Many Unix servers run with only a command-line interface, and do not use X at all. If a command-line interface is all that you want, don't select the X Windows components for the software installation. Many Linux servers, however, do use X. X provides a powerful console interface, and there are a number of X-based tools available for system administration.

The Red Hat installation program attempts to configure X if X Windows components were selected. The installation program probes the system, and selects a video card. You can accept the card selected by the installation program, manually enter your own X configuration, or skip X configuration.

Note Red Hat 7.2 first configures the video card and then does unrelated tasks (installing software from the CD-ROM and creating the boot disk) before returning to the monitor configuration. Despite this, video card configuration and monitor configuration are both components of X configuration.

If you decide to configure X manually, make sure you know the horizontal and vertical sync ranges of your monitor, the monitor's maximum resolution, the make and model of your video card, the amount of memory on the video card, and whether or not the video card has a clock chip (and if it does, the model of that chip). Armed with this information, you'll have no problems configuring X.

If you don't have all of the required information at your fingertips, accept the default values provided by Red Hat. They should work, and you're given a chance to test them before making a final decision. Figure A.5 shows the final window of the X configuration. In this window, select the desired screen resolution, and click Test Setting. If the display is to your liking, accept the settings. If you do not get a good display, you can try other settings, or skip X configuration for now. To skip X configuration, select Text as the logon type. Many Linux system administrators put off configuring X Windows until later.

Figure A.5: Final X configuration window

X configuration can be complex. If you have trouble configuring X, don't worry—you can boot the system with no problems because X is not essential to get the system running. If you select Text as the logon type, you can boot the system, log on at the text prompt, and run Linux from the text command line. Later, when you're ready to configure X, run one of the X configuration tools.

Using Xconfigurator

Xconfigurator is the program that the Red Hat installation uses to configure X Windows. It can be run at any time by typing Xconfigurator at the shell prompt. When it is run from the shell prompt, Xconfigurator provides a menu-driven graphical interface. Use the tab and the arrow keys to move around the menu, and the spacebar and enter key to select items.

When Xconfigurator starts, it displays an introductory window. Select OK to start the configuration. Xconfigurator then probes the system to detect the video card and the monitor configuration. It displays the results of each probe on separate screens. If they are correct, accept those configuration values. (If the values are not correct, rerun Xconfigurator in —expert mode, as described later.)

Next, Xconfigurator asks how much memory is available on the video card. Enter the correct amount. It then asks what clock chip is used on the video card. Either select the correct clock chip, or select No Clockchip, which is the recommended setting.

Finally, you're asked to select the video mode, which is the combination of the color depth and the screen resolution. Xconfigurator determines the possible video modes from the information that has been provided so far in the configuration. Most systems offer three color depths (8-, 16-, and 24-bit), and various screen resolutions for each color depth. Select the resolution you want from the display, and select OK. Xconfigurator restarts X, and tests the new configuration. If it is what you want, you're done. If not, select another resolution until you get the display you want.

The preceding description assumes that Xconfigurator can determine the correct configuration of your system through probing, which may not be the case. To have more configuration options, run Xconfigurator with the --expert command-line argument. The system still probes the adapter and the monitor, but it also provides a very long list of supported video cards and preconfigured monitors. All you need to do is select your video card from the first list and your monitor from the second list. Additionally, —expert mode gives you the opportunity to manually select the characteristics of a video card and those of a monitor if your video card and monitor are not in the lists of supported hardware.

Running Xconfigurator with the —expert option after Linux has successfully booted can help you configure X, even if you could not successfully configure it during the initial installation. In most cases, X is easily configured when Linux is installed, but Xconfigurator is there if you need it.

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