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Debian GNU/Linux Reference Guide
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9.4.3 The X server

See XFree86(1x) for X server information.

Invoke X server from a local console:

     $ startx -- :<display> vtXX
     $ startx -- :1 vt8 -bpp 16
     ... start on vt8 connected to localhost:1 with 16 bpp mode

Arguments given after -- are for the X server.

Note, when using a ~/.xserverrc script to customize the X server startup process, be sure to exec the real X server. Failing to do this can make the X server slow to start and exit. For example:

     exec /usr/bin/X11/X -dpi 100 -nolisten tcp Configuring the X server (version 4)

To (re-)configure an XF4 server,

     # dpkg-reconfigure --priority=low xserver-common
     # dpkg-reconfigure --priority=low xserver-xfree86

will generate /etc/X11/XF86Config-4 file and configure X using the script dexconf. Configuring the X server (version 3)

To (re-)configure an XF3 server, for example, for ATI mach64,

     # dpkg-reconfigure --priority=low xserver-common-v3
     # dpkg-reconfigure --priority=low xserver-mach64

will generate /etc/X11/XF86Config file and configure X using the script xf86config-v3. Configuring the X server manually

For Woody, to add user customizations to /etc/X11/XF86Config-4 file, do not edit the configuration file between the text:


Instead, add the customizations before the text. For example, to use a custom video device, add something resembling the following text to the top of the file:

     Section "Device"
       Identifier        "Custom Device"
       Driver            "ati"
       Option            "NoAccel"
     Section "Screen"
       Identifier  "Custom Screen"
       Device      "Custom Device"
       Monitor     "Generic Monitor"
       DefaultDepth 24
       Subsection "Display"
         Depth       8
         Modes       "1280x960" "1152x864" "1024x768" "800x600" "640x480"
       Subsection "Display"
         Depth       16
         Modes       "1280x960" "1152x864" "1024x768" "800x600" "640x480"
       Subsection "Display"
         Depth       24
         Modes       "1280x960" "1152x864" "1024x768" "800x600" "640x480"
     Section "ServerLayout"
         Identifier        "Custom"
         Screen            "Custom Screen"
         InputDevice       "Generic Keyboard" "CoreKeyboard"
         InputDevice       "Configured Mouse" "CorePointer"

For Sarge (testing at the time of writing), if you wish to retain user customizations to /etc/X11/XF86Config file through upgrade, run the following commands as root:

     # cp /etc/X11/XF86Config-4 /etc/X11/XF86Config-4.custom
     # md5sum /etc/X11/XF86Config-4 > /var/lib/xfree86/XF86Config-4.md5sum
     # dpkg-reconfigure xserver-xfree86

In order to achieve font de-uglification, you need to edit /etc/X11/XF86Config-4 as described in TrueType fonts in X, Section 9.4.13.

Please also check the other parts of your X configuration. Bad monitor settings can be even more of a headache than bad fonts, so make sure your refresh rate is as high as your monitor can handle (85 Hz is great, 75 Hz is OK, 60 Hz is painful).

Debian GNU/Linux Reference Guide
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  Published under the terms of the GNU General Public License Design by Interspire