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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 1.20 2006/11/29 15:48:57 nightmorph 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>1.15</version>
26 <date>2007-02-17</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. If you received errors
248 about "/dev/mouse", try changing your mouse device to <c>/dev/input/mice</c> in
249 the "InputDevice" section of <path>xorg.conf</path>. You might not be able to
250 deduce the exact resolution, but you should be able to see if it's too low. You
251 can exit any time by pressing Ctrl-Alt-Backspace.
252 </p>
254 </body>
255 </section>
256 <section>
257 <title>Alternative: Semi-Automatic Generation of xorg.conf</title>
258 <body>
260 <p>
261 Xorg provides a tool called <c>xorgconfig</c> which will ask you for various
262 information regarding your system (graphical adapter, keyboard, ...). Based on
263 your input it will create a <path>xorg.conf</path> file.
264 </p>
266 <pre caption="Semi-Automatic Generation of xorg.conf">
267 # <i>xorgconfig</i>
268 </pre>
270 <p>
271 Another tool, also provided by Xorg, is <c>xorgcfg</c>, which will first
272 attempt to run <c>Xorg -configure</c> and then start the X server for more
273 final tweaking.
274 </p>
276 <pre caption="Using xorgcfg">
277 # <i>xorgcfg</i>
278 <comment>(In case X crashes or the configuration fails, try:)</comment>
279 # <i>xorgcfg -textmode</i>
280 </pre>
282 </body>
283 </section>
284 <section>
285 <title>Copying over xorg.conf</title>
286 <body>
288 <p>
289 Let us copy over the <path>xorg.conf.new</path> to
290 <path>/etc/X11/xorg.conf</path> now, so we won't have to continuously run
291 <c>X -config</c> -- typing just <c>X</c> or <c>startx</c> is far more easy :)
292 </p>
294 <pre caption="Copying over xorg.conf">
295 # <i>cp /root/xorg.conf.new /etc/X11/xorg.conf</i>
296 </pre>
298 </body>
299 </section>
300 <section id="using_startx">
301 <title>Using startx</title>
302 <body>
304 <p>
305 Now try <c>startx</c> to start up your X server. <c>startx</c> is a script
306 that executes an <e>X session</e>, that is, it starts the X servers and some
307 graphical applications on top of it. It decides which applications to run
308 using the following logic:
309 </p>
311 <ul>
312 <li>
313 If a file named <path>.xinitrc</path> exists in the home directory, it will
314 execute the commands listed there.
315 </li>
316 <li>
317 Otherwise, it will read the value of the XSESSION variable and will execute
318 one of the sessions available in <path>/etc/X11/Sessions/</path>
319 accordingly (you can set the value of XSESSION in <path>/etc/rc.conf</path>
320 to make it a default for all the users on the system).
321 </li>
322 <li>
323 If all of the above fail, it will fall back to a simple window manager,
324 usually <c>twm</c>.
325 </li>
326 </ul>
328 <pre caption="Starting X">
329 # <i>startx</i>
330 </pre>
332 <p>
333 If you see an ugly, loathsome, repulsive, deformed window manager, that's
334 <c>twm</c>. To finish the twm session, type in <c>exit</c> or Ctrl-D in the
335 upcoming xterms. You can also kill the X session using the Ctrl-Alt-Backspace
336 combination. This will however make X exit disgracefully -- something that you
337 might not always want. It doesn't hurt though :)
338 </p>
340 </body>
341 </section>
342 </chapter>
343 <chapter>
344 <title>Tweaking xorg.conf</title>
345 <section>
346 <title>Setting your Resolution</title>
347 <body>
349 <p>
350 If you feel that the screen resolution is wrong, you will need to check two
351 sections in your configuration. First of all, you have the <e>Screen</e> section
352 which lists the resolutions, if any that your X server will run at. By
353 default, this section might not list any resolutions at all. If this is the
354 case, Xorg will estimate the resolutions based on the information in the
355 second section, <e>Monitor</e>.
356 </p>
358 <p>
359 What happens is that Xorg checks the settings of <c>HorizSync</c> and
360 <c>VertRefresh</c> in the <e>Monitor</e> section to compute valid resolutions.
361 For now, leave these settings as-is. Only when the changes to the <e>Screen</e>
362 section (which we will describe in a minute) don't work, then you will need to
363 look up the specs for your monitor and fill in the correct values. You can also
364 use a tool that searches for your monitor's specs, such as
365 <c>sys-apps/ddcxinfo-knoppix</c>.
366 </p>
368 <warn>
369 Do <b>not</b> "just" change the values of these two monitor related variables
370 without consulting the technical specifications of your monitor. Setting
371 incorrect values lead to out-of-sync errors at best and smoked up screens at
372 worst.
373 </warn>
375 <p>
376 Now let us change the resolutions. In the next example from
377 <path>/etc/X11/xorg.conf</path> we add the <c>Modes</c> lines and the
378 <c>DefaultDepth</c> so that our X server starts with 24 bits at 1024x768 by
379 default. Don't mind the given strings -- they are examples and will most likely
380 differ from the settings on your system.
381 </p>
383 <pre caption="Changing the Screen section in /etc/X11/xorg.conf">
384 Section "Screen"
385 Identifier "Default Screen"
386 Device "S3 Inc. ProSavage KN133 [Twister K]"
387 Monitor "Generic Monitor"
388 <i>DefaultDepth 24</i>
389 <comment># Skipping some text to improve readability</comment>
390 SubSection "Display"
391 Depth 24
392 <i>Modes "1024x768"</i>
393 EndSubSection
394 EndSection
395 </pre>
397 <p>
398 Run X (<c>startx</c>) to discover it uses the resolution you want :)
399 </p>
401 </body>
402 </section>
403 <section>
404 <title>Configuring your Keyboard</title>
405 <body>
407 <p>
408 To setup X to use an international keyboard, search for the <e>InputDevice</e>
409 section that configures the keyboard and add the <c>XkbLayout</c> option to
410 point to the keyboard layout you want. As an example, we show you how to apply
411 for the Belgian layout. Just substitute the country-keycode with yours:
412 </p>
414 <pre caption="Changing the keyboard layout">
415 Section "InputDevice"
416 Identifier "Generic Keyboard"
417 Driver "keyboard"
418 Option "CoreKeyboard"
419 Option "XkbRules" "xorg"
420 Option "XkbModel" "pc105"
421 <i>Option "XkbLayout" "be"</i>
422 EndSection
423 </pre>
425 </body>
426 </section>
427 <section>
428 <title>Configuring your Mouse</title>
429 <body>
431 <p>
432 If your mouse isn't working, you will first need to find out if it is detected
433 by the kernel at all. Mice are (device-wise) seen as
434 <path>/dev/input/mouse0</path> (or <path>/dev/input/mice</path> if you want to
435 use several mice). In some cases <path>/dev/psaux</path> is used. In either
436 case you can check if the devices do represent
437 your mouse by checking the output of those files when you move your mouse. You
438 will usually see some junk on your screen. To end the session press
439 <c>Ctrl-C</c>.
440 </p>
442 <pre caption="Checking the device files">
443 # <i>cat /dev/input/mouse0</i>
444 <comment>(Don't forget to press Ctrl-C to end this)</comment>
445 </pre>
447 <p>
448 If your mouse isn't detected, verify if all the necessary modules are loaded.
449 </p>
451 <p>
452 If your mouse is detected, fill in the device in the appropriate
453 <e>InputDevice</e> section. In the next example you'll see we also set two other
454 options: <c>Protocol</c> (which lists the mouse protocol to be used -- most
455 users will use PS/2 or IMPS/2) and <c>ZAxisMapping</c> (which allows for the
456 mousewheel (if applicable) to be used).
457 </p>
459 <pre caption="Changing the mouse settings in Xorg">
460 Section "InputDevice"
461 Identifier "TouchPad Mouse"
462 Driver "mouse"
463 Option "CorePointer"
464 <i>Option "Device" "/dev/input/mouse0"</i>
465 <i>Option "Protocol" "IMPS/2"</i>
466 <i>Option "ZAxisMapping" "4 5"</i>
467 EndSection
468 </pre>
470 <p>
471 Run <c>startx</c> and be happy about the result :) Congratulations, you now
472 (hopefully) have a working Xorg on your system. The next step is to remove this
473 ugly lightweight window manager and use a high-feature one (or even a desktop
474 environment) such as KDE or GNOME, but that's not part of this guide :)
475 </p>
477 </body>
478 </section>
479 </chapter>
480 <chapter>
481 <title>Resources</title>
482 <section>
483 <title>Creating and Tweaking xorg.conf</title>
484 <body>
486 <p>
487 First of all, <c>man 5 xorg.conf</c> provides a quick yet complete reference
488 about the syntaxis used by the configuration file. Be sure to have it open on a
489 terminal near you when you edit your configuration file!
490 </p>
492 <p>
493 A second point of resources on your system is the
494 <path>/usr/X11R6/lib/X11/doc</path> directory with various <path>README</path>'s
495 for individual graphical chipsets.
496 </p>
498 <p>
499 There are also many online resources on editing <path>xorg.conf</path>. We only
500 list few of them here, be sure to <uri link="http://www.google.com">Google</uri>
501 for more :) As <path>xorg.conf</path> and <path>XF86Config</path> (the
502 configuration file for the XFree86 project) use the
503 same syntaxis for most configuration options and more information about
504 <path>XF86Config</path> is available, we'll list those resources as well.
505 </p>
507 <ul>
508 <li>
509 <uri link="http://tldp.org/HOWTO/XFree-Local-multi-user-HOWTO/">The XFree
510 Local Multi-User HOWTO</uri>
511 </li>
512 <li>
513 <uri
514 link="http://www-106.ibm.com/developerworks/edu/os-dw-linuxxwin-i.html">An
515 Introduction to XFree 4.x</uri> by Chris Houser
516 </li>
517 </ul>
519 </body>
520 </section>
521 <section>
522 <title>Other resources</title>
523 <body>
525 <p>
526 If you want to update your system from the old monolithic Xorg to the newer,
527 modular Xorg 7, you should refer to the <uri
528 link="/proj/en/desktop/x/x11/modular-x-howto.xml">Migrating to Modular X
529 HOWTO</uri>.
530 </p>
532 <p>
533 More information about configuring different packages to work in X environment
534 can be found in the <uri link="/doc/en/?catid=desktop">Gentoo Desktop
535 Documentation Resources</uri> section of our documentation.
536 </p>
538 </body>
539 </section>
540 </chapter>
541 </guide>

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