Component Sections

You can configure four major hardware components in XF86Config. Each of these components has its own section:

Keyboard The keyboard is defined in an InputDevice section that uses the Keyboard driver. Chapter 3, "Using External Peripherals," includes information on configuring a keyboard in X.

Mouse X mouse configuration can be tricky sometimes; if you specify the wrong model, X may not start, or the mouse pointer might not move or might move erratically. Chapter 3 includes information on mouse configuration. You configure a mouse with an InputDevice section, just as you do a keyboard; but the mouse uses a driver called mouse and a different set of options.

Video Card In order to create a display, X needs to know what sort of video card your system uses. You give it this information in a Device section. The upcoming section, "Using Card-Specific Optimizations," describes this section in more detail.

Monitor XFree86 can tell a video card to create a display, but unless your monitor can handle whatever resolution and refresh rate X tells the card to create, the monitor may ignore the display. You probably want to create the best display your monitor can handle. For instance, the higher the refresh rate the better, as a general rule. Therefore, XF86Config includes a Monitor section in which various monitor capabilities are described. The most important of these are the HorizSync and VertRefresh lines, which set the range of horizontal and vertical refresh rates that your monitor is capable of running, as in HorizSync 27.0-115.0. Both values can be obtained from most monitors' manuals, so consult your manual to set these values correctly. You can also create custom display modes, as described in the upcoming section, "Creating a Custom Video Mode."

Warning Although most modern monitors ignore video modes outside of the range they can handle, models from the mid-1990s and earlier can be damaged if you try to feed them a display with a too-high refresh rate. Therefore, you should not guess at the HorizSync or VertRefresh values. Check your manual, the manufacturer's web page, or any other documentation you can find to enter these values correctly.

You can configure more than one of each device type. For instance, you might have a laptop computer that you sometimes use with its built-in touchpad and sometimes use with a USB mouse. On such a system, you might specify two mice and reference them both from the ServerLayout section. Some systems have two video cards and two monitors, and XFree86 4.x allows you to use both simultaneously.

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