My ~/.xinitrc file is seemingly being ignored. Has X changed fundamentally in recent years?
I'm guessing you are logging in via the default GUI display manager,
lightdm. Different display managers have different attitudes toward using start up files such as
.xinit. Technically, they're not obliged to do either thing, since they aren't login shells, and you aren't calling
xinit. This is approach taken by
However, it (or rather, X itself) will execute
~/.xsession. The easiest thing to do is move your stuff into that. There are other solutions to this problem online if you search "lightdm xinitrc".