Setting up X-Windows
FreeBSD 4.x: using xf86cfg
Prerequisite: install a distribution with X support, such as X-Developer
(go back to /stand/sysintall -> Post-Install Conf -> Distributions
if you did not do this during the initial installation).
Newer releases (e.g. 4.7) include a nice configuration tool,
xf86cfg, with robust auto-detection. Run this tool for the first time
and go through the menus. It is a bit unintuitive, but it works well.
First, right-click on each graphical representation of the system
elements (e.g. monitor) and select configure. You may need to go visit
support.dell.com to find out the parameters of the monitor and the
graphics card in the system. If you are not sure about the graphics card,
do *not* configure it (auto-detection is usually fine). Using the
drop-down box in the upper-left corner, configure monitor modes
Quit after everything is configured and say "Yes" in the two save file
dialogs. If everything went well, you can just run startx and use X
Otherwise, you need to reconfigure, and that involves knowing a couple
of things about xf86cfg. xf86cfg
always creates a sample configuration file
under /root/XF86Config.new. This provides a minimal configuration
After you run xf86cfg
(and say "yes" in the two dialogs mentioned before),
the configuration file you created will be at
/usr/X11R6/lib/X11/XF86Config (by default).
You can modify this file using
xf86cfg -xf86config /usr/X11R6/lib/X11/XF86Config
You can also overwrite this file with the /root/XF86Config.new
almost always work, so it will help determine whether you made a configuration
mistake when you created /usr/X11R6/lib/X11/XF86Config
or something is wrong
with the card or the monitor).
You can also manually edit XF86Config. See the man page for some
help. I usually change the default mode by reordering the modes added
You probably want some nice window manager. I recommend Window Maker if
you want something light-weight, or KDE (or Gnome) if you want a fully
featured desktop. You can install new desktops using
Window Maker is specially easy: install the base wmaker package and its
dependencies with pkg_add and then run wmaker.inst
to create all the
required configuration files. Run startx and your wmaker desktop will
quickly show up.
Booting up to X-Windows
If you always work with X-Windows,
you can directly boot you machine to a graphical login
prompt by enabling xdm.
You just need to modify /etc/ttys and change the line
with xdm from off to on. The result should
ttyv8 /usr/X11R6/bin/xdm -nodaemon xterm off secure -- /etc/ttys
If you are using KDE, you probably want to use kdm. Simply replace
/usr/X11R6/bin/xdm by /usr/local/bin/kdm.
Last modified: Sat Mar 1 16:09:41 EST 2003