I've been subject to a rather annoying emacs bug for months. Basically, when you start emacs with the --daemon switch, and the X11 session exits, and any emacs frames are open, then the emacs process dies. No warning. The whole point, to my mind, of the daemon mode is to allows emacs sessions to persist beyond the current X11 session.

This shouldn't happen. I think this is the relevant bug report, but I seem to remember that the issue has something to do with the way that GTK interacts with the X11 session and emacs's frames. It's something of a deadlock: the GTK has no real need to fix the bug (and/or it's a behavior that they rely on for other uses,) and it might not really be possible or feasible for emacs to work around this issue. [1]

I also think that it's probably fair to say that daemon mode represent a small minority all emacs usage.

Regardless, I've figured out the workaround:

Turns out, it's totally possible to build GNU emacs without GTK, by using the "Lucid" build. Which is to say, use the windowing system kit built for Lucid Emacs (i.e. XEmacs,) rather than GTK. I was able, using the code below, to get an emacs experience with the new build that seems identical [2] to the one I used to get with GTK, except without the frustrating crashes every time that X11 spazzed when I decided to unplug a monitor or some such. A welcome improvement, indeed.

The following emacs-lisp covers all of the relevant configuration of the "look and feel" of my emacs session. Install the Inconsolata font if you haven't already, you'll be glad you did.

(setq-default inhibit-startup-message 't
              initial-scratch-message 'nil
              save-place t
              scroll-bar-mode nil
              tool-bar-mode nil
              menu-bar-mode nil
              scroll-margin 0
              indent-tabs-mode nil
              flyspell-issue-message-flag 'nil
              size-indication-mode t
              scroll-conservatively 25
              scroll-preserve-screen-position 1
              cursor-in-non-selected-windows nil)

(setq default-frame-alist '((font-backend . "xft")
                            (font . "Inconsolata-14")
                            (vertical-scroll-bars . 0)
                            (menu-bar-lines . 0)
                            (tool-bar-lines . 0)
                            (alpha 86 84)))

(tool-bar-mode -1)
(scroll-bar-mode -1)
(menu-bar-mode -1)

Hope this helps you and/or anyone else that might have run into this problem.

[1]I'd like to add the citation and more information here, but can't find it.
[2]To be fair, I mostly don't use the GUI elements in emacs, though having emacs instances outside of the terminal is nice for displaying images when using emacs-w3m, and for having a little bit of additional display flexibility for some more rich modes.