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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 1.46 2011/08/23 14:43:41 swift Exp $ -->
4
5 <guide>
6 <title>The X Server Configuration HOWTO</title>
7
8 <author title="Author">
9 <mail link="swift"/>
10 </author>
11 <author title="Author">
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>9</version>
26 <date>2011-08-23</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, 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 you can install Xorg, you need to prepare your system for it. First,
95 we'll set up the kernel to support input devices and video cards. Then we'll
96 prepare <path>/etc/make.conf</path> so that the right drivers and Xorg packages
97 are built and installed.
98 </p>
99
100 </body>
101 </section>
102 <section>
103 <title>Input driver support</title>
104 <body>
105
106 <p>
107 By default, Xorg uses <c>evdev</c>, a generic input driver. You'll need to
108 activate support for <c>evdev</c> by making a change to your kernel
109 configuration. Read the <uri link="/doc/en/kernel-config.xml">Kernel
110 Configuration Guide</uri> if you don't know how to setup your kernel.
111 </p>
112
113 <pre caption="Enabling evdev in the kernel">
114 Device Drivers ---&gt;
115 Input device support ---&gt;
116 &lt;*&gt; Event interface
117 </pre>
118
119 </body>
120 </section>
121 <section>
122 <title>Kernel modesetting</title>
123 <body>
124
125 <p>
126 Modern open-source video drivers rely on kernel modesetting (KMS). KMS provides
127 an improved graphical boot with less flickering, faster user switching, a
128 built-in framebuffer console, seamless switching from the console to Xorg, and
129 other features. KMS conflicts with legacy framebuffer drivers, which must remain
130 <b>disabled</b> in your kernel configuration.
131 </p>
132
133 <p>
134 First, prepare your kernel for KMS. You need to do this step regardless of which
135 Xorg video driver you're using.
136 </p>
137
138 <pre caption="Configuring framebuffers">
139 Device Drivers ---&gt;
140 Graphics support ---&gt;
141 Support for frame buffer devices ---&gt;
142 <comment>(Disable all drivers, including VGA, Intel, nVidia, and ATI)</comment>
143
144 <comment>(Further down, enable basic console support. KMS uses this.)</comment>
145 Console display driver support ---&gt;
146 &lt;*&gt; Framebuffer Console Support
147 </pre>
148
149 <p>
150 Next, configure your kernel to use the proper KMS driver for your video card.
151 Intel, nVidia, and AMD/ATI are the most common cards, so follow code listing for
152 your card below.
153 </p>
154
155 <p>
156 For Intel cards:
157 </p>
158
159 <pre caption="Intel settings">
160 Device Drivers ---&gt;
161 Graphics support ---&gt;
162 /dev/agpgart (AGP Support) ---&gt;
163 &lt;*&gt; Intel 440LX/BX/GX, I8xx and E7x05 chipset support
164 Direct Rendering Manager (XFree86 4.1.0 and higher DRI support) ---&gt;
165 &lt;*&gt; Intel 830M, 845G, 852GM, 855GM, 865G (i915 driver)
166 i915 driver
167 [*] Enable modesetting on intel by default
168 </pre>
169
170 <p>
171 For nVidia cards:
172 </p>
173
174 <pre caption="nVidia settings">
175 <comment>(Enable DRM)</comment>
176 Device Drivers ---&gt;
177 Graphics support ---&gt;
178 &lt;*&gt; Direct Rendering Manager ---&gt;
179
180 <comment>(Nouveau is currently in the Staging drivers section)</comment>
181 Device Drivers ---&gt;
182 Staging drivers ---&gt;
183 [ ] Exclude Staging drivers from being built
184 &lt;*&gt; Nouveau (nVidia) cards
185 </pre>
186
187 <p>
188 For newer AMD/ATI cards (<uri link="/doc/en/ati-faq.xml">RadeonHD 2000 and
189 up</uri>), you will need to emerge <c>radeon-ucode</c> or
190 <c>linux-firmware</c>. Once you have installed one of these packages,
191 configure your kernel as shown:
192 </p>
193
194 <pre caption="AMD/ATI settings">
195 <comment>(Setup the kernel to use the radeon-ucode firmware)</comment>
196 Device Drivers ---&gt;
197 Generic Driver Options ---&gt;
198 [*] Include in-kernel firmware blobs in kernel binary
199 <comment># RadeonHD 2000, 3000, and 4000 series cards:</comment>
200 (radeon/R600_rlc.bin radeon/R700_rlc.bin) External firmware blobs
201 <comment># RadeonHD 5000, a.k.a Evergreen, and newer cards:</comment>
202 (radeon/CEDAR_me.bin radeon/CEDAR_pfp.bin radeon/CEDAR_rlc.bin
203 radeon/CYPRESS_me.bin radeon/CYPRESS_pfp.bin radeon/CYPRESS_rlc.bin
204 radeon/JUNIPER_me.bin radeon/JUNIPER_pfp.bin radeon/JUNIPER_rlc.bin
205 radeon/REDWOOD_me.bin radeon/REDWOOD_pfp.bin
206 radeon/REDWOOD_rlc.bin) External firmware blobs
207 <comment># Radeon HD 6000 series Fusion APUs:</comment>
208 (radeon/PALM_me.bin radeon/PALM_pfp.bin SUMO2_me.bin SUMO2_pfp.bin
209 SUMO_me.bin SUMO_pfp.bin radeon/SUMO_rlc.bin) External firmware blobs
210 <comment># Radeon HD 6400-6900 aka. Northern Islands:</comment>
211 (radeon/BARTS_mc.bin radeon/BARTS_me.bin radeon/BARTS_pfp.bin
212 radeon/BTC_rlc.bin radeon/CAICOS_mc.bin radeon/CAICOS_me.bin
213 radeon/CAICOS_pfp.bin CAYMAN_mc.bin
214 CAYMAN_me.bin CAYMAN_pfp.bin CAYMAN_rlc.bin radeon/TURKS_mc.bin
215 radeon/TURKS_me.bin radeon/TURKS_pfp.bin) External firmware blobs
216 (/lib/firmware/) Firmware blobs root directory
217
218 <comment>(Enable Radeon KMS support)</comment>
219 Device Drivers ---&gt;
220 Graphics support ---&gt;
221 &lt;*&gt; Direct Rendering Manager ---&gt;
222 &lt;*&gt; ATI Radeon
223 [*] Enable modesetting on radeon by default
224 </pre>
225
226 <note>
227 Old Radeon cards (X1900 series and older) don't need the <c>radeon-ucode</c>
228 package or any firmware configuration. Just enable the Direct Rendering Manager
229 and ATI Radeon modesetting.
230 </note>
231
232 <p>
233 Now that you're done setting up KMS, continue with preparing
234 <path>/etc/make.conf</path> in the next section.
235 </p>
236
237 </body>
238 </section>
239 <section>
240 <title>make.conf configuration</title>
241 <body>
242
243 <p>
244 Now that your kernel is prepared, you have to configure two important variables
245 in the <path>/etc/make.conf</path> file before you can install Xorg.
246 </p>
247
248 <p>
249 The first variable is <c>VIDEO_CARDS</c>. This is used to set the video drivers
250 that you intend to use and is usually based on the kind of video card you have.
251 The most common settings are <c>nouveau</c> for nVidia cards or <c>radeon</c>
252 for ATI cards. Both have actively developed, well-supported open-source
253 drivers.
254 </p>
255
256 <note>
257 You may also try the proprietary drivers from nVidia and AMD/ATI, <c>nvidia</c>
258 and <c>fglrx</c> respectively. However, setting up the proprietary drivers is
259 beyond the scope of this guide. Please read the <uri
260 link="/doc/en/nvidia-guide.xml">Gentoo Linux nVidia Guide</uri> and <uri
261 link="/doc/en/ati-faq.xml">Gentoo Linux ATI FAQ</uri>. If you don't know which
262 drivers you should choose, refer to these guides for more information.
263 </note>
264
265 <p>
266 The <c>intel</c> driver may be used for desktops or laptops with common Intel
267 integrated graphics chipsets.
268 </p>
269
270 <note>
271 <c>VIDEO_CARDS</c> may contain more than one driver, each separated with a
272 space.
273 </note>
274
275 <p>
276 The second variable is <c>INPUT_DEVICES</c> and is used to determine which
277 drivers are to be built for input devices. In most cases setting it to
278 <c>evdev</c> should work just fine. If you use alternative input
279 devices, such as a Synaptics touchpad for a laptop, be sure to add it to
280 <c>INPUT_DEVICES</c>.
281 </p>
282
283 <p>
284 Now you should decide which drivers you will use and add necessary settings to
285 the <path>/etc/make.conf</path> file:
286 </p>
287
288 <pre caption="Sample make.conf entries">
289 <comment>(For mouse, keyboard, and Synaptics touchpad support)</comment>
290 INPUT_DEVICES="evdev synaptics"
291 <comment>(For nVidia cards)</comment>
292 VIDEO_CARDS="nouveau"
293 <comment>(For AMD/ATI cards)</comment>
294 VIDEO_CARDS="radeon"
295 </pre>
296
297 <p>
298 If the suggested settings don't work for you, you should run <c>emerge -pv
299 xorg-drivers</c>, check all the options available and choose those which apply to
300 your system. This example is for a system with a keyboard, mouse, Synaptics
301 touchpad, and a Radeon video card.
302 </p>
303
304 <pre caption="Displaying all the driver options available">
305 # <i>emerge -pv xorg-drivers</i>
306
307 These are the packages that would be merged, in order:
308
309 Calculating dependencies... done!
310 [ebuild R ] x11-base/xorg-drivers-1.9 INPUT_DEVICES="evdev synaptics
311 -acecad -aiptek -elographics% -fpit% -joystick -keyboard -mouse -penmount -tslib
312 -virtualbox -vmmouse -void -wacom"
313 VIDEO_CARDS="radeon -apm -ark -ast -chips -cirrus -dummy -epson -fbdev -fglrx
314 (-geode) -glint -i128 (-i740) (-impact) -intel -mach64 -mga -neomagic (-newport)
315 -nouveau -nv -nvidia -r128 -rendition -s3 -s3virge -savage -siliconmotion -sis
316 -sisusb (-sunbw2) (-suncg14) (-suncg3) (-suncg6) (-sunffb) (-sunleo) (-suntcx)
317 -tdfx -tga -trident -tseng -v4l -vesa -via -virtualbox -vmware (-voodoo) (-xgi)"
318 0 kB
319 </pre>
320
321 <p>
322 After setting all the necessary variables you can install the Xorg package.
323 </p>
324
325 <pre caption="Installing Xorg">
326 <comment>(Make sure udev is in your USE flags)</comment>
327 # <i>echo "x11-base/xorg-server udev" >> /etc/portage/package.use</i>
328 <comment>(Install Xorg)</comment>
329 # <i>emerge xorg-server</i>
330 </pre>
331
332 <note>
333 You could install the <c>xorg-x11</c> metapackage instead of the more
334 lightweight <c>xorg-server</c>. Functionally, <c>xorg-x11</c> and
335 <c>xorg-server</c> are the same. However, <c>xorg-x11</c> brings in many more
336 packages that you probably don't need, such as a huge assortment of fonts in
337 many different languages. They're not necessary for a working desktop.
338 </note>
339
340 <p>
341 When the installation is finished, you will need to re-initialise some
342 environment variables before you continue:
343 </p>
344
345 <pre caption="Re-initialising the environment variables">
346 # <i>env-update</i>
347 # <i>source /etc/profile</i>
348 </pre>
349
350 </body>
351 </section>
352 </chapter>
353
354 <chapter>
355 <title>Configuring Xorg</title>
356 <section>
357 <body>
358
359 <p>
360 The X server is designed to work out-of-the-box, with no need to manually edit
361 Xorg's configuration files. It should detect and configure devices such as
362 displays, keyboards, and mice.
363 </p>
364
365 <p>
366 You should first try <uri link="#using_startx">starting X</uri> without editing
367 any configuration files. If Xorg won't start, or there's some other problem,
368 then you'll need to manually configure Xorg as shown in the next section.
369 </p>
370
371 </body>
372 </section>
373 <section>
374 <title>The xorg.conf.d directory</title>
375 <body>
376
377 <note>
378 Configuring files in <path>xorg.conf.d</path> should be seen as a "last resort"
379 option. It really desirable to run without any special configuration if
380 possible. If you still can't get a working configuration, then read on.
381 </note>
382
383 <p>
384 The configuration files of Xorg are stored in
385 <path>/etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/</path>. Each file is given a unique name and ends in
386 <path>.conf</path>. If the filenames start with a number, then Xorg will read
387 the files in numeric order. <path>10-evdev.conf</path> will be read before
388 <path>20-synaptics.conf</path>, and so on. You don't <e>have</e> to give them
389 numbers, but it may help you organize them.
390 </p>
391
392 <note>
393 Xorg provides example configurations in
394 <path>/usr/share/doc/xorg-server-${version}/xorg.conf.example.bz2</path>. You
395 can use these to create your own configuration files in
396 <path>/etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/</path>. The examples are heavily commented, but if
397 you are in need of more documentation regarding the syntax, read <c>man
398 xorg.conf</c>. Other examples can be found in the <uri
399 link="#resources">Resources</uri> chapter at the end of this guide.
400 </note>
401
402 </body>
403 </section>
404 <section id="using_startx">
405 <title>Using startx</title>
406 <body>
407
408 <p>
409 Now try <c>startx</c> to start up your X server. <c>startx</c> is a script
410 that executes an <e>X session</e>; that is, it starts the X server and some
411 graphical applications on top of it. It decides which applications to run
412 using the following logic:
413 </p>
414
415 <ul>
416 <li>
417 If a file named <path>.xinitrc</path> exists in the home directory, it will
418 execute the commands listed there.
419 </li>
420 <li>
421 Otherwise, it will read the value of the XSESSION variable and will execute
422 one of the sessions available in <path>/etc/X11/Sessions/</path>
423 accordingly. You can set the value of XSESSION in
424 <path>/etc/env.d/90xsession</path> to make it a default for all the users
425 on the system. For example, as root, run <c>echo XSESSION="Xfce4" >
426 /etc/env.d/90xsession</c>. This will create the <path>90xsession</path> file
427 and set the default X session to <uri
428 link="/doc/en/xfce-config.xml">Xfce</uri>. Remember to run <c>env-update</c>
429 after changing <path>90xsession</path>.
430 </li>
431 </ul>
432
433 <pre caption="Starting X">
434 $ <i>startx</i>
435 </pre>
436
437 <p>
438 If you haven't yet installed a window manager, all you'll see is a black screen.
439 Since this can also be a sign that something's wrong, you may want to emerge
440 <c>twm</c> and <c>xterm</c> <e>only to test X</e>.
441 </p>
442
443 <p>
444 Once those two programs are installed, run <c>startx</c> again. A few
445 <c>xterm</c> windows should appear, making it easier to verify that X is working
446 correctly. Once you're satisfied with the results, run <c>emerge --unmerge twm
447 xterm</c> as root to get rid of the testing packages. You won't need them once
448 you've setup a proper desktop environment.
449 </p>
450
451 </body>
452 </section>
453 </chapter>
454
455 <chapter>
456 <title>Tweaking X settings</title>
457 <section>
458 <title>Setting your Resolution</title>
459 <body>
460
461 <p>
462 If you feel that the screen resolution is wrong, you will need to check two
463 sections in your <path>xorg.conf.d</path> configuration. First of all, you have
464 the <e>Screen</e> section which lists the resolutions that your X server will
465 run at. This section might not list any resolutions at all. If this is the case,
466 Xorg will estimate the resolutions based on the information in the second
467 section, <e>Monitor</e>.
468 </p>
469
470 <p>
471 Now let us change the resolution. In the next example from
472 <path>/etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/40-monitor.conf</path> we add the
473 <c>PreferredMode</c> line so that our X server starts at 1440x900 by default.
474 The <c>Option</c> in the <c>Device</c> section must match the name of your
475 monitor (<c>DVI-0</c>), which can be obtained by running <c>xrandr</c>. You'll
476 need to <c>emerge xrandr</c> just long enough to get this information. The
477 argument after the monitor name (in the <c>Device</c> section) must match the
478 <c>Identifier</c> in the <c>Monitor</c> section.
479 </p>
480
481 <pre caption="Changing the Monitor section">
482 # <i>nano -w /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/40-monitor.conf</i>
483
484 Section "Device"
485 Identifier "RadeonHD 4550"
486 Option "Monitor-DVI-0" "DVI screen"
487 EndSection
488 Section "Monitor"
489 Identifier "DVI screen"
490 Option "PreferredMode" "1440x900"
491 EndSection
492 </pre>
493
494 <p>
495 Run X (<c>startx</c>) to discover it uses the resolution you want.
496 </p>
497
498 </body>
499 </section>
500 <section>
501 <title>Multiple monitors</title>
502 <body>
503
504 <p>
505 You can configure more than one monitor in <path>/etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/</path>.
506 All you have to do is give each monitor an identifer, then list its physical
507 position, such as "RightOf" or "Above" another monitor. The following example
508 shows how to configure a DVI and a VGA monitor, with the VGA monitor as the
509 right-hand screen:
510 </p>
511
512 <pre caption="Configuring multiple monitors">
513 # <i>nano -w /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/40-monitor.conf</i>
514
515 Section "Device"
516 Identifier "RadeonHD 4550"
517 Option "Monitor-DVI-0" "DVI screen"
518 Option "Monitor-VGA-0" "VGA screen"
519 EndSection
520 Section "Monitor"
521 Identifier "DVI screen"
522 EndSection
523 Section "Monitor"
524 Identifier "VGA screen"
525 Option "RightOf" "DVI screen"
526 EndSection
527 </pre>
528
529 </body>
530 </section>
531 <section>
532 <title>Configuring your keyboard</title>
533 <body>
534
535 <p>
536 To setup X to use an international keyboard, you just have to create the
537 appropriate config file in <path>/etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/</path>. This example
538 features a Czech keyboard layout:
539 </p>
540
541 <pre caption="Using an international keyboard">
542 # <i>nano -w /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/30-keyboard.conf</i>
543
544 Section "InputClass"
545 Identifier "keyboard-all"
546 Driver "evdev"
547 Option "XkbLayout" "us,cz"
548 Option "XkbModel" "logitech_g15"
549 Option "XkbRules" "xorg"
550 Option "XkbOptions" "grp:alt_shift_toggle,grp:switch,grp_led:scroll,compose:rwin,terminate:ctrl_alt_bksp"
551 Option "XkbVariant" ",qwerty"
552 MatchIsKeyboard "on"
553 EndSection
554 </pre>
555
556 <p>
557 The "terminate" command (<c>terminate:ctrl_alt_bksp</c>) lets you kill the X
558 session by using the Ctrl-Alt-Backspace key combination. This will, however,
559 make X exit disgracefully -- something that you might not always want. It can be
560 useful when programs have frozen your display entirely, or when you're
561 configuring and tweaking your Xorg environment. Be careful when killing your
562 desktop with this key combination -- most programs really don't like it when you
563 end them this way, and you may lose some (or all) of what you were working on.
564 </p>
565
566 </body>
567 </section>
568 <section>
569 <title>Finishing up</title>
570 <body>
571
572 <p>
573 Run <c>startx</c> and be happy about the result. Congratulations, you now
574 (hopefully) have a working Xorg on your system. The next step is to install a
575 useful window manager or desktop environment such as KDE, GNOME, or Xfce, but
576 that's not part of this guide. Information on installing these desktop
577 environments can be found in our <uri link="/doc/en/?catid=desktop">Gentoo
578 Desktop Documentation Resources</uri>.
579 </p>
580
581 </body>
582 </section>
583 </chapter>
584
585 <chapter id="resources">
586 <title>Resources</title>
587 <section>
588 <title>Creating and editing config files</title>
589 <body>
590
591 <p>
592 First of all, <c>man xorg.conf</c> and <c>man evdev</c> provide quick yet
593 complete references about the syntax used by these configuration files. Be sure
594 to have them open on a terminal when you edit your configuration files!
595 </p>
596
597 <p>
598 There are also many online resources on editing config files in
599 <path>/etc/X11/</path>. We only list few of them here; be sure to <uri
600 link="http://www.google.com">Google</uri> for more.
601 </p>
602
603 </body>
604 </section>
605 <section>
606 <title>Other resources</title>
607 <body>
608
609 <p>
610 More information about installing and configuring various graphical desktop
611 environments and applications can be found in the <uri
612 link="/doc/en/?catid=desktop">Gentoo Desktop Documentation Resources</uri>
613 section of our documentation.
614 </p>
615
616 <p>
617 If you're upgrading to <c>xorg-server</c> 1.9 from an earlier version, then be
618 sure to read the <uri
619 link="/proj/en/desktop/x/x11/xorg-server-1.9-upgrade-guide.xml">migration
620 guide</uri>.
621 </p>
622
623 <p>
624 X.org provides many <uri link="http://www.x.org/wiki/FAQ">FAQs</uri> on their
625 website, in addition to their other documentation.
626 </p>
627
628 </body>
629 </section>
630 </chapter>
631 </guide>

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