Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Linux X Windows Software

Over the years, two X Windows software packages have emerged in the Linux world:
• XFree86
• X.Org

Let’s take a quick look at both of these packages.

For a long time, the XFree86 software package was the only X Windows package available for Linux. As its name implies, it’s a free, open-source version of the X Windows software intended for the x86 computer platform.

Unfortunately, XFree86 is notorious for being extremely hard to configure and get working properly. It uses a cryptic configuration file to define the input and output device settings on the system, which is often confusing to follow. Having the wrong values set for a device could render your workstation useless! However, because XFree86 was once the only way to produce graphical windows on Linux PCs, it was necessary to learn how to use it. As time progressed, several attempts to automate the XFree86 configuration were made. Many Linux distributions used a user-interactive method of automatically generating the XFree86 configuration file. Several dialog boxes would appear during installation, prompting the installer to select the video card and monitor setup from a list. The responses were then used to generate a configuration file.

There were also attempts at trying to automatically detect video card, monitor, keyboard, and mouse settings. Some of these attempts were better than others. These efforts, though, did eventually lead to another X Windows software package.

More recently, a package called X.Org has come onto the Linux scene. It too provides an open-source software implementation of the X Windows system, but in a much more user-friendly way. It uses a combination of scripts and utilities to attempt to automatically detect the core input and output devices on a workstation, then creates the configuration file based on its findings.

X.Org is becoming increasingly popular, and many Linux distributions are starting to use it instead of the older XFree86 system. Ubuntu uses the X.Org package to produce the graphical X Windows you see for your desktop.

When you install Ubuntu, it goes through a series of steps to detect the input and output devices on your workstation. During the installation you may notice a time when it scans your video card and monitor for supported video modes. Sometimes this causes your monitor to go blank for a few seconds. Because there are many types of video cards and monitors out there, this process can take a little while to complete.

Unfortunately, sometimes Ubuntu can’t autodetect what video settings to use, especially with some of the newer, more complicated video cards. If this happens, Ubuntu reverts to a default, safe X.Org configuration. The safe configuration assumes a generic video card and monitor and usually will produce a graphical desktop, although not at the highest resolution possible on your system.

If this happens in your installation, don’t worry. Usually you can use the Screen Resolution utility to set the proper video mode for your setup. If all else fails, you can manually enter the settings in the X.Org configuration file.

Source of Information : Wiley Ubuntu Linux Secrets

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