X-window configuration in a flash

X-window configuration used to be a pain in the neck, nobody like it. Nowadays however, the situation is much simpler, especially if we do not need some more sophisticated functions. In X.org implementation the server can work without the configuration file, which enables us to run the graphical user interface in no time. Below you will find configuration of X.org from version 1.5, with GNOME and KDE4.

Installation and initial configuration

We need packages: xorg-xserver-server, xorg-driver-input-evdev, appropriate packages xorg-driver-video-*. Apart from that essential is hal and dbus if they are not already installed. We add evdev module to /etc/modules:

# echo evdev >> /etc/modules

and load it:

# modprobe evdev

Then we start hal and dbus:

# service messagebus start
# service haldaemon start

Now we test if the server starts up:

# X

If everything went well we can move the mouse cursor and kill X using ctr+alt+backspace. Now we have fully working X.org server. We can start graphical environment using a display manager like GDM or KDM or manually using startx.


When we run our chosen environment, we can configure keyboard and display.


The keyboard should work just fine, but if not we have to make sure that we use Evdev-managed keyboard and appropriate layout for our language:

  • GNOME: System → Preferences → Keyboard → Layout → Model
  • KDE4: K → System Settings → Regional & Language → Layout
  • Manually: $ setxkbmap -model evdev -layout en -variant


X.org tries to discover screen parameters using DCC. This should work pretty well especially for LCDs, for they have preset resolution and refresh rate. CRT owners will have to go with chosen mode or change settings in their environments:

  • GNOME: System → Preferences → Screen resolution
  • KDE4: K → System Settings → Display

You have to remember however, that your display has to be switched on before you start X Window, or it will not be discovered. Notebook owners will, of course, not have this problem.


  1. X.org tries to discover graphic card and load most fitting driver and it is the only required thing, if you are unsure you can install all the packages: xorg-driver-video-*, if none will fit, X.org will choose vesa, so it is a good idea to have it installed.
  2. More sophisticated configuration (for example with 3D acceleration, compiz etc.) will probably require you to generate configuration file (manual modification may also be required)
  3. More on modern X.org configuration on main website.
  4. Please note that this tutorial is a translation of Polish one made by qwiat
en/howtos/x-window-configuration-in-a-flash.txt · Last modified: 2009/04/17 22:49 (external edit)
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