Linux Display Resolution for Newbie


I know a lot about computer hardware and software, but unfortunately I’m a Linux newbie.

I’m trying to set the display resolution on my Dell Inspiron 6000 which is equipped with the optional ATI Mobility Radeon X300. I downloaded the ATI Linux driver for this and ran it according to the instructions. The instructions dry up, however, exactly at the point I need them the most!

After I run the driver installer, it tells me to “save my X window configuration file, run aticonfig --initial, and then reboot”.

OK, what is the name of my X window configuration file, and how do I “save” it, and where do I save it?

By the way, if I try to run aticonfig --initial without “saving” my X window configuration, I get a warning

Could not find configuration file
Please copy configuration file template to /etc/X11

which I would happily do if I knew what it was! :smack:

I freely admit that this is something I should know how to do, but I don’t. I’m not even sure where to look! In the Windos wordl I’d look on, but for Linux/Un*x a search on “x” or even “X windows configuration file” yields too much.

Your help would be greatly appreciated.

Which distribution are you using?

In Debian-based distros, such as Ubuntu, it should be under /etc/X11/xorg.conf (or, uh, XF86config-4? I don’t remember; my Sarge boxes are all headless.)

In Redhat based distros, it’s something similar. Do an ls /etc and look for likely directories.

But really, it’s all gonna depend on what particular flavor of distro you’ve got.

BTW, “X server” is a generic term. In Linux, it usually refers to one of two implementations of the X Windows System: XFree86, which is the original open source versions, and X.Org, which is a more recent fork that came in to being a couple of years ago amid some licensing controversy over XFree86.

Most distributions can use either server, though they generally pick a default. These days, I hear most of them are moving to X.Org.

In other words, the config file location is going to depend not only on your distro, but on which particular flavor of X11 you’re using.

This is a good start. The distro is Redhat Linux ES 3.

How can I find out?


RHEL ES is probably a bad place to start for somebody who’s new to Linux. It’s really intended for servers.

If you’re intent on sticking with Redhat, you’re probably better off with Fedora, or at least (most?) RHEL WS, which is the workstation version.

Mandriva and SuSE also make excellent RPM-based distros geared towards desktop users that are derived from RH, to one degree or another.

If you don’t have your heart set on a RH-based distro, I strongly recommend Ubuntu. It’s usually an excellent system for beginners, and the support forums are great. There’s even an unofficial script that’ll download, install, and configure many of the typical proprietary drivers (including ATI), plugins, and codecs for you.

If you still wanna stick with RHEL ES, you’re probably best off following the instructions here. Download that .run file, run it from a terminal, and it should take care of updating the config file for you.

According to this RHEL doc, it’s xorg, and the file is /etc/X11/xorg.conf.

That’s pretty sweet of them - RH used to drop config files all over the frickin’ place. That’s part of the reason why I like Debian and Ubuntu (hint hint.)

You got that right!

I’m not doing this to “learn Linux”. I’m in a small startup, trying to use whatever resource I can to set up a testing server. So happens I’m trying to duplicate a server environment on my laptop using ES3. At home, on a far more robust desktop, I use Ubuntu.

I was following the ATI link that Black455 provided, BTW. It shows you everything you need to know to install the whatever, but doesn’t tell you what it does or how to reconfigure the display once you’ve done whatever it does.

I did finally find xorg.conf and move it to the right place, and I ran aticonfig --initial. OK. It didn’t give me any warnings. We’ll see what happens next.