Make your own free website on

My Debian Tips:

File Systems
Storage Devices

[Tips Home] [Home]

Valid HTML 4.01!
Tips on working with Graphics or GUI Programs on Debian Linux:

What are the xfree86-4.0 configuration files?

XFree86.v4.x uses /etc/X11/XF86Config-4 instead of /etc/X11/XF86Config. Use tools like anxious (part of xvidtune package), dpkg-reconfigure xfree86.x.x. to configure the file. XFree86 also takes a '-configure' option.

Have several problems with your X?

Reconfigure the xfree86 server using options to xfree86 itself or run,

"dpkg-reconfigure -plow xserver-xfree86". The -plow is for "priority low" just so it asks you everything it can.

Gnome does not allow you to login as root in gdm?

You may need to first look at gdm.conf to see if there are any restrictions for root login. Look for 'AllowRoot=true'. If not look for .xinitrc and .xsession in ~/ directory. If they are not present, create them from the standard templates. Also probably look for the .wm-style for a correct window manager.

Oops, my mouse doesn't work in gpm or X?

Before trying out anything else, you can first check whether you are trying out on the right device. Do a cat on the device say '/dev/psaux' or /dev/mouse' or '/dev/input/mice' and then move your mouse. If you see bizarre looking characters on the screen, you got the right device. Now, relook at your configuration files and make any changes.

How do I configure USB mouse in XFree86-4.0?

Add these lines in /etc/X11/XF86Config-4

Section "InputDevice"
    Identifier    "Intelli Mouse"
    Driver        "mouse"
    Option        "AlwaysCore"
    Option        "CorePointer"
    Option        "Protocol"      "IMPS/2"
    Option        "Device"        "/dev/input/mice"

How do I configure USB mouse in XFree86-3.3?

Add these lines in /etc/X11/XF86Config

Section "XInput"
 Subsection "Mouse"
    DeviceName "USB Mouse"
    Protocol "IMPS/2"
    Port "/dev/input/mice"

How do I add a USB mouse and a touch pad like GlidePoint, under XFree86-4.0?

These lines in /etc/X11/XF86Config-4 will do the purpose

Section "InputDevice"
    Identifier    "Intelli Mouse"
    Driver        "mouse"
    Option        "AlwaysCore"
    Option        "CorePointer"
    Option        "Protocol"      "IMPS/2"
    Option        "Device"        "/dev/input/mice"

Section "InputDevice"
    Identifier    "GlidePoint Mouse"
    Driver        "mouse"
    Option        "SendCoreEvents"    "true"
    Option        "Device"        "/dev/mouse"
    Option        "Protocol"      "GlidePointPS/2"

Section "ServerLayout"
    Identifier     "Default Layout"
    Screen         "Default Screen"
    InputDevice    "Generic Keyboard"
    InputDevice    "Intelli Mouse"
    InputDevice    "GlidePoint Mouse"

How do I add a USB mouse and a touch pad like GlidePoint, in gpm?

gpm -m /dev/input/mice -t imps2 -M -m /dev/psaux -t ps2 -R imps2

How do I get my USB joystick work?

Turn on the 'USB Human Interface Device (HID)' in USB Support and 'Joystick' in Input Core Support, in kernel configuration. Load the modules hid.o, input.o and joydev.o. Create the necessary nodes using,

mknod /dev/input/js0 c 13 0
mknod /dev/input/js1 c 13 1
mknod /dev/input/js2 c 13 2
mknod /dev/input/js3 c 13 3

Can't play the audio CD while logged into Gnome as user, since only root can mount the /dev/cdrom?

If you have 'linuxconf' installed, select the drive you want to access in the 'Access local drive' section. In the Options tab select the User Mountable option. Alternatively, give mount permissions to the user in
/etc/fstab as - (add 'user' in the fourth column)
/dev/cdrom /mnt/cdrom iso9660 user,exec,dev,ro,noauto 0 0

How do I create a new desktop icon using nautilus?

Open Nautilus window for your ".gnome-desktop" folder and drag & drop the application menu from any other gnome menus. That's it!

Want to run some GUI program as root, but without setting a xhost +

su - root

export DISPLAY=:0

xauth -merge ~user/.Xauthority

Get a "user not authorized" error when trying to start X as non-root?

Look for the 'allowed_users' in /etc/X11/Xwrapper.config. You may do a 'dpkg-reconfigure xserver-common'

Get an error during X startup that unix/:7100 font is missing?

Install the "font server" debian packages xfs, xfs-base

Where are the Gnome config files placed on debian system?

System-wide GNOME menus are stored in /usr/share/gnome/apps. The file is .desktop is editable. The user specific Gnome menus are stored in ~/.gnome/apps/. The Debian specific menus are stored in /usr/lib/menu/

Can't export X applications even after doing "xhost +" and "export DISPLAY"?

Remove "-nolisten tcp" in /etc/X11/xinit/xserverrc. You may have to do the same in any display manager specific files (for eg /etc/X11/xdm/Xservers for xdm) also.

How do I disable starting of X on my system?

If you just want to stop the X display for the current session, do "/etc/init.d/[g|x|w|k]dm stop" as root. If you would like to disable the start of X on every reboot, you may put an "exit 0" at the top of /etc/init.d/[g|x|w|k]dm file. Or a "dpkg --purge [g|x|w|k]dm"

My mouse keeps jumping erratically while working on X

You probably have gpm running. Either disable it by "/etc/init.d/gpm stop" or remove the package by "apt-get remove gpm". Alternatively, you may configure your system to have the mouse configured for both console mode and X mode - see below.

How do I have mouse running in both console mode and X?

You can have your X and gpm cooperate on the single mouse. This is a little difficult, but you can try this. Have these lines also in your /etc/gpm.conf should contain at least these lines (alongwith other stuff):


The repeat_type line tells gpm to repeat the data exactly as it gets it. Other programs (i.e., X), can read that data from /dev/gpmdata. Then edit the XF86Config (or XF86Config-4) file to change /dev/psaux to /dev/gpmdata. Restart both gpm and X, and you are done.

How do I know my monitor refresh rates?

The read-edid Package finds that out for you if your monitor is dde-capable. Install it and run get-edid | parse-edid. The output can be directly copied into the XF86Config file for XFree 4. Also you may use XFree86 -configure.

Do you have problems like screen blanking out in X?

Check if you have 'framebuffer' support enabled in your kernel. If yes, try disabling it and see. Also comment out this line in XF86Config or XF86Config-4

Option "UseFBDev" "true"

How do I know my monitor's supported video modes?

apt-get install videogen

You may also use,

[HOME] Last Updated: Apr' 2002
Any comments to the author?