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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 1.21 2007/02/17 19:12:14 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>1.16</version>
26 <date>2007-06-09</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. The free <c>radeon</c> driver for ATI
113 cards supports full 3D acceleration on older Radeons but doesn't work at all
114 with the newer ones. <c>VIDEO_CARDS</c> may contain more than one driver, in
115 this case list of them should be separated with spaces.
116 </p>
118 <p>
119 The second variable is <c>INPUT_DEVICES</c> and is used to determine which
120 drivers are to be built for input devices. In most cases setting it to
121 <c>keyboard mouse</c> should work just fine.
122 </p>
124 <p>
125 Now you should decide which drivers you will use and add necessary settings to
126 the <path>/etc/make.conf</path> file:
127 </p>
129 <pre caption="Sample make.conf entries">
130 <comment>(For mouse and keyboard support)</comment>
131 INPUT_DEVICES="keyboard mouse"
132 <comment>(For Nvidia cards)</comment>
133 VIDEO_CARDS="nvidia"
134 <comment>(OR, for ATI Radeon cards)</comment>
135 VIDEO_CARDS="fglrx"
136 </pre>
138 <p>
139 More instructions on how to configure Nvidia and ATI cards can be found in
140 <uri link="/doc/en/nvidia-guide.xml">Gentoo Linux nVidia Guide</uri> and in
141 <uri link="/doc/en/ati-faq.xml">Gentoo Linux ATI FAQ</uri>. If you don't know
142 which drivers you should choose, refer to these guides for more information.
143 </p>
145 <note>
146 If the suggested settings don't work for you, you should run <c>emerge -pv
147 xorg-x11</c>, check all the options available and choose those which
148 apply to your system. In different versions of Xorg and on different
149 architectures displaying these variables can be done with <c>emerge -pv
150 xorg-server</c> command rather than the one above. The example is for x86
151 architecture and xorg-x11-7.0.
152 </note>
154 <pre caption="Displaying all the driver options available">
155 # <i>emerge -pv xorg-x11</i>
157 These are the packages that would be merged, in order:
159 Calculating dependencies... done!
160 [ebuild R ] x11-base/xorg-x11-7.0-r1 USE="-3dfx" INPUT_DEVICES="keyboard
161 mouse -acecad -aiptek -calcomp -citron -digitaledge -dmc -dynapro -elo2300
162 -elographics -evdev -fpit -hyperpen -jamstudio -joystick -magellan -magictouch
163 -microtouch -mutouch -palmax -penmount -spaceorb -summa -synaptics -tek4957
164 -ur98 -vmmouse -void -wacom" VIDEO_CARDS="nvidia -apm -ark -chips -cirrus
165 -cyrix -dummy -fbdev -fglrx -glint -i128 -i740 -i810 -imstt -mach64 -mga
166 -neomagic -nsc -nv -r128 -radeon -rendition -s3 -s3virge -savage -siliconmotion
167 -sis -sisusb -tdfx -tga -trident -tseng -v4l -vesa -vga -via -vmware -voodoo" 0
168 kB
169 </pre>
171 <p>
172 After setting all the necessary variables you can install the Xorg package.
173 </p>
175 <pre caption="Installing Xorg">
176 # <i>emerge xorg-x11</i>
177 </pre>
179 <p>
180 When the installation is finished, you might need to re-initialise some
181 environment variables before you continue. Just run <c>env-update</c> followed
182 by <c>source /etc/profile</c> and you're all set.
183 </p>
185 <pre caption="Re-initialising the environment variables">
186 # <i>env-update</i>
187 # <i>source /etc/profile</i>
188 </pre>
190 </body>
191 </section>
192 </chapter>
193 <chapter>
194 <title>Configuring Xorg</title>
195 <section>
196 <title>The xorg.conf File</title>
197 <body>
199 <p>
200 The configuration file of Xorg is called <path>xorg.conf</path> and it
201 resides in <path>/etc/X11</path>. The Xorg-X11 package provides an example
202 configuration as <path>/etc/X11/xorg.conf.example</path> which you can use to
203 create your own configuration. It is heavily commented, but if you are in need
204 of more documentation regarding the syntax, don't hesitate to read the man page:
205 </p>
207 <pre caption="Reading the xorg.conf man page">
208 # <i>man 5 xorg.conf</i>
209 </pre>
211 <p>
212 Happy reading for those of you willing to. We surely don't so we'll continue
213 with checking out how we can create the file automatically.
214 </p>
216 </body>
217 </section>
218 <section>
219 <title>Default: Automatic Generation of xorg.conf</title>
220 <body>
222 <p>
223 Xorg itself is able to guess most parameters for you. In most cases, you
224 will only have to change some lines to get the resolution you want up and
225 running. If you are interested in more in-depth tweaking, be sure to check the
226 resources at the end of this chapter. But first, let us generate a (hopefully
227 working) Xorg configuration file.
228 </p>
230 <pre caption="Generating an xorg.conf file">
231 # <i>Xorg -configure</i>
232 </pre>
234 <p>
235 Be sure to read the last lines printed on your screen when Xorg has finished
236 probing your hardware. If it tells you it failed at some point, you're forced to
237 manually write an <path>xorg.conf</path> file. Assuming that it didn't fail, it
238 will have told you that it has written <path>/root/xorg.conf.new</path> ready
239 for you to test. So let's test :)
240 </p>
242 <pre caption="Testing the xorg.conf.new file">
243 # <i>X -config /root/xorg.conf.new</i>
244 </pre>
246 <p>
247 If all goes well, you should see a simple black and white pattern. Verify if
248 your mouse works correctly and if the resolution is good. If you received errors
249 about "/dev/mouse", try changing your mouse device to <c>/dev/input/mice</c> in
250 the "InputDevice" section of <path>xorg.conf</path>. You might not be able to
251 deduce the exact resolution, but you should be able to see if it's too low. You
252 can exit any time by pressing Ctrl-Alt-Backspace.
253 </p>
255 </body>
256 </section>
257 <section>
258 <title>Alternative: Semi-Automatic Generation of xorg.conf</title>
259 <body>
261 <p>
262 Xorg provides a tool called <c>xorgconfig</c> which will ask you for various
263 information regarding your system (graphical adapter, keyboard, ...). Based on
264 your input it will create a <path>xorg.conf</path> file.
265 </p>
267 <pre caption="Semi-Automatic Generation of xorg.conf">
268 # <i>xorgconfig</i>
269 </pre>
271 <p>
272 Another tool, also provided by Xorg, is <c>xorgcfg</c>, which will first
273 attempt to run <c>Xorg -configure</c> and then start the X server for more
274 final tweaking.
275 </p>
277 <pre caption="Using xorgcfg">
278 # <i>xorgcfg</i>
279 <comment>(In case X crashes or the configuration fails, try:)</comment>
280 # <i>xorgcfg -textmode</i>
281 </pre>
283 </body>
284 </section>
285 <section>
286 <title>Copying over xorg.conf</title>
287 <body>
289 <p>
290 Let us copy over the <path>xorg.conf.new</path> to
291 <path>/etc/X11/xorg.conf</path> now, so we won't have to continuously run
292 <c>X -config</c> -- typing just <c>X</c> or <c>startx</c> is far more easy :)
293 </p>
295 <pre caption="Copying over xorg.conf">
296 # <i>cp /root/xorg.conf.new /etc/X11/xorg.conf</i>
297 </pre>
299 </body>
300 </section>
301 <section id="using_startx">
302 <title>Using startx</title>
303 <body>
305 <p>
306 Now try <c>startx</c> to start up your X server. <c>startx</c> is a script
307 that executes an <e>X session</e>, that is, it starts the X servers and some
308 graphical applications on top of it. It decides which applications to run
309 using the following logic:
310 </p>
312 <ul>
313 <li>
314 If a file named <path>.xinitrc</path> exists in the home directory, it will
315 execute the commands listed there.
316 </li>
317 <li>
318 Otherwise, it will read the value of the XSESSION variable and will execute
319 one of the sessions available in <path>/etc/X11/Sessions/</path>
320 accordingly (you can set the value of XSESSION in <path>/etc/rc.conf</path>
321 to make it a default for all the users on the system).
322 </li>
323 <li>
324 If all of the above fail, it will fall back to a simple window manager,
325 usually <c>twm</c>.
326 </li>
327 </ul>
329 <pre caption="Starting X">
330 # <i>startx</i>
331 </pre>
333 <p>
334 If you see an ugly, loathsome, repulsive, deformed window manager, that's
335 <c>twm</c>. To finish the twm session, type in <c>exit</c> or Ctrl-D in the
336 upcoming xterms. You can also kill the X session using the Ctrl-Alt-Backspace
337 combination. This will however make X exit disgracefully -- something that you
338 might not always want. It doesn't hurt though :)
339 </p>
341 </body>
342 </section>
343 </chapter>
344 <chapter>
345 <title>Tweaking xorg.conf</title>
346 <section>
347 <title>Setting your Resolution</title>
348 <body>
350 <p>
351 If you feel that the screen resolution is wrong, you will need to check two
352 sections in your configuration. First of all, you have the <e>Screen</e> section
353 which lists the resolutions, if any that your X server will run at. By
354 default, this section might not list any resolutions at all. If this is the
355 case, Xorg will estimate the resolutions based on the information in the
356 second section, <e>Monitor</e>.
357 </p>
359 <p>
360 What happens is that Xorg checks the settings of <c>HorizSync</c> and
361 <c>VertRefresh</c> in the <e>Monitor</e> section to compute valid resolutions.
362 For now, leave these settings as-is. Only when the changes to the <e>Screen</e>
363 section (which we will describe in a minute) don't work, then you will need to
364 look up the specs for your monitor and fill in the correct values. You can also
365 use a tool that searches for your monitor's specs, such as
366 <c>sys-apps/ddcxinfo-knoppix</c>.
367 </p>
369 <warn>
370 Do <b>not</b> "just" change the values of these two monitor related variables
371 without consulting the technical specifications of your monitor. Setting
372 incorrect values lead to out-of-sync errors at best and smoked up screens at
373 worst.
374 </warn>
376 <p>
377 Now let us change the resolutions. In the next example from
378 <path>/etc/X11/xorg.conf</path> we add the <c>Modes</c> lines and the
379 <c>DefaultDepth</c> so that our X server starts with 24 bits at 1024x768 by
380 default. Don't mind the given strings -- they are examples and will most likely
381 differ from the settings on your system.
382 </p>
384 <pre caption="Changing the Screen section in /etc/X11/xorg.conf">
385 Section "Screen"
386 Identifier "Default Screen"
387 Device "S3 Inc. ProSavage KN133 [Twister K]"
388 Monitor "Generic Monitor"
389 <i>DefaultDepth 24</i>
390 <comment># Skipping some text to improve readability</comment>
391 SubSection "Display"
392 Depth 24
393 <i>Modes "1024x768"</i>
394 EndSubSection
395 EndSection
396 </pre>
398 <p>
399 Run X (<c>startx</c>) to discover it uses the resolution you want :)
400 </p>
402 </body>
403 </section>
404 <section>
405 <title>Configuring your Keyboard</title>
406 <body>
408 <p>
409 To setup X to use an international keyboard, search for the <e>InputDevice</e>
410 section that configures the keyboard and add the <c>XkbLayout</c> option to
411 point to the keyboard layout you want. As an example, we show you how to apply
412 for the Belgian layout. Just substitute the country-keycode with yours:
413 </p>
415 <pre caption="Changing the keyboard layout">
416 Section "InputDevice"
417 Identifier "Generic Keyboard"
418 Driver "keyboard"
419 Option "CoreKeyboard"
420 Option "XkbRules" "xorg"
421 Option "XkbModel" "pc105"
422 <i>Option "XkbLayout" "be"</i>
423 EndSection
424 </pre>
426 </body>
427 </section>
428 <section>
429 <title>Configuring your Mouse</title>
430 <body>
432 <p>
433 If your mouse isn't working, you will first need to find out if it is detected
434 by the kernel at all. Mice are (device-wise) seen as
435 <path>/dev/input/mouse0</path> (or <path>/dev/input/mice</path> if you want to
436 use several mice). In some cases <path>/dev/psaux</path> is used. In either
437 case you can check if the devices do represent
438 your mouse by checking the output of those files when you move your mouse. You
439 will usually see some junk on your screen. To end the session press
440 <c>Ctrl-C</c>.
441 </p>
443 <pre caption="Checking the device files">
444 # <i>cat /dev/input/mouse0</i>
445 <comment>(Don't forget to press Ctrl-C to end this)</comment>
446 </pre>
448 <p>
449 If your mouse isn't detected, verify if all the necessary modules are loaded.
450 </p>
452 <p>
453 If your mouse is detected, fill in the device in the appropriate
454 <e>InputDevice</e> section. In the next example you'll see we also set two other
455 options: <c>Protocol</c> (which lists the mouse protocol to be used -- most
456 users will use PS/2 or IMPS/2) and <c>ZAxisMapping</c> (which allows for the
457 mousewheel (if applicable) to be used).
458 </p>
460 <pre caption="Changing the mouse settings in Xorg">
461 Section "InputDevice"
462 Identifier "TouchPad Mouse"
463 Driver "mouse"
464 Option "CorePointer"
465 <i>Option "Device" "/dev/input/mouse0"</i>
466 <i>Option "Protocol" "IMPS/2"</i>
467 <i>Option "ZAxisMapping" "4 5"</i>
468 EndSection
469 </pre>
471 <p>
472 Run <c>startx</c> and be happy about the result :) Congratulations, you now
473 (hopefully) have a working Xorg on your system. The next step is to remove this
474 ugly lightweight window manager and use a high-feature one (or even a desktop
475 environment) such as KDE or GNOME, but that's not part of this guide :)
476 </p>
478 </body>
479 </section>
480 </chapter>
481 <chapter>
482 <title>Resources</title>
483 <section>
484 <title>Creating and Tweaking xorg.conf</title>
485 <body>
487 <p>
488 First of all, <c>man 5 xorg.conf</c> provides a quick yet complete reference
489 about the syntaxis used by the configuration file. Be sure to have it open on a
490 terminal near you when you edit your configuration file!
491 </p>
493 <p>
494 A second point of resources on your system is the
495 <path>/usr/X11R6/lib/X11/doc</path> directory with various <path>README</path>'s
496 for individual graphical chipsets.
497 </p>
499 <p>
500 There are also many online resources on editing <path>xorg.conf</path>. We only
501 list few of them here, be sure to <uri link="http://www.google.com">Google</uri>
502 for more :) As <path>xorg.conf</path> and <path>XF86Config</path> (the
503 configuration file for the XFree86 project) use the
504 same syntaxis for most configuration options and more information about
505 <path>XF86Config</path> is available, we'll list those resources as well.
506 </p>
508 <ul>
509 <li>
510 <uri link="http://tldp.org/HOWTO/XFree-Local-multi-user-HOWTO/">The XFree
511 Local Multi-User HOWTO</uri>
512 </li>
513 <li>
514 <uri
515 link="http://www-106.ibm.com/developerworks/edu/os-dw-linuxxwin-i.html">An
516 Introduction to XFree 4.x</uri> by Chris Houser
517 </li>
518 </ul>
520 </body>
521 </section>
522 <section>
523 <title>Other resources</title>
524 <body>
526 <p>
527 If you want to update your system from the old monolithic Xorg to the newer,
528 modular Xorg 7, you should refer to the <uri
529 link="/proj/en/desktop/x/x11/modular-x-howto.xml">Migrating to Modular X
530 HOWTO</uri>.
531 </p>
533 <p>
534 More information about configuring different packages to work in X environment
535 can be found in the <uri link="/doc/en/?catid=desktop">Gentoo Desktop
536 Documentation Resources</uri> section of our documentation.
537 </p>
539 </body>
540 </section>
541 </chapter>
542 </guide>

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