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1 <?xml version='1.0' encoding='UTF-8'?>
3 <!-- $Header: /var/cvsroot/gentoo/xml/htdocs/doc/en/xorg-config.xml,v 1.16 2005/09/09 05:57:43 fox2mike Exp $ -->
5 <!DOCTYPE guide SYSTEM "/dtd/guide.dtd">
7 <guide link="/doc/en/xorg-config.xml">
9 <title>The X Server Configuration HOWTO</title>
11 <author title="Author">
12 <mail link="swift@gentoo.org">Sven Vermeulen</mail>
13 </author>
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>
21 <!-- The content of this document is licensed under the CC-BY-SA license -->
22 <!-- See http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5 -->
23 <license/>
25 <version>1.13</version>
26 <date>2005-09-09</date>
28 <chapter>
29 <title>What is the X Window Server?</title>
30 <section>
31 <title>Graphical vs Command-Line</title>
32 <body>
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>
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>
49 <p>
50 As standards are important, a standard for drawing and moving windows on a
51 screen, interacting with the user through mouse, 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>
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>
65 </body>
66 </section>
67 <section>
68 <title>The X.org Project</title>
69 <body>
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
74 system. It is an open source X11-based desktop infrastructure.
75 </p>
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>
84 </body>
85 </section>
86 </chapter>
88 <chapter>
89 <title>Installing Xorg</title>
90 <section>
91 <title>Using emerge</title>
92 <body>
94 <p>
95 Enough chitchat, let's get to business shall we? To install Xorg, you just
96 need to run <c>emerge xorg-x11</c>. Installing Xorg does take a while
97 though, so you might want to grab a snack while you are waiting.
98 </p>
100 <pre caption="Installing Xorg">
101 # <i>emerge xorg-x11</i>
102 </pre>
104 <p>
105 When the installation is finished, you might need to reinitialise some
106 environment variables before you continue. Just run <c>env-update</c> followed
107 by <c>source /etc/profile</c> and you're all set. This doesn't harm your system
108 in any way.
109 </p>
111 <pre caption="Reinitialising the environment variables">
112 # <i>env-update</i>
113 # <i>source /etc/profile</i>
114 </pre>
116 </body>
117 </section>
118 </chapter>
119 <chapter>
120 <title>Configuring Xorg</title>
121 <section>
122 <title>The xorg.conf File</title>
123 <body>
125 <p>
126 The configuration file of Xorg is called <path>xorg.conf</path> and it
127 resides in <path>/etc/X11</path>. The Xorg-X11 package provides an example
128 configuration as <path>/etc/X11/xorg.conf.example</path> which you can use to
129 create your own configuration. It is heavily commented, but if you are in need
130 of more documentation regarding the syntax, don't hesitate to read the man page:
131 </p>
133 <pre caption="Reading the xorg.conf man page">
134 # <i>man 5 xorg.conf</i>
135 </pre>
137 <p>
138 Happy reading for those of you willing to. We surely don't so we'll continue
139 with checking out how we can create the file automatically.
140 </p>
142 </body>
143 </section>
144 <section>
145 <title>Default: Automatic Generation of xorg.conf</title>
146 <body>
148 <p>
149 Xorg itself is able to guess most parameters for you. In most cases, you
150 will only have to change some lines to get the resolution you want up and
151 running. If you are interested in more in-depth tweaking, be sure to check the
152 resources at the end of this chapter. But first, let us generate a (hopefully
153 working) Xorg configuration file.
154 </p>
156 <pre caption="Generating an xorg.conf file">
157 # <i>Xorg -configure</i>
158 </pre>
160 <p>
161 Be sure to read the last lines printed on your screen when Xorg has finished
162 probing your hardware. If it tells you it failed at some point, you're forced to
163 manually write an <path>xorg.conf</path> file. Assuming that it didn't fail, it
164 will have told you that it has written <path>/root/xorg.conf.new</path> ready
165 for you to test. So let's test :)
166 </p>
168 <pre caption="Testing the xorg.conf.new file">
169 # <i>X -config /root/xorg.conf.new</i>
170 </pre>
172 <p>
173 If all goes well, you should see a simple black and white pattern. Verify if
174 your mouse works correctly and if the resolution is good. You might not be able
175 to deduce the exact resolution, but you should be able to see if it's too low.
176 You can exit any time by pressing Ctrl-Alt-Backspace.
177 </p>
179 </body>
180 </section>
181 <section>
182 <title>Alternative: Semi-Automatic Generation of xorg.conf</title>
183 <body>
185 <p>
186 Xorg provides a tool called <c>xorgconfig</c> which will ask you for various
187 information regarding your system (graphical adapter, keyboard, ...). Based on
188 your input it will create a <path>xorg.conf</path> file.
189 </p>
191 <pre caption="Semi-Automatic Generation of xorg.conf">
192 # <i>xorgconfig</i>
193 </pre>
195 <p>
196 Another tool, also provided by Xorg, is <c>xorgcfg</c>, which will first
197 attempt to run <c>Xorg -configure</c> and then start the X server for more
198 final tweaking.
199 </p>
201 <pre caption="Using xorgcfg">
202 # <i>xorgcfg</i>
203 <comment>(In case X crashes or the configuration fails, try:)</comment>
204 # <i>xorgcfg -textmode</i>
205 </pre>
207 </body>
208 </section>
209 <section>
210 <title>Copying over xorg.conf</title>
211 <body>
213 <p>
214 Let us copy over the <path>xorg.conf.new</path> to
215 <path>/etc/X11/xorg.conf</path> now, so we won't have to continuously run
216 <c>X -config</c> -- typing just <c>X</c> or <c>startx</c> is far more easy :)
217 </p>
219 <pre caption="Copying over xorg.conf">
220 # <i>cp /root/xorg.conf.new /etc/X11/xorg.conf</i>
221 </pre>
223 </body>
224 </section>
225 <section id="using_startx">
226 <title>Using startx</title>
227 <body>
229 <p>
230 Now try <c>startx</c> to start up your X server. <c>startx</c> is a script
231 that executes an <e>X session</e>, that is, it starts the X servers and some
232 graphical applications on top of it. It decides which applications to run
233 using the following logic:
234 </p>
236 <ul>
237 <li>
238 If a file named <path>.xinitrc</path> exists in the home directory, it will
239 execute the commands listed there.
240 </li>
241 <li>
242 Otherwise, it will read the value of the XSESSION variable and will execute
243 one of the sessions available in <path>/etc/X11/Sessions/</path>
244 accordingly (you can set the value of XSESSION in <path>/etc/rc.conf</path>
245 to make it a default for all the users on the system).
246 </li>
247 <li>
248 If all of the above fail, it will fall back to a simple window manager,
249 usually <c>twm</c>.
250 </li>
251 </ul>
253 <pre caption="Starting X">
254 # <i>startx</i>
255 </pre>
257 <p>
258 If you see an ugly, loathsome, repulsive, deformed window manager, that's
259 <c>twm</c>. To finish the twm session, type in <c>exit</c> or Ctrl-D in the
260 upcoming xterms. You can also kill the X session using the Ctrl-Alt-Backspace
261 combination. This will however make X exit disgracefully -- something that you
262 might not always want. It doesn't hurt though :)
263 </p>
265 </body>
266 </section>
267 </chapter>
268 <chapter>
269 <title>Tweaking xorg.conf</title>
270 <section>
271 <title>Setting your Resolution</title>
272 <body>
274 <p>
275 If you feel that the screen resolution is wrong, you will need to check two
276 sections in your configuration. First of all, you have the <e>Screen</e> section
277 which lists the resolutions, if any that your X server will run at. By
278 default, this section might not list any resolutions at all. If this is the
279 case, Xorg will estimate the resolutions based on the information in the
280 second section, <e>Monitor</e>.
281 </p>
283 <p>
284 What happens is that Xorg checks the settings of <c>HorizSync</c> and
285 <c>VertRefresh</c> in the <e>Monitor</e> section to compute valid resolutions.
286 For now, leave these settings as-is. Only when the changes to the <e>Screen</e>
287 section (which we will describe in a minute) don't work, then you will need to
288 look up the specs for your monitor and fill in the correct values. You can also
289 use a tool that searches for your monitor's specs, such as
290 <c>sys-apps/ddcxinfo-knoppix</c>.
291 </p>
293 <warn>
294 Do <b>not</b> "just" change the values of these two monitor related variables
295 without consulting the technical specifications of your monitor. Setting
296 incorrect values lead to out-of-sync errors at best and smoked up screens at
297 worst.
298 </warn>
300 <p>
301 Now let us change the resolutions. In the next example from
302 <path>/etc/X11/xorg.conf</path> we add the <c>Modes</c> lines and the
303 <c>DefaultDepth</c> so that our X server starts with 24 bits at 1024x768 by
304 default. Don't mind the given strings -- they are examples and will most likely
305 differ from the settings on your system.
306 </p>
308 <pre caption="Changing the Screen section in /etc/X11/xorg.conf">
309 Section "Screen"
310 Identifier "Default Screen"
311 Device "S3 Inc. ProSavage KN133 [Twister K]"
312 Monitor "Generic Monitor"
313 <i>DefaultDepth 24</i>
314 <comment># Skipping some text to improve readability</comment>
315 SubSection "Display"
316 Depth 24
317 <i>Modes "1024x768"</i>
318 EndSubSection
319 EndSection
320 </pre>
322 <p>
323 Run X (<c>startx</c>) to discover it uses the resolution you want :)
324 </p>
326 </body>
327 </section>
328 <section>
329 <title>Configuring your Keyboard</title>
330 <body>
332 <p>
333 To setup X to use an international keyboard, search for the <e>InputDevice</e>
334 section that configures the keyboard and add the <c>XkbLayout</c> option to
335 point to the keyboard layout you want. As an example, we show you how to apply
336 for the Belgian layout. Just substitute the country-keycode with yours:
337 </p>
339 <pre caption="Changing the keyboard layout">
340 Section "InputDevice"
341 Identifier "Generic Keyboard"
342 Driver "keyboard"
343 Option "CoreKeyboard"
344 Option "XkbRules" "xorg"
345 Option "XkbModel" "pc105"
346 <i>Option "XkbLayout" "be"</i>
347 EndSection
348 </pre>
350 </body>
351 </section>
352 <section>
353 <title>Configuring your Mouse</title>
354 <body>
356 <p>
357 If your mouse isn't working, you will first need to find out if it is detected
358 by the kernel at all. Mice are (device-wise) seen as
359 <path>/dev/input/mouse0</path> (or <path>/dev/input/mice</path> if you want to
360 use several mice). In some cases <path>/dev/psaux</path> is used. In either
361 case you can check if the devices do represent
362 your mouse by checking the output of those files when you move your mouse. You
363 will usually see some junk on your screen. To end the session press
364 <c>Ctrl-C</c>.
365 </p>
367 <pre caption="Checking the device files">
368 # <i>cat /dev/input/mouse0</i>
369 <comment>(Don't forget to press Ctrl-C to end this)</comment>
370 </pre>
372 <p>
373 If your mouse isn't detected, verify if all the necessary modules are loaded.
374 </p>
376 <p>
377 If your mouse is detected, fill in the device in the appropriate
378 <e>InputDevice</e> section. In the next example you'll see we also set two other
379 options: <c>Protocol</c> (which lists the mouse protocol to be used -- most
380 users will use PS/2 or IMPS/2) and <c>ZAxisMapping</c> (which allows for the
381 mousewheel (if applicable) to be used).
382 </p>
384 <pre caption="Changing the mouse settings in Xorg">
385 Section "InputDevice"
386 Identifier "TouchPad Mouse"
387 Driver "mouse"
388 Option "CorePointer"
389 <i>Option "Device" "/dev/input/mouse0"</i>
390 <i>Option "Protocol" "IMPS/2"</i>
391 <i>Option "ZAxisMapping" "4 5"</i>
392 EndSection
393 </pre>
395 <p>
396 Run <c>startx</c> and be happy about the result :) Congratulations, you now
397 (hopefully) have a working Xorg on your system. The next step is to remove this
398 ugly lightweight window manager and use a high-feature one (or even a desktop
399 environment) such as KDE or GNOME, but that's not part of this guide :)
400 </p>
402 </body>
403 </section>
404 </chapter>
405 <chapter>
406 <title>Resources</title>
407 <section>
408 <title>Creating and Tweaking xorg.conf</title>
409 <body>
411 <p>
412 First of all, <c>man 5 xorg.conf</c> provides a quick yet complete reference
413 about the syntaxis used by the configuration file. Be sure to have it open on a
414 terminal near you when you edit your configuration file!
415 </p>
417 <p>
418 A second point of resources on your system is the
419 <path>/usr/X11R6/lib/X11/doc</path> directory with various <path>README</path>'s
420 for individual graphical chipsets.
421 </p>
423 <p>
424 There are also many online resources on editing <path>xorg.conf</path>. We only
425 list few of them here, be sure to <uri link="http://www.google.com">Google</uri>
426 for more :) As <path>xorg.conf</path> and <path>XF86Config</path> (the
427 configuration file for the XFree86 project) use the
428 same syntaxis for most configuration options and more information about
429 <path>XF86Config</path> is available, we'll list those resources as well.
430 </p>
432 <ul>
433 <li>
434 <uri link="http://tldp.org/HOWTO/XFree-Local-multi-user-HOWTO/">The XFree
435 Local Multi-User HOWTO</uri>
436 </li>
437 <li>
438 <uri
439 link="http://www-106.ibm.com/developerworks/edu/os-dw-linuxxwin-i.html">An
440 Introduction to XFree 4.x</uri> by Chris Houser
441 </li>
442 </ul>
444 </body>
445 </section>
446 </chapter>
447 </guide>

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