Installation Details for XFree86[tm] 4.0 : Installing XFree86 4.0 using the script
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3. Installing XFree86 4.0 using the script

We strongly recommend that our XFree86 4.0 binary distributions be installed using the script that we provide. The main reason that we make this recommendation is that there are a lot of steps in the manual installation process, and those steps can vary according to the situation. There is, however, a description of the manual installation process for the most common cases below for those who might need it.

Put all of the downloaded files into a single directory (choose some temporary location with enough space). Become the super user (root), cd to that directory, then run the installer script as follows:


Answer the prompts that come up. If you are missing something that is required to run this version of XFree86, the installer may tell you to install it before trying again. If you don't have all of the mandatory files listed above, then the installer will tell you which ones are missing and ask you to download them before trying again.

3.1. Answering the questions that the installer may ask

The installer asks some questions that may not have obvious answers. The information here should help you answer them. In most cases, apart from the first question, the default answers should be OK.

If you run the installer from within an X session (the installer checks if $DISPLAY is set), you will be warned that doing so is not a good idea. Unless you have a good reason for knowing that this won't be a problem, you should exit your X session, including stopping xdm or equivalent if it is running, before continuing. If you ignore this warning and run into problems, well, you were warned!

If you have an existing X installation, you will be warned that proceeding with this installation will overwrite it. Only those things that are part of our standard distribution will be overwritten. Other X applications that you may have installed will not be removed. Some configuration files may be overwritten though, but the installer should prompt you before doing so. As the opening greeting says, it is strongly recommended that you backup any existing installation before proceeding. If you want your old applications to still be there after you've installed, don't do the "backup" by simply renaming your old /usr/X11R6 directory. It is better to make a copy of it, and then install over the top of the original one. If you run into problems and want to revert to the old installation, you can then delete the overwritten one and copy the saved version back.

During the first part of the installation over an existing version, the script may remove some old files or directories that would get in the way of the new installation. It will list which files/directories have been removed. If none are listed, then none were removed.

The next step when installing over an existing version is to check for existing configuration files. As of XFree86 version 3.9.18, the run-time configuration files are installed by default under /etc/X11 instead of under /usr/X11R6/lib/X11. The installer will move the existing ones for you and create the necessary symbolic links. If you don't want to have these configuration files under /etc/X11, then you should answer "no" when asked about it. Answering "no" here also means that the new configuration files will be installed in the old /usr/X11R6/lib/X11 location. Note: for the rare systems that don't have symbolic links, this question will not be asked. The default answer is "yes" because that is best for most situations. It is our new default. It makes it easier to share the /usr/X11R6 directory between multiple hosts, and allows it to be mounted read-only. If you don't need these features, then you can safely answer "no" if you don't want them moved.

When installing over an existing version, you will be prompted before each set of configuration files is installed. If you haven't made any customisations to your existing configuration files, then you can safely answer "yes" for each of these. If you have made customisations, you can try answering "no". If you run into problems later, you may need to manually merge your customisations into the the new version of the configuration files. The configuration files can all be found in the Xetc.tgz tarball. See the section below about manual installation for information about extracting them separately.

After the configuration files have been dealt with, the other mandatory components of the binary distribution will be installed. This should proceed without any user intervention.

If you downloaded any of the optional components, the installer will ask you about each one before it is installed. The default answer is "yes". If there are any that you've since decided that you don't want to install, answer "no" when prompted.

After that is done, the main part of the installation is complete. The next steps are to tidy up some aspects of the installation. The first of these is to run "ldconfig" on systems that require it, so that the newly installed shared libraries are accessible. Then the fonts.dir files in some directories are updated so that the fonts can be accessed correctly. Next, the installer checks to see if your system has a termcap file or terminfo files. If it finds the former, it tells you how my may update the entries in that file. If it finds the latter, it asks you if you want it to update them for you.

Finally, the installer asks you if you want a link created for the rstart utility. On most modern systems, the link isn't essential, so the default answer is "no". Answer "yes" if you know that you need it. If you find later that you need it, you can create it easily by running:

rm -f /usr/bin/rstartd
ln -s /usr/X11R6/bin/rstartd /usr/bin/rstartd

3.2. After the installation is complete

The next step is to configure the X server. That is covered in detail in an as-yet unwritten document :-(. In the meantime, there are two ways to create a basic X server configuration file for XFree86 4.0. One is to run the xf86config utility. Another is to use the new -configure X server option:

XFree86 -configure

The X server config file (XF86Config) format has changed compared to 3.3.x. Also, its default location is now /etc/X11. Finally, there is now only one X server for driving video hardware, and it is called "XFree86". Once you're satisfied with the operation of the new X server, you can safely remove the old XF86_* and/or XF98_* X server binaries from /usr/X11R6/bin.

After the X server configuration is done, it may be advisable to reboot, especially if you run xdm (or equivalent) or the font server (xfs).

Installation Details for XFree86[tm] 4.0 : Installing XFree86 4.0 using the script
Previous: How to get the XFree86 4.0 binary distributions
Next: Installing XFree86 4.0 manually