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Running Linux, Fourth Edition by Lar Kaufman, Terry Dawson, Matthias Kalle Dalheimer, Matt Welsh

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Configuring XFree86

Setting up XFree86 is not difficult in most cases. However, if you happen to be using hardware for which drivers are under development, or wish to obtain the best performance or resolution from an accelerated graphics card, configuring XFree86 can be somewhat time-consuming.

In this section, we describe how to create and edit the XF86Config file, which configures the XFree86 server. This file is located in /etc/X11/ in the current version of XFree86, but in /etc/ in the previous versions. Also, the file format has changed between Version 3 and Version 4; what we describe here applies to Version 4, the current version (to make things worse, some Red Hat versions call this file XF86Config-4). In many cases, it is best to start out with a “basic” XFree86 configuration — one that uses a low resolution. A good choice is 640x480, which should be supported on all video cards and monitor types. Once you have XFree86 working at a lower, standard resolution, you can tweak the configuration to exploit the capabilities of your video hardware. The idea is that you want to make sure XFree86 works at least minimally on your system and that something isn’t wrong with your installation before attempting the sometimes difficult task of setting up XFree86 for real use. With current hardware, you should easily be able to get up to 1024x768 pixels.

But before you start to write an XF86Config file yourself, try one of the configuration programs that are available. In many cases, ...

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