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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 1.17 2005/09/09 06:01:15 fox2mike 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/2.5 -->
23 <license/>
25 <version>1.14</version>
26 <date>2006-07-13</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, 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
74 system. 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>
88 <chapter>
89 <title>Installing Xorg</title>
90 <section>
91 <title>Using emerge</title>
92 <body>
94 <p>
95 Enough chitchat, let's get to business shall we? To install Xorg, you just
96 need to run <c>emerge xorg-x11</c>. Installing Xorg does take a while
97 though, so you might want to grab a snack while you are waiting.
98 </p>
100 <p>
101 Before installing Xorg you have to configure two important variables in the
102 <path>/etc/make.conf</path> file.
103 </p>
105 <p>
106 The first one is <c>VIDEO_CARDS</c>. This is used to set the video drivers that
107 you intend to use and is usually based on the kind and brand of card you have.
108 The most common settings are <c>nvidia</c> for Nvidia cards or <c>fglrx</c> for
109 ATI Radeon cards. Those are the proprietary drivers from Nvidia and ATI
110 respectively. If you would like to use the open source versions, use <c>nv</c>
111 rather than <c>nvidia</c> in the variable, but bear in mind that using this
112 driver means no 3d acceleration at all. Use <c>radeon</c> in case you have an
113 ATI card for the same. <c>VIDEO_CARDS</c> may contain more than one driver, in
114 this case list of them should be separated with spaces.
115 </p>
117 <p>
118 The second variable is <c>INPUT_DEVICES</c> and is used to determine which
119 drivers are to be built for input devices. In most cases setting it to
120 <c>keyboard mouse</c> should work just fine.
121 </p>
123 <p>
124 Now you should decide which drivers you will use and add necessary settings to
125 the <path>/etc/make.conf</path> file:
126 </p>
128 <pre caption="Sample make.conf entries">
129 <comment>(For mouse and keyboard support)</comment>
130 INPUT_DEVICES="keyboard mouse"
131 <comment>(For Nvidia cards)</comment>
132 VIDEO_CARDS="nvidia"
133 <comment>(OR, for ATI Radeon cards)</comment>
134 VIDEO_CARDS="fglrx"
135 </pre>
137 <p>
138 More instructions on how to configure Nvidia and ATI cards can be found in
139 <uri link="/doc/en/nvidia-guide.xml">Gentoo Linux nVidia Guide</uri> and in
140 <uri link="/doc/en/ati-faq.xml">Gentoo Linux ATI FAQ</uri>. If you don't know
141 which drivers you should choose, refer to these guides for more information.
142 </p>
144 <note>
145 If the suggested settings don't work for you, you should run <c>emerge -pv
146 xorg-x11</c>, check all the options available and choose those which
147 apply to your system. In different versions of Xorg and on different
148 architectures displaying these variables can be done with <c>emerge -pv
149 xorg-server</c> command rather than the one above. The example is for x86
150 architecture and xorg-x11-7.0.
151 </note>
153 <pre caption="Displaying all the driver options available">
154 # <i>emerge -pv xorg-x11</i>
156 These are the packages that would be merged, in order:
158 Calculating dependencies... done!
159 [ebuild R ] x11-base/xorg-x11-7.0-r1 USE="-3dfx" INPUT_DEVICES="keyboard
160 mouse -acecad -aiptek -calcomp -citron -digitaledge -dmc -dynapro -elo2300
161 -elographics -evdev -fpit -hyperpen -jamstudio -joystick -magellan -magictouch
162 -microtouch -mutouch -palmax -penmount -spaceorb -summa -synaptics -tek4957
163 -ur98 -vmmouse -void -wacom" VIDEO_CARDS="nvidia -apm -ark -chips -cirrus
164 -cyrix -dummy -fbdev -fglrx -glint -i128 -i740 -i810 -imstt -mach64 -mga
165 -neomagic -nsc -nv -r128 -radeon -rendition -s3 -s3virge -savage -siliconmotion
166 -sis -sisusb -tdfx -tga -trident -tseng -v4l -vesa -vga -via -vmware -voodoo" 0
167 kB
168 </pre>
170 <p>
171 After setting all the necessary variables you can install the Xorg package.
172 </p>
174 <pre caption="Installing Xorg">
175 # <i>emerge xorg-x11</i>
176 </pre>
178 <p>
179 When the installation is finished, you might need to re-initialise some
180 environment variables before you continue. Just run <c>env-update</c> followed
181 by <c>source /etc/profile</c> and you're all set.
182 </p>
184 <pre caption="Re-initialising the environment variables">
185 # <i>env-update</i>
186 # <i>source /etc/profile</i>
187 </pre>
189 </body>
190 </section>
191 </chapter>
192 <chapter>
193 <title>Configuring Xorg</title>
194 <section>
195 <title>The xorg.conf File</title>
196 <body>
198 <p>
199 The configuration file of Xorg is called <path>xorg.conf</path> and it
200 resides in <path>/etc/X11</path>. The Xorg-X11 package provides an example
201 configuration as <path>/etc/X11/xorg.conf.example</path> which you can use to
202 create your own configuration. It is heavily commented, but if you are in need
203 of more documentation regarding the syntax, don't hesitate to read the man page:
204 </p>
206 <pre caption="Reading the xorg.conf man page">
207 # <i>man 5 xorg.conf</i>
208 </pre>
210 <p>
211 Happy reading for those of you willing to. We surely don't so we'll continue
212 with checking out how we can create the file automatically.
213 </p>
215 </body>
216 </section>
217 <section>
218 <title>Default: Automatic Generation of xorg.conf</title>
219 <body>
221 <p>
222 Xorg itself is able to guess most parameters for you. In most cases, you
223 will only have to change some lines to get the resolution you want up and
224 running. If you are interested in more in-depth tweaking, be sure to check the
225 resources at the end of this chapter. But first, let us generate a (hopefully
226 working) Xorg configuration file.
227 </p>
229 <pre caption="Generating an xorg.conf file">
230 # <i>Xorg -configure</i>
231 </pre>
233 <p>
234 Be sure to read the last lines printed on your screen when Xorg has finished
235 probing your hardware. If it tells you it failed at some point, you're forced to
236 manually write an <path>xorg.conf</path> file. Assuming that it didn't fail, it
237 will have told you that it has written <path>/root/xorg.conf.new</path> ready
238 for you to test. So let's test :)
239 </p>
241 <pre caption="Testing the xorg.conf.new file">
242 # <i>X -config /root/xorg.conf.new</i>
243 </pre>
245 <p>
246 If all goes well, you should see a simple black and white pattern. Verify if
247 your mouse works correctly and if the resolution is good. You might not be able
248 to deduce the exact resolution, but you should be able to see if it's too low.
249 You can exit any time by pressing Ctrl-Alt-Backspace.
250 </p>
252 </body>
253 </section>
254 <section>
255 <title>Alternative: Semi-Automatic Generation of xorg.conf</title>
256 <body>
258 <p>
259 Xorg provides a tool called <c>xorgconfig</c> which will ask you for various
260 information regarding your system (graphical adapter, keyboard, ...). Based on
261 your input it will create a <path>xorg.conf</path> file.
262 </p>
264 <pre caption="Semi-Automatic Generation of xorg.conf">
265 # <i>xorgconfig</i>
266 </pre>
268 <p>
269 Another tool, also provided by Xorg, is <c>xorgcfg</c>, which will first
270 attempt to run <c>Xorg -configure</c> and then start the X server for more
271 final tweaking.
272 </p>
274 <pre caption="Using xorgcfg">
275 # <i>xorgcfg</i>
276 <comment>(In case X crashes or the configuration fails, try:)</comment>
277 # <i>xorgcfg -textmode</i>
278 </pre>
280 </body>
281 </section>
282 <section>
283 <title>Copying over xorg.conf</title>
284 <body>
286 <p>
287 Let us copy over the <path>xorg.conf.new</path> to
288 <path>/etc/X11/xorg.conf</path> now, so we won't have to continuously run
289 <c>X -config</c> -- typing just <c>X</c> or <c>startx</c> is far more easy :)
290 </p>
292 <pre caption="Copying over xorg.conf">
293 # <i>cp /root/xorg.conf.new /etc/X11/xorg.conf</i>
294 </pre>
296 </body>
297 </section>
298 <section id="using_startx">
299 <title>Using startx</title>
300 <body>
302 <p>
303 Now try <c>startx</c> to start up your X server. <c>startx</c> is a script
304 that executes an <e>X session</e>, that is, it starts the X servers and some
305 graphical applications on top of it. It decides which applications to run
306 using the following logic:
307 </p>
309 <ul>
310 <li>
311 If a file named <path>.xinitrc</path> exists in the home directory, it will
312 execute the commands listed there.
313 </li>
314 <li>
315 Otherwise, it will read the value of the XSESSION variable and will execute
316 one of the sessions available in <path>/etc/X11/Sessions/</path>
317 accordingly (you can set the value of XSESSION in <path>/etc/rc.conf</path>
318 to make it a default for all the users on the system).
319 </li>
320 <li>
321 If all of the above fail, it will fall back to a simple window manager,
322 usually <c>twm</c>.
323 </li>
324 </ul>
326 <pre caption="Starting X">
327 # <i>startx</i>
328 </pre>
330 <p>
331 If you see an ugly, loathsome, repulsive, deformed window manager, that's
332 <c>twm</c>. To finish the twm session, type in <c>exit</c> or Ctrl-D in the
333 upcoming xterms. You can also kill the X session using the Ctrl-Alt-Backspace
334 combination. This will however make X exit disgracefully -- something that you
335 might not always want. It doesn't hurt though :)
336 </p>
338 </body>
339 </section>
340 </chapter>
341 <chapter>
342 <title>Tweaking xorg.conf</title>
343 <section>
344 <title>Setting your Resolution</title>
345 <body>
347 <p>
348 If you feel that the screen resolution is wrong, you will need to check two
349 sections in your configuration. First of all, you have the <e>Screen</e> section
350 which lists the resolutions, if any that your X server will run at. By
351 default, this section might not list any resolutions at all. If this is the
352 case, Xorg will estimate the resolutions based on the information in the
353 second section, <e>Monitor</e>.
354 </p>
356 <p>
357 What happens is that Xorg checks the settings of <c>HorizSync</c> and
358 <c>VertRefresh</c> in the <e>Monitor</e> section to compute valid resolutions.
359 For now, leave these settings as-is. Only when the changes to the <e>Screen</e>
360 section (which we will describe in a minute) don't work, then you will need to
361 look up the specs for your monitor and fill in the correct values. You can also
362 use a tool that searches for your monitor's specs, such as
363 <c>sys-apps/ddcxinfo-knoppix</c>.
364 </p>
366 <warn>
367 Do <b>not</b> "just" change the values of these two monitor related variables
368 without consulting the technical specifications of your monitor. Setting
369 incorrect values lead to out-of-sync errors at best and smoked up screens at
370 worst.
371 </warn>
373 <p>
374 Now let us change the resolutions. In the next example from
375 <path>/etc/X11/xorg.conf</path> we add the <c>Modes</c> lines and the
376 <c>DefaultDepth</c> so that our X server starts with 24 bits at 1024x768 by
377 default. Don't mind the given strings -- they are examples and will most likely
378 differ from the settings on your system.
379 </p>
381 <pre caption="Changing the Screen section in /etc/X11/xorg.conf">
382 Section "Screen"
383 Identifier "Default Screen"
384 Device "S3 Inc. ProSavage KN133 [Twister K]"
385 Monitor "Generic Monitor"
386 <i>DefaultDepth 24</i>
387 <comment># Skipping some text to improve readability</comment>
388 SubSection "Display"
389 Depth 24
390 <i>Modes "1024x768"</i>
391 EndSubSection
392 EndSection
393 </pre>
395 <p>
396 Run X (<c>startx</c>) to discover it uses the resolution you want :)
397 </p>
399 </body>
400 </section>
401 <section>
402 <title>Configuring your Keyboard</title>
403 <body>
405 <p>
406 To setup X to use an international keyboard, search for the <e>InputDevice</e>
407 section that configures the keyboard and add the <c>XkbLayout</c> option to
408 point to the keyboard layout you want. As an example, we show you how to apply
409 for the Belgian layout. Just substitute the country-keycode with yours:
410 </p>
412 <pre caption="Changing the keyboard layout">
413 Section "InputDevice"
414 Identifier "Generic Keyboard"
415 Driver "keyboard"
416 Option "CoreKeyboard"
417 Option "XkbRules" "xorg"
418 Option "XkbModel" "pc105"
419 <i>Option "XkbLayout" "be"</i>
420 EndSection
421 </pre>
423 </body>
424 </section>
425 <section>
426 <title>Configuring your Mouse</title>
427 <body>
429 <p>
430 If your mouse isn't working, you will first need to find out if it is detected
431 by the kernel at all. Mice are (device-wise) seen as
432 <path>/dev/input/mouse0</path> (or <path>/dev/input/mice</path> if you want to
433 use several mice). In some cases <path>/dev/psaux</path> is used. In either
434 case you can check if the devices do represent
435 your mouse by checking the output of those files when you move your mouse. You
436 will usually see some junk on your screen. To end the session press
437 <c>Ctrl-C</c>.
438 </p>
440 <pre caption="Checking the device files">
441 # <i>cat /dev/input/mouse0</i>
442 <comment>(Don't forget to press Ctrl-C to end this)</comment>
443 </pre>
445 <p>
446 If your mouse isn't detected, verify if all the necessary modules are loaded.
447 </p>
449 <p>
450 If your mouse is detected, fill in the device in the appropriate
451 <e>InputDevice</e> section. In the next example you'll see we also set two other
452 options: <c>Protocol</c> (which lists the mouse protocol to be used -- most
453 users will use PS/2 or IMPS/2) and <c>ZAxisMapping</c> (which allows for the
454 mousewheel (if applicable) to be used).
455 </p>
457 <pre caption="Changing the mouse settings in Xorg">
458 Section "InputDevice"
459 Identifier "TouchPad Mouse"
460 Driver "mouse"
461 Option "CorePointer"
462 <i>Option "Device" "/dev/input/mouse0"</i>
463 <i>Option "Protocol" "IMPS/2"</i>
464 <i>Option "ZAxisMapping" "4 5"</i>
465 EndSection
466 </pre>
468 <p>
469 Run <c>startx</c> and be happy about the result :) Congratulations, you now
470 (hopefully) have a working Xorg on your system. The next step is to remove this
471 ugly lightweight window manager and use a high-feature one (or even a desktop
472 environment) such as KDE or GNOME, but that's not part of this guide :)
473 </p>
475 </body>
476 </section>
477 </chapter>
478 <chapter>
479 <title>Resources</title>
480 <section>
481 <title>Creating and Tweaking xorg.conf</title>
482 <body>
484 <p>
485 First of all, <c>man 5 xorg.conf</c> provides a quick yet complete reference
486 about the syntaxis used by the configuration file. Be sure to have it open on a
487 terminal near you when you edit your configuration file!
488 </p>
490 <p>
491 A second point of resources on your system is the
492 <path>/usr/X11R6/lib/X11/doc</path> directory with various <path>README</path>'s
493 for individual graphical chipsets.
494 </p>
496 <p>
497 There are also many online resources on editing <path>xorg.conf</path>. We only
498 list few of them here, be sure to <uri link="http://www.google.com">Google</uri>
499 for more :) As <path>xorg.conf</path> and <path>XF86Config</path> (the
500 configuration file for the XFree86 project) use the
501 same syntaxis for most configuration options and more information about
502 <path>XF86Config</path> is available, we'll list those resources as well.
503 </p>
505 <ul>
506 <li>
507 <uri link="http://tldp.org/HOWTO/XFree-Local-multi-user-HOWTO/">The XFree
508 Local Multi-User HOWTO</uri>
509 </li>
510 <li>
511 <uri
512 link="http://www-106.ibm.com/developerworks/edu/os-dw-linuxxwin-i.html">An
513 Introduction to XFree 4.x</uri> by Chris Houser
514 </li>
515 </ul>
517 </body>
518 </section>
519 <section>
520 <title>Other resources</title>
521 <body>
523 <p>
524 If you want to update your system from the old monolithic Xorg to the newer,
525 modular Xorg 7, you should refer to the <uri
526 link="/proj/en/desktop/x/x11/modular-x-howto.xml">Migrating to Modular X
527 HOWTO</uri>.
528 </p>
530 <p>
531 More information about configuring different packages to work in X environment
532 can be found in the <uri link="/doc/en/?catid=desktop">Gentoo Desktop
533 Documentation Resources</uri> section of our documentation.
534 </p>
536 </body>
537 </section>
538 </chapter>
539 </guide>

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