I have several servers with the /home directory mounted on a common
volume using NFS.

The problem is that the various machines have different versions/
distributions of Linux running on them. (One has RHEL3 and two have
Ubuntu server)

So, when I try to use "startx" on the Red Hat box, it works fine (The
Red Hat box is the file server) but when I try on the Ubuntu machine
to start an X session (either through startx or gdm) it completely
fails and gives me the "X" mouse pointer over the default crosshatched
X background.

I was thinking that if I could simply specify an alternate home
directory on the local disk on the Ubuntu boxes that it would fix the
problem.

Is there a way to do that, or is there perhaps a different approach?

Thanks!