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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 1.14 2005/05/23 15:58:45 swift 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/2.0 -->
23 <license/>
25 <version>1.12</version>
26 <date>2005-05-23</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.
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 system.
74 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>
87 <chapter>
88 <title>Installing Xorg</title>
89 <section>
90 <title>Using emerge</title>
91 <body>
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>
99 <pre caption="Installing Xorg">
100 # <i>emerge xorg-x11</i>
101 </pre>
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>
110 <pre caption="Reinitialising the environment variables">
111 # <i>env-update</i>
112 # <i>source /etc/profile</i>
113 </pre>
115 </body>
116 </section>
117 </chapter>
118 <chapter>
119 <title>Configuring Xorg</title>
120 <section>
121 <title>The xorg.conf File</title>
122 <body>
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>
132 <pre caption="Reading the xorg.conf man page">
133 # <i>man 5 xorg.conf</i>
134 </pre>
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>
141 </body>
142 </section>
143 <section>
144 <title>Default: Automatic Generation of xorg.conf</title>
145 <body>
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>
155 <pre caption="Generating an xorg.conf file">
156 # <i>Xorg -configure</i>
157 </pre>
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>
167 <pre caption="Testing the xorg.conf.new file">
168 # <i>X -config /root/xorg.conf.new</i>
169 </pre>
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>
178 </body>
179 </section>
180 <section>
181 <title>Alternative: Semi-Automatic Generation of xorg.conf</title>
182 <body>
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>
190 <pre caption="Semi-Automatic Generation of xorg.conf">
191 # <i>xorgconfig</i>
192 </pre>
194 <p>
195 Another tool, also provided by Xorg, is <c>xorgcfg</c>, which will first
196 attempts to run <c>Xorg -configure</c> and then start the X server for more
197 final tweaking.
198 </p>
200 <pre caption="Using xorgcfg">
201 # <i>xorgcfg</i>
202 <comment>(In case X crashes or the configuration fails, try:)</comment>
203 # <i>xorgcfg -textmode</i>
204 </pre>
206 </body>
207 </section>
208 <section>
209 <title>Copying over xorg.conf</title>
210 <body>
212 <p>
213 Let us copy over the <path>xorg.conf.new</path> to
214 <path>/etc/X11/xorg.conf</path> now, so we won't have to continuously run
215 <c>X -config</c> -- typing just <c>X</c> or <c>startx</c> is far more easy :)
216 </p>
218 <pre caption="Copying over xorg.conf">
219 # <i>cp /root/xorg.conf.new /etc/X11/xorg.conf</i>
220 </pre>
222 </body>
223 </section>
224 <section id="using_startx">
225 <title>Using startx</title>
226 <body>
228 <p>
229 Now try <c>startx</c> to start up your X server. <c>startx</c> is a script
230 that executes an <e>X session</e>, that is, it starts the X servers and some
231 graphical applications on top of it. It decides which applications to run
232 using the following logic:
233 </p>
235 <ul>
236 <li>
237 If a file named <path>.xinitrc</path> exists in the home directory, it will
238 execute the commands listed there.
239 </li>
240 <li>
241 Otherwise, it will read the value of the XSESSION variable and will execute
242 one of the sessions available in <path>/etc/X11/Sessions/</path>
243 accordingly (you can set the value of XSESSION in <path>/etc/rc.conf</path>
244 to make it a default for all the users on the system).
245 </li>
246 <li>
247 If all of the above fail, it will fall back to a simple window manager,
248 usually <c>twm</c>.
249 </li>
250 </ul>
252 <pre caption="Starting X">
253 # <i>startx</i>
254 </pre>
256 <p>
257 If you see an ugly, loathsome, repulsive, deformed window manager, that's
258 <c>twm</c>. To finish the twm session, type in <c>exit</c> or Ctrl-D in the
259 upcoming xterms. You can also kill the X session using the Ctrl-Alt-Backspace
260 combination. This will however make X exit disgracefully - something that you
261 might not always want. It doesn't hurt though :)
262 </p>
264 </body>
265 </section>
266 </chapter>
267 <chapter>
268 <title>Tweaking xorg.conf</title>
269 <section>
270 <title>Setting your Resolution</title>
271 <body>
273 <p>
274 If you feel that the screen resolution is wrong, you will need to check two
275 sections in your configuration. First of all, you have the <e>Screen</e> section
276 which lists the resolutions - if any - that your X server will run at. By
277 default, this section might not list any resolutions at all. If this is the
278 case, Xorg will estimate the resolutions based on the information in the
279 second section, <e>Monitor</e>.
280 </p>
282 <p>
283 What happens is that Xorg checks the settings of <c>HorizSync</c> and
284 <c>VertRefresh</c> in the <e>Monitor</e> section to compute valid resolutions.
285 For now, leave these settings as-is. Only when the changes to the <e>Screen</e>
286 section (which we will describe in a minute) don't work, then you will need to
287 look up the specs for your monitor and fill in the correct values. You can also
288 use a tool that searches for your monitor's specs, such as
289 <c>sys-apps/ddcxinfo-knoppix</c>.
290 </p>
292 <warn>
293 Do <b>not</b> "just" change the values of these two monitor-related variables
294 without consulting the technical specifications of your monitor. Setting
295 incorrect values lead to out-of-sync errors at best and smoked up screens at
296 worst.
297 </warn>
299 <p>
300 Now let us change the resolutions. In the next example from
301 <path>/etc/X11/xorg.conf</path> we add the <c>Modes</c> lines and the
302 <c>DefaultDepth</c> so that our X server starts with 24 bits at 1024x768 by
303 default. Don't mind the given strings - they are examples and will most likely
304 differ from the settings on your system.
305 </p>
307 <pre caption="Changing the Screen section in /etc/X11/xorg.conf">
308 Section "Screen"
309 Identifier "Default Screen"
310 Device "S3 Inc. ProSavage KN133 [Twister K]"
311 Monitor "Generic Monitor"
312 <i>DefaultDepth 24</i>
313 <comment># Skipping some text to improve readability</comment>
314 SubSection "Display"
315 Depth 24
316 <i>Modes "1024x768"</i>
317 EndSubSection
318 EndSection
319 </pre>
321 <p>
322 Run X (<c>startx</c>) to discover it uses the resolution you want :)
323 </p>
325 </body>
326 </section>
327 <section>
328 <title>Configuring your Keyboard</title>
329 <body>
331 <p>
332 To setup X to use an international keyboard, search for the <e>InputDevice</e>
333 section that configures the keyboard and add the <c>XkbLayout</c> option to
334 point to the keyboard layout you want. As an example, we show you how to apply
335 for the Belgian layout. Just substitute the country-keycode with yours:
336 </p>
338 <pre caption="Changing the keyboard layout">
339 Section "InputDevice"
340 Identifier "Generic Keyboard"
341 Driver "keyboard"
342 Option "CoreKeyboard"
343 Option "XkbRules" "xorg"
344 Option "XkbModel" "pc105"
345 <i>Option "XkbLayout" "be"</i>
346 EndSection
347 </pre>
349 </body>
350 </section>
351 <section>
352 <title>Configuring your Mouse</title>
353 <body>
355 <p>
356 If your mouse isn't working, you will first need to find out if it is detected
357 by the kernel at all. Mice are (device-wise) seen as
358 <path>/dev/input/mouse0</path> (or <path>/dev/input/mice</path> if you want to
359 use several mice). In some cases <path>/dev/psaux</path> is used. In either
360 case you can check if the devices do represent
361 your mouse by checking the output of those files when you move your mouse. To
362 end the session press <c>Ctrl-C</c>.
363 </p>
365 <pre caption="Checking the device files">
366 # <i>cat /dev/input/mouse0</i>
367 <comment>(Don't forget to press Ctrl-C to end this)</comment>
368 </pre>
370 <p>
371 If your mouse isn't detected, verify if all the necessary modules are loaded.
372 </p>
374 <p>
375 If your mouse is detected, fill in the device in the appropriate
376 <e>InputDevice</e> section. In the next example you'll see we also set two other
377 options: <c>Protocol</c> (which lists the mouse protocol to be used - most users
378 will use PS/2 or IMPS/2) and <c>ZAxisMapping</c> (which allows for the
379 mousewheel (if applicable) to be used).
380 </p>
382 <pre caption="Changing the mouse settings in Xorg">
383 Section "InputDevice"
384 Identifier "TouchPad Mouse"
385 Driver "mouse"
386 Option "CorePointer"
387 <i>Option "Device" "/dev/input/mouse0"</i>
388 <i>Option "Protocol" "IMPS/2"</i>
389 <i>Option "ZAxisMapping" "4 5"</i>
390 EndSection
391 </pre>
393 <p>
394 Run <c>startx</c> and be happy about the result :) Congratulations, you now
395 (hopefully) have a working Xorg on your system. The next step is to remove this
396 ugly lightweight window manager and use a high-feature one (or even a desktop
397 environment) such as KDE or GNOME, but that's not part of this guide :)
398 </p>
400 </body>
401 </section>
402 </chapter>
403 <chapter>
404 <title>Resources</title>
405 <section>
406 <title>Creating and Tweaking xorg.conf</title>
407 <body>
409 <p>
410 First of all, <c>man 5 xorg.conf</c> provides a quick yet complete reference
411 about the syntaxis used by the configuration file. Be sure to have it open on a
412 terminal near you when you edit your configuration file!
413 </p>
415 <p>
416 A second point of resources on your system is the
417 <path>/usr/X11R6/lib/X11/doc</path> directory with various <path>README</path>'s
418 for individual graphical chipsets.
419 </p>
421 <p>
422 There are also many online resources on editing <path>xorg.conf</path>. We only
423 list few of them here, be sure to <uri link="http://www.google.com">Google</uri>
424 for more :) As <path>xorg.conf</path> and <path>XF86Config</path> (the
425 configuration file for the XFree86 project) use the
426 same syntaxis for most configuration options and more information about
427 <path>XF86Config</path> is available, we'll list those resources as well.
428 </p>
430 <ul>
431 <li>
432 <uri link="http://tldp.org/HOWTO/XFree-Local-multi-user-HOWTO/">The XFree
433 Local Multi-User HOWTO</uri>
434 </li>
435 <li>
436 <uri
437 link="http://www-106.ibm.com/developerworks/edu/os-dw-linuxxwin-i.html">An
438 Introduction to XFree 4.x</uri> by Chris Houser
439 </li>
440 </ul>
442 </body>
443 </section>
444 </chapter>
445 </guide>

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