DR GM SEDDON posted <437F2ED9.80303@...>, excerpted below,
on Sat, 19 Nov 2005 13:55:37 +0000:
> Many thanks for this detailed reply, my monitor is a 20" sgi crt. i
> prefer sgi we use them at work in drug design they give good 3d. I have
> the hr and vs rates, where do I put these.Also, is the monitor name
> needed verbatim. Finally, is there a tool for setting up my initial
> monitor type and card? Since I'm apprehensive of my setup.
Cool! Now we're gettin' somewhere! <g> 20"+ CRTs I know a bit about as
I'm running two (a Viewsonic and a Dell Trinitron) in dual head mode right
If you already have the timings, no, you don't need specific model numbers
As I mentioned, xorg has several tools for initial setup. However, after
trying Linux and then leaving it for a couple years, when I finally got
serious about it (due to the fact that MS was asking me to cross a line
with eXPrivacy I could not and would not cross -- because I believed it
would ultimately legitimize spyware and the like -- exactly as it did --
see where we are today with Sony's rootkit they apparently saw nothing
wrong with, anyway, since I couldn't upgrade to eXPrivacy, I switched to
... When I finally got serious about Linux, I asked for book
recommendations and after getting repeated recommendations for two books,
bought them both, O'Reilly's Linux in a Nutshell (aka The Arabian, for the
horse on the front), and Running Linux (aka the Rearing Horse... horses
must be their Linux mascot theme). Running Linux is textbook tutorial
style, while Linux in a Nutshell is a reference work. After reading the
600-ish pages of Running Linux nearly cover to cover, I dove right in and
learned how to custom configure and compile my own kernel, did a rather
complicated multiboot LILO setup, and learned how to configure xfree86 for
triple monitors on two video cards, because the automated stuff
couldn't handle that!... All that within the first three months of getting
serious, while I was still dual booting back to MSWormOS to run OE for
mail and news, because I hadn't had time to look into the desktop software
angle yet, so didn't know what I wanted. When I get serious about learning
something, I LEARN it, and there's NO going back. (But note that was after
two years of still being on MSWormOS but figuring I'd eventually end up
switching to Linux, so verifying all my hardware purchases would do Linux
before I spent the money... So by the time I did it, I knew everything I
had would work, and it did!)
Anyway... back to the topic... As a result of that I haven't had to mess
with xorg's automated detection stuff in years, and then it was only very
briefly, and I don't know much about it, save for what I've read in the
various manpages and the like.
I'd say take a look at "man X" to start, skim it, get to the bottom, and
go thru the what's related manpages as well. I KNOW there are at least
TWO different methods shipped with xorg that can be used to auto-scan and
generate a basic starting point with at least /some/ of the settings
correct, hopefully. If I'm not mistaken, there's actually four such
utilities, and one of the manpages actually gives you a list of the
recommended order to try them in, the easiest first, the most likely to
work but harder to manage because you end up plugging more into it
manually, last. However, as I've said, I didn't need that info and was
just scanning it looking for other stuff, so it's possible there were two
methods that I counted twice.
Or... probably the easiest method, if it works, would be to grab and burn
an ISO of Gnoppix/Knoppix and/or of Kubuntu/Ubuntu. A couple years ago,
Knoppix was considered the best at hardware detection (overall, but
certainly including video hardware for X) around, but most distributions
have availed themselves of the open source since then and have in general
caught up. Ubuntu is of course the one everybody's talking about now.
Grab the 64-bit version if you can, it's handy to have around as a liveCD
and emergency boot and repair platform, but the 32-bit version should
detect stuff equally well so will do just fine for our immediate purposes.
Anyway, if you can get one of those things to work, doesn't matter which
one, you can copy it's xorg.conf from its ramdisk to your drive or a
floppy or something, and you may not have to worry about messing with it
at all if you don't want to. DEFINITELY, NOT ALL DISTRIBUTION INSTALLS
ARE CREATED EQUAL, but if you can find just one that can scan and
recognize your hardware (or just part of it if not all), that should work,
and give you some info on what you have, if nothing else.
As for where you plug the stuff in if it comes to that... and you may have
to change at least a /few/ settings...
As I mentioned, man xorg.conf does a fair job, and you should have a
sample to compare with, altho I'd hate to have to start from that without
at least something /partially/ matched to my system. Anyway, I'll give
you a brief overview here, but that's where to look for more, or ask...
The file is /etc/X11/xorg.conf (note the cap X in X11). It's very
modular, and once you get the hang of the layout, the modularity is a help
because it keeps the complexity down and allows you to worry about just
one thing at a time.
The different sections or modules can be in any order, but are logically
related to each other this way:
Section Monitor contains the settings for your monitor. along with an
Identifier "what-you-call-your-monitor" entry. That Identifier entry is
how that section is referred to everywhere else. It's convenient to
identify by brand and model, as in 'Identifier "Dell-2125s"', if you have
it, making it easy if you have more than one to use the same section over
elsewhere, but you can call it 'Identifier "Xyzzy"' for all xorg cares, as
long as you then refer to it as "Xyzzy" everywhere else you need it. If
you have only one, just call it "Monitor1" or whatever, if you like.
You may have more than one Monitor section, each with it's own identifier,
if you have multiple monitors you are or may be plugging in.
Likewise, your graphics card has its settings in a Section Device,
likewise with an Identifier entry. Here, as I play with multiple cards
sometimes, I use identifiers like "DevAGP0", "DevPCI1, etc. However,
again, you can call it what you want. You can call it by brand and model
if you like, or just "GraphicsCard1" or whatever. Of course, fancy setups
may have more than one graphics card or a card with multiple outputs.
Depending on the driver and configuration, a card with multiple outputs
may be configured as separate cards (therefore separate Device
sections) for each output, or have additional settings for the second
output in the same Device section.
A Section Screen combines the Device Section and the Monitor Section(s)
for what's plugged into it. Again, it'll have it's own Identifier, I call
mine "ScrAGP0" and the like, after the Section Device it matches up with,
but you may call yours "Plough" for all xorg cares, as long as you always
refer to it with the right identifier.
Within the screen section, there's a Monitor "<identifier>" entry and a
Device "<identifier>" entry that match up with the appropriate sections
described above. Again, as long as the identifiers match correctly, it
doesn't matter what they actually are.
The screen section also has one or more Subsection Display subsections.
These will normally be one for each color bitness level (8-bit color,
15/16-bit color, 24- and 32-bit color), tho I run Xinerama, which wants
you to stick with the same bitness level, so I pick one and stick with it,
and don't bother with the others. The main purpose of these subsections
is to contain the list of desired resolutions, like the long one I posted
earlier, one list for each bitness level. There are of course some less
significant optional entries as well, but the two big ones are the list of
accepted resolutions for that bitness, and the line specifying the color
bitness the list applies to. These are subsections of the screen
sections, so they don't get their own identifiers.
There are also Section InputDevice sections, one for each input device
(keyboard, mouse, graphics pad, touch-sensitive-screen, whatever) you
have, naturally each with its own identifier entry.
Combining all these we have Section ServerLayout. You should be able to
predict several of the entries it will have, its own identifier,
naturally, plus one or more Screen and InputDevice entries, referring to
the appropriate sections by their identifier. Again, the identifier is
entirely arbitrary. Call it "SvrLyout1" or "Y2" (get the running joke
yet? <g>), it doesn't matter, as long as it matches the identifier it's
There will be one default Section ServerLayout, the first one listed IIRC
if one isn't specified when the server is invoked, but as with the other
Sections, you may have others as well, if desired.
There are some other, more global, sections as well. Section Files lists
what else? paths to other related config files (and fonts or the config
to use the font-server if you run one) on your system. Xorg has sane (and
Gentoo normal) defaults built-in, if this section is missing. Similarly,
the ServerFlags section is optional. However, that's where you put
settings such as PM (Power Management) timeouts, and set Xinerama
(multi-screen) mode, if desired.
Likewise with the Modules and Extensions Sections. You can run xorg in
bare 2D unaccelerated mode without them, in general, or xorg has some
configured to run by default if it finds them and they aren't specifically
turned off, but there are appropriate sections for them if you want to
tweak the settings.
Back with xfree86 3.x, one had to specify a bunch of quite scary
individual timing mode lines, the setting up of which involved some deep
black arts! <g> Fortunately, starting with xfree86 4.x and now with xorg,
the by far most common of these, the 640x480, 800x600, 1024x768, 1280x920,
1280x1024, 1600x1200, and even down as low as 400x300 (or lower) and as
high as 2048x1736 entries, often several individual timings for each
resolution, are built-into the binary and tried automatically, so these
are no longer needed. There's a site out there, Colas xmodeline generator
(google it if needed or I have it bookmarked), that has a script that
you just plug in the monitor and card numbers into, and it'll output an
a table of appropriate timing entries in 4-pixel x increments covering the
entire range allowed by your hardware, if you want a mode that's not
builtin. I mentioned that 640x400 special mode for a game I have in the
previous reply. I got the modeline for that by simply plugging the
appropriate numbers into the boxes at Cola's. (Those extra modelines can
either go under individual monitor sections, or, if you have several
monitors sharing a set of modelines, they can go in their own section,
naturally complete with its own identifier entry, by which you refer to it
That's the structural outline of the major sections and how they depend on
each other in words. Here's a brief "pseudoexample", with only a few
"pseudosettings" by way of example. (They are basically real settings,
but I'm deleting some of the complicated meat of the config, since I have
multiple monitors/cards/screens and am not checking that what's left
matches up, so I wouldn't expect this to work anywhere as is, tho it
might. Do note how some are hash-commented out, tho.) Again, section
order normally doesn't matter.
# Option "Composite"
# General options
InputDevice "Mouse0" "CorePointer"
InputDevice "Keyboard0" "CoreKeyboard"
Screen 0 "ScrAgp.0"
Option "XkbModel" "microsoftmult"
Option "Protocol" "ExplorerPS/2"
Option "Device" "/dev/input/mice"
DisplaySize 355 265
DisplaySize 400 300
ModeLine "640x400" 63.07 640 672 832 896 400 402 414 440 #160Hz for Orion
Modes "2048x1536" "1792x1344" "1600x1200" "1280x960"
Duncan - List replies preferred. No HTML msgs.
"Every nonfree program has a lord, a master --
and if you use the program, he is your master." Richard Stallman in
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