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Xorg & XVesa

By default, SliTaz v3 uses Xorg 7.4 with the xorg-xf86-video-vesa v2.0.0 driver. This basic driver can cause problems with certain hardware combinations and can sometimes result in a very low resolution. Occasionally, X does not start at all and instead falls back to the log-in screen or to a text-based prompt. There are some simple solutions that can yield major improvements:

  • check that you have enough RAM to run the default ISO. If not, use the Low RAM ISO instead.
  • try the XVesa ISO (a.k.a. TinyX)
  • install a more specific driver for your graphics card
  • customise your Xorg configuration file (xorg.conf)

Good introductions to Xorg Configuration can be found at The FreeBSD Handbook and X Configuration from Ubuntu.

<note tip> Up to v7.3, the Ctrl+Alt+Backspace key combination could be used to quit the X server. To enable it in version 7.4 and later, type the following command from any X terminal emulator:

setxkbmap -option terminate:ctrl_alt_bksp

</note>

<note important> Throughout this page, commands preceeded with a hash sign (#) should be executed as the root user. This is best under a terminal window. Otherwise, the dollar symbol ($) denotes a regular (tux) user. </note>

Using Xorg & Vendor-Specific Drivers

When you are using SliTaz as your main system, it's recommended to use Xorg over XVesa. You will get a much better display and performance than when using Xvesa tinyX.

AGP Cards

All AGP video cards need extra kernel modules to function under Xorg. Check if you have an AGP video card with lspci; if so, install the necessary modules in the linux-agp package before using Xorg:

# tazpkg get-install linux-agp

Load the modules using the SliTaz hardware detection tool:

# tazhw detect-pci

You can now use the SliTaz X configuration tool to detect your settings:

# tazx

Select the appropriate driver for your video card from the list.

DRI / DRM Problem

Sometimes, the auto-detection is not enough. Cards that require DRI / DRM are supported under SliTaz, but v3 has a couple of bugs! The file /dev/dri should be a directory and not a file and, to get DRI working correctly, we have to add tux to the group video or modify permissions in the Xorg configuration file:

# tazpkg get-install linux-drm
# tazpkg get-install mesa-demos (for glxinfo and glxgears)
# rm /dev/dri
# mkdir /dev/dri/
# addgroup tux video

The drm module is not loaded by tazhw so you have to do it manually:

# modprobe drm

<note tip>All modules, which are loaded by tazhw and yourself to make your changes permanent, have to be added to the SliTaz Control Box under Initialization in “Load Modules”. </note>

Intel cards

The xorg-xf86-video-vesa 2.0.0 driver has a lot of trouble with Intel chips. For example, on a 82945GM chipset it does not display 1280×1024 and 1024×768, but 1600×1200 is not a problem.

Use “tazx” to select the intel driver, then “tazhw detect-pci”, solve the dri problem and load drm and restart X - normally that's it (perhaps you must change your xorg.conf too).

Some users may need to add the “intel_agp” module to the xorg.conf file:

Section "Module"
        ...
	Load  "intel_agp"
	...
EndSection

for the driver to work.

Depending on the hardware, the mode-setting feature must be turned on or off. To turn it off append one of the following to the kernel line in the GRUB boot-loader configuration:

  • nomodeset
  • i810.modeset=0
  • i915.modeset=0

If mode-setting is off by default and should instead be turned on, append one of the following:

  • modeset
  • i810.modeset=1
  • i915.modeset=1

Trident cards

Use “tazx” to select the trident driver, install mesa-dri-trident

# tazpkg get-install mesa-dri-trident

and restart X

nVidia cards

SliTaz provides automatic configuration for nVidia cards. There are two drivers available, the Xorg-provided nv and the nVidia-provided, non-free nvidia. The nv driver should be tried first as this has been compiled for SliTaz, whereas the nVidia-supplied driver is a binary blob that tries to fit each and every Linux distribution.

Free Driver (nv)

To set-up the free nVidia drivers, use the SliTaz Hardware Configuration tool:

# tazhw setup nvidia 

Alternatively, you can do this process manually:

  • Download the following packages:
    • mesa, mesa-demos, linux-agp, xorg-xf86-video-nv
# tazpkg get-install xorg-xf86-video-nv
# tazpkg get-install mesa
# tazpkg get-install mesa-demos
# tazpkg get-install linux-agp
  • Load the kernel modules
# tazhw detect-pci
  • Replace the standard vesa driver with nv
# sed -i 's/vesa/nv/' /etc/X11/xorg.conf
Non-Free Driver (nvidia)

To set-up the non-free nVidia drivers, use the SliTaz Hardware Configuration tool with the –non-free switch:

# tazhw setup nvidia --non-free 

Alternatively, you can do this process manually:

  • Download the following packages:
    • mesa mesa-demos linux-agp nvidia
# tazpkg get-install nvidia
# tazpkg get-install mesa
# tazpkg get-install mesa-demos
# tazpkg get-install linux-agp
  • Load the kernel modules
# tazhw detect-pci
  • Attempt to configure the card with nVidia's tool:
# nvidia-xconfig
  • To test if rendering is working,
# glxinfo | grep render
  • To change nVidia's settings, use nVidia's Settings tool:
# nvidia-settings

To hide the nVidia logo when the system boots, add the following to /etc/X11/xorg.conf at the end of the Device section:

Option "NoLogo" "True"

ATI cards

SliTaz provides automatic configuration for ATI cards. There are two drivers available, the Xorg-provided radeon and the ATI-provided, non-free catalyst. The ati driver should be tried first as this has been compiled for SliTaz, whereas the ATI-supplied driver is a binary blob that tries to fit each and every Linux distribution.

Free Driver (radeon)

To set-up the free ATI drivers, install the AGP & DRM modules, then use the SliTaz Hardware Configuration tool:

# tazpkg get-install linux-agp
# tazpkg get-install linux-drm
# tazhw setup ati

- but perhaps this is not enough - check /var/log/Xorg.0.log to see if other modules must be loaded: See DRI / DRM Problem

Alternatively, you can do this process manually:

  • Download the following packages:
    • xorg-xf86-video-ati mesa-dri-ati mesa-demos linux-agp
# tazpkg get-install xorg-xf86-video-ati
# tazpkg get-install mesa-dri-ati
# tazpkg get-install mesa-demos
# tazpkg get-install linux-agp
# tazpkg get-install linux-drm
  • Load the kernel modules
# tazhw detect-pci
  • To install the free ATI driver radeon, replace vesa with radeon in the /etc/X11/xorg.conf file:
# sed -i 's/vesa/radeon/' /etc/X11/xorg.conf
Non-Free Driver (catalyst)

To set-up the non-free ATI drivers, use the SliTaz Hardware Configuration tool with the –non-free switch:

# tazhw setup ati --non-free 

Modifying the Xorg Configuration

Normally Xorg will start successfully, but perhaps not with the correct resolution. See the tips at the end of this page or sometimes search the Internet for the xorg.conf for your card and your monitor - or use another LiveCD and copy the working configuration file to SliTaz.

Configuring X

While X will do it's bets to auto-configure itself for your graphics card set-up, sometimes it needs a tweak. Its configuration file, /etc/X11/xorg.conf, is the place to customise the configuration. The best example of this is switching drivers or adding resolutions it doesn't detect.

Adding Resolutions

1. Include HorizSync and VertRefresh (refresh timings) in the Monitor section:

Section "Monitor"
	Identifier   "Monitor0"
	VendorName   "Monitor Vendor"
	ModelName	 "Monitor Model"
	HorizSync	 28-64
	VertRefresh  60
EndSection

2. Include a DefaultDepth in the Screen section:

Section "Screen"
	Identifier "Screen0"
	Device     "Card0"
	Monitor    "Monitor0"
**	DefaultDepth 24 **

3. Add an extra Mode to the line in the Display sub-section:

   SubSection "Display"
		Viewport   0 0
		Depth     24
		Modes 	  "1024x768" "800x600"
	EndSubSection

4. Also, add the default Font paths in the Files section:

Section "Files"
	ModulePath   "/usr/lib/X11/modules"
	FontPath     "/usr/share/fonts/X11/misc/"
	FontPath     "/usr/share/fonts/X11/TTF/"
	FontPath     "/usr/share/fonts/X11/OTF"
	FontPath     "/usr/share/fonts/X11/Type1/"
	FontPath     "/usr/share/fonts/X11/100dpi/"
	FontPath     "/usr/share/fonts/X11/75dpi/"
	FontPath     "/usr/share/fonts/truetype/ttf-dejavu"
EndSection
  • If you have DRI/DRM enabled, it may be easier to change its permission so all users can use it, rather than adding each to the video group. Append the following section:
Section "DRI"
        Mode 0666
EndSection

<note tip>You can use xrandr to identify your monitor(s). This utility is in the xorg-xrandr package:

# tazpkg get-install xorg-xrandr

See the Debian RandR 1.2 Wiki for more information. </note>

Restarting Xorg

For changes to take effect, you need to restart Xorg. This can be done by logging out of your session and back in again. Choose Logout from the Menu and select the Logout X session button. If you see the Slim log-in manager, Xorg has restarted successfully!

Using XVesa and Generic Drivers (TinyX)

The SliTaz-3.0-xvesa.iso uses the XVesa system instead of Xorg, which offers a more generic driver at the cost of performance. It boots on nearly all computers and laptops, but can only display a 4:3 resolution.

To find out which resolutions are possible with your card, type:

# Xvesa -listmodes

Here's a selection of resolutions for an example Intel Atom Board:

VBE version 3.0 (Intel(r) 82945GM Chipset Family Graphics Chip Accelerated VGA BIOS)
DAC is switchable, controller is VGA compatible, RAMDAC causes snow
Total memory: 7872 kilobytes
0x015A: 1600x1200x24 TrueColor [8:8:8:8]
0x011B: 1280x1024x24 TrueColor [8:8:8:8]
0x0118: 1024x768x24 TrueColor [8:8:8:8]
0x0112: 640x480x24 TrueColor [8:8:8:8]
0x0115: 800x600x24 TrueColor [8:8:8:8]

This output shows widescreen resolutions cannot be displayed with XVesa.

If X does not start with the default SliTaz ISO, you could use the XVesa ISO to install your default Xorg driver. When you are asked for your resolution at boot-time, scroll down the window and find the option to install your Xorg driver before XVesa is started. However, don't use “tazx” and “tazhw setup ati or nv” on the XVesa ISO to install your Xorg driver because you will end up with a blank and confused screen!



Page Review Section
Quality Good
Review Minor Updates
Priority Medium
Problems add a forum post link
OR add a lab issue tracker link
How to Improve Extra config. for other cards?
More details on or references to xorg.conf



 
en/guides/xorg-xvesa.txt · Last modified: 2010/09/12 15:49 by linea