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Building an X Server and a Window Manager
Pages: 1, 2, 3

If you've already installed FreeBSD, root can access the graphical X Server configuration utility by either of these methods:


and from there choose Configure, then XFree86, and then XF86Setup


cd /usr/X11R6/bin/XF86Setup

Most video cards support the graphical setup utility, which presents you with a point and click interface. Also, if you highlight a card in the Cards screen, you can use the Read README file button to view the readme document for that chipset.

Some cards don't support the graphical utility; again, this is not a good sign of an easy X Server build. If you have one of these cards, you'll have to use the xf86config utility instead, which is also found in /usr/X11R6/bin and /stand/sysinstall. This utility will ask you questions that require a type-in response. To find the readme for your chipset, open up another virtual terminal and look in


Let's assume you've started the graphical configuration utility with a working mouse, clicked on the Card button, and highlighted the card that SuperProbe told you you have. Later on, you can be a power user and fine-tune all of the settings in the Detailed Setup button, using the information supplied in the readme document for your video card. For now, we'll keep the default probes until we're sure we can successfully build the X Server.

Now comes the part that requires a bit of luck if you've never built this type of video card before: the monitor and modeselection screens. Most newer video cards will run on a combination of Extended Super VGA at 800 x 600 and 16 bpp, so I always try this combination first. If it works, I build a Windows Manager, see if it looks satisfactory, and possibly tweak my settings from there. If it doesn't work, I take a closer look at the video card's readme file for hints, and start recording which combinations I've tried til I hit one that works.

If you still have problems building X Server or want hints in tweaking your X Server, the FAQs at xfree86 are well worth reading.

Pages: 1, 2, 3

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