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1 <?xml version='1.0' encoding='UTF-8'?>
2
3 <!-- $Header$ -->
4
5 <!DOCTYPE guide SYSTEM "/dtd/guide.dtd">
6
7 <guide link="/doc/en/xorg-config.xml">
8
9 <title>The X Server Configuration HOWTO</title>
10
11 <author title="Author">
12 <mail link="swift@gentoo.org">Sven Vermeulen</mail>
13 </author>
14
15 <abstract>
16 Xorg is the X Window server which allows users to have a graphical
17 environment at their fingertips. This HOWTO explains what Xorg is, how to
18 install it and what the various configuration options are.
19 </abstract>
20
21 <!-- The content of this document is licensed under the CC-BY-SA license -->
22 <!-- See http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/1.0 -->
23 <license/>
24
25 <version>1.1</version>
26 <date>May 10, 2004</date>
27
28 <chapter>
29 <title>What is the X Window Server?</title>
30 <section>
31 <title>Graphical vs Command-Line</title>
32 <body>
33
34 <p>
35 The average user may be frightened at the thought of having to type in commands.
36 Why wouldn't he be able to point and click his way through the freedom provided
37 by Gentoo (and Linux in general)? Well, *big smile*, of course you are able to
38 do this :-) Linux offers a wide variety of flashy user interfaces and
39 environments which you can install on top of your existing installation.
40 </p>
41
42 <p>
43 This is one of the biggest surprises new users come across: a graphical user
44 interface is nothing more than an application which runs on your system. It is
45 <e>not</e> part of the Linux kernel or any other internals of the system. It is
46 a powerful tool that fully enables the graphical abilities of your workstation.
47 </p>
48
49 <p>
50 As standards are important, a standard for drawing and moving windows on a
51 screen, interacting with the user through mouse and keyboard and other basic yet
52 important aspects has been created and named the <e>X Window System</e>,
53 commonly abbreviated as <e>X11</e> or just <e>X</e>. It is used on Unix, Linux
54 and Unix-like operating systems throughout the world.
55 </p>
56
57 <p>
58 The application that provides Linux users with the ability to run graphical
59 user interfaces and that uses the X11 standard is Xorg-X11, a fork of
60 the XFree86 project. XFree86 has decided to use a license that might not be
61 compatible with the GPL license; the use of Xorg is therefore recommended. Note
62 though that the differences between Xorg and XFree86 are currently very slim; if
63 you know one, you know the other. XFree86 versions prior to 4.4 are available
64 through Portage as well.
65 </p>
66
67 </body>
68 </section>
69 <section>
70 <title>The X.org Project</title>
71 <body>
72
73 <p>
74 The <uri link="http://www.x.org">X.org</uri> project created and
75 maintains a freely redistributable open-source implementation of the X11 system.
76 It is an open source X11-based desktop infrastructure.
77 </p>
78
79 <p>
80 Xorg provides an interface between your hardware and the graphical software
81 you want to run. Besides that, Xorg is also fully network-aware, meaning you
82 are able to run an application on one system while viewing it on a different
83 one.
84 </p>
85
86 </body>
87 </section>
88 </chapter>
89 <chapter>
90 <title>Installing Xorg</title>
91 <section>
92 <title>Using emerge</title>
93 <body>
94
95 <p>
96 Enough chitchat, let's get to business shall we? To install Xorg, you just
97 need to run <c>emerge xorg-x11</c>. Installing Xorg does take a while
98 though, so you might want to grab a snack while you are waiting.
99 </p>
100
101 <pre caption="Installing Xorg">
102 # <i>emerge xorg-x11</i>
103 </pre>
104
105 <p>
106 When the installation is finished, you might need to reinitialise some
107 environment variables before you continue. Just run <c>env-update</c> followed
108 by <c>source /etc/profile</c> and you're all set. This doesn't harm your system
109 in any way.
110 </p>
111
112 <pre caption="Reinitialising the environment variables">
113 # <i>env-update</i>
114 # <i>source /etc/profile</i>
115 </pre>
116
117 </body>
118 </section>
119 </chapter>
120 <chapter>
121 <title>Configuring Xorg</title>
122 <section>
123 <title>The xorg.conf File</title>
124 <body>
125
126 <p>
127 The configurationfile of Xorg is called <path>xorg.conf</path> and it
128 resides in <path>/etc/X11</path>. The Xorg-X11 package provides an example
129 configuration as <path>/etc/X11/xorg.conf.example</path> which you can use to
130 create your own configuration. It is heavily commented, but if you are in need
131 of more documentation regarding the syntax, don't hesitate to read the man page:
132 </p>
133
134 <pre caption="Reading the xorg.conf man page">
135 # <i>man 5 xorg.conf</i>
136 </pre>
137
138 <p>
139 Happy reading for those of you willing to. We surely don't so we'll continue
140 with checking out how we can create the file automatically.
141 </p>
142
143 </body>
144 </section>
145 <section>
146 <title>Default: Automatic Generation of xorg.conf</title>
147 <body>
148
149 <p>
150 Xorg itself is able to guess most parameters for you. In most cases, you
151 will only have to change some lines to get the resolution you want up and
152 running. If you are interested in more in-depth tweaking, be sure to check the
153 resources at the end of this chapter. But first, let us generate a (hopefully
154 working) Xorg configuration file.
155 </p>
156
157 <pre caption="Generating an xorg.conf file">
158 # <i>Xorg -configure</i>
159 </pre>
160
161 <p>
162 Be sure to read the last lines printed on your screen when Xorg has finished
163 probing your hardware. If it tells you it failed at some point, you're forced to
164 manually write an <path>xorg.conf</path> file. Assuming that it didn't fail, it
165 will have told you that it has written <path>/root/xorg.conf.new</path> ready
166 for you to test. So let's test :)
167 </p>
168
169 <pre caption="Testing the xorg.conf.new file">
170 # <i>Xorg -config /root/xorg.conf.new</i>
171 </pre>
172
173 <p>
174 If all goes well, you should see an ugly, loathsome, repulsive, deformed
175 window manager called <c>twm</c>, probably the smallest window manager
176 available. Try moving your mouse and see if your keyboard and such is working.
177 In the next section we will optimize our <path>xorg.conf</path> so it fits your
178 hardware. Now go into one of the terminals you see on your screen and type in
179 <c>exit</c> (or press Ctrl-D) until Xorg shuts down. If you are unable to
180 use your mouse to focus the terminals, you can also press Ctrl-Alt-Backspace to
181 kill the X server.
182 </p>
183
184 </body>
185 </section>
186 <section>
187 <title>Alternative: Semi-Automatic Generation of xorg.conf</title>
188 <body>
189
190 <p>
191 Xorg provides a tool called <c>xorgconfig</c> which will ask you for various
192 information regarding your system (graphical adapter, keyboard, ...). Based on
193 your input it will create a <path>xorg.conf</path> file.
194 </p>
195
196 <pre caption="Semi-Automatic Generation of xorg.conf">
197 # <i>xorgconfig</i>
198 </pre>
199
200 </body>
201 </section>
202 </chapter>
203 <chapter>
204 <title>Tweaking xorg.conf</title>
205 <section>
206 <title>Copying over xorg.conf</title>
207 <body>
208
209 <p>
210 Let us first copy over the <path>xorg.conf.new</path> to
211 <path>/etc/X11/xorg.conf</path> so we won't have to continuously run <c>Xorg
212 -config</c> -- typing <c>startx</c> is far more easy :)
213 </p>
214
215 <pre caption="Copying over xorg.conf">
216 # <i>cp /root/xorg.conf.new /etc/X11/xorg.conf</i>
217 </pre>
218
219 <p>
220 Now run <c>startx</c> to start up your X server. It will use the freshly copied
221 file as its configuration file. To finish the X session, type in <c>exit</c> or
222 Ctrl-D in the upcoming xterms. You can also kill the X session using the
223 Ctrl-Alt-Backspace combination. This will however make X exit disgracefully -
224 something that you might not always want. It doesn't hurt though :)
225 </p>
226
227 <pre caption="Starting X">
228 # <i>startx</i>
229 </pre>
230
231 </body>
232 </section>
233 <section>
234 <title>Setting your Resolution</title>
235 <body>
236
237 <p>
238 If you feel that the screen resolution is wrong, you will need to check two
239 sections in your configuration. First of all, you have the <e>Screen</e> section
240 which lists the resolutions - if any - that your X server will run at. By
241 default, this section might not list any resolutions at all. If this is the
242 case, Xorg will estimate the resolutions based on the information in the
243 second section, <e>Monitor</e>.
244 </p>
245
246 <p>
247 What happens is that Xorg checks the settings of <c>HorizSync</c> and
248 <c>VertRefresh</c> in the <e>Monitor</e> section to compute valid resolutions.
249 For now, leave these settings as-is. Only when the changes to the <e>Screen</e>
250 section (which we will describe in a minute) don't work, then you will need to
251 look up the specs for your monitor and fill in the correct values. You can also
252 use a tool that searches for your monitor's specs, such as
253 <c>sys-apps/ddcxinfo-knoppix</c>.
254 </p>
255
256 <warn>
257 Do <b>not</b> "just" change the values of these two monitor-related variables
258 without consulting the technical specifications of your monitor. Setting
259 incorrect values lead to out-of-sync errors at best and smoked up screens at
260 worst.
261 </warn>
262
263 <p>
264 Now let us change the resolutions. In the next example from
265 <path>/etc/X11/xorg.conf</path> we add the <c>Modes</c> lines and the
266 <c>DefaultDepth</c> so that our X server starts with 24 bits at 1024x768 by
267 default. Don't mind the given strings - they are examples and will most likely
268 differ from the settings on your system.
269 </p>
270
271 <pre caption="Changing the Screen section in /etc/X11/xorg.conf">
272 Section "Screen"
273 Identifier "Default Screen"
274 Device "S3 Inc. ProSavage KN133 [Twister K]"
275 Monitor "Generic Monitor"
276 <i>DefaultDepth 24</i>
277 <comment># Skipping some text to improve readability</comment>
278 SubSection "Display"
279 Depth 24
280 <i>Modes "1024x768"</i>
281 EndSubSection
282 EndSection
283 </pre>
284
285 <p>
286 Run X (<c>startx</c>) to discover it uses the resolution you want :)
287 </p>
288
289 </body>
290 </section>
291 <section>
292 <title>Configuring your Keyboard</title>
293 <body>
294
295 <p>
296 To setup X to use an international keyboard, search for the <e>InputDevice</e>
297 section that configures the keyboard and add the <c>XkbLayout</c> option to
298 point to the keyboard layout you want. As an example, we show you how to apply
299 for the Belgian layout. Just substitute the country-keycode with yours:
300 </p>
301
302 <pre caption="Changing the keyboard layout">
303 Section "InputDevice"
304 Identifier "Generic Keyboard"
305 Driver "keyboard"
306 Option "CoreKeyboard"
307 Option "XkbRules" "xfree86"
308 Option "XkbModel" "pc105"
309 <i>Option "XkbLayout" "be"</i>
310 EndSection
311 </pre>
312
313 </body>
314 </section>
315 <section>
316 <title>Configuring your Mouse</title>
317 <body>
318
319 <p>
320 If your mouse isn't working, you will first need to find out if it is detected
321 by the kernel at all. PS/2 mouses are (device-wise) seen as
322 <path>/dev/psaux</path>. Other mouses (like USBs) are seen as
323 <path>/dev/input</path> (or <path>/dev/input/mice</path>). In either case you
324 can check if the devices do represent your mouse by checking the output of those
325 files when you move your mouse. To end the session press <c>Ctrl-C</c>.
326 </p>
327
328 <pre caption="Checking the device files">
329 # <i>cat /dev/input</i>
330 <comment>(Don't forget to press Ctrl-C to end this)</comment>
331 </pre>
332
333 <p>
334 If your mouse isn't detected, verify if all the necessary modules are loaded.
335 </p>
336
337 <p>
338 If your mouse is detected, fill in the device in the appropriate
339 <e>InputDevice</e> section. In the next example you'll see we also set two other
340 options: <c>Protocol</c> (which lists the mouse protocol to be used - most users
341 will use PS/2 or IMPS/2) and <c>ZAxisMapping</c> (which allows for the
342 mousewheel (if applicable) to be used).
343 </p>
344
345 <pre caption="Changing the mouse settings in Xorg">
346 Section "InputDevice"
347 Identifier "TouchPad Mouse"
348 Driver "mouse"
349 Option "CorePointer"
350 <i>Option "Device" "/dev/psaux"</i>
351 <i>Option "Protocol" "IMPS/2"</i>
352 <i>Option "ZAxisMapping" "4 5"</i>
353 EndSection
354 </pre>
355
356 <p>
357 Run <c>startx</c> and be happy about the result :) Congratulations, you now
358 (hopefully) have a working Xorg on your system. The next step is to remove this
359 ugly lightweight window manager and use a high-feature one (or even a desktop
360 environment) such as KDE or GNOME, but that's not part of this guide :)
361 </p>
362
363 </body>
364 </section>
365 </chapter>
366 <chapter>
367 <title>Resources</title>
368 <section>
369 <title>Creating and Tweaking xorg.conf</title>
370 <body>
371
372 <p>
373 First of all, <c>man 5 xorg.conf</c> provides a quick yet complete reference
374 about the syntaxis used by the configuration file. Be sure to have it open on a
375 terminal near you when you edit your configuration file!
376 </p>
377
378 <p>
379 A second point of resources on your system is the
380 <path>/usr/X11R6/lib/X11/doc</path> directory with various <path>README</path>'s
381 for individual graphical chipsets.
382 </p>
383
384 <p>
385 There are also many online resources on editing <path>xorg.conf</path>. We only
386 list few of them here, be sure to <uri link="http://www.google.com">Google</uri>
387 for more :) As <path>xorg.conf</path> and <path>XF86Config</path> (the
388 configuration file for the XFree86 project) use the
389 same syntaxis for most configuration options and more information about
390 <path>XF86Config</path> is available, we'll list those resources as well.
391 </p>
392
393 <ul>
394 <li>
395 <uri link="http://tldp.org/HOWTO/XFree-Local-multi-user-HOWTO/">The XFree
396 Local Multi-User HOWTO</uri>
397 </li>
398 <li>
399 <uri
400 link="http://www-106.ibm.com/developerworks/edu/os-dw-linuxxwin-i.html">An
401 Introduction to XFree 4.x</uri> by Chris Houser
402 </li>
403 </ul>
404
405 </body>
406 </section>
407 </chapter>
408 </guide>

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