X11 configuration

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X11R7 and later eliminate the need for manual configuration of X11 during Linux installation. The correct graphic card, screen, keyboard and mouse are recognized automatically and stored in /etc/X11/xorg.conf (that you can still edit manually).

Local language

The Language at Slackware level is chosen as part of system installation. pkgtool affords re-running startup scripts later. Also, files /etc/profile.d/lang.csh and /etc/profile.d/lang.sh can be edited manually to update the shell environment with the correct language settings.

Choosing the language in X requires additional steps. From within KDE, choose the Settings, System Settings application. Choose the display languages using Common apparence and behaviour, Locale, then choose the keyboard layout using Hardware, Input devices, Layout.

Last but not least, in Slackware 14.1, the logon screen requires manual editing of /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/90-keyboard-layout.conf, replacing us by your locale.

For other Slackware versions, please refer to this page.

X11 legacy configuration

As the title suggests, it is normally no longer needed to effect these settings that are left here for reference. So please proceed to the next paragraph.

X11R6 makes you run Xorg -configure to generate the /etc/X11/xorg.conf file based on the results of autoconfiguration, or let /usr/X11R6/bin/xorgconfig produce a base /etc/X11/xorg.conf file for your configuration and fine-tune it.

If using the latter, a key point is the graphical board. If it is not in the list of compatible hardware then it is not managed. A solution is to use the Vesa driver (number 0) but the maximal resolution is 1280 x 1024, which will probably be under the possibilities of your screen. A workaround is to use an X terminal on another machine. See «using Xdm» on the next page.

For the mouse, try to use auto [Auto detect] and the /dev/input/mice default device.

Also important are the horizontal and vertical frequencies. This information is probably located in the documentation of your screen. If not, word goes that a program named SuperProbe would be able to determine the values, but I have no additional information about this. Beware, a configuration mistake can definitely damage your screen! Otherwise the resolution can be edited manually in /etc/X11/xorg.conf.

X11 usage

To start X, use the startx command. To stop X, use ctrl+alt+backspace. It’s good to know as if your screen freezes this avoids rebooting. On i386, you can switch among consoles using ctrl+alt+Fn, but if you have a screen under X, you need to go back using ctrl+alt+F7 (or another Fn function key depending on the number of virtual consoles configured in your kernel).

By defaut, Slackware configures a single console on ctrl+alt+F6 to use in addition to the X console on ctrl+alt+F7. It's possible to configure more by choosing the run level 4 for consoles c1 to c6 in /etc/inittab :

# These are the standard console login getties in multiuser mode:
c1:12345:respawn:/sbin/agetty 38400 tty1 linux
c2:12345:respawn:/sbin/agetty 38400 tty2 linux
c3:12345:respawn:/sbin/agetty 38400 tty3 linux
c4:12345:respawn:/sbin/agetty 38400 tty4 linux
c5:12345:respawn:/sbin/agetty 38400 tty5 linux
c6:12345:respawn:/sbin/agetty 38400 tty6 linux

Console mode is run level 3 and graphical mode is run level 4. To switch from console mode to graphical mode and vice versa, use telinit 4 and telinit 3.

X11 drivers

Default drivers are available for the most common boards but might be slow. To speed up, you might go to your chipset provider website and get a recent driver. Of course, it will be a good idea to check beforehand that your chipset provider supports Linux and provides Linux drivers (but this is generally true for all of your hardware). nVidia are Linux-oriented and provide Linux drivers for all their boards. However, at the time of this writing (July 2012), nVidia has not fully taken the virtualization road, and the nVidia drivers are not compatible with Xen (4.1.2). The Nouveau driver - available in kernel 3.4.2 upstream - is. Although Nouveau is not a very popular driver, due to performances usually deemed insufficient.

OK now download and run the install script. Execution requires the presence of development tools and Linux headers, but «taints the kernel» : in case of crash, the kernel debug information could be unreliable, meaning that if you have an issue with something, you could be denied support until you provide debug information obtained with an untainted kernel.


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