Tips from RHCEs

Featured Article: Configuring Your Graphical Environment

by Lene Jensen

Configuring your graphical environment (X) is usually very easy. Once you have installed your machine it boots up into a graphical interface and you are ready to work.

Unfortunately, sometimes you might encounter problems. You may have set up your initial configuration incorrectly, or your video card is not fully supported by Red Hat Linux straight out of the box. This may appear difficult to fix, but there are a few things you can do to make this process easier and get to work.

  1. Get your system to configure itself

    First run XFree86 -configure (or X -configure since X is symbolic link to XFree86).

    Then try running XFree86 -xf86config If that works and your X server starts successfully, you can then copy this new configuration file to /etc/X11 like: cp /etc/X11/XF86Config. You can then manually edit this file to get the change any values.

  2. Reconfigure using redhat-config-xfree86

An easier option would be to have redhat-config-xfree86 doing it for you. If you have no configuration file at all, just run redhat-config-xfree86. The tool will probe your hardware, start an X server and give you the opportunity to check color depth, and resolution, your video card and monitor plus DPI or other advanced settings as they apply. Be aware that since it has to probe to find values it can run an X server from, it can take a couple of minutes before you see anything on the screen.

Sometimes even this will not work. If you for example have an existing but mis-configured /etc/X11/XF86Config, redhat-config-xfree86 will attempt to use those values when trying to start the X server needed for the configuration. In that case try redhat-config-xfree86 --reconfig. This will disregard values in your existing file, and create a new confguration file.

If you still have no luck, try redhat-config-xfree86 --reconfig --noui. It will now try to configure your system without starting an X server, so you will have no options to choose any values. In this case you would probably want to check the values in your configuration file to make sure everything is correct before starting your X session.

In addition, redhat-config-xfree86 can be used for setting individual values, try redhat-config-xfree86 --help to see values you can set on the fly.