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Configuring the X Window System

FHS Symlinks

If you installed an X Window System into a prefix other than /usr and you wish to be FHS compliant, it is necessary to create some symbolic links.

 ln -sv ${XORG_PREFIX}/bin /usr/bin/X11
 ln -sv ${XORG_PREFIX}/include/X11 /usr/include/X11


 ln -sv ${XORG_PREFIX}/lib/X11 /usr/lib/X11


 ln -sv ${XORG_PREFIX}/lib/X11 /usr/lib/X11
 ln -sv ${XORG_PREFIX}/lib32/X11 /usr/lib32/X11
 ln -sv ${XORG_PREFIX}/lib64/X11 /usr/lib64/X11

Creating /etc/X11/xorg.conf

Now, as the root user, create a basic X Window System Configuration file.

 cd ~ &&
 Xorg -configure

This will create a configuration file in root's home directory called xorg.conf.new. You may edit this file to provide specific settings for your system. Some things that are commonly edited.

  • In Section "Files". Change the order of the font paths searched or remove some font directories completely (of course why did you install them if you weren't going to use them?).
  • In Section "Module". If you are going to install nVidia drivers, remove the "Load dri" line.
  • In Section "Device". You may want to set some of the options available for your selected video driver. If you have an nVidia chip, whether using the "nv" or the "nvidia" driver, you may need to edit this section to resolve Xorg bug 3009 involving a missing mouse pointer. Add this line to Section "Device".
      Option      "HWCursor" "off"
  • Xorg-7.3: If you have an Intel chip, the driver auto-detects all device information necessary to initialize the card. The only lines you should need in the "Device" section of your xorg.conf file are:
      Section "Device"
          Identifier "intel"
          Driver     "intel"

Please refer to the intel(4) manual page for information on configuration options.

  • In Section "Screen". Add a DefaultDepth statement and in the SubSection for your default depth, add a modes line.

Test the system with

 X -config ~/xorg.conf.new

You will only see a 'grey' background with black X cursor, but this indicates the X server is working. Exit with Control+Alt+Backspace. If the system does not work, take a look at /var/log/Xorg.0.log to see what went wrong.

As the root user, create the configuration directory and move the configuration file to the new directory:

 install -v -m755 -D ~/xorg.conf.new /etc/X11/xorg.conf


if you intend to use Gnome, this symlink helps to render the fonts correctly. (Pango needs the fonts in /usr/share/fonts)

 ln -sv ${XORG_PREFIX}/share/fonts /usr/share/
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