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NOTE: CentOS Enterprise Linux is built from the Red Hat Enterprise Linux source code. Other than logo and name changes CentOS Enterprise Linux is compatible with the equivalent Red Hat version. This document applies equally to both Red Hat and CentOS Enterprise Linux.

7.3. X Server Configuration Files

The X server is a single binary executable (/usr/X11R6/bin/Xorg) that dynamically loads any necessary X server modules at runtime from the /usr/X11R6/lib/modules/ directory. Some of these modules are automatically loaded by the server, while others are optional and must be specified in the X server configuration file.

The X server and associated configuration files are stored in the /etc/X11/ directory. The configuration file for the X server is /etc/X11/xorg.conf. When Red Hat Enterprise Linux is installed, the configuration files for X are created using information gathered about the system hardware during the installation process.

7.3.1. xorg.conf

While there is rarely a need to manually edit the /etc/X11/xorg.conf file, it is useful to understand the various sections and optional parameters available, especially when troubleshooting.

7.3.1.1. The Structure

The /etc/X11/xorg.conf file is comprised of many different sections which address specific aspects of the system hardware.

Each section begins with a Section "<section-name>" line (where <section-name> is the title for the section) and ends with an EndSection line. Within each of the sections are lines containing option names and at least one option value, sometimes surrounded with double quotes (").

Lines beginning with a hash mark (#) are not read by the X server and are used for human-readable comments.

Some options within the /etc/X11/xorg.conf file accept a boolean switch which turns the feature on or off. Acceptable boolean values are:

  • 1, on, true, or yes — Turns the option on.

  • 0, off, false, or no — Turns the option off.

The following are some of the more important sections in the order in which they appear in a typical /etc/X11/xorg.conf file. More detailed information about the X server configuration file can be found in the xorg.conf man page.

7.3.1.2. ServerFlags

The optional ServerFlags section contains miscellaneous global X server settings. Any settings in this section may be overridden by options placed in the ServerLayout section (refer to Section 7.3.1.3 ServerLayout for details).

Each entry within the ServerFlags section is on its own line and begins with the term Option followed by an option enclosed in double quotation marks (").

The following is a sample ServerFlags section:

Section "ServerFlags"
      Option "DontZap" "true"     
EndSection

The following lists some of the most useful options:

  • "DontZap" "<boolean>" — When the value of <boolean> is set to true, this setting prevents the use of the [Ctrl]-[Alt]-[Backspace] key combination to immediately terminate the X server.

  • "DontZoom" "<boolean>" — When the value of <boolean> is set to true, this setting prevents cycling through configured video resolutions using the [Ctrl]-[Alt]-[Keypad-Plus] and [Ctrl]-[Alt]-[Keypad-Minus] key combinations.

7.3.1.3. ServerLayout

The ServerLayout section binds together the input and output devices controlled by the X server. At a minimum, this section must specify one output device and at least two input devices (a keyboard and a mouse).

The following example illustrates a typical ServerLayout section:

Section  "ServerLayout"
        Identifier     "Default Layout"
        Screen      0  "Screen0" 0 0
        InputDevice    "Mouse0" "CorePointer"
        InputDevice    "Keyboard0" "CoreKeyboard"
EndSection

The following entries are commonly used in the ServerLayout section:

  • Identifier — Specifies a unique name for this ServerLayout section.

  • Screen — Specifies the name of a Screen section to be used with the X server. More than one Screen option may be present.

    The following is an example of a typical Screen entry:

    Screen      0  "Screen0" 0 0
    

    The first number in this example Screen entry (0) indicates that the first monitor connector or head on the video card uses the configuration specified in the Screen section with the identifier "Screen0".

    If the video card has more than one head, another Screen entry would be necessary with a different number and a different Screen section identifier.

    The numbers to the right of "Screen0" give the X and Y absolute coordinates for the upper-left corner of the screen (0 0 by default).

  • InputDevice — Specifies the name of an InputDevice section to be used with the X server.

    There must be at least two InputDevice entries: one for the default mouse and one for the default keyboard. The options CorePointer and CoreKeyboard indicate that these are the primary mouse and keyboard.

  • Option "<option-name>" — An optional entry which specifies extra parameters for the section. Any options listed here override those listed in the ServerFlags section.

    Replace <option-name> with a valid option listed for this section in the xorg.conf man page.

It is possible to create more than one ServerLayout section. However, the server only reads the first one to appear unless an alternate ServerLayout section is specified as a command line argument.

7.3.1.4. Files

The Files section sets paths for services vital to the X server, such as the font path.

The following example illustrates a typical Files section:

Section "Files"
        RgbPath      "/usr/X11R6/lib/X11/rgb"
        FontPath     "unix/:7100"
EndSection

The following entries are commonly used in the Files section:

  • RgbPath — Specifies the location of the RGB color database. This database defines all valid color names in X and ties them to specific RGB values.

  • FontPath — Specifies where the X server must connect to obtain fonts from the xfs font server.

    By default, the FontPath is unix/:7100. This tells the X server to obtain font information using UNIX-domain sockets for inter-process communication (IPC) on port 7100.

    Refer to Section 7.4 Fonts for more information concerning X and fonts.

  • ModulePath — An optional parameter which specifies alternate directories which store X server modules.

7.3.1.5. Module

The Module section specifies which modules from the /usr/X11R6/lib/modules/ directory the X server is to load. Modules add additional functionality to the X server.

The following example illustrates a typical Module section:

Section "Module"
        Load  "dbe"
        Load  "extmod"
        Load  "fbdevhw"
        Load  "glx"
        Load  "record"
        Load  "freetype"
        Load  "type1"
        Load  "dri"
EndSection

7.3.1.6. InputDevice

Each InputDevice section configures one input device for the X server. Systems typically have at least two InputDevice sections, keyboard and mouse.

The following example illustrates a typical InputDevice section for a mouse:

Section "InputDevice"
        Identifier  "Mouse0"
        Driver      "mouse"
        Option      "Protocol" "IMPS/2"
        Option      "Device" "/dev/input/mice"
        Option      "Emulate3Buttons" "no"
EndSection

The following entries are commonly used in the InputDevice section:

  • Identifier — Specifies a unique name for this InputDevice section. This is a required entry.

  • Driver — Specifies the name of the device driver X must load for the device.

  • Option — Specifies necessary options pertaining to the device.

    For a mouse, these options typically include:

    • Protocol — Specifies the protocol used by the mouse, such as IMPS/2.

    • Device — Specifies the location of the physical device.

    • Emulate3Buttons — Specifies whether to allow a two button mouse to act like a three button mouse when both mouse buttons are pressed simultaneously.

    Consult the xorg.conf man page for a list of valid options for this section.

By default, the InputDevice section has comments to allow users to configure additional options.

7.3.1.7. Monitor

Each Monitor section configures one type of monitor used by the system. While one Monitor section is the minimum, additional instances may occur for each monitor type in use with the machine.

The best way to configure a monitor is to configure X during the installation process or by using the X Configuration Tool. For more about using the X Configuration Tool, refer to the chapter titled X Window System Configuration in the Red Hat Enterprise Linux System Administration Guide.

This example illustrates a typical Monitor section for a monitor:

         
Section "Monitor"
        Identifier   "Monitor0"
        VendorName   "Monitor Vendor"
        ModelName    "DDC Probed Monitor - ViewSonic G773-2"
        DisplaySize  320        240
        HorizSync    30.0 - 70.0
        VertRefresh  50.0 - 180.0
EndSection
Warning Warning
 

Be careful if manually editing values in the Monitor section of /etc/X11/xorg.conf. Inappropriate values can damage or destroy a monitor. Consult the monitor's documentation for a listing of safe operating parameters.

The following are commonly entries used in the Monitor section:

  • Identifier — Specifies a unique name for this Monitor section. This is a required entry.

  • VendorName — An optional parameter which specifies the vendor of the monitor.

  • ModelName — An optional parameter which specifies the monitor's model name.

  • DisplaySize — An optional parameter which specifies, in millimeters, the physical size of the monitor's picture area.

  • HorizSync — Specifies the range of horizontal sync frequencies compatible with the monitor in kHz. These values help the X server determine the validity of built in or specified Modeline entries for the monitor.

  • VertRefresh — Specifies the range of vertical refresh frequencies supported by the monitor, in kHz. These values help the X server determine the validity of built in or specified Modeline entries for the monitor.

  • Modeline — An optional parameter which specifies additional video modes for the monitor at particular resolutions, with certain horizontal sync and vertical refresh resolutions. Refer to the xorg.conf man page for a more detailed explanation of Modeline entries.

  • Option "<option-name>" — An optional entry which specifies extra parameters for the section. Replace <option-name> with a valid option listed for this section in the xorg.conf man page.

7.3.1.8. Device

Each Device section configures one video card on the system. While one Device section is the minimum, additional instances may occur for each video card installed on the machine.

The best way to configure a video card is to configure X during the installation process or by using the X Configuration Tool. For more about using the X Configuration Tool, refer to the chapter titled X Window System Configuration in the Red Hat Enterprise Linux System Administration Guide.

The following example illustrates a typical Device section for a video card:

Section "Device"
        Identifier  "Videocard0"
        Driver      "mga"
        VendorName  "Videocard vendor"
        BoardName   "Matrox Millennium G200"
        VideoRam    8192
        Option      "dpms"
EndSection

The following entries are commonly used in the Device section:

  • Identifier — Specifies a unique name for this Device section. This is a required entry.

  • Driver — Specifies which driver the X server must load to utilize the video card. A list of drivers can be found in /usr/X11R6/lib/X11/Cards, which is installed with the hwdata package.

  • VendorName — An optional parameter which specifies the vendor of the video card.

  • BoardName — An optional parameter which specifies the name of the video card.

  • VideoRam — An optional parameter which specifies the amount of RAM available on the video card in kilobytes. This setting is only necessary for video cards the X server cannot probe to detect the amount of video RAM.

  • BusID — An optional entry which specifies the bus location of the video card. This option is only mandatory for systems with multiple cards.

  • Screen — An optional entry which specifies which monitor connector or head on the video card the Device section configures. This option is only useful for video cards with multiple heads.

    If multiple monitors are connected to different heads on the same video card, separate Device sections must exist and each of these sections must have a different Screen value.

    Values for the Screen entry must be an integer. The first head on the video card has a value of 0. The value for each additional head increments this value by one.

  • Option "<option-name>" — An optional entry which specifies extra parameters for the section. Replace <option-name> with a valid option listed for this section in the xorg.conf man page.

    One of the more common options is "dpms", which activates the Service Star energy compliance setting for the monitor.

7.3.1.9. Screen

Each Screen section binds one video card (or video card head) to one monitor by referencing the Device section and the Monitor section for each. While one Screen section is the minimum, additional instances may occur for each video card and monitor combination present on the machine.

The following example illustrates a typical Screen section:

Section "Screen"
        Identifier "Screen0"
        Device     "Videocard0"
        Monitor    "Monitor0"
        DefaultDepth     16
        SubSection "Display"
                Depth     24
                Modes    "1280x1024" "1280x960" "1152x864" "1024x768" "800x600" "640x480"
        EndSubSection
        SubSection "Display"
                Depth     16
                Modes    "1152x864" "1024x768" "800x600" "640x480"
        EndSubSection
EndSection

The following entries are commonly used in the Screen section:

  • Identifier — Specifies a unique name for this Screen section. This is a required entry.

  • Device — Specifies the unique name of a Device section. This is a required entry.

  • Monitor — Specifies the unique name of a Monitor section. This is a required entry.

  • DefaultDepth — Specifies the default color depth in bits. In the previous example, 16, which provides thousands of colors, is the default. Multiple DefaultDepth entries are permitted, but at least one is required.

  • SubSection "Display" — Specifies the screen modes available at a particular color depth. A Screen section may have multiple Display subsections, but at least one is required for the color depth specified in the DefaultDepth entry.

  • Option "<option-name>" — An optional entry which specifies extra parameters for the section. Replace <option-name> with a valid option listed for this section in the xorg.conf man page.

7.3.1.10. DRI

The optional DRI section specifies parameters for the Direct Rendering Infrastructure (DRI). DRI is an interface which allows 3D software applications to take advantage of 3D hardware acceleration capabilities built into most modern video hardware. In addition, DRI can improve 2D performance via hardware acceleration, if supported by the video card driver.

This section is ignored unless DRI is enabled in the Module section.

The following example illustrates a typical DRI section:

Section "DRI"
        Group        0
        Mode         0666
EndSection

Since different video cards use DRI in different ways, do not alter the values for this section without first referring to http://dri.sourceforge.net/.

 
 
  Published under the terms of the GNU General Public License Design by Interspire