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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 1.7 2004/11/26 21:57:19 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>1.7</version>
26 <date>2005-02-07</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.
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 system.
74 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>
87 <chapter>
88 <title>Installing Xorg</title>
89 <section>
90 <title>Using emerge</title>
91 <body>
93 <p>
94 Enough chitchat, let's get to business shall we? To install Xorg, you just
95 need to run <c>emerge xorg-x11</c>. Installing Xorg does take a while
96 though, so you might want to grab a snack while you are waiting.
97 </p>
99 <pre caption="Installing Xorg">
100 # <i>emerge xorg-x11</i>
101 </pre>
103 <p>
104 When the installation is finished, you might need to reinitialise some
105 environment variables before you continue. Just run <c>env-update</c> followed
106 by <c>source /etc/profile</c> and you're all set. This doesn't harm your system
107 in any way.
108 </p>
110 <pre caption="Reinitialising the environment variables">
111 # <i>env-update</i>
112 # <i>source /etc/profile</i>
113 </pre>
115 </body>
116 </section>
117 </chapter>
118 <chapter>
119 <title>Configuring Xorg</title>
120 <section>
121 <title>The xorg.conf File</title>
122 <body>
124 <p>
125 The configuration file of Xorg is called <path>xorg.conf</path> and it
126 resides in <path>/etc/X11</path>. The Xorg-X11 package provides an example
127 configuration as <path>/etc/X11/xorg.conf.example</path> which you can use to
128 create your own configuration. It is heavily commented, but if you are in need
129 of more documentation regarding the syntax, don't hesitate to read the man page:
130 </p>
132 <pre caption="Reading the xorg.conf man page">
133 # <i>man 5 xorg.conf</i>
134 </pre>
136 <p>
137 Happy reading for those of you willing to. We surely don't so we'll continue
138 with checking out how we can create the file automatically.
139 </p>
141 </body>
142 </section>
143 <section>
144 <title>Default: Automatic Generation of xorg.conf</title>
145 <body>
147 <p>
148 Xorg itself is able to guess most parameters for you. In most cases, you
149 will only have to change some lines to get the resolution you want up and
150 running. If you are interested in more in-depth tweaking, be sure to check the
151 resources at the end of this chapter. But first, let us generate a (hopefully
152 working) Xorg configuration file.
153 </p>
155 <pre caption="Generating an xorg.conf file">
156 # <i>Xorg -configure</i>
157 </pre>
159 <p>
160 Be sure to read the last lines printed on your screen when Xorg has finished
161 probing your hardware. If it tells you it failed at some point, you're forced to
162 manually write an <path>xorg.conf</path> file. Assuming that it didn't fail, it
163 will have told you that it has written <path>/root/xorg.conf.new</path> ready
164 for you to test. So let's test :)
165 </p>
167 <pre caption="Testing the xorg.conf.new file">
168 # <i>X -config /root/xorg.conf.new</i>
169 </pre>
171 <p>
172 If all goes well, you should see an ugly, loathsome, repulsive, deformed
173 window manager called <c>twm</c>, probably the smallest window manager
174 available. Try moving your mouse and see if your keyboard and such is working.
175 In the next section we will optimize our <path>xorg.conf</path> so it fits your
176 hardware. Now go into one of the terminals you see on your screen and type in
177 <c>exit</c> (or press Ctrl-D) until Xorg shuts down. If you are unable to
178 use your mouse to focus the terminals, you can also press Ctrl-Alt-Backspace to
179 kill the X server.
180 </p>
182 <p>
183 If <c>twm</c> doesn't load, don't worry - it will once you'll start the X server
184 through the regular <c>startx</c> command. Verify if your mouse works correctly
185 and if the resolution is good. You might not be able to deduce the exact
186 resolution, but you should be able to see if it's too low. You can exit any time
187 by pressing Ctrl-Alt-Backspace.
188 </p>
190 </body>
191 </section>
192 <section>
193 <title>Alternative: Semi-Automatic Generation of xorg.conf</title>
194 <body>
196 <p>
197 Xorg provides a tool called <c>xorgconfig</c> which will ask you for various
198 information regarding your system (graphical adapter, keyboard, ...). Based on
199 your input it will create a <path>xorg.conf</path> file.
200 </p>
202 <pre caption="Semi-Automatic Generation of xorg.conf">
203 # <i>xorgconfig</i>
204 </pre>
206 </body>
207 </section>
208 </chapter>
209 <chapter>
210 <title>Tweaking xorg.conf</title>
211 <section>
212 <title>Copying over xorg.conf</title>
213 <body>
215 <p>
216 Let us first copy over the <path>xorg.conf.new</path> to
217 <path>/etc/X11/xorg.conf</path> so we won't have to continuously run <c>Xorg
218 -config</c> -- typing <c>startx</c> is far more easy :)
219 </p>
221 <pre caption="Copying over xorg.conf">
222 # <i>cp /root/xorg.conf.new /etc/X11/xorg.conf</i>
223 </pre>
225 <p>
226 Now run <c>startx</c> to start up your X server. It will use the freshly copied
227 file as its configuration file. To finish the X session, type in <c>exit</c> or
228 Ctrl-D in the upcoming xterms. You can also kill the X session using the
229 Ctrl-Alt-Backspace combination. This will however make X exit disgracefully -
230 something that you might not always want. It doesn't hurt though :)
231 </p>
233 <pre caption="Starting X">
234 # <i>startx</i>
235 </pre>
237 </body>
238 </section>
239 <section>
240 <title>Setting your Resolution</title>
241 <body>
243 <p>
244 If you feel that the screen resolution is wrong, you will need to check two
245 sections in your configuration. First of all, you have the <e>Screen</e> section
246 which lists the resolutions - if any - that your X server will run at. By
247 default, this section might not list any resolutions at all. If this is the
248 case, Xorg will estimate the resolutions based on the information in the
249 second section, <e>Monitor</e>.
250 </p>
252 <p>
253 What happens is that Xorg checks the settings of <c>HorizSync</c> and
254 <c>VertRefresh</c> in the <e>Monitor</e> section to compute valid resolutions.
255 For now, leave these settings as-is. Only when the changes to the <e>Screen</e>
256 section (which we will describe in a minute) don't work, then you will need to
257 look up the specs for your monitor and fill in the correct values. You can also
258 use a tool that searches for your monitor's specs, such as
259 <c>sys-apps/ddcxinfo-knoppix</c>.
260 </p>
262 <warn>
263 Do <b>not</b> "just" change the values of these two monitor-related variables
264 without consulting the technical specifications of your monitor. Setting
265 incorrect values lead to out-of-sync errors at best and smoked up screens at
266 worst.
267 </warn>
269 <p>
270 Now let us change the resolutions. In the next example from
271 <path>/etc/X11/xorg.conf</path> we add the <c>Modes</c> lines and the
272 <c>DefaultDepth</c> so that our X server starts with 24 bits at 1024x768 by
273 default. Don't mind the given strings - they are examples and will most likely
274 differ from the settings on your system.
275 </p>
277 <pre caption="Changing the Screen section in /etc/X11/xorg.conf">
278 Section "Screen"
279 Identifier "Default Screen"
280 Device "S3 Inc. ProSavage KN133 [Twister K]"
281 Monitor "Generic Monitor"
282 <i>DefaultDepth 24</i>
283 <comment># Skipping some text to improve readability</comment>
284 SubSection "Display"
285 Depth 24
286 <i>Modes "1024x768"</i>
287 EndSubSection
288 EndSection
289 </pre>
291 <p>
292 Run X (<c>startx</c>) to discover it uses the resolution you want :)
293 </p>
295 </body>
296 </section>
297 <section>
298 <title>Configuring your Keyboard</title>
299 <body>
301 <p>
302 To setup X to use an international keyboard, search for the <e>InputDevice</e>
303 section that configures the keyboard and add the <c>XkbLayout</c> option to
304 point to the keyboard layout you want. As an example, we show you how to apply
305 for the Belgian layout. Just substitute the country-keycode with yours:
306 </p>
308 <pre caption="Changing the keyboard layout">
309 Section "InputDevice"
310 Identifier "Generic Keyboard"
311 Driver "keyboard"
312 Option "CoreKeyboard"
313 Option "XkbRules" "xorg"
314 Option "XkbModel" "pc105"
315 <i>Option "XkbLayout" "be"</i>
316 EndSection
317 </pre>
319 </body>
320 </section>
321 <section>
322 <title>Configuring your Mouse</title>
323 <body>
325 <p>
326 If your mouse isn't working, you will first need to find out if it is detected
327 by the kernel at all. PS/2 mice are (device-wise) seen as
328 <path>/dev/psaux</path>. Other mice (like USBs) are seen as
329 <path>/dev/input</path> (or <path>/dev/input/mice</path>). In either case you
330 can check if the devices do represent your mouse by checking the output of those
331 files when you move your mouse. To end the session press <c>Ctrl-C</c>.
332 </p>
334 <pre caption="Checking the device files">
335 # <i>cat /dev/input</i>
336 <comment>(Don't forget to press Ctrl-C to end this)</comment>
337 </pre>
339 <p>
340 If your mouse isn't detected, verify if all the necessary modules are loaded.
341 </p>
343 <p>
344 If your mouse is detected, fill in the device in the appropriate
345 <e>InputDevice</e> section. In the next example you'll see we also set two other
346 options: <c>Protocol</c> (which lists the mouse protocol to be used - most users
347 will use PS/2 or IMPS/2) and <c>ZAxisMapping</c> (which allows for the
348 mousewheel (if applicable) to be used).
349 </p>
351 <pre caption="Changing the mouse settings in Xorg">
352 Section "InputDevice"
353 Identifier "TouchPad Mouse"
354 Driver "mouse"
355 Option "CorePointer"
356 <i>Option "Device" "/dev/psaux"</i>
357 <i>Option "Protocol" "IMPS/2"</i>
358 <i>Option "ZAxisMapping" "4 5"</i>
359 EndSection
360 </pre>
362 <p>
363 Run <c>startx</c> and be happy about the result :) Congratulations, you now
364 (hopefully) have a working Xorg on your system. The next step is to remove this
365 ugly lightweight window manager and use a high-feature one (or even a desktop
366 environment) such as KDE or GNOME, but that's not part of this guide :)
367 </p>
369 </body>
370 </section>
371 </chapter>
372 <chapter>
373 <title>Resources</title>
374 <section>
375 <title>Creating and Tweaking xorg.conf</title>
376 <body>
378 <p>
379 First of all, <c>man 5 xorg.conf</c> provides a quick yet complete reference
380 about the syntaxis used by the configuration file. Be sure to have it open on a
381 terminal near you when you edit your configuration file!
382 </p>
384 <p>
385 A second point of resources on your system is the
386 <path>/usr/X11R6/lib/X11/doc</path> directory with various <path>README</path>'s
387 for individual graphical chipsets.
388 </p>
390 <p>
391 There are also many online resources on editing <path>xorg.conf</path>. We only
392 list few of them here, be sure to <uri link="http://www.google.com">Google</uri>
393 for more :) As <path>xorg.conf</path> and <path>XF86Config</path> (the
394 configuration file for the XFree86 project) use the
395 same syntaxis for most configuration options and more information about
396 <path>XF86Config</path> is available, we'll list those resources as well.
397 </p>
399 <ul>
400 <li>
401 <uri link="http://tldp.org/HOWTO/XFree-Local-multi-user-HOWTO/">The XFree
402 Local Multi-User HOWTO</uri>
403 </li>
404 <li>
405 <uri
406 link="http://www-106.ibm.com/developerworks/edu/os-dw-linuxxwin-i.html">An
407 Introduction to XFree 4.x</uri> by Chris Houser
408 </li>
409 </ul>
411 </body>
412 </section>
413 </chapter>
414 </guide>

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