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1 <?xml version='1.0' encoding='UTF-8'?>
2 <!DOCTYPE guide SYSTEM "/dtd/guide.dtd">
3 <!-- $Header: /var/cvsroot/gentoo/xml/htdocs/doc/en/xorg-config.xml,v 1.27 2008/11/10 07:01:00 nightmorph Exp $ -->
4
5 <guide link="/doc/en/xorg-config.xml">
6 <title>The X Server Configuration HOWTO</title>
7
8 <author title="Author">
9 <mail link="swift@gentoo.org">Sven Vermeulen</mail>
10 </author>
11 <author title="Editor">
12 <mail link="nightmorph"/>
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/2.5 -->
23 <license/>
24
25 <version>1.19</version>
26 <date>2009-01-26</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, 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
74 system. 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
88 <chapter>
89 <title>Installing Xorg</title>
90 <section>
91 <body>
92
93 <p>
94 Before installing Xorg you have to configure two important variables in the
95 <path>/etc/make.conf</path> file.
96 </p>
97
98 <p>
99 The first one is <c>VIDEO_CARDS</c>. This is used to set the video drivers that
100 you intend to use and is usually based on the kind and brand of card you have.
101 The most common settings are <c>nvidia</c> for Nvidia cards or <c>fglrx</c> for
102 ATI Radeon cards. Those are the proprietary drivers from Nvidia and ATI
103 respectively. If you would like to use the open source versions, use <c>nv</c>
104 rather than <c>nvidia</c> in the variable, but bear in mind that using this
105 driver means no 3D acceleration at all. The free <c>radeon</c> and
106 <c>radeonhd</c> drivers for ATI cards support 3D acceleration on older Radeons
107 but don't yet support all the features of the newer ones. <c>VIDEO_CARDS</c> may
108 contain more than one driver, in this case list of them should be separated with
109 spaces.
110 </p>
111
112 <p>
113 The second variable is <c>INPUT_DEVICES</c> and is used to determine which
114 drivers are to be built for input devices. In most cases setting it to
115 <c>keyboard mouse</c> should work just fine. If you use alternative input
116 devices, such as a Synaptics touchpad for a laptop, be sure to add it to
117 <c>INPUT_DEVICES</c>.
118 </p>
119
120 <p>
121 Now you should decide which drivers you will use and add necessary settings to
122 the <path>/etc/make.conf</path> file:
123 </p>
124
125 <pre caption="Sample make.conf entries">
126 <comment>(For mouse and keyboard support)</comment>
127 INPUT_DEVICES="keyboard mouse"
128 <comment>(For Nvidia cards)</comment>
129 VIDEO_CARDS="nvidia"
130 <comment>(OR, for ATI Radeon cards)</comment>
131 VIDEO_CARDS="fglrx"
132 </pre>
133
134 <p>
135 More instructions on how to configure nVidia and ATI cards can be found in
136 <uri link="/doc/en/nvidia-guide.xml">Gentoo Linux nVidia Guide</uri> and in
137 <uri link="/doc/en/ati-faq.xml">Gentoo Linux ATI FAQ</uri>. If you don't know
138 which drivers you should choose, refer to these guides for more information.
139 </p>
140
141 <note>
142 If the suggested settings don't work for you, you should run <c>emerge -pv
143 xorg-server</c>, check all the options available and choose those which apply to
144 your system. The example is for the amd64 architecture and
145 <c>xorg-server-1.2</c>.
146 </note>
147
148 <pre caption="Displaying all the driver options available">
149 # <i>emerge -pv xorg-server</i>
150
151 These are the packages that would be merged, in order:
152
153 Calculating dependencies... done!
154 [ebuild R ] x11-base/xorg-server-1.2.0-r3 USE="dri nptl xorg (-3dfx) -debug
155 -dmx -ipv6 -kdrive -minimal -sdl -xprint" INPUT_DEVICES="keyboard mouse -acecad
156 -aiptek -calcomp -citron -digitaledge -dmc -dynapro -elo2300 -elographics -evdev
157 -fpit -hyperpen -jamstudio -joystick -magellan -microtouch -mutouch -palmax
158 -penmount -spaceorb -summa -synaptics -tek4957 -ur98 -vmmouse -void -wacom"
159 VIDEO_CARDS="nvidia -apm -ark -chips -cirrus -cyrix -dummy -epson -fbdev -fglrx
160 -glint -i128 (-i740) -i810 (-impact) (-imstt) -mach64 -mga -neomagic (-newport)
161 (-nsc) -nv -r128 -radeon -rendition -s3 -s3virge -savage -siliconmotion -sis
162 -sisusb (-sunbw2) (-suncg14) (-suncg3) (-suncg6) (-sunffb) (-sunleo) (-suntcx)
163 -tdfx -tga -trident -tseng -v4l -vesa -vga -via -vmware -voodoo" 0 kB
164 </pre>
165
166 <p>
167 After setting all the necessary variables you can install the Xorg package.
168 </p>
169
170 <pre caption="Installing Xorg">
171 # <i>emerge xorg-x11</i>
172 </pre>
173
174 <p>
175 When the installation is finished, you might need to re-initialise some
176 environment variables before you continue. Just run <c>env-update</c> followed
177 by <c>source /etc/profile</c> and you're all set.
178 </p>
179
180 <pre caption="Re-initialising the environment variables">
181 # <i>env-update</i>
182 # <i>source /etc/profile</i>
183 </pre>
184
185 </body>
186 </section>
187 </chapter>
188 <chapter>
189 <title>Configuring Xorg</title>
190 <section>
191 <title>The xorg.conf File</title>
192 <body>
193
194 <p>
195 The configuration file of Xorg is called <path>xorg.conf</path> and it
196 resides in <path>/etc/X11</path>. The Xorg-X11 package provides an example
197 configuration as <path>/etc/X11/xorg.conf.example</path> which you can use to
198 create your own configuration. It is heavily commented, but if you are in need
199 of more documentation regarding the syntax, don't hesitate to read the man page:
200 </p>
201
202 <pre caption="Reading the xorg.conf man page">
203 # <i>man 5 xorg.conf</i>
204 </pre>
205
206 <p>
207 Happy reading for those of you willing to. We surely don't so we'll continue
208 with checking out how we can create the file automatically.
209 </p>
210
211 </body>
212 </section>
213 <section>
214 <title>Default: Automatic Generation of xorg.conf</title>
215 <body>
216
217 <p>
218 Xorg itself is able to guess most parameters for you. In most cases, you
219 will only have to change some lines to get the resolution you want up and
220 running. If you are interested in more in-depth tweaking, be sure to check the
221 resources at the end of this chapter. But first, let us generate a (hopefully
222 working) Xorg configuration file.
223 </p>
224
225 <pre caption="Generating an xorg.conf file">
226 # <i>Xorg -configure</i>
227 </pre>
228
229 <p>
230 Be sure to read the last lines printed on your screen when Xorg has finished
231 probing your hardware. If it tells you it failed at some point, you're forced to
232 manually write an <path>xorg.conf</path> file. Assuming that it didn't fail, it
233 will have told you that it has written <path>/root/xorg.conf.new</path> ready
234 for you to test. So let's test. :)
235 </p>
236
237 <pre caption="Testing the xorg.conf.new file">
238 # <i>X -config /root/xorg.conf.new</i>
239 </pre>
240
241 <p>
242 If all goes well, you should see a simple black and white pattern. Verify if
243 your mouse works correctly and if the resolution is good. If you received errors
244 about "/dev/mouse", try changing your mouse device to <c>/dev/input/mice</c> in
245 the "InputDevice" section of <path>xorg.conf</path>. You might not be able to
246 deduce the exact resolution, but you should be able to see if it's too low. You
247 can exit any time by pressing Ctrl-Alt-Backspace.
248 </p>
249
250 </body>
251 </section>
252 <section>
253 <title>Alternative: Semi-Automatic Generation of xorg.conf</title>
254 <body>
255
256 <p>
257 Xorg provides a tool called <c>xorgconfig</c> which will ask you for various
258 information regarding your system (graphical adapter, keyboard, ...). Based on
259 your input it will create a <path>xorg.conf</path> file.
260 </p>
261
262 <pre caption="Semi-Automatic Generation of xorg.conf">
263 # <i>xorgconfig</i>
264 </pre>
265
266 <p>
267 Another tool, also provided by Xorg, is <c>xorgcfg</c>, which will first
268 attempt to run <c>Xorg -configure</c> and then start the X server for more
269 final tweaking.
270 </p>
271
272 <pre caption="Using xorgcfg">
273 # <i>xorgcfg</i>
274 <comment>(In case X crashes or the configuration fails, try:)</comment>
275 # <i>xorgcfg -textmode</i>
276 </pre>
277
278 </body>
279 </section>
280 <section>
281 <title>Copying over xorg.conf</title>
282 <body>
283
284 <p>
285 Let us copy over the <path>xorg.conf.new</path> to
286 <path>/etc/X11/xorg.conf</path> now, so we won't have to continuously run
287 <c>X -config</c> -- typing just <c>X</c> or <c>startx</c> is easier. :)
288 </p>
289
290 <pre caption="Copying over xorg.conf">
291 # <i>cp /root/xorg.conf.new /etc/X11/xorg.conf</i>
292 </pre>
293
294 </body>
295 </section>
296 <section id="using_startx">
297 <title>Using startx</title>
298 <body>
299
300 <p>
301 Now try <c>startx</c> to start up your X server. <c>startx</c> is a script
302 that executes an <e>X session</e>, that is, it starts the X servers and some
303 graphical applications on top of it. It decides which applications to run
304 using the following logic:
305 </p>
306
307 <ul>
308 <li>
309 If a file named <path>.xinitrc</path> exists in the home directory, it will
310 execute the commands listed there.
311 </li>
312 <li>
313 Otherwise, it will read the value of the XSESSION variable and will execute
314 one of the sessions available in <path>/etc/X11/Sessions/</path>
315 accordingly (you can set the value of XSESSION in <path>/etc/rc.conf</path>
316 to make it a default for all the users on the system).
317 </li>
318 <li>
319 If all of the above fail, it will fall back to a simple window manager,
320 usually <c>twm</c>.
321 </li>
322 </ul>
323
324 <pre caption="Starting X">
325 # <i>startx</i>
326 </pre>
327
328 <p>
329 If you see an ugly, loathsome, repulsive, deformed window manager, that's
330 <c>twm</c>. To finish the twm session, type in <c>exit</c> or Ctrl-D in the
331 upcoming xterms. You can also kill the X session using the Ctrl-Alt-Backspace
332 combination. This will however make X exit disgracefully -- something that you
333 might not always want. It doesn't hurt though. :)
334 </p>
335
336 </body>
337 </section>
338 </chapter>
339 <chapter>
340 <title>Tweaking xorg.conf</title>
341 <section>
342 <title>Setting your Resolution</title>
343 <body>
344
345 <p>
346 If you feel that the screen resolution is wrong, you will need to check two
347 sections in your configuration. First of all, you have the <e>Screen</e> section
348 which lists the resolutions, if any that your X server will run at. By
349 default, this section might not list any resolutions at all. If this is the
350 case, Xorg will estimate the resolutions based on the information in the
351 second section, <e>Monitor</e>.
352 </p>
353
354 <p>
355 What happens is that Xorg checks the settings of <c>HorizSync</c> and
356 <c>VertRefresh</c> in the <e>Monitor</e> section to compute valid resolutions.
357 For now, leave these settings as-is. Only when the changes to the <e>Screen</e>
358 section (which we will describe in a minute) don't work, then you will need to
359 look up the specs for your monitor and fill in the correct values. You can also
360 use a tool that searches for your monitor's specs, such as
361 <c>sys-apps/ddcxinfo-knoppix</c>.
362 </p>
363
364 <warn>
365 Do <b>not</b> "just" change the values of these two monitor related variables
366 without consulting the technical specifications of your monitor. Setting
367 incorrect values lead to out-of-sync errors at best and smoked up screens at
368 worst.
369 </warn>
370
371 <p>
372 Now let us change the resolutions. In the next example from
373 <path>/etc/X11/xorg.conf</path> we add the <c>Modes</c> lines and the
374 <c>DefaultDepth</c> so that our X server starts with 24 bits at 1024x768 by
375 default. Don't mind the given strings -- they are examples and will most likely
376 differ from the settings on your system.
377 </p>
378
379 <pre caption="Changing the Screen section in /etc/X11/xorg.conf">
380 Section "Screen"
381 Identifier "Default Screen"
382 Device "S3 Inc. ProSavage KN133 [Twister K]"
383 Monitor "Generic Monitor"
384 <i>DefaultDepth 24</i>
385 <comment># Skipping some text to improve readability</comment>
386 SubSection "Display"
387 Depth 24
388 <i>Modes "1024x768"</i>
389 EndSubSection
390 EndSection
391 </pre>
392
393 <p>
394 Run X (<c>startx</c>) to discover it uses the resolution you want. :)
395 </p>
396
397 </body>
398 </section>
399 <section>
400 <title>Configuring your Keyboard</title>
401 <body>
402
403 <p>
404 To setup X to use an international keyboard, search for the <e>InputDevice</e>
405 section that configures the keyboard and add the <c>XkbLayout</c> option to
406 point to the keyboard layout you want. As an example, we show you how to apply
407 for the Belgian layout. Just substitute the country-keycode with yours:
408 </p>
409
410 <pre caption="Changing the keyboard layout">
411 Section "InputDevice"
412 Identifier "Generic Keyboard"
413 Driver "keyboard"
414 Option "CoreKeyboard"
415 Option "XkbRules" "xorg"
416 Option "XkbModel" "pc105"
417 <i>Option "XkbLayout" "be"</i>
418 EndSection
419 </pre>
420
421 </body>
422 </section>
423 <section>
424 <title>Configuring your Mouse</title>
425 <body>
426
427 <p>
428 If your mouse isn't working, you will first need to find out if it is detected
429 by the kernel at all. Mice are (device-wise) seen as
430 <path>/dev/input/mouse0</path> (or <path>/dev/input/mice</path> if you want to
431 use several mice). In some cases <path>/dev/psaux</path> is used. In either
432 case you can check if the devices do represent
433 your mouse by checking the output of those files when you move your mouse. You
434 will usually see some junk on your screen. To end the session press
435 <c>Ctrl-C</c>.
436 </p>
437
438 <pre caption="Checking the device files">
439 # <i>cat /dev/input/mouse0</i>
440 <comment>(Don't forget to press Ctrl-C to end this)</comment>
441 </pre>
442
443 <p>
444 If your mouse isn't detected, verify if all the necessary modules are loaded.
445 </p>
446
447 <p>
448 If your mouse is detected, fill in the device in the appropriate
449 <e>InputDevice</e> section. In the next example you'll see we also set two other
450 options: <c>Protocol</c> (which lists the mouse protocol to be used -- most
451 users will use PS/2 or IMPS/2) and <c>ZAxisMapping</c> (which allows for the
452 mousewheel (if applicable) to be used).
453 </p>
454
455 <pre caption="Changing the mouse settings in Xorg">
456 Section "InputDevice"
457 Identifier "TouchPad Mouse"
458 Driver "mouse"
459 Option "CorePointer"
460 <i>Option "Device" "/dev/input/mouse0"</i>
461 <i>Option "Protocol" "IMPS/2"</i>
462 <i>Option "ZAxisMapping" "4 5"</i>
463 EndSection
464 </pre>
465
466 <p>
467 Run <c>startx</c> and be happy about the result. :) Congratulations, you now
468 (hopefully) have a working Xorg on your system. The next step is to remove this
469 ugly lightweight window manager and use a high-feature one (or even a desktop
470 environment) such as KDE or GNOME, but that's not part of this guide. :)
471 </p>
472
473 </body>
474 </section>
475 </chapter>
476 <chapter>
477 <title>Resources</title>
478 <section>
479 <title>Creating and Tweaking xorg.conf</title>
480 <body>
481
482 <p>
483 First of all, <c>man xorg.conf</c> provides a quick yet complete reference
484 about the syntax used by the configuration file. Be sure to have it open on a
485 terminal near you when you edit your configuration file!
486 </p>
487
488 <p>
489 Also, be sure to look at <path>/etc/X11/xorg.conf.example</path>; you may wish
490 to copy this and use it as a foundation for writing your own
491 <path>xorg.conf</path>.
492 </p>
493
494 <p>
495 You may find the X.org <uri link="http://www.x.org/wiki/FAQ">FAQ</uri> provided
496 on their website, in addition to their other documentation.
497 </p>
498
499 <p>
500 There are also many online resources on editing <path>xorg.conf</path>. We only
501 list few of them here, be sure to <uri link="http://www.google.com">Google</uri>
502 for more. :) As <path>xorg.conf</path> and <path>XF86Config</path> (the
503 configuration file for the XFree86 project) use the
504 same syntax for most configuration options and more information about
505 <path>XF86Config</path> is available, we'll list those resources as well.
506 </p>
507
508 <ul>
509 <li>
510 <uri link="http://tldp.org/HOWTO/XFree-Local-multi-user-HOWTO/">The XFree
511 Local Multi-User HOWTO</uri>
512 </li>
513 <li>
514 <uri
515 link="http://www-106.ibm.com/developerworks/edu/os-dw-linuxxwin-i.html">An
516 Introduction to XFree 4.x</uri> by Chris Houser
517 </li>
518 </ul>
519
520 </body>
521 </section>
522 <section>
523 <title>Other resources</title>
524 <body>
525
526 <p>
527 More information about installing and configuring various graphical desktop
528 environments and applications can be found in the <uri
529 link="/doc/en/?catid=desktop">Gentoo Desktop Documentation Resources</uri>
530 section of our documentation.
531 </p>
532
533 </body>
534 </section>
535 </chapter>
536 </guide>

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