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1 <?xml version='1.0' encoding='UTF-8'?>
2 <!DOCTYPE guide SYSTEM "/dtd/guide.dtd">
3 <!-- $Header: /var/cvsroot/gentoo/xml/htdocs/doc/en/xorg-config.xml,v 1.47 2011/08/23 15:04:51 swift Exp $ -->
4
5 <guide>
6 <title>The X Server Configuration HOWTO</title>
7
8 <author title="Author">
9 <mail link="swift"/>
10 </author>
11 <author title="Author">
12 <mail link="nightmorph"/>
13 </author>
14
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>
20
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/>
24
25 <version>10</version>
26 <date>2011-09-02</date>
27
28 <chapter>
29 <title>What is the X Window Server?</title>
30 <section>
31 <title>Graphical vs Command-Line</title>
32 <body>
33
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, 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>
41
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>
48
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>
56
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>
64
65 </body>
66 </section>
67 <section>
68 <title>The X.org Project</title>
69 <body>
70
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>
76
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>
83
84 </body>
85 </section>
86 </chapter>
87
88 <chapter>
89 <title>Installing Xorg</title>
90 <section>
91 <body>
92
93 <p>
94 Before you can install Xorg, you need to prepare your system for it. First,
95 we'll set up the kernel to support input devices and video cards. Then we'll
96 prepare <path>/etc/make.conf</path> so that the right drivers and Xorg packages
97 are built and installed.
98 </p>
99
100 </body>
101 </section>
102 <section>
103 <title>Input driver support</title>
104 <body>
105
106 <p>
107 By default, Xorg uses <c>evdev</c>, a generic input driver. You'll need to
108 activate support for <c>evdev</c> by making a change to your kernel
109 configuration. Read the <uri link="/doc/en/kernel-config.xml">Kernel
110 Configuration Guide</uri> if you don't know how to setup your kernel.
111 </p>
112
113 <pre caption="Enabling evdev in the kernel">
114 Device Drivers ---&gt;
115 Input device support ---&gt;
116 &lt;*&gt; Event interface
117 </pre>
118
119 </body>
120 </section>
121 <section>
122 <title>Kernel modesetting</title>
123 <body>
124
125 <p>
126 Modern open-source video drivers rely on kernel modesetting (KMS). KMS provides
127 an improved graphical boot with less flickering, faster user switching, a
128 built-in framebuffer console, seamless switching from the console to Xorg, and
129 other features. KMS conflicts with legacy framebuffer drivers, which must remain
130 <b>disabled</b> in your kernel configuration.
131 </p>
132
133 <p>
134 First, prepare your kernel for KMS. You need to do this step regardless of which
135 Xorg video driver you're using.
136 </p>
137
138 <pre caption="Configuring framebuffers">
139 Device Drivers ---&gt;
140 Graphics support ---&gt;
141 Support for frame buffer devices ---&gt;
142 <comment>(Disable all drivers, including VGA, Intel, nVidia, and ATI)</comment>
143
144 <comment>(Further down, enable basic console support. KMS uses this.)</comment>
145 Console display driver support ---&gt;
146 &lt;*&gt; Framebuffer Console Support
147 </pre>
148
149 <p>
150 Next, configure your kernel to use the proper KMS driver for your video card.
151 Intel, nVidia, and AMD/ATI are the most common cards, so follow code listing for
152 your card below.
153 </p>
154
155 <p>
156 For Intel cards:
157 </p>
158
159 <pre caption="Intel settings">
160 Device Drivers ---&gt;
161 Graphics support ---&gt;
162 /dev/agpgart (AGP Support) ---&gt;
163 &lt;*&gt; Intel 440LX/BX/GX, I8xx and E7x05 chipset support
164 Direct Rendering Manager (XFree86 4.1.0 and higher DRI support) ---&gt;
165 &lt;*&gt; Intel 830M, 845G, 852GM, 855GM, 865G (i915 driver)
166 i915 driver
167 [*] Enable modesetting on intel by default
168 </pre>
169
170 <p>
171 For nVidia cards:
172 </p>
173
174 <pre caption="nVidia settings">
175 <comment>(Enable DRM)</comment>
176 Device Drivers ---&gt;
177 Graphics support ---&gt;
178 &lt;*&gt; Direct Rendering Manager ---&gt;
179
180 <comment>(Nouveau is currently in the Staging drivers section)</comment>
181 Device Drivers ---&gt;
182 Staging drivers ---&gt;
183 [ ] Exclude Staging drivers from being built
184 &lt;*&gt; Nouveau (nVidia) cards
185 </pre>
186
187 <p>
188 For newer AMD/ATI cards (<uri link="/doc/en/ati-faq.xml">RadeonHD 2000 and
189 up</uri>), you will need to emerge <c>radeon-ucode</c> or
190 <c>linux-firmware</c>. Once you have installed one of these packages,
191 configure your kernel as shown:
192 </p>
193
194 <pre caption="AMD/ATI settings">
195 <comment>(Setup the kernel to use the radeon-ucode firmware)</comment>
196 Device Drivers ---&gt;
197 Generic Driver Options ---&gt;
198 [*] Include in-kernel firmware blobs in kernel binary
199 <comment># RadeonHD 2000, 3000, and 4000 series cards:</comment>
200 (radeon/R600_rlc.bin radeon/R700_rlc.bin) External firmware blobs
201 <comment># RadeonHD 5000, a.k.a Evergreen, and newer cards:</comment>
202 (radeon/CEDAR_me.bin radeon/CEDAR_pfp.bin radeon/CEDAR_rlc.bin
203 radeon/CYPRESS_me.bin radeon/CYPRESS_pfp.bin radeon/CYPRESS_rlc.bin
204 radeon/JUNIPER_me.bin radeon/JUNIPER_pfp.bin radeon/JUNIPER_rlc.bin
205 radeon/REDWOOD_me.bin radeon/REDWOOD_pfp.bin
206 radeon/REDWOOD_rlc.bin) External firmware blobs
207 <comment># Radeon HD 6000 series Fusion APUs:</comment>
208 (radeon/PALM_me.bin radeon/PALM_pfp.bin radeon/SUMO2_me.bin
209 radeon/SUMO2_pfp.bin radeon/SUMO_me.bin radeon/SUMO_pfp.bin
210 radeon/SUMO_rlc.bin) External firmware blobs
211 <comment># Radeon HD 6400-6900 aka. Northern Islands:</comment>
212 (radeon/BARTS_mc.bin radeon/BARTS_me.bin radeon/BARTS_pfp.bin
213 radeon/BTC_rlc.bin radeon/CAICOS_mc.bin radeon/CAICOS_me.bin
214 radeon/CAICOS_pfp.bin radeon/CAYMAN_mc.bin radeon/CAYMAN_me.bin
215 radeon/CAYMAN_pfp.bin radeon/CAYMAN_rlc.bin radeon/TURKS_mc.bin
216 radeon/TURKS_me.bin radeon/TURKS_pfp.bin) External firmware blobs
217 (/lib/firmware/) Firmware blobs root directory
218
219 <comment>(Enable Radeon KMS support)</comment>
220 Device Drivers ---&gt;
221 Graphics support ---&gt;
222 &lt;*&gt; Direct Rendering Manager ---&gt;
223 &lt;*&gt; ATI Radeon
224 [*] Enable modesetting on radeon by default
225 </pre>
226
227 <note>
228 Old Radeon cards (X1900 series and older) don't need the <c>radeon-ucode</c>
229 package or any firmware configuration. Just enable the Direct Rendering Manager
230 and ATI Radeon modesetting.
231 </note>
232
233 <p>
234 Now that you're done setting up KMS, continue with preparing
235 <path>/etc/make.conf</path> in the next section.
236 </p>
237
238 </body>
239 </section>
240 <section>
241 <title>make.conf configuration</title>
242 <body>
243
244 <p>
245 Now that your kernel is prepared, you have to configure two important variables
246 in the <path>/etc/make.conf</path> file before you can install Xorg.
247 </p>
248
249 <p>
250 The first variable is <c>VIDEO_CARDS</c>. This is used to set the video drivers
251 that you intend to use and is usually based on the kind of video card you have.
252 The most common settings are <c>nouveau</c> for nVidia cards or <c>radeon</c>
253 for ATI cards. Both have actively developed, well-supported open-source
254 drivers.
255 </p>
256
257 <note>
258 You may also try the proprietary drivers from nVidia and AMD/ATI, <c>nvidia</c>
259 and <c>fglrx</c> respectively. However, setting up the proprietary drivers is
260 beyond the scope of this guide. Please read the <uri
261 link="/doc/en/nvidia-guide.xml">Gentoo Linux nVidia Guide</uri> and <uri
262 link="/doc/en/ati-faq.xml">Gentoo Linux ATI FAQ</uri>. If you don't know which
263 drivers you should choose, refer to these guides for more information.
264 </note>
265
266 <p>
267 The <c>intel</c> driver may be used for desktops or laptops with common Intel
268 integrated graphics chipsets.
269 </p>
270
271 <note>
272 <c>VIDEO_CARDS</c> may contain more than one driver, each separated with a
273 space.
274 </note>
275
276 <p>
277 The second variable is <c>INPUT_DEVICES</c> and is used to determine which
278 drivers are to be built for input devices. In most cases setting it to
279 <c>evdev</c> should work just fine. If you use alternative input
280 devices, such as a Synaptics touchpad for a laptop, be sure to add it to
281 <c>INPUT_DEVICES</c>.
282 </p>
283
284 <p>
285 Now you should decide which drivers you will use and add necessary settings to
286 the <path>/etc/make.conf</path> file:
287 </p>
288
289 <pre caption="Sample make.conf entries">
290 <comment>(For mouse, keyboard, and Synaptics touchpad support)</comment>
291 INPUT_DEVICES="evdev synaptics"
292 <comment>(For nVidia cards)</comment>
293 VIDEO_CARDS="nouveau"
294 <comment>(For AMD/ATI cards)</comment>
295 VIDEO_CARDS="radeon"
296 </pre>
297
298 <p>
299 If the suggested settings don't work for you, you should run <c>emerge -pv
300 xorg-drivers</c>, check all the options available and choose those which apply to
301 your system. This example is for a system with a keyboard, mouse, Synaptics
302 touchpad, and a Radeon video card.
303 </p>
304
305 <pre caption="Displaying all the driver options available">
306 # <i>emerge -pv xorg-drivers</i>
307
308 These are the packages that would be merged, in order:
309
310 Calculating dependencies... done!
311 [ebuild R ] x11-base/xorg-drivers-1.9 INPUT_DEVICES="evdev synaptics
312 -acecad -aiptek -elographics% -fpit% -joystick -keyboard -mouse -penmount -tslib
313 -virtualbox -vmmouse -void -wacom"
314 VIDEO_CARDS="radeon -apm -ark -ast -chips -cirrus -dummy -epson -fbdev -fglrx
315 (-geode) -glint -i128 (-i740) (-impact) -intel -mach64 -mga -neomagic (-newport)
316 -nouveau -nv -nvidia -r128 -rendition -s3 -s3virge -savage -siliconmotion -sis
317 -sisusb (-sunbw2) (-suncg14) (-suncg3) (-suncg6) (-sunffb) (-sunleo) (-suntcx)
318 -tdfx -tga -trident -tseng -v4l -vesa -via -virtualbox -vmware (-voodoo) (-xgi)"
319 0 kB
320 </pre>
321
322 <p>
323 After setting all the necessary variables you can install the Xorg package.
324 </p>
325
326 <pre caption="Installing Xorg">
327 <comment>(Make sure udev is in your USE flags)</comment>
328 # <i>echo "x11-base/xorg-server udev" >> /etc/portage/package.use</i>
329 <comment>(Install Xorg)</comment>
330 # <i>emerge xorg-server</i>
331 </pre>
332
333 <note>
334 You could install the <c>xorg-x11</c> metapackage instead of the more
335 lightweight <c>xorg-server</c>. Functionally, <c>xorg-x11</c> and
336 <c>xorg-server</c> are the same. However, <c>xorg-x11</c> brings in many more
337 packages that you probably don't need, such as a huge assortment of fonts in
338 many different languages. They're not necessary for a working desktop.
339 </note>
340
341 <p>
342 When the installation is finished, you will need to re-initialise some
343 environment variables before you continue:
344 </p>
345
346 <pre caption="Re-initialising the environment variables">
347 # <i>env-update</i>
348 # <i>source /etc/profile</i>
349 </pre>
350
351 </body>
352 </section>
353 </chapter>
354
355 <chapter>
356 <title>Configuring Xorg</title>
357 <section>
358 <body>
359
360 <p>
361 The X server is designed to work out-of-the-box, with no need to manually edit
362 Xorg's configuration files. It should detect and configure devices such as
363 displays, keyboards, and mice.
364 </p>
365
366 <p>
367 You should first try <uri link="#using_startx">starting X</uri> without editing
368 any configuration files. If Xorg won't start, or there's some other problem,
369 then you'll need to manually configure Xorg as shown in the next section.
370 </p>
371
372 </body>
373 </section>
374 <section>
375 <title>The xorg.conf.d directory</title>
376 <body>
377
378 <note>
379 Configuring files in <path>xorg.conf.d</path> should be seen as a "last resort"
380 option. It really desirable to run without any special configuration if
381 possible. If you still can't get a working configuration, then read on.
382 </note>
383
384 <p>
385 The configuration files of Xorg are stored in
386 <path>/etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/</path>. Each file is given a unique name and ends in
387 <path>.conf</path>. If the filenames start with a number, then Xorg will read
388 the files in numeric order. <path>10-evdev.conf</path> will be read before
389 <path>20-synaptics.conf</path>, and so on. You don't <e>have</e> to give them
390 numbers, but it may help you organize them.
391 </p>
392
393 <note>
394 Xorg provides example configurations in
395 <path>/usr/share/doc/xorg-server-${version}/xorg.conf.example.bz2</path>. You
396 can use these to create your own configuration files in
397 <path>/etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/</path>. The examples are heavily commented, but if
398 you are in need of more documentation regarding the syntax, read <c>man
399 xorg.conf</c>. Other examples can be found in the <uri
400 link="#resources">Resources</uri> chapter at the end of this guide.
401 </note>
402
403 </body>
404 </section>
405 <section id="using_startx">
406 <title>Using startx</title>
407 <body>
408
409 <p>
410 Now try <c>startx</c> to start up your X server. <c>startx</c> is a script
411 that executes an <e>X session</e>; that is, it starts the X server and some
412 graphical applications on top of it. It decides which applications to run
413 using the following logic:
414 </p>
415
416 <ul>
417 <li>
418 If a file named <path>.xinitrc</path> exists in the home directory, it will
419 execute the commands listed there.
420 </li>
421 <li>
422 Otherwise, it will read the value of the XSESSION variable and will execute
423 one of the sessions available in <path>/etc/X11/Sessions/</path>
424 accordingly. You can set the value of XSESSION in
425 <path>/etc/env.d/90xsession</path> to make it a default for all the users
426 on the system. For example, as root, run <c>echo XSESSION="Xfce4" >
427 /etc/env.d/90xsession</c>. This will create the <path>90xsession</path> file
428 and set the default X session to <uri
429 link="/doc/en/xfce-config.xml">Xfce</uri>. Remember to run <c>env-update</c>
430 after changing <path>90xsession</path>.
431 </li>
432 </ul>
433
434 <pre caption="Starting X">
435 $ <i>startx</i>
436 </pre>
437
438 <p>
439 If you haven't yet installed a window manager, all you'll see is a black screen.
440 Since this can also be a sign that something's wrong, you may want to emerge
441 <c>twm</c> and <c>xterm</c> <e>only to test X</e>.
442 </p>
443
444 <p>
445 Once those two programs are installed, run <c>startx</c> again. A few
446 <c>xterm</c> windows should appear, making it easier to verify that X is working
447 correctly. Once you're satisfied with the results, run <c>emerge --unmerge twm
448 xterm</c> as root to get rid of the testing packages. You won't need them once
449 you've setup a proper desktop environment.
450 </p>
451
452 </body>
453 </section>
454 </chapter>
455
456 <chapter>
457 <title>Tweaking X settings</title>
458 <section>
459 <title>Setting your Resolution</title>
460 <body>
461
462 <p>
463 If you feel that the screen resolution is wrong, you will need to check two
464 sections in your <path>xorg.conf.d</path> configuration. First of all, you have
465 the <e>Screen</e> section which lists the resolutions that your X server will
466 run at. This section might not list any resolutions at all. If this is the case,
467 Xorg will estimate the resolutions based on the information in the second
468 section, <e>Monitor</e>.
469 </p>
470
471 <p>
472 Now let us change the resolution. In the next example from
473 <path>/etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/40-monitor.conf</path> we add the
474 <c>PreferredMode</c> line so that our X server starts at 1440x900 by default.
475 The <c>Option</c> in the <c>Device</c> section must match the name of your
476 monitor (<c>DVI-0</c>), which can be obtained by running <c>xrandr</c>. You'll
477 need to <c>emerge xrandr</c> just long enough to get this information. The
478 argument after the monitor name (in the <c>Device</c> section) must match the
479 <c>Identifier</c> in the <c>Monitor</c> section.
480 </p>
481
482 <pre caption="Changing the Monitor section">
483 # <i>nano -w /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/40-monitor.conf</i>
484
485 Section "Device"
486 Identifier "RadeonHD 4550"
487 Option "Monitor-DVI-0" "DVI screen"
488 EndSection
489 Section "Monitor"
490 Identifier "DVI screen"
491 Option "PreferredMode" "1440x900"
492 EndSection
493 </pre>
494
495 <p>
496 Run X (<c>startx</c>) to discover it uses the resolution you want.
497 </p>
498
499 </body>
500 </section>
501 <section>
502 <title>Multiple monitors</title>
503 <body>
504
505 <p>
506 You can configure more than one monitor in <path>/etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/</path>.
507 All you have to do is give each monitor an identifer, then list its physical
508 position, such as "RightOf" or "Above" another monitor. The following example
509 shows how to configure a DVI and a VGA monitor, with the VGA monitor as the
510 right-hand screen:
511 </p>
512
513 <pre caption="Configuring multiple monitors">
514 # <i>nano -w /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/40-monitor.conf</i>
515
516 Section "Device"
517 Identifier "RadeonHD 4550"
518 Option "Monitor-DVI-0" "DVI screen"
519 Option "Monitor-VGA-0" "VGA screen"
520 EndSection
521 Section "Monitor"
522 Identifier "DVI screen"
523 EndSection
524 Section "Monitor"
525 Identifier "VGA screen"
526 Option "RightOf" "DVI screen"
527 EndSection
528 </pre>
529
530 </body>
531 </section>
532 <section>
533 <title>Configuring your keyboard</title>
534 <body>
535
536 <p>
537 To setup X to use an international keyboard, you just have to create the
538 appropriate config file in <path>/etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/</path>. This example
539 features a Czech keyboard layout:
540 </p>
541
542 <pre caption="Using an international keyboard">
543 # <i>nano -w /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/30-keyboard.conf</i>
544
545 Section "InputClass"
546 Identifier "keyboard-all"
547 Driver "evdev"
548 Option "XkbLayout" "us,cz"
549 Option "XkbModel" "logitech_g15"
550 Option "XkbRules" "xorg"
551 Option "XkbOptions" "grp:alt_shift_toggle,grp:switch,grp_led:scroll,compose:rwin,terminate:ctrl_alt_bksp"
552 Option "XkbVariant" ",qwerty"
553 MatchIsKeyboard "on"
554 EndSection
555 </pre>
556
557 <p>
558 The "terminate" command (<c>terminate:ctrl_alt_bksp</c>) lets you kill the X
559 session by using the Ctrl-Alt-Backspace key combination. This will, however,
560 make X exit disgracefully -- something that you might not always want. It can be
561 useful when programs have frozen your display entirely, or when you're
562 configuring and tweaking your Xorg environment. Be careful when killing your
563 desktop with this key combination -- most programs really don't like it when you
564 end them this way, and you may lose some (or all) of what you were working on.
565 </p>
566
567 </body>
568 </section>
569 <section>
570 <title>Finishing up</title>
571 <body>
572
573 <p>
574 Run <c>startx</c> and be happy about the result. Congratulations, you now
575 (hopefully) have a working Xorg on your system. The next step is to install a
576 useful window manager or desktop environment such as KDE, GNOME, or Xfce, but
577 that's not part of this guide. Information on installing these desktop
578 environments can be found in our <uri link="/doc/en/?catid=desktop">Gentoo
579 Desktop Documentation Resources</uri>.
580 </p>
581
582 </body>
583 </section>
584 </chapter>
585
586 <chapter id="resources">
587 <title>Resources</title>
588 <section>
589 <title>Creating and editing config files</title>
590 <body>
591
592 <p>
593 First of all, <c>man xorg.conf</c> and <c>man evdev</c> provide quick yet
594 complete references about the syntax used by these configuration files. Be sure
595 to have them open on a terminal when you edit your configuration files!
596 </p>
597
598 <p>
599 There are also many online resources on editing config files in
600 <path>/etc/X11/</path>. We only list few of them here; be sure to <uri
601 link="http://www.google.com">Google</uri> for more.
602 </p>
603
604 </body>
605 </section>
606 <section>
607 <title>Other resources</title>
608 <body>
609
610 <p>
611 More information about installing and configuring various graphical desktop
612 environments and applications can be found in the <uri
613 link="/doc/en/?catid=desktop">Gentoo Desktop Documentation Resources</uri>
614 section of our documentation.
615 </p>
616
617 <p>
618 If you're upgrading to <c>xorg-server</c> 1.9 from an earlier version, then be
619 sure to read the <uri
620 link="/proj/en/desktop/x/x11/xorg-server-1.9-upgrade-guide.xml">migration
621 guide</uri>.
622 </p>
623
624 <p>
625 X.org provides many <uri link="http://www.x.org/wiki/FAQ">FAQs</uri> on their
626 website, in addition to their other documentation.
627 </p>
628
629 </body>
630 </section>
631 </chapter>
632 </guide>

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