Quick-Start Guide to XFree86 Setup : Running xf86config
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Next: Fixing the XF86Config file

4. Running xf86config

From a text screen, run the xf86config program. This program should be run as root (although not absolutely necessary, it will allow xf86config to do more of the work for you). You can press your interrupt character (usually Control-C or perhaps Delete), at any time to stop the program, if you need to. You can just start it over again.

The xf86config program provides instructions on screen as to what you need to do. Following are some notes that document the various stages in the process. They should help you get through the process quickly and provide some documentation for those people who like to know what they're getting themselves into, before running a program.

4.1. The intro screen

First, xf86config begins by telling you a few things like the fact that it can help you setup an XF86Config file or that you can do the job yourself with an editor. Just read what it says and press Enter when done.

4.2. Getting your PATH right

The program will next check that you have the directory /usr/X11R6 (the standard installation directory) on your system and tell you that it needs to be in your PATH environment variable.

It will also check if you have the /usr/X386 directory as used by older (pre 3.0) versions of XFree86. If by chance you do, it will warn you that /usr/X11R6 must be before /usr/X386 in your PATH.

If everything is okay, just press Enter and go on, otherwise press Control-C to exit and make any necessary changes and restart xf86config.

4.3. Mouse setup

Pick the mouse type from the menu and enter the name of the device to which mouse is connected, as directed.

If you are using an OS (e.g. SVR4, SCO) that has a built in mouse driver that the Xserver could use, you'll need to edit the XF86Config file to setup your mouse, so just pick any mouse from the list and press enter when asked for the device.

If you don't know which protocol your mouse uses, you'll just have to guess (the xf86config program will give you some hints as to which might be most likely) and then see the troubleshooting section if it doesn't work when you run the server.

The xf86config program has not been updated to allow you to select the latest mouse protocols, so you may have to edit the config file by hand after xf86config has finished.

4.4. Keyboard setup

Simply answer yes to the question regarding keyboard setup.

If there is some reason you need to use the right-alt and control keys for something else, you can enter no.

4.5. Monitor setup

Setting up a monitor consists of entering the specifications of your monitor and a description of the model and manufacturer.

You are first asked for the horizontal sync rate. It is VERY important to enter the correct value(s) from the manual. If one of the ranges given matches the rate of your monitor, then pick it, otherwise pick custom and enter the values from your manual.

Next is the vertical refresh rate. Again, it is VERY important that this parameter be specified correctly. Enter it in a manner similar to the horizontal sync rate.

If either rate is mis-specified, it can result in damage to your monitor.

Finally, you are asked for an "identifier", your monitor manufacturer, and model. You can just press enter to get through these quickly.

4.6. Selecting your card

You are next asked if you would like to view the database of cards. Picking your card from the list will cause the answers to the questions in the next two sections to be filled in for you and so can save a little time.

If your card does not appear in the list, just press q and enter to skip on to the next step - where you'll have to answer the questions yourself.

4.7. Server selection

If you selected your card in the previous step, then server selection is easy - just use the recommendation from the database.

If you have a card which uses one of the chipsets for which a specific server exists (Mach8, Mach32, Mach64, AGX/XGA, 8514/A, S3, I128, P9000) you'll want to pick the accel option.

Otherwise you'll probably want to use the SVGA server.

Next, answer yes when the program asks if you want it to set the symbolic link for you. If you picked the accel option, you'll also need to indicate which particular accelerated server to link to.

4.8. Screen/Video configuration

Pick the appropriate option from the list to indicate the amount of memory on your video card.

Then you are asked to provide and identifier, the manufacturer, and the model of your card. You can just press enter to skip through these, if you wish.

Next, the program will ask for the type of RAMDAC and Clockchip on your card. If your card was in the database, you should just to tell it to use the values from the database.

If you don't have one of the listed RAMDACs or Clockchips on your card, just press enter when asked what type you have. If you do not have a programmable clock chip, the program will next attempt to probe to find out what clock rates are supported by your clock chip.

4.9. Mode Selection

Now you get to tell the program which video modes you would like to be able to run.

The program will show you the common modes that should work with your card (some might not work with your monitor, but if you've correctly specified the monitor's sync rates, the X server will just ignore them when it runs).

You could just accept the settings as they are given, but you'll probably wish to reverse the order. For example, if you have a card with 1 Meg RAM, it will list the modes

		"640x480" "800x600" "1024x768" for 8bpp

Select 1 to change the settings for 8bpp and the type 432 to select the reverse order.

When you've select the modes, in the order you wish, select option 4 to continue.

4.10. Creating the XF86Config file

The program will now ask if you would like to write the configuration settings you've selected to the file XF86Config. Answer yes.

4.11. Some final notes

Lastly, the program tells you that it's finished its part of this process and counsels you to check the file before using it. The next section covers the changes that are most likely to be needed.

Quick-Start Guide to XFree86 Setup : Running xf86config
Previous: Using XF86Setup
Next: Fixing the XF86Config file