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1 <?xml version='1.0' encoding='UTF-8'?>
3 <!-- $Header: /home/cvsroot/gentoo/xml/htdocs/doc/en/xorg-config.xml,v 1.3 2004/05/29 08:52:16 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/1.0 -->
23 <license/>
25 <version>1.3</version>
26 <date>July 05, 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 <note>
106 For some architectures, Xorg hasn't been found bugfree for a certain period of
107 time, making it linger in the <path>~ARCH</path> tree. If the above emerge
108 command errors out with a notice about "masked package", please inform yourself
109 about <uri
110 link="/doc/en/handbook/handbook-x86.xml?part=2&amp;chap=2#doc_chap4">Software
111 Availability</uri>. We hope to get Xorg in the stable branch soon though.
112 </note>
114 <p>
115 When the installation is finished, you might need to reinitialise some
116 environment variables before you continue. Just run <c>env-update</c> followed
117 by <c>source /etc/profile</c> and you're all set. This doesn't harm your system
118 in any way.
119 </p>
121 <pre caption="Reinitialising the environment variables">
122 # <i>env-update</i>
123 # <i>source /etc/profile</i>
124 </pre>
126 </body>
127 </section>
128 </chapter>
129 <chapter>
130 <title>Configuring Xorg</title>
131 <section>
132 <title>The xorg.conf File</title>
133 <body>
135 <p>
136 The configuration file of Xorg is called <path>xorg.conf</path> and it
137 resides in <path>/etc/X11</path>. The Xorg-X11 package provides an example
138 configuration as <path>/etc/X11/xorg.conf.example</path> which you can use to
139 create your own configuration. It is heavily commented, but if you are in need
140 of more documentation regarding the syntax, don't hesitate to read the man page:
141 </p>
143 <pre caption="Reading the xorg.conf man page">
144 # <i>man 5 xorg.conf</i>
145 </pre>
147 <p>
148 Happy reading for those of you willing to. We surely don't so we'll continue
149 with checking out how we can create the file automatically.
150 </p>
152 </body>
153 </section>
154 <section>
155 <title>Default: Automatic Generation of xorg.conf</title>
156 <body>
158 <p>
159 Xorg itself is able to guess most parameters for you. In most cases, you
160 will only have to change some lines to get the resolution you want up and
161 running. If you are interested in more in-depth tweaking, be sure to check the
162 resources at the end of this chapter. But first, let us generate a (hopefully
163 working) Xorg configuration file.
164 </p>
166 <pre caption="Generating an xorg.conf file">
167 # <i>Xorg -configure</i>
168 </pre>
170 <p>
171 Be sure to read the last lines printed on your screen when Xorg has finished
172 probing your hardware. If it tells you it failed at some point, you're forced to
173 manually write an <path>xorg.conf</path> file. Assuming that it didn't fail, it
174 will have told you that it has written <path>/root/xorg.conf.new</path> ready
175 for you to test. So let's test :)
176 </p>
178 <pre caption="Testing the xorg.conf.new file">
179 # <i>Xorg -config /root/xorg.conf.new</i>
180 </pre>
182 <p>
183 If all goes well, you should see an ugly, loathsome, repulsive, deformed
184 window manager called <c>twm</c>, probably the smallest window manager
185 available. Try moving your mouse and see if your keyboard and such is working.
186 In the next section we will optimize our <path>xorg.conf</path> so it fits your
187 hardware. Now go into one of the terminals you see on your screen and type in
188 <c>exit</c> (or press Ctrl-D) until Xorg shuts down. If you are unable to
189 use your mouse to focus the terminals, you can also press Ctrl-Alt-Backspace to
190 kill the X server.
191 </p>
193 </body>
194 </section>
195 <section>
196 <title>Alternative: Semi-Automatic Generation of xorg.conf</title>
197 <body>
199 <p>
200 Xorg provides a tool called <c>xorgconfig</c> which will ask you for various
201 information regarding your system (graphical adapter, keyboard, ...). Based on
202 your input it will create a <path>xorg.conf</path> file.
203 </p>
205 <pre caption="Semi-Automatic Generation of xorg.conf">
206 # <i>xorgconfig</i>
207 </pre>
209 </body>
210 </section>
211 </chapter>
212 <chapter>
213 <title>Tweaking xorg.conf</title>
214 <section>
215 <title>Copying over xorg.conf</title>
216 <body>
218 <p>
219 Let us first copy over the <path>xorg.conf.new</path> to
220 <path>/etc/X11/xorg.conf</path> so we won't have to continuously run <c>Xorg
221 -config</c> -- typing <c>startx</c> is far more easy :)
222 </p>
224 <pre caption="Copying over xorg.conf">
225 # <i>cp /root/xorg.conf.new /etc/X11/xorg.conf</i>
226 </pre>
228 <p>
229 Now run <c>startx</c> to start up your X server. It will use the freshly copied
230 file as its configuration file. To finish the X session, type in <c>exit</c> or
231 Ctrl-D in the upcoming xterms. You can also kill the X session using the
232 Ctrl-Alt-Backspace combination. This will however make X exit disgracefully -
233 something that you might not always want. It doesn't hurt though :)
234 </p>
236 <pre caption="Starting X">
237 # <i>startx</i>
238 </pre>
240 </body>
241 </section>
242 <section>
243 <title>Setting your Resolution</title>
244 <body>
246 <p>
247 If you feel that the screen resolution is wrong, you will need to check two
248 sections in your configuration. First of all, you have the <e>Screen</e> section
249 which lists the resolutions - if any - that your X server will run at. By
250 default, this section might not list any resolutions at all. If this is the
251 case, Xorg will estimate the resolutions based on the information in the
252 second section, <e>Monitor</e>.
253 </p>
255 <p>
256 What happens is that Xorg checks the settings of <c>HorizSync</c> and
257 <c>VertRefresh</c> in the <e>Monitor</e> section to compute valid resolutions.
258 For now, leave these settings as-is. Only when the changes to the <e>Screen</e>
259 section (which we will describe in a minute) don't work, then you will need to
260 look up the specs for your monitor and fill in the correct values. You can also
261 use a tool that searches for your monitor's specs, such as
262 <c>sys-apps/ddcxinfo-knoppix</c>.
263 </p>
265 <warn>
266 Do <b>not</b> "just" change the values of these two monitor-related variables
267 without consulting the technical specifications of your monitor. Setting
268 incorrect values lead to out-of-sync errors at best and smoked up screens at
269 worst.
270 </warn>
272 <p>
273 Now let us change the resolutions. In the next example from
274 <path>/etc/X11/xorg.conf</path> we add the <c>Modes</c> lines and the
275 <c>DefaultDepth</c> so that our X server starts with 24 bits at 1024x768 by
276 default. Don't mind the given strings - they are examples and will most likely
277 differ from the settings on your system.
278 </p>
280 <pre caption="Changing the Screen section in /etc/X11/xorg.conf">
281 Section "Screen"
282 Identifier "Default Screen"
283 Device "S3 Inc. ProSavage KN133 [Twister K]"
284 Monitor "Generic Monitor"
285 <i>DefaultDepth 24</i>
286 <comment># Skipping some text to improve readability</comment>
287 SubSection "Display"
288 Depth 24
289 <i>Modes "1024x768"</i>
290 EndSubSection
291 EndSection
292 </pre>
294 <p>
295 Run X (<c>startx</c>) to discover it uses the resolution you want :)
296 </p>
298 </body>
299 </section>
300 <section>
301 <title>Configuring your Keyboard</title>
302 <body>
304 <p>
305 To setup X to use an international keyboard, search for the <e>InputDevice</e>
306 section that configures the keyboard and add the <c>XkbLayout</c> option to
307 point to the keyboard layout you want. As an example, we show you how to apply
308 for the Belgian layout. Just substitute the country-keycode with yours:
309 </p>
311 <pre caption="Changing the keyboard layout">
312 Section "InputDevice"
313 Identifier "Generic Keyboard"
314 Driver "keyboard"
315 Option "CoreKeyboard"
316 Option "XkbRules" "xorg"
317 Option "XkbModel" "pc105"
318 <i>Option "XkbLayout" "be"</i>
319 EndSection
320 </pre>
322 </body>
323 </section>
324 <section>
325 <title>Configuring your Mouse</title>
326 <body>
328 <p>
329 If your mouse isn't working, you will first need to find out if it is detected
330 by the kernel at all. PS/2 mice are (device-wise) seen as
331 <path>/dev/psaux</path>. Other mice (like USBs) are seen as
332 <path>/dev/input</path> (or <path>/dev/input/mice</path>). In either case you
333 can check if the devices do represent your mouse by checking the output of those
334 files when you move your mouse. To end the session press <c>Ctrl-C</c>.
335 </p>
337 <pre caption="Checking the device files">
338 # <i>cat /dev/input</i>
339 <comment>(Don't forget to press Ctrl-C to end this)</comment>
340 </pre>
342 <p>
343 If your mouse isn't detected, verify if all the necessary modules are loaded.
344 </p>
346 <p>
347 If your mouse is detected, fill in the device in the appropriate
348 <e>InputDevice</e> section. In the next example you'll see we also set two other
349 options: <c>Protocol</c> (which lists the mouse protocol to be used - most users
350 will use PS/2 or IMPS/2) and <c>ZAxisMapping</c> (which allows for the
351 mousewheel (if applicable) to be used).
352 </p>
354 <pre caption="Changing the mouse settings in Xorg">
355 Section "InputDevice"
356 Identifier "TouchPad Mouse"
357 Driver "mouse"
358 Option "CorePointer"
359 <i>Option "Device" "/dev/psaux"</i>
360 <i>Option "Protocol" "IMPS/2"</i>
361 <i>Option "ZAxisMapping" "4 5"</i>
362 EndSection
363 </pre>
365 <p>
366 Run <c>startx</c> and be happy about the result :) Congratulations, you now
367 (hopefully) have a working Xorg on your system. The next step is to remove this
368 ugly lightweight window manager and use a high-feature one (or even a desktop
369 environment) such as KDE or GNOME, but that's not part of this guide :)
370 </p>
372 </body>
373 </section>
374 </chapter>
375 <chapter>
376 <title>Resources</title>
377 <section>
378 <title>Creating and Tweaking xorg.conf</title>
379 <body>
381 <p>
382 First of all, <c>man 5 xorg.conf</c> provides a quick yet complete reference
383 about the syntaxis used by the configuration file. Be sure to have it open on a
384 terminal near you when you edit your configuration file!
385 </p>
387 <p>
388 A second point of resources on your system is the
389 <path>/usr/X11R6/lib/X11/doc</path> directory with various <path>README</path>'s
390 for individual graphical chipsets.
391 </p>
393 <p>
394 There are also many online resources on editing <path>xorg.conf</path>. We only
395 list few of them here, be sure to <uri link="http://www.google.com">Google</uri>
396 for more :) As <path>xorg.conf</path> and <path>XF86Config</path> (the
397 configuration file for the XFree86 project) use the
398 same syntaxis for most configuration options and more information about
399 <path>XF86Config</path> is available, we'll list those resources as well.
400 </p>
402 <ul>
403 <li>
404 <uri link="http://tldp.org/HOWTO/XFree-Local-multi-user-HOWTO/">The XFree
405 Local Multi-User HOWTO</uri>
406 </li>
407 <li>
408 <uri
409 link="http://www-106.ibm.com/developerworks/edu/os-dw-linuxxwin-i.html">An
410 Introduction to XFree 4.x</uri> by Chris Houser
411 </li>
412 </ul>
414 </body>
415 </section>
416 </chapter>
417 </guide>

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