X Window System

Revision as of 19:25, January 12, 2015 by Drobbins (Talk | contribs)

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In order to use a graphical environment it's necessary to install X.Org, which is an implementation of the X Window system.

Before we start it's a good idea to make sure that your system is configured correctly. If you've installed your kernel using the binary USE flag, chances are that your video card is already supported. See Video for more information onthis.

You should also find your IP address, because if X freezes and you need to get out of it, the safest way is to SSH in from another computer/smartphone/tablet and issue

# killall X

In order for Portage to know which video card(s) you want to support, you'll need to add a line to your make.conf.

# nano -w /etc/portage/make.conf

In the example above we're using Intel integrated graphics drivers. Examples of valid entries include radeon for AMD Radeon cards, and nouveau or nvidia for NVIDIA cards. If you haven't yet switched to the desktop profile it's a good idea to do it now.

Next comes the actual installation:

# emerge xorg-x11

Now we need to test to make sure X.Org is working properly. To test it we will install twm, a simple window manager which has traditionally served as the standard window manager for X.Org. In Funtoo Linux it is included in the core X.Org meta-package x11-apps/xinit, but is not installed by default.

It is possible to install twm directly by merging x11-wm/twm but for the sake of this tutorial we will install the meta-package, which includes a few extra utilities which may come in handy. There are two ways to do this depending on whether you want it to be installed temporarily or permanently. If you just want it to test X.Org use the following command:

# USE="-minimal" emerge -1 xinit

The minimal USE flag is used in some ebuilds to install the bare minimum needed to get a working system. By passing USE="-minimal" to the command line before emerge, we are telling Portage to disable the flag and install the complete package. The -1 (--oneshot) following emerge tells Portage not to add the package to world. This is useful when installing packages which are automatically pulled in as dependencies by other packages.

If you want the package installed permanently you will need to add a line to package.use:

# echo 'x11-apps/xinit -minimal' >> /etc/portage/package.use

Next we reinstall x11-apps/xinit:

# emerge -1N xinit

Once that's done, we're able to finally test X.Org:

# startx

If everything is well, a simple GUI along with an analog clock and a terminal will appear.


If you have no keyboard/mouse input in x11, check if your kernel supports dev

# zcat /proc/config.gz | grep EVDEV 

if your output is:


Install xf86-input-evdev

# emerge xf86-input-evdev

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About the Author

Daniel Robbins is best known as the creator of Gentoo Linux and author of many IBM developerWorks articles about Linux. Daniel currently serves as Benevolent Dictator for Life (BDFL) of Funtoo Linux. Funtoo Linux is a Gentoo-based distribution and continuation of Daniel's original Gentoo vision.

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