesn't need compiz, but can I somehow configure it to only show that window?

If there is, is it still easy to have at least a small border (or frame or something like that) with a cross to terminate and close the Xserver? I'd like to use it eg. for Minecraft or Starbound.

Thanks! -Peter

  • Try startx openbox, openbox is lightweight window manager – user.dz Feb 21 '15 at 22:20
  • @Sneetsher: I actually look for some command or script to start it like startx openbox "/path/to/program", adapting to your example. – Peter Nerlich Feb 21 '15 at 23:03

You may declare a shell function that modifies autostart file and launch openbox-session instead.

This will show 2 windows one for target GUI program and an xterm for openbox. To kill the xsession, close that xterm window.

obox () {
  echo "$@ &" > ~/.config/openbox/autostart;
  startx openbox-session;


obox gedit ~/.config/openbox/autostart
obox winecfg
  • Hm, it would work as workaround for me, but unforunaly, now I can't use lightdm anymore. Do you have an idea what went wrong? Instead of starting a session lightdm comes up again, almost immediately. – Peter Nerlich Feb 22 '15 at 10:09
  • could you add more information about you environment, are you using lubuntu, which release... try running same command from any console tty1-6. – user.dz Feb 22 '15 at 10:41
  • 1
    Oh, found it. chown myusername:myusername ~/.Xauthority works. Well, your suggestion would be a workaround at least. – Peter Nerlich Feb 22 '15 at 11:23

I found >Start ubuntu without a desktop environment but start an X application< to be helpful here.

The best answer works for me - exept, when I put the path /media/myusername/I/have/it/on/another/partition/linux64/starbound in, it doesn't show up to choose. I read the tryExec= field looks, if the program is present, else it is ignored. It is not required though, so I'll try without that next.

UPDATE: I figured it out somehow. I played around a little, and it appears that it won't read the /usr/share/xsessions files, since their owner is root. I had places a .sh script there to mount the partition, too, if not already aviable, but I moved it into ~/bin and now it works fine with that.

Thanks for your help, everyone!

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