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Linux tips: X Font Server Error??

Posted In Linux - By Techtiplib on Thursday, June 7th, 2012 With No Comments »

Many new user of Linux face an error message when they try to start X Windows. The error message generally is something about X Font Server being unable to start. Before this message there are other messages also but the last message is generally stating that there was an error starting X Font Server (XFS). A possible solution to this problem is stated below.

Note: There are numerous reasons why X Font Server may not start or crash midway. This is just one solution to the problem. Besides its not the most common reason for XFS to crash. It so happened that this was the problem I was facing on my machine and I had a tough time realising the cause of the problem, since most articles (on the web) regarding XFS problems did not discuss this case.


Generally when XFS gives problems, either the configuration files of XFS must have been corrupted or there must be something else missing that is relating to the XFS.

But I have noticed that this problem also occurs due to your harddisk being full.

Many of the new users of Linux install Linux on as small as a 500 MB partition. And a default Redhat 6.1 Installation takes up around 450-475 MB of this space. Soon after a few days of software installation the remaining space gets full. X Windows can start most of its services since they don’t require harddisk space. But when it tries to start XFS, it requires a few Megabytes of harddisk space. Unavailability of this space gives an error saying that it could not start the X Font Server…thus sometimes misleading newcomers into thinking that there was some error with the configuration of the X Font Server. Actually it is only lack of harddisk space which gives rise to this error. So free up some space (maybe around 5MB) and check again. If the error still remains then it is really some problem with XFS.

Note : This is just one of the many reasons why XFS may not start. Generally if XFS doesn’t start there might be a problem with its configuration files itself rather than your harddisk being full. So do check the configuration files. There are separate articles which deal with XFS configuration.


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