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3     <!-- $Header$ -->
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/1.0 -->
23     <license/>
25     <version>1.1</version>
26     <date>May 10, 2004</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 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>
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. Note
62     though that the differences between Xorg and XFree86 are currently very slim; if
63     you know one, you know the other. XFree86 versions prior to 4.4 are available
64     through Portage as well.
65     </p>
67     </body>
68     </section>
69     <section>
70     <title>The X.org Project</title>
71     <body>
73     <p>
74     The <uri link="http://www.x.org">X.org</uri> project created and
75     maintains a freely redistributable open-source implementation of the X11 system.
76     It is an open source X11-based desktop infrastructure.
77     </p>
79     <p>
80     Xorg provides an interface between your hardware and the graphical software
81     you want to run. Besides that, Xorg is also fully network-aware, meaning you
82     are able to run an application on one system while viewing it on a different
83     one.
84     </p>
86     </body>
87     </section>
88     </chapter>
89     <chapter>
90     <title>Installing Xorg</title>
91     <section>
92     <title>Using emerge</title>
93     <body>
95     <p>
96     Enough chitchat, let's get to business shall we? To install Xorg, you just
97     need to run <c>emerge xorg-x11</c>. Installing Xorg does take a while
98     though, so you might want to grab a snack while you are waiting.
99     </p>
101     <pre caption="Installing Xorg">
102     # <i>emerge xorg-x11</i>
103     </pre>
105     <p>
106     When the installation is finished, you might need to reinitialise some
107     environment variables before you continue. Just run <c>env-update</c> followed
108     by <c>source /etc/profile</c> and you're all set. This doesn't harm your system
109     in any way.
110     </p>
112     <pre caption="Reinitialising the environment variables">
113     # <i>env-update</i>
114     # <i>source /etc/profile</i>
115     </pre>
117     </body>
118     </section>
119     </chapter>
120     <chapter>
121     <title>Configuring Xorg</title>
122     <section>
123     <title>The xorg.conf File</title>
124     <body>
126     <p>
127     The configurationfile of Xorg is called <path>xorg.conf</path> and it
128     resides in <path>/etc/X11</path>. The Xorg-X11 package provides an example
129     configuration as <path>/etc/X11/xorg.conf.example</path> which you can use to
130     create your own configuration. It is heavily commented, but if you are in need
131     of more documentation regarding the syntax, don't hesitate to read the man page:
132     </p>
134     <pre caption="Reading the xorg.conf man page">
135     # <i>man 5 xorg.conf</i>
136     </pre>
138     <p>
139     Happy reading for those of you willing to. We surely don't so we'll continue
140     with checking out how we can create the file automatically.
141     </p>
143     </body>
144     </section>
145     <section>
146     <title>Default: Automatic Generation of xorg.conf</title>
147     <body>
149     <p>
150     Xorg itself is able to guess most parameters for you. In most cases, you
151     will only have to change some lines to get the resolution you want up and
152     running. If you are interested in more in-depth tweaking, be sure to check the
153     resources at the end of this chapter. But first, let us generate a (hopefully
154     working) Xorg configuration file.
155     </p>
157     <pre caption="Generating an xorg.conf file">
158     # <i>Xorg -configure</i>
159     </pre>
161     <p>
162     Be sure to read the last lines printed on your screen when Xorg has finished
163     probing your hardware. If it tells you it failed at some point, you're forced to
164     manually write an <path>xorg.conf</path> file. Assuming that it didn't fail, it
165     will have told you that it has written <path>/root/xorg.conf.new</path> ready
166     for you to test. So let's test :)
167     </p>
169     <pre caption="Testing the xorg.conf.new file">
170     # <i>Xorg -config /root/xorg.conf.new</i>
171     </pre>
173     <p>
174     If all goes well, you should see an ugly, loathsome, repulsive, deformed
175     window manager called <c>twm</c>, probably the smallest window manager
176     available. Try moving your mouse and see if your keyboard and such is working.
177     In the next section we will optimize our <path>xorg.conf</path> so it fits your
178     hardware. Now go into one of the terminals you see on your screen and type in
179     <c>exit</c> (or press Ctrl-D) until Xorg shuts down. If you are unable to
180     use your mouse to focus the terminals, you can also press Ctrl-Alt-Backspace to
181     kill the X server.
182     </p>
184     </body>
185     </section>
186     <section>
187     <title>Alternative: Semi-Automatic Generation of xorg.conf</title>
188     <body>
190     <p>
191     Xorg provides a tool called <c>xorgconfig</c> which will ask you for various
192     information regarding your system (graphical adapter, keyboard, ...). Based on
193     your input it will create a <path>xorg.conf</path> file.
194     </p>
196     <pre caption="Semi-Automatic Generation of xorg.conf">
197     # <i>xorgconfig</i>
198     </pre>
200     </body>
201     </section>
202     </chapter>
203     <chapter>
204     <title>Tweaking xorg.conf</title>
205     <section>
206     <title>Copying over xorg.conf</title>
207     <body>
209     <p>
210     Let us first copy over the <path>xorg.conf.new</path> to
211     <path>/etc/X11/xorg.conf</path> so we won't have to continuously run <c>Xorg
212     -config</c> -- typing <c>startx</c> is far more easy :)
213     </p>
215     <pre caption="Copying over xorg.conf">
216     # <i>cp /root/xorg.conf.new /etc/X11/xorg.conf</i>
217     </pre>
219     <p>
220     Now run <c>startx</c> to start up your X server. It will use the freshly copied
221     file as its configuration file. To finish the X session, type in <c>exit</c> or
222     Ctrl-D in the upcoming xterms. You can also kill the X session using the
223     Ctrl-Alt-Backspace combination. This will however make X exit disgracefully -
224     something that you might not always want. It doesn't hurt though :)
225     </p>
227     <pre caption="Starting X">
228     # <i>startx</i>
229     </pre>
231     </body>
232     </section>
233     <section>
234     <title>Setting your Resolution</title>
235     <body>
237     <p>
238     If you feel that the screen resolution is wrong, you will need to check two
239     sections in your configuration. First of all, you have the <e>Screen</e> section
240     which lists the resolutions - if any - that your X server will run at. By
241     default, this section might not list any resolutions at all. If this is the
242     case, Xorg will estimate the resolutions based on the information in the
243     second section, <e>Monitor</e>.
244     </p>
246     <p>
247     What happens is that Xorg checks the settings of <c>HorizSync</c> and
248     <c>VertRefresh</c> in the <e>Monitor</e> section to compute valid resolutions.
249     For now, leave these settings as-is. Only when the changes to the <e>Screen</e>
250     section (which we will describe in a minute) don't work, then you will need to
251     look up the specs for your monitor and fill in the correct values. You can also
252     use a tool that searches for your monitor's specs, such as
253     <c>sys-apps/ddcxinfo-knoppix</c>.
254     </p>
256     <warn>
257     Do <b>not</b> "just" change the values of these two monitor-related variables
258     without consulting the technical specifications of your monitor. Setting
259     incorrect values lead to out-of-sync errors at best and smoked up screens at
260     worst.
261     </warn>
263     <p>
264     Now let us change the resolutions. In the next example from
265     <path>/etc/X11/xorg.conf</path> we add the <c>Modes</c> lines and the
266     <c>DefaultDepth</c> so that our X server starts with 24 bits at 1024x768 by
267     default. Don't mind the given strings - they are examples and will most likely
268     differ from the settings on your system.
269     </p>
271     <pre caption="Changing the Screen section in /etc/X11/xorg.conf">
272     Section "Screen"
273     Identifier "Default Screen"
274     Device "S3 Inc. ProSavage KN133 [Twister K]"
275     Monitor "Generic Monitor"
276     <i>DefaultDepth 24</i>
277     <comment># Skipping some text to improve readability</comment>
278     SubSection "Display"
279     Depth 24
280     <i>Modes "1024x768"</i>
281     EndSubSection
282     EndSection
283     </pre>
285     <p>
286     Run X (<c>startx</c>) to discover it uses the resolution you want :)
287     </p>
289     </body>
290     </section>
291     <section>
292     <title>Configuring your Keyboard</title>
293     <body>
295     <p>
296     To setup X to use an international keyboard, search for the <e>InputDevice</e>
297     section that configures the keyboard and add the <c>XkbLayout</c> option to
298     point to the keyboard layout you want. As an example, we show you how to apply
299     for the Belgian layout. Just substitute the country-keycode with yours:
300     </p>
302     <pre caption="Changing the keyboard layout">
303     Section "InputDevice"
304     Identifier "Generic Keyboard"
305     Driver "keyboard"
306     Option "CoreKeyboard"
307     Option "XkbRules" "xfree86"
308     Option "XkbModel" "pc105"
309     <i>Option "XkbLayout" "be"</i>
310     EndSection
311     </pre>
313     </body>
314     </section>
315     <section>
316     <title>Configuring your Mouse</title>
317     <body>
319     <p>
320     If your mouse isn't working, you will first need to find out if it is detected
321     by the kernel at all. PS/2 mouses are (device-wise) seen as
322     <path>/dev/psaux</path>. Other mouses (like USBs) are seen as
323     <path>/dev/input</path> (or <path>/dev/input/mice</path>). In either case you
324     can check if the devices do represent your mouse by checking the output of those
325     files when you move your mouse. To end the session press <c>Ctrl-C</c>.
326     </p>
328     <pre caption="Checking the device files">
329     # <i>cat /dev/input</i>
330     <comment>(Don't forget to press Ctrl-C to end this)</comment>
331     </pre>
333     <p>
334     If your mouse isn't detected, verify if all the necessary modules are loaded.
335     </p>
337     <p>
338     If your mouse is detected, fill in the device in the appropriate
339     <e>InputDevice</e> section. In the next example you'll see we also set two other
340     options: <c>Protocol</c> (which lists the mouse protocol to be used - most users
341     will use PS/2 or IMPS/2) and <c>ZAxisMapping</c> (which allows for the
342     mousewheel (if applicable) to be used).
343     </p>
345     <pre caption="Changing the mouse settings in Xorg">
346     Section "InputDevice"
347     Identifier "TouchPad Mouse"
348     Driver "mouse"
349     Option "CorePointer"
350     <i>Option "Device" "/dev/psaux"</i>
351     <i>Option "Protocol" "IMPS/2"</i>
352     <i>Option "ZAxisMapping" "4 5"</i>
353     EndSection
354     </pre>
356     <p>
357     Run <c>startx</c> and be happy about the result :) Congratulations, you now
358     (hopefully) have a working Xorg on your system. The next step is to remove this
359     ugly lightweight window manager and use a high-feature one (or even a desktop
360     environment) such as KDE or GNOME, but that's not part of this guide :)
361     </p>
363     </body>
364     </section>
365     </chapter>
366     <chapter>
367     <title>Resources</title>
368     <section>
369     <title>Creating and Tweaking xorg.conf</title>
370     <body>
372     <p>
373     First of all, <c>man 5 xorg.conf</c> provides a quick yet complete reference
374     about the syntaxis used by the configuration file. Be sure to have it open on a
375     terminal near you when you edit your configuration file!
376     </p>
378     <p>
379     A second point of resources on your system is the
380     <path>/usr/X11R6/lib/X11/doc</path> directory with various <path>README</path>'s
381     for individual graphical chipsets.
382     </p>
384     <p>
385     There are also many online resources on editing <path>xorg.conf</path>. We only
386     list few of them here, be sure to <uri link="http://www.google.com">Google</uri>
387     for more :) As <path>xorg.conf</path> and <path>XF86Config</path> (the
388     configuration file for the XFree86 project) use the
389     same syntaxis for most configuration options and more information about
390     <path>XF86Config</path> is available, we'll list those resources as well.
391     </p>
393     <ul>
394     <li>
395     <uri link="http://tldp.org/HOWTO/XFree-Local-multi-user-HOWTO/">The XFree
396     Local Multi-User HOWTO</uri>
397     </li>
398     <li>
399     <uri
400     link="http://www-106.ibm.com/developerworks/edu/os-dw-linuxxwin-i.html">An
401     Introduction to XFree 4.x</uri> by Chris Houser
402     </li>
403     </ul>
405     </body>
406     </section>
407     </chapter>
408     </guide>

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