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1 <?xml version='1.0' encoding='UTF-8'?>
2
3 <!-- $Header: /var/cvsroot/gentoo/xml/htdocs/doc/en/xorg-config.xml,v 1.11 2005/04/11 12:05:08 swift Exp $ -->
4
5 <!DOCTYPE guide SYSTEM "/dtd/guide.dtd">
6
7 <guide link="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/2.0 -->
23 <license/>
24
25 <version>1.10</version>
26 <date>2005-04-11</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.
62 The official Portage tree does not provide an XFree86 package anymore.
63 </p>
64
65 </body>
66 </section>
67 <section>
68 <title>The X.org Project</title>
69 <body>
70
71 <p>
72 The <uri link="http://www.x.org">X.org</uri> project created and
73 maintains a freely redistributable open-source implementation of the X11 system.
74 It is an open source X11-based desktop infrastructure.
75 </p>
76
77 <p>
78 Xorg provides an interface between your hardware and the graphical software
79 you want to run. Besides that, Xorg is also fully network-aware, meaning you
80 are able to run an application on one system while viewing it on a different
81 one.
82 </p>
83
84 </body>
85 </section>
86 </chapter>
87 <chapter>
88 <title>Installing Xorg</title>
89 <section>
90 <title>Using emerge</title>
91 <body>
92
93 <p>
94 Enough chitchat, let's get to business shall we? To install Xorg, you just
95 need to run <c>emerge xorg-x11</c>. Installing Xorg does take a while
96 though, so you might want to grab a snack while you are waiting.
97 </p>
98
99 <pre caption="Installing Xorg">
100 # <i>emerge xorg-x11</i>
101 </pre>
102
103 <p>
104 When the installation is finished, you might need to reinitialise some
105 environment variables before you continue. Just run <c>env-update</c> followed
106 by <c>source /etc/profile</c> and you're all set. This doesn't harm your system
107 in any way.
108 </p>
109
110 <pre caption="Reinitialising the environment variables">
111 # <i>env-update</i>
112 # <i>source /etc/profile</i>
113 </pre>
114
115 </body>
116 </section>
117 </chapter>
118 <chapter>
119 <title>Configuring Xorg</title>
120 <section>
121 <title>The xorg.conf File</title>
122 <body>
123
124 <p>
125 The configuration file of Xorg is called <path>xorg.conf</path> and it
126 resides in <path>/etc/X11</path>. The Xorg-X11 package provides an example
127 configuration as <path>/etc/X11/xorg.conf.example</path> which you can use to
128 create your own configuration. It is heavily commented, but if you are in need
129 of more documentation regarding the syntax, don't hesitate to read the man page:
130 </p>
131
132 <pre caption="Reading the xorg.conf man page">
133 # <i>man 5 xorg.conf</i>
134 </pre>
135
136 <p>
137 Happy reading for those of you willing to. We surely don't so we'll continue
138 with checking out how we can create the file automatically.
139 </p>
140
141 </body>
142 </section>
143 <section>
144 <title>Default: Automatic Generation of xorg.conf</title>
145 <body>
146
147 <p>
148 Xorg itself is able to guess most parameters for you. In most cases, you
149 will only have to change some lines to get the resolution you want up and
150 running. If you are interested in more in-depth tweaking, be sure to check the
151 resources at the end of this chapter. But first, let us generate a (hopefully
152 working) Xorg configuration file.
153 </p>
154
155 <pre caption="Generating an xorg.conf file">
156 # <i>Xorg -configure</i>
157 </pre>
158
159 <p>
160 Be sure to read the last lines printed on your screen when Xorg has finished
161 probing your hardware. If it tells you it failed at some point, you're forced to
162 manually write an <path>xorg.conf</path> file. Assuming that it didn't fail, it
163 will have told you that it has written <path>/root/xorg.conf.new</path> ready
164 for you to test. So let's test :)
165 </p>
166
167 <pre caption="Testing the xorg.conf.new file">
168 # <i>X -config /root/xorg.conf.new</i>
169 </pre>
170
171 <p>
172 If all goes well, you should see a simple black and white pattern. Verify if
173 your mouse works correctly and if the resolution is good. You might not be able
174 to deduce the exact resolution, but you should be able to see if it's too low.
175 You can exit any time by pressing Ctrl-Alt-Backspace.
176 </p>
177
178 </body>
179 </section>
180 <section>
181 <title>Alternative: Semi-Automatic Generation of xorg.conf</title>
182 <body>
183
184 <p>
185 Xorg provides a tool called <c>xorgconfig</c> which will ask you for various
186 information regarding your system (graphical adapter, keyboard, ...). Based on
187 your input it will create a <path>xorg.conf</path> file.
188 </p>
189
190 <pre caption="Semi-Automatic Generation of xorg.conf">
191 # <i>xorgconfig</i>
192 </pre>
193
194 <p>
195 Another tool, also provided by Xorg, is <c>xorgcfg</c>, which will first
196 attempts to run <c>Xorg -configure</c> and then start the X server for more
197 final tweaking.
198 </p>
199
200 <pre caption="Using xorgcfg">
201 # <i>xorgcfg</i>
202 </pre>
203
204 </body>
205 </section>
206 <section>
207 <title>Copying over xorg.conf</title>
208 <body>
209
210 <p>
211 Let us copy over the <path>xorg.conf.new</path> to
212 <path>/etc/X11/xorg.conf</path> now, so we won't have to continuously run
213 <c>X -config</c> -- typing just <c>X</c> or <c>startx</c> is far more easy :)
214 </p>
215
216 <pre caption="Copying over xorg.conf">
217 # <i>cp /root/xorg.conf.new /etc/X11/xorg.conf</i>
218 </pre>
219
220 </body>
221 </section>
222 <section id="using_startx">
223 <title>Using startx</title>
224 <body>
225
226 <p>
227 Now try <c>startx</c> to start up your X server. <c>startx</c> is a script
228 that executes an <e>X session</e>, that is, it starts the X servers and some
229 graphical applications on top of it. It decides which applications to run
230 using the following logic:
231 </p>
232
233 <ul>
234 <li>
235 If a file named <path>.xinitrc</path> exists in the home directory, it will
236 execute the commands listed there.
237 </li>
238 <li>
239 Otherwise, it will read the value of the XSESSION variable and will execute
240 one of the sessions available in <path>/etc/X11/Sessions/</path>
241 accordingly (you can set the value of XSESSION in <path>/etc/rc.conf</path>
242 to make it a default for all the users on the system).
243 </li>
244 <li>
245 If all of the above fail, it will fall back to a simple window manager,
246 usually <c>twm</c>.
247 </li>
248 </ul>
249
250 <pre caption="Starting X">
251 # <i>startx</i>
252 </pre>
253
254 <p>
255 If you see an ugly, loathsome, repulsive, deformed window manager, that's
256 <c>twm</c>. To finish the twm session, type in <c>exit</c> or Ctrl-D in the
257 upcoming xterms. You can also kill the X session using the Ctrl-Alt-Backspace
258 combination. This will however make X exit disgracefully - something that you
259 might not always want. It doesn't hurt though :)
260 </p>
261
262 </body>
263 </section>
264 </chapter>
265 <chapter>
266 <title>Tweaking xorg.conf</title>
267 <section>
268 <title>Setting your Resolution</title>
269 <body>
270
271 <p>
272 If you feel that the screen resolution is wrong, you will need to check two
273 sections in your configuration. First of all, you have the <e>Screen</e> section
274 which lists the resolutions - if any - that your X server will run at. By
275 default, this section might not list any resolutions at all. If this is the
276 case, Xorg will estimate the resolutions based on the information in the
277 second section, <e>Monitor</e>.
278 </p>
279
280 <p>
281 What happens is that Xorg checks the settings of <c>HorizSync</c> and
282 <c>VertRefresh</c> in the <e>Monitor</e> section to compute valid resolutions.
283 For now, leave these settings as-is. Only when the changes to the <e>Screen</e>
284 section (which we will describe in a minute) don't work, then you will need to
285 look up the specs for your monitor and fill in the correct values. You can also
286 use a tool that searches for your monitor's specs, such as
287 <c>sys-apps/ddcxinfo-knoppix</c>.
288 </p>
289
290 <warn>
291 Do <b>not</b> "just" change the values of these two monitor-related variables
292 without consulting the technical specifications of your monitor. Setting
293 incorrect values lead to out-of-sync errors at best and smoked up screens at
294 worst.
295 </warn>
296
297 <p>
298 Now let us change the resolutions. In the next example from
299 <path>/etc/X11/xorg.conf</path> we add the <c>Modes</c> lines and the
300 <c>DefaultDepth</c> so that our X server starts with 24 bits at 1024x768 by
301 default. Don't mind the given strings - they are examples and will most likely
302 differ from the settings on your system.
303 </p>
304
305 <pre caption="Changing the Screen section in /etc/X11/xorg.conf">
306 Section "Screen"
307 Identifier "Default Screen"
308 Device "S3 Inc. ProSavage KN133 [Twister K]"
309 Monitor "Generic Monitor"
310 <i>DefaultDepth 24</i>
311 <comment># Skipping some text to improve readability</comment>
312 SubSection "Display"
313 Depth 24
314 <i>Modes "1024x768"</i>
315 EndSubSection
316 EndSection
317 </pre>
318
319 <p>
320 Run X (<c>startx</c>) to discover it uses the resolution you want :)
321 </p>
322
323 </body>
324 </section>
325 <section>
326 <title>Configuring your Keyboard</title>
327 <body>
328
329 <p>
330 To setup X to use an international keyboard, search for the <e>InputDevice</e>
331 section that configures the keyboard and add the <c>XkbLayout</c> option to
332 point to the keyboard layout you want. As an example, we show you how to apply
333 for the Belgian layout. Just substitute the country-keycode with yours:
334 </p>
335
336 <pre caption="Changing the keyboard layout">
337 Section "InputDevice"
338 Identifier "Generic Keyboard"
339 Driver "keyboard"
340 Option "CoreKeyboard"
341 Option "XkbRules" "xorg"
342 Option "XkbModel" "pc105"
343 <i>Option "XkbLayout" "be"</i>
344 EndSection
345 </pre>
346
347 </body>
348 </section>
349 <section>
350 <title>Configuring your Mouse</title>
351 <body>
352
353 <p>
354 If your mouse isn't working, you will first need to find out if it is detected
355 by the kernel at all. Mice are (device-wise) seen as
356 <path>/dev/input/mouse0</path> (or <path>/dev/input/mice</path> if you want to
357 use several mice). In either case you can check if the devices do represent
358 your mouse by checking the output of those files when you move your mouse. To
359 end the session press <c>Ctrl-C</c>.
360 </p>
361
362 <pre caption="Checking the device files">
363 # <i>cat /dev/input/mouse0</i>
364 <comment>(Don't forget to press Ctrl-C to end this)</comment>
365 </pre>
366
367 <p>
368 If your mouse isn't detected, verify if all the necessary modules are loaded.
369 </p>
370
371 <p>
372 If your mouse is detected, fill in the device in the appropriate
373 <e>InputDevice</e> section. In the next example you'll see we also set two other
374 options: <c>Protocol</c> (which lists the mouse protocol to be used - most users
375 will use PS/2 or IMPS/2) and <c>ZAxisMapping</c> (which allows for the
376 mousewheel (if applicable) to be used).
377 </p>
378
379 <pre caption="Changing the mouse settings in Xorg">
380 Section "InputDevice"
381 Identifier "TouchPad Mouse"
382 Driver "mouse"
383 Option "CorePointer"
384 <i>Option "Device" "/dev/input/mouse0"</i>
385 <i>Option "Protocol" "IMPS/2"</i>
386 <i>Option "ZAxisMapping" "4 5"</i>
387 EndSection
388 </pre>
389
390 <p>
391 Run <c>startx</c> and be happy about the result :) Congratulations, you now
392 (hopefully) have a working Xorg on your system. The next step is to remove this
393 ugly lightweight window manager and use a high-feature one (or even a desktop
394 environment) such as KDE or GNOME, but that's not part of this guide :)
395 </p>
396
397 </body>
398 </section>
399 </chapter>
400 <chapter>
401 <title>Resources</title>
402 <section>
403 <title>Creating and Tweaking xorg.conf</title>
404 <body>
405
406 <p>
407 First of all, <c>man 5 xorg.conf</c> provides a quick yet complete reference
408 about the syntaxis used by the configuration file. Be sure to have it open on a
409 terminal near you when you edit your configuration file!
410 </p>
411
412 <p>
413 A second point of resources on your system is the
414 <path>/usr/X11R6/lib/X11/doc</path> directory with various <path>README</path>'s
415 for individual graphical chipsets.
416 </p>
417
418 <p>
419 There are also many online resources on editing <path>xorg.conf</path>. We only
420 list few of them here, be sure to <uri link="http://www.google.com">Google</uri>
421 for more :) As <path>xorg.conf</path> and <path>XF86Config</path> (the
422 configuration file for the XFree86 project) use the
423 same syntaxis for most configuration options and more information about
424 <path>XF86Config</path> is available, we'll list those resources as well.
425 </p>
426
427 <ul>
428 <li>
429 <uri link="http://tldp.org/HOWTO/XFree-Local-multi-user-HOWTO/">The XFree
430 Local Multi-User HOWTO</uri>
431 </li>
432 <li>
433 <uri
434 link="http://www-106.ibm.com/developerworks/edu/os-dw-linuxxwin-i.html">An
435 Introduction to XFree 4.x</uri> by Chris Houser
436 </li>
437 </ul>
438
439 </body>
440 </section>
441 </chapter>
442 </guide>

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