The X Window System is a large and powerful (some might say excessively large and overly complex) graphics environment for UNIX systems. The original X Window System code was developed at MIT; commercial vendors have since made X the industry standard for UNIX platforms. Virtually every UNIX workstation in the world runs some variant of the X Window system.
A freely redistributable port of the MIT X Window System version 11, release 6 (X11R6) for 80386/80486/Pentium UNIX systems has been developed by a team of programmers originally headed by David Wexelblat <>. The release, known as XFree86, is available for System V/386, 386BSD, and other x86 UNIX implementations, including Linux. It includes all of the required binaries, support files, libraries, and tools.
Complete information on XFree86 is available at the XFree86 web site, http://www.XFree86.org.
In this document, we'll give a step-by-step description of how to install and configure XFree86 for Linux, but you will have to fill in some of the details yourself by reading the documentation released with XFree86 itself. (This documentation is discussed below.) However, using and customizing the X Window System is far beyond the scope of this document---for this purpose you should obtain one of the many good books on using the X Window System.
If you have never heard of Linux before, there are several sources of basic information about the system. The best place to find these is at the Linux Documentation Project home page. You can find the latest, up-to-date version of this document there, as http://metalab.unc.edu/LDP/HOWTO/XFree86-HOWTO.html.
New versions of the Linux XFree86 HOWTO will be periodically posted to comp.os.linux.help and comp.os.linux.announce and news.answers. They will also be uploaded to various Linux WWW and FTP sites, including the LDP home page.
You can always view the latest version of this on the World Wide Web via the URL http://www.linuxdoc.org/HOWTO//XFree86-HOWTO.html.
This document was originally written by Matt Welsh in the dim and backward abysm of time. Thanks, Matt!
If you have questions or comments about this document, please feel free to mail Eric S. Raymond, at <>. I welcome any suggestions or criticisms. If you find a mistake with this document, please let me know so I can correct it in the next version. Thanks.
Please do not mail me questions about how to make your video card and monitor work with X. This HOWTO is intended to be a rapid, painless guide to normal installation using the new interactive configurator. If you run into problems, browse the XFree86 Video Timings HOWTO. (This is the up-to-date HTML version of XFree86's `Videomodes.doc' file.) That document tells everything I know about configuration troubleshooting. If it can't help you, I can't either.