GRAPHICS CARD AND MONITOR CONFIGURATION FOR XFree86 3.2
Have you tried running X Window with the ‘startx’ command yet? Did the default screen resolution look all wacky? It’s possible to toggle back and forth between three display settings (640x480, 800x600, and 1024x768) with the ‘Ctrl+Alt+Keypad +’ and ‘Ctrl+Alt+Keypad -’ commands. To set the display size to a fixed value you’ll have to modify the /etc/XF86Config file.
You may recall editing the X Window configuration file, /etc/XF86Config, when you configured the mouse for use in X. You really should configure the mouse before dabbling with X (review mouse tutorial). Trust me, it’ll make life so much easier. The purpose of this file is to prepare the computer’s input and output devices (mouse, keyboard, video card, and monitor) for use in X Window. Take a look at Monkey’s default /etc/XF86Config file. The sections of concern in this tutorial are the Monitor Section, Graphics Device Section, and Screen Section.
Here’s the pain in the butt preliminary. First of all, for the X Window desktop to display properly you’ll have to know which graphics card chipset (X server) is in you’re box. For example:
/usr/X11R6/bin/XF86_Mono GENERIC MONOCHROME
/usr/X11R6/bin/XF86_SVGA GENERIC SUPER VGA
/usr/X11R6/bin/XF86_VGA16 GENERIC VGA
/usr/X11R6/bin/Xf86_s3 S3 CHIPSET GRAPHICS CARD
/usr/X11R6/bin/XF86_Mach64 Mach32 CHIPSET GRAPHICS CARD
Monkey uses the generic SVGA chipset as its default. Those of us with Neomagic chipsets need not fret, you can download the neomagic.tgz unaccelerated X server with support for 8 bpp and 16 bpp at a resolution of 800x600 (read the neomagic.txt file for configuration instructions). To find the graphics chipset of your computer(s), read the documentation that came with it, use the DOS/Windows system diagnostic tools, or open up the case and take a look at the graphics card. In Monkey, you can run the SuperProbe utility to list the video card chipset. If there’s no hope in finding it, then just stick with the Monkey Linux default. If you have an S3, Mach64, or Neomagic chipset then visit the download page, download the appropriate .tgz file, and install the package (review software packages tutorial).
Now I’ll demonstrate how I set up my Compaq Presario 1210 laptop for X Window. Just follow these steps as a guideline to specify the chipset and adjust the display size. Here’s what I did after downloading and installing the neomagic.tgz file:
cd /usr/X11/bin CHANGE TO DIRECTORY WITH X SERVER
chmod u+s XF86_SVGA CHANGE NEOMAGIC X SERVER TO suid root
The next thing I did was modify the /etc/XF86Config file. Below I list the changes I made in the Monitor Section, Graphics Device Section, and Screen Section.
1. Open /etc/XF86Config in joe
2. Changed Identifier, VendorName, and ModelName in Monitor
Section. These changes are not required.
Identifier "Presario 1210 LCD"
ModelName "Presario 1210"
3. Added these lines to the Monitor Section:
# 800x600 @ 60 Hz, 37.8 kHz hsync
Modeline "800x600" 40 800 856 1040 1056 600 600
626 628 +hsync +vsync
4. Commented out the entire Graphics Device Section and added:
Clocks 25.2 28.3 40.0
5. Commented out the entire Screen Section and added:
Monitor "Presario 1210 LCD"
ViewPort 0 0
ViewPort 0 0
6. Press Ctrl+K then X to save changes and exit joe
There are two settings in the Monitor Section of the /etc/XF86Config file that should not be ignored. They are the HorizSync (default is 30-100) and VertRefresh (default is 40-150) settings. You really should find the vertical and horizontal refresh rates of your monitor(s) and replace the default values. These values are often difficult to come by. As was the case with my laptop monitor. Fortunately, Monkey comes with a utility called xvidtune (must be run in X Window) that will approximate these values along with the video card clock speed. After starting X and running xvidtune, I adjusted the Horizinal Sync and Vertical Sync values in the Monitor Section of the XF86Config file as such:
Visit www.linuxnewbie.org and read their Hi-Res X-Windows tutorial to learn how to calculate the Modeline. Stop by www.linuxdoc.org and give the XFree86-XInside mini-HOWTO and XFree86-Video-Timings-HOWTO a read as well. Oh, and if you’re looking for monitor refresh rates, download the computer-graphics-card-xref.pdf file and visit
hawks.ha.md.us/hardware/monitor.html. If you’re lucky your monitor will be in one, or both, or those.