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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 1.6 2004/08/01 14:03:05 swift Exp $ -->
5 <!DOCTYPE guide SYSTEM "/dtd/guide.dtd">
7 <guide link="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/2.0 -->
23 <license/>
25 <version>1.6</version>
26 <date>2004-11-26</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 <p>
106 When the installation is finished, you might need to reinitialise some
107 environment variables before you continue. Just run <c>env-update</c> followed
108 by <c>source /etc/profile</c> and you're all set. This doesn't harm your system
109 in any way.
110 </p>
112 <pre caption="Reinitialising the environment variables">
113 # <i>env-update</i>
114 # <i>source /etc/profile</i>
115 </pre>
117 </body>
118 </section>
119 </chapter>
120 <chapter>
121 <title>Configuring Xorg</title>
122 <section>
123 <title>The xorg.conf File</title>
124 <body>
126 <p>
127 The configuration file of Xorg is called <path>xorg.conf</path> and it
128 resides in <path>/etc/X11</path>. The Xorg-X11 package provides an example
129 configuration as <path>/etc/X11/xorg.conf.example</path> which you can use to
130 create your own configuration. It is heavily commented, but if you are in need
131 of more documentation regarding the syntax, don't hesitate to read the man page:
132 </p>
134 <pre caption="Reading the xorg.conf man page">
135 # <i>man 5 xorg.conf</i>
136 </pre>
138 <p>
139 Happy reading for those of you willing to. We surely don't so we'll continue
140 with checking out how we can create the file automatically.
141 </p>
143 </body>
144 </section>
145 <section>
146 <title>Default: Automatic Generation of xorg.conf</title>
147 <body>
149 <p>
150 Xorg itself is able to guess most parameters for you. In most cases, you
151 will only have to change some lines to get the resolution you want up and
152 running. If you are interested in more in-depth tweaking, be sure to check the
153 resources at the end of this chapter. But first, let us generate a (hopefully
154 working) Xorg configuration file.
155 </p>
157 <pre caption="Generating an xorg.conf file">
158 # <i>Xorg -configure</i>
159 </pre>
161 <p>
162 Be sure to read the last lines printed on your screen when Xorg has finished
163 probing your hardware. If it tells you it failed at some point, you're forced to
164 manually write an <path>xorg.conf</path> file. Assuming that it didn't fail, it
165 will have told you that it has written <path>/root/xorg.conf.new</path> ready
166 for you to test. So let's test :)
167 </p>
169 <pre caption="Testing the xorg.conf.new file">
170 # <i>X -config /root/xorg.conf.new</i>
171 </pre>
173 <p>
174 If all goes well, you should see an ugly, loathsome, repulsive, deformed
175 window manager called <c>twm</c>, probably the smallest window manager
176 available. Try moving your mouse and see if your keyboard and such is working.
177 In the next section we will optimize our <path>xorg.conf</path> so it fits your
178 hardware. Now go into one of the terminals you see on your screen and type in
179 <c>exit</c> (or press Ctrl-D) until Xorg shuts down. If you are unable to
180 use your mouse to focus the terminals, you can also press Ctrl-Alt-Backspace to
181 kill the X server.
182 </p>
184 <p>
185 If <c>twm</c> doesn't load, don't worry - it will once you'll start the X server
186 through the regular <c>startx</c> command. Verify if your mouse works correctly
187 and if the resolution is good. You might not be able to deduce the exact
188 resolution, but you should be able to see if it's too low. You can exit any time
189 by pressing Ctrl-Alt-Backspace.
190 </p>
192 </body>
193 </section>
194 <section>
195 <title>Alternative: Semi-Automatic Generation of xorg.conf</title>
196 <body>
198 <p>
199 Xorg provides a tool called <c>xorgconfig</c> which will ask you for various
200 information regarding your system (graphical adapter, keyboard, ...). Based on
201 your input it will create a <path>xorg.conf</path> file.
202 </p>
204 <pre caption="Semi-Automatic Generation of xorg.conf">
205 # <i>xorgconfig</i>
206 </pre>
208 </body>
209 </section>
210 </chapter>
211 <chapter>
212 <title>Tweaking xorg.conf</title>
213 <section>
214 <title>Copying over xorg.conf</title>
215 <body>
217 <p>
218 Let us first copy over the <path>xorg.conf.new</path> to
219 <path>/etc/X11/xorg.conf</path> so we won't have to continuously run <c>Xorg
220 -config</c> -- typing <c>startx</c> is far more easy :)
221 </p>
223 <pre caption="Copying over xorg.conf">
224 # <i>cp /root/xorg.conf.new /etc/X11/xorg.conf</i>
225 </pre>
227 <p>
228 Now run <c>startx</c> to start up your X server. It will use the freshly copied
229 file as its configuration file. To finish the X session, type in <c>exit</c> or
230 Ctrl-D in the upcoming xterms. You can also kill the X session using the
231 Ctrl-Alt-Backspace combination. This will however make X exit disgracefully -
232 something that you might not always want. It doesn't hurt though :)
233 </p>
235 <pre caption="Starting X">
236 # <i>startx</i>
237 </pre>
239 </body>
240 </section>
241 <section>
242 <title>Setting your Resolution</title>
243 <body>
245 <p>
246 If you feel that the screen resolution is wrong, you will need to check two
247 sections in your configuration. First of all, you have the <e>Screen</e> section
248 which lists the resolutions - if any - that your X server will run at. By
249 default, this section might not list any resolutions at all. If this is the
250 case, Xorg will estimate the resolutions based on the information in the
251 second section, <e>Monitor</e>.
252 </p>
254 <p>
255 What happens is that Xorg checks the settings of <c>HorizSync</c> and
256 <c>VertRefresh</c> in the <e>Monitor</e> section to compute valid resolutions.
257 For now, leave these settings as-is. Only when the changes to the <e>Screen</e>
258 section (which we will describe in a minute) don't work, then you will need to
259 look up the specs for your monitor and fill in the correct values. You can also
260 use a tool that searches for your monitor's specs, such as
261 <c>sys-apps/ddcxinfo-knoppix</c>.
262 </p>
264 <warn>
265 Do <b>not</b> "just" change the values of these two monitor-related variables
266 without consulting the technical specifications of your monitor. Setting
267 incorrect values lead to out-of-sync errors at best and smoked up screens at
268 worst.
269 </warn>
271 <p>
272 Now let us change the resolutions. In the next example from
273 <path>/etc/X11/xorg.conf</path> we add the <c>Modes</c> lines and the
274 <c>DefaultDepth</c> so that our X server starts with 24 bits at 1024x768 by
275 default. Don't mind the given strings - they are examples and will most likely
276 differ from the settings on your system.
277 </p>
279 <pre caption="Changing the Screen section in /etc/X11/xorg.conf">
280 Section "Screen"
281 Identifier "Default Screen"
282 Device "S3 Inc. ProSavage KN133 [Twister K]"
283 Monitor "Generic Monitor"
284 <i>DefaultDepth 24</i>
285 <comment># Skipping some text to improve readability</comment>
286 SubSection "Display"
287 Depth 24
288 <i>Modes "1024x768"</i>
289 EndSubSection
290 EndSection
291 </pre>
293 <p>
294 Run X (<c>startx</c>) to discover it uses the resolution you want :)
295 </p>
297 </body>
298 </section>
299 <section>
300 <title>Configuring your Keyboard</title>
301 <body>
303 <p>
304 To setup X to use an international keyboard, search for the <e>InputDevice</e>
305 section that configures the keyboard and add the <c>XkbLayout</c> option to
306 point to the keyboard layout you want. As an example, we show you how to apply
307 for the Belgian layout. Just substitute the country-keycode with yours:
308 </p>
310 <pre caption="Changing the keyboard layout">
311 Section "InputDevice"
312 Identifier "Generic Keyboard"
313 Driver "keyboard"
314 Option "CoreKeyboard"
315 Option "XkbRules" "xorg"
316 Option "XkbModel" "pc105"
317 <i>Option "XkbLayout" "be"</i>
318 EndSection
319 </pre>
321 </body>
322 </section>
323 <section>
324 <title>Configuring your Mouse</title>
325 <body>
327 <p>
328 If your mouse isn't working, you will first need to find out if it is detected
329 by the kernel at all. PS/2 mice are (device-wise) seen as
330 <path>/dev/psaux</path>. Other mice (like USBs) are seen as
331 <path>/dev/input</path> (or <path>/dev/input/mice</path>). In either case you
332 can check if the devices do represent your mouse by checking the output of those
333 files when you move your mouse. To end the session press <c>Ctrl-C</c>.
334 </p>
336 <pre caption="Checking the device files">
337 # <i>cat /dev/input</i>
338 <comment>(Don't forget to press Ctrl-C to end this)</comment>
339 </pre>
341 <p>
342 If your mouse isn't detected, verify if all the necessary modules are loaded.
343 </p>
345 <p>
346 If your mouse is detected, fill in the device in the appropriate
347 <e>InputDevice</e> section. In the next example you'll see we also set two other
348 options: <c>Protocol</c> (which lists the mouse protocol to be used - most users
349 will use PS/2 or IMPS/2) and <c>ZAxisMapping</c> (which allows for the
350 mousewheel (if applicable) to be used).
351 </p>
353 <pre caption="Changing the mouse settings in Xorg">
354 Section "InputDevice"
355 Identifier "TouchPad Mouse"
356 Driver "mouse"
357 Option "CorePointer"
358 <i>Option "Device" "/dev/psaux"</i>
359 <i>Option "Protocol" "IMPS/2"</i>
360 <i>Option "ZAxisMapping" "4 5"</i>
361 EndSection
362 </pre>
364 <p>
365 Run <c>startx</c> and be happy about the result :) Congratulations, you now
366 (hopefully) have a working Xorg on your system. The next step is to remove this
367 ugly lightweight window manager and use a high-feature one (or even a desktop
368 environment) such as KDE or GNOME, but that's not part of this guide :)
369 </p>
371 </body>
372 </section>
373 </chapter>
374 <chapter>
375 <title>Resources</title>
376 <section>
377 <title>Creating and Tweaking xorg.conf</title>
378 <body>
380 <p>
381 First of all, <c>man 5 xorg.conf</c> provides a quick yet complete reference
382 about the syntaxis used by the configuration file. Be sure to have it open on a
383 terminal near you when you edit your configuration file!
384 </p>
386 <p>
387 A second point of resources on your system is the
388 <path>/usr/X11R6/lib/X11/doc</path> directory with various <path>README</path>'s
389 for individual graphical chipsets.
390 </p>
392 <p>
393 There are also many online resources on editing <path>xorg.conf</path>. We only
394 list few of them here, be sure to <uri link="http://www.google.com">Google</uri>
395 for more :) As <path>xorg.conf</path> and <path>XF86Config</path> (the
396 configuration file for the XFree86 project) use the
397 same syntaxis for most configuration options and more information about
398 <path>XF86Config</path> is available, we'll list those resources as well.
399 </p>
401 <ul>
402 <li>
403 <uri link="http://tldp.org/HOWTO/XFree-Local-multi-user-HOWTO/">The XFree
404 Local Multi-User HOWTO</uri>
405 </li>
406 <li>
407 <uri
408 link="http://www-106.ibm.com/developerworks/edu/os-dw-linuxxwin-i.html">An
409 Introduction to XFree 4.x</uri> by Chris Houser
410 </li>
411 </ul>
413 </body>
414 </section>
415 </chapter>
416 </guide>

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