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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 1.8 2005/02/14 09:26:19 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>1.8</version>
26 <date>2005-03-25</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 </body>
195 </section>
196 <section>
197 <title>Copying over xorg.conf</title>
198 <body>
199
200 <p>
201 Let us copy over the <path>xorg.conf.new</path> to
202 <path>/etc/X11/xorg.conf</path> now, so we won't have to continuously run
203 <c>X -config</c> -- typing just <c>X</c> or <c>startx</c> is far more easy :)
204 </p>
205
206 <pre caption="Copying over xorg.conf">
207 # <i>cp /root/xorg.conf.new /etc/X11/xorg.conf</i>
208 </pre>
209
210 </body>
211 </section>
212 <section id="using_startx">
213 <title>Using startx</title>
214 <body>
215
216 <p>
217 Now try <c>startx</c> to start up your X server. <c>startx</c> is a script
218 that executes an <e>X session</e>, that is, it starts the X servers and some
219 graphical applications on top of it. It decides which applications to run
220 using the following logic:
221 </p>
222
223 <ul>
224 <li>
225 If a file named <path>.xinitrc</path> exists in the home directory, it will
226 execute the commands listed there.
227 </li>
228 <li>
229 Otherwise, it will read the value of the XSESSION variable and will execute
230 one of the sessions available in <path>/etc/X11/Sessions/</path>
231 accordingly (you can set the value of XSESSION in <path>/etc/rc.conf</path>
232 to make it a default for all the users on the system).
233 </li>
234 <li>
235 If all of the above fail, it will fall back to a simple window manager,
236 usually <c>twm</c>.
237 </li>
238 </ul>
239
240 <pre caption="Starting X">
241 # <i>startx</i>
242 </pre>
243
244 <p>
245 If you see an ugly, loathsome, repulsive, deformed window manager, that's
246 <c>twm</c>. To finish the twm session, type in <c>exit</c> or Ctrl-D in the
247 upcoming xterms. You can also kill the X session using the Ctrl-Alt-Backspace
248 combination. This will however make X exit disgracefully - something that you
249 might not always want. It doesn't hurt though :)
250 </p>
251
252 </body>
253 </section>
254 </chapter>
255 <chapter>
256 <title>Tweaking xorg.conf</title>
257 <section>
258 <title>Setting your Resolution</title>
259 <body>
260
261 <p>
262 If you feel that the screen resolution is wrong, you will need to check two
263 sections in your configuration. First of all, you have the <e>Screen</e> section
264 which lists the resolutions - if any - that your X server will run at. By
265 default, this section might not list any resolutions at all. If this is the
266 case, Xorg will estimate the resolutions based on the information in the
267 second section, <e>Monitor</e>.
268 </p>
269
270 <p>
271 What happens is that Xorg checks the settings of <c>HorizSync</c> and
272 <c>VertRefresh</c> in the <e>Monitor</e> section to compute valid resolutions.
273 For now, leave these settings as-is. Only when the changes to the <e>Screen</e>
274 section (which we will describe in a minute) don't work, then you will need to
275 look up the specs for your monitor and fill in the correct values. You can also
276 use a tool that searches for your monitor's specs, such as
277 <c>sys-apps/ddcxinfo-knoppix</c>.
278 </p>
279
280 <warn>
281 Do <b>not</b> "just" change the values of these two monitor-related variables
282 without consulting the technical specifications of your monitor. Setting
283 incorrect values lead to out-of-sync errors at best and smoked up screens at
284 worst.
285 </warn>
286
287 <p>
288 Now let us change the resolutions. In the next example from
289 <path>/etc/X11/xorg.conf</path> we add the <c>Modes</c> lines and the
290 <c>DefaultDepth</c> so that our X server starts with 24 bits at 1024x768 by
291 default. Don't mind the given strings - they are examples and will most likely
292 differ from the settings on your system.
293 </p>
294
295 <pre caption="Changing the Screen section in /etc/X11/xorg.conf">
296 Section "Screen"
297 Identifier "Default Screen"
298 Device "S3 Inc. ProSavage KN133 [Twister K]"
299 Monitor "Generic Monitor"
300 <i>DefaultDepth 24</i>
301 <comment># Skipping some text to improve readability</comment>
302 SubSection "Display"
303 Depth 24
304 <i>Modes "1024x768"</i>
305 EndSubSection
306 EndSection
307 </pre>
308
309 <p>
310 Run X (<c>startx</c>) to discover it uses the resolution you want :)
311 </p>
312
313 </body>
314 </section>
315 <section>
316 <title>Configuring your Keyboard</title>
317 <body>
318
319 <p>
320 To setup X to use an international keyboard, search for the <e>InputDevice</e>
321 section that configures the keyboard and add the <c>XkbLayout</c> option to
322 point to the keyboard layout you want. As an example, we show you how to apply
323 for the Belgian layout. Just substitute the country-keycode with yours:
324 </p>
325
326 <pre caption="Changing the keyboard layout">
327 Section "InputDevice"
328 Identifier "Generic Keyboard"
329 Driver "keyboard"
330 Option "CoreKeyboard"
331 Option "XkbRules" "xorg"
332 Option "XkbModel" "pc105"
333 <i>Option "XkbLayout" "be"</i>
334 EndSection
335 </pre>
336
337 </body>
338 </section>
339 <section>
340 <title>Configuring your Mouse</title>
341 <body>
342
343 <p>
344 If your mouse isn't working, you will first need to find out if it is detected
345 by the kernel at all. PS/2 mice are (device-wise) seen as
346 <path>/dev/psaux</path>. Other mice (like USBs) are seen as
347 <path>/dev/input</path> (or <path>/dev/input/mice</path>). In either case you
348 can check if the devices do represent your mouse by checking the output of those
349 files when you move your mouse. To end the session press <c>Ctrl-C</c>.
350 </p>
351
352 <pre caption="Checking the device files">
353 # <i>cat /dev/input</i>
354 <comment>(Don't forget to press Ctrl-C to end this)</comment>
355 </pre>
356
357 <p>
358 If your mouse isn't detected, verify if all the necessary modules are loaded.
359 </p>
360
361 <p>
362 If your mouse is detected, fill in the device in the appropriate
363 <e>InputDevice</e> section. In the next example you'll see we also set two other
364 options: <c>Protocol</c> (which lists the mouse protocol to be used - most users
365 will use PS/2 or IMPS/2) and <c>ZAxisMapping</c> (which allows for the
366 mousewheel (if applicable) to be used).
367 </p>
368
369 <pre caption="Changing the mouse settings in Xorg">
370 Section "InputDevice"
371 Identifier "TouchPad Mouse"
372 Driver "mouse"
373 Option "CorePointer"
374 <i>Option "Device" "/dev/psaux"</i>
375 <i>Option "Protocol" "IMPS/2"</i>
376 <i>Option "ZAxisMapping" "4 5"</i>
377 EndSection
378 </pre>
379
380 <p>
381 Run <c>startx</c> and be happy about the result :) Congratulations, you now
382 (hopefully) have a working Xorg on your system. The next step is to remove this
383 ugly lightweight window manager and use a high-feature one (or even a desktop
384 environment) such as KDE or GNOME, but that's not part of this guide :)
385 </p>
386
387 </body>
388 </section>
389 </chapter>
390 <chapter>
391 <title>Resources</title>
392 <section>
393 <title>Creating and Tweaking xorg.conf</title>
394 <body>
395
396 <p>
397 First of all, <c>man 5 xorg.conf</c> provides a quick yet complete reference
398 about the syntaxis used by the configuration file. Be sure to have it open on a
399 terminal near you when you edit your configuration file!
400 </p>
401
402 <p>
403 A second point of resources on your system is the
404 <path>/usr/X11R6/lib/X11/doc</path> directory with various <path>README</path>'s
405 for individual graphical chipsets.
406 </p>
407
408 <p>
409 There are also many online resources on editing <path>xorg.conf</path>. We only
410 list few of them here, be sure to <uri link="http://www.google.com">Google</uri>
411 for more :) As <path>xorg.conf</path> and <path>XF86Config</path> (the
412 configuration file for the XFree86 project) use the
413 same syntaxis for most configuration options and more information about
414 <path>XF86Config</path> is available, we'll list those resources as well.
415 </p>
416
417 <ul>
418 <li>
419 <uri link="http://tldp.org/HOWTO/XFree-Local-multi-user-HOWTO/">The XFree
420 Local Multi-User HOWTO</uri>
421 </li>
422 <li>
423 <uri
424 link="http://www-106.ibm.com/developerworks/edu/os-dw-linuxxwin-i.html">An
425 Introduction to XFree 4.x</uri> by Chris Houser
426 </li>
427 </ul>
428
429 </body>
430 </section>
431 </chapter>
432 </guide>

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