XFree86(1) General Commands Manual XFree86(1)
XFree86 - X11R6 X server
XFree86 [:display] [option ...]
XFree86 is an X server that was originally designed for UNIX and UNIX-like operating systems running on Intel x86 hardware. It now runs on
a wider range of hardware and OS platforms.
This work was originally derived from X386 1.2 which was contributed to X11R5 by Snitily Graphics Consulting Service. The XFree86 X server
architecture was redesigned for the 4.0 release, and it includes among other things a loadable module system donated by Metro Link, Inc.
The current XFree86 release is compatible with X11R6.6.
XFree86 operates under a wide range of operating systems and hardware platforms. The Intel x86 (IA32) architecture is the most widely sup-
ported hardware platform. Other hardware platforms include Compaq Alpha, Intel IA64, SPARC and PowerPC. The most widely supported operat-
ing systems are the free/OpenSource UNIX-like systems such as Linux, FreeBSD, NetBSD and OpenBSD. Commercial UNIX operating systems such
as Solaris (x86) and UnixWare are also supported. Other supported operating systems include LynxOS, and GNU Hurd. Darwin and Mac OS X are
supported with the XDarwin(1) X server. Win32/Cygwin is supported with the XWin X server.
XFree86 supports connections made using the following reliable byte-streams:
On most platforms, the "Local" connection type is a UNIX-domain socket. On some System V platforms, the "local" connection types also
include STREAMS pipes, named pipes, and some other mechanisms.
XFree86 listens on port 6000+n, where n is the display number. This connection type can be disabled with the -nolisten option (see the
Xserver(1) man page for details).
For operating systems that support local connections other than Unix Domain sockets (SVR3 and SVR4), there is a compiled-in list specifying
the order in which local connections should be attempted. This list can be overridden by the XLOCAL environment variable described below.
If the display name indicates a best-choice connection should be made (e.g. :0.0), each connection mechanism is tried until a connection
succeeds or no more mechanisms are available. Note: for these OSs, the Unix Domain socket connection is treated differently from the other
local connection types. To use it the connection must be made to unix:0.0.
The XLOCAL environment variable should contain a list of one more more of the following:
which represent SVR4 Named Streams pipe, Old-style USL Streams pipe, SCO XSight Streams pipe, and ISC Streams pipe, respectively. You can
select a single mechanism (e.g. XLOCAL=NAMED), or an ordered list (e.g. XLOCAL="NAMED:PTS:SCO"). This variable overrides the compiled-in
defaults. For SVR4 it is recommended that NAMED be the first preference connection. The default setting is PTS:NAMED:ISC:SCO.
To globally override the compiled-in defaults, you should define (and export if using sh or ksh) XLOCAL globally. If you use startx/xinit,
the definition should be at the top of your .xinitrc file. If you use xdm, the definitions should be early on in the
In addition to the normal server options described in the Xserver(1) manual page, XFree86 accepts the following command line switches:
vtXX XX specifies the Virtual Terminal device number which XFree86 will use. Without this option, XFree86 will pick the first available
Virtual Terminal that it can locate. This option applies only to platforms such as Linux, BSD, SVR3 and SVR4, that have virtual
Allow the server to start up even if the mouse device can't be opened or initialised. This is equivalent to the AllowMouseOpenFail
XF86Config(5x) file option.
Allow changes to keyboard and mouse settings from non-local clients. By default, connections from non-local clients are not
allowed to do this. This is equivalent to the AllowNonLocalModInDev XF86Config(5x) file option.
Make the VidMode extension available to remote clients. This allows the xvidtune client to connect from another host. This is
equivalent to the AllowNonLocalXvidtune XF86Config(5x) file option. By default non-local connections are not allowed.
Set the blue gamma correction. value must be between 0.1 and 10. The default is 1.0. Not all drivers support this. See also the
-gamma, -rgamma, and -ggamma options.
-bpp n No longer supported. Use -depth to set the color depth, and use -fbbpp if you really need to force a non-default framebuffer
(hardware) pixel format.
When this option is specified, the X server loads all video driver modules, probes for available hardware, and writes out an ini-
tial XF86Config(5x) file based on what was detected. This option currently has some problems on some platforms, but in most cases
it is a good way to bootstrap the configuration process. This option is only available when the server is run as root (i.e, with
SCO only. This is the same as the vt option, and is provided for compatibility with the native SCO X server.
Sets the default color depth. Legal values are 1, 4, 8, 15, 16, and 24. Not all drivers support all values.
Disable dynamic modification of input device settings. This is equivalent to the DisableModInDev XF86Config(5x) file option.
Disable the the parts of the VidMode extension (used by the xvidtune client) that can be used to change the video modes. This is
equivalent to the DisableVidModeExtension XF86Config(5x) file option.
Sets the number of framebuffer bits per pixel. You should only set this if you're sure it's necessary; normally the server can
deduce the correct value from -depth above. Useful if you want to run a depth 24 configuration with a 24 bpp framebuffer rather
than the (possibly default) 32 bpp framebuffer (or vice versa). Legal values are 1, 8, 16, 24, 32. Not all drivers support all
Swap the default values for the black and white pixels.
Set the gamma correction. value must be between 0.1 and 10. The default is 1.0. This value is applied equally to the R, G and B
values. Those values can be set independently with the -rgamma, -bgamma, and -ggamma options. Not all drivers support this.
Set the green gamma correction. value must be between 0.1 and 10. The default is 1.0. Not all drivers support this. See also
the -gamma, -rgamma, and -bgamma options.
The X server checks the ABI revision levels of each module that it loads. It will normally refuse to load modules with ABI revi-
sions that are newer than the server's. This is because such modules might use interfaces that the server does not have. When
this option is specified, mismatches like this are downgraded from fatal errors to warnings. This option should be used with care.
Prevent the server from detaching its initial controlling terminal. This option is only useful when debugging the server. Not all
platforms support (or can use) this option.
Use the XF86Config(5x) file InputDevice section called keyboard-name as the core keyboard. This option is ignored when the Layout
section specifies a core keyboard. In the absence of both a Layout section and this option, the first relevant InputDevice section
is used for the core keyboard.
Use the XF86Config(5x) file Layout section called layout-name. By default the first Layout section is used.
Use the file called filename as the X server log file. The default log file is /var/log/XFree86.n.log on most platforms, where n
is the display number of the X server. The default may be in a different directory on some platforms. This option is only avail-
able when the server is run as root (i.e, with real-uid 0).
Sets the verbosity level for information printed to the X server log file. If the n value isn't supplied, each occurrance of this
option increments the log file verbosity level. When the n value is supplied, the log file verbosity level is set to that value.
The default log file verbosity level is 3.
Set the module search path to searchpath. searchpath is a comma separated list of directories to search for X server modules.
This option is only available when the server is run as root (i.e, with real-uid 0).
-nosilk Disable Silken Mouse support.
Set the internal pixmap format for depth 24 pixmaps to 24 bits per pixel. The default is usually 32 bits per pixel. There is nor-
mally little reason to use this option. Some client applications don't like this pixmap format, even though it is a perfectly
legal format. This is equvalent to the Pixmap XF86Config(5x) file option.
Set the internal pixmap format for depth 24 pixmaps to 32 bits per pixel. This is usually the default. This is equvalent to the
Pixmap XF86Config(5x) file option.
Use the XF86Config(5x) file InputDevice section called pointer-name as the core pointer. This option is ignored when the Layout
section specifies a core pointer. In the absence of both a Layout section and this option, the first relevant InputDevice section
is used for the core pointer.
Causes the server to exit after the device probing stage. The XF86Config file is still used when this option is given, so informa-
tion that can be auto-detected should be commented out.
-quiet Suppress most informational messages at startup. The verbosity level is set to zero.
Set the red gamma correction. value must be between 0.1 and 10. The default is 1.0. Not all drivers support this. See also the
-gamma, -bgamma, and -ggamma options.
When this option is specified, the X server scans the PCI bus, and prints out some information about each device that was detected.
See also scanpci(1) and pcitweak(1).
Use the XF86Config(5x) file Screen section called screen-name. By default the screens referenced by the default Layout section are
used, or the first Screen section when there are no Layout sections.
This is the same as the -version option, and is included for compatibility reasons. It may be removed in a future release, so the
-version option should be used instead.
Set RGB weighting at 16 bpp. The default is 565. This applies only to those drivers which support 16 bpp.
Sets the verbosity level for information printed on stderr. If the n value isn't supplied, each occurrance of this option incre-
ments the verbosity level. When the n value is supplied, the verbosity level is set to that value. The default verbosity level is
Print out the server version, patchlevel, release date, the operating system/platform it was built on, and whether it includes mod-
ule loader support.
Read the server configuration from file. This option will work for any file when the server is run as root (i.e, with real-uid 0),
or for files relative to a directory in the config search path for all other users.
The XFree86 server is normally configured to recognize various special combinations of key presses that instruct the server to perform some
action, rather than just sending the keypress event to a client application. The default XKEYBOARD keymap defines the key combinations
listed below. The server also has these key combinations builtin to its event handler for cases where the XKEYBOARD extension is not being
used. When using the XKEYBOARD extension, which key combinations perform which actions is completely configurable.
For more information about when the builtin event handler is used to recognize the special key combinations, see the documentation on the
HandleSpecialKeys option in the XF86Config(5x) man page.
The special combinations of key presses recognized directly by XFree86 are:
Immediately kills the server -- no questions asked. This can be disabled with the DontZap XF86Config(5x) file option.
Change video mode to next one specified in the configuration file. This can be disabled with the DontZoom XF86Config(5x) file
Change video mode to previous one specified in the configuration file. This can be disabled with the DontZoom XF86Config(5x) file
Not treated specially by default. If the AllowClosedownGrabs XF86Config(5x) file option is specified, this key sequence kills
clients with an active keyboard or mouse grab as well as killing any application that may have locked the server, normally using
the XGrabServer(3x) Xlib function.
Not treated specially by default. If the AllowDeactivateGrabs XF86Config(5x) file option is specified, this key sequence deacti-
vates any active keyboard and mouse grabs.
For BSD and Linux systems with virtual terminal support, these keystroke combinations are used to switch to virtual terminals 1
through 12, respectively. This can be disabled with the DontVTSwitch XF86Config(5x) file option.
XFree86 uses a configuration file called XF86Config for its initial setup. Refer to the XF86Config(5x) manual page for information about
the format of this file.
The X server config file can be found in a range of locations. These are documented fully in the XF86Config(5x) manual page. The most
commonly used locations are shown here.
/etc/X11/XF86Config Server configuration file
/etc/X11/XF86Config-4 Server configuration file
/etc/XF86Config Server configuration file
/usr/X11R6/etc/XF86Config Server configuration file
/usr/X11R6/lib/X11/XF86Config Server configuration file
/var/log/XFree86.n.log Server log file for display n.
/usr/X11R6/bin/* Client binaries
/usr/X11R6/include/* Header files
/usr/X11R6/lib/X11/rgb.txt Color names to RGB mapping
/usr/X11R6/lib/X11/XErrorDB Client error message database
Client resource specifications
/usr/X11R6/man/man?/* Manual pages
/etc/Xn.hosts Initial access control list for display n
X(7x), Xserver(1), xdm(1), xinit(1), XF86Config(5x), xf86config(1), xf86cfg(1), xvidtune(1), apm(4x), ati(4x), chips(4x), cirrus(4x),
cyrix(4x), fbdev(4x), glide(4x), glint(4x), i128(4x), i740(4x), i810(4x), imstt(4x), mga(4x), neomagic(4x), nsc(4x), nv(4x), r128(4x), ren-
dition(4x), s3virge(4x), siliconmotion(4x), sis(4x), sunbw2(4x), suncg14(4x), suncg3(4x), suncg6(4x), sunffb(4x), sunleo(4x), suntcx(4x),
tdfx(4x), tga(4x), trident(4x), tseng(4x), v4l(4x), vesa(4x), vga(4x), vmware(4x),
XFree86 has many contributors world wide. The names of most of them can be found in the documentation, CHANGELOG files in the source tree,
and in the actual source code.
XFree86 was originally based on X386 1.2 by Thomas Roell, which was contributed to the then X Consortium's X11R5 distribution by SGCS.
The project that became XFree86 was originally founded in 1992 by David Dawes, Glenn Lai, Jim Tsillas and David Wexelblat.
XFree86 was later integrated in the then X Consortium's X11R6 release by a group of dedicated XFree86 developers, including the following:
Stuart Anderson email@example.com
Doug Anson firstname.lastname@example.org
Gertjan Akkerman email@example.com
Mike Bernson firstname.lastname@example.org
Robin Cutshaw robin@XFree86.org
David Dawes dawes@XFree86.org
Marc Evans marc@XFree86.org
Pascal Haible email@example.com
Matthieu Herrb Matthieu.Herrb@laas.fr
Dirk Hohndel hohndel@XFree86.org
David Holland firstname.lastname@example.org
Alan Hourihane email@example.com
Jeffrey Hsu firstname.lastname@example.org
Glenn Lai email@example.com
Ted Lemon firstname.lastname@example.org
Rich Murphey rich@XFree86.org
Hans Nasten email@example.com
Mark Snitily firstname.lastname@example.org
Randy Terbush email@example.com
Jon Tombs tombs@XFree86.org
Kees Verstoep firstname.lastname@example.org
Paul Vixie email@example.com
Mark Weaver Mark_Weaver@brown.edu
David Wexelblat dwex@XFree86.org
Philip Wheatley Philip.Wheatley@ColumbiaSC.NCR.COM
Thomas Wolfram firstname.lastname@example.org
Orest Zborowski email@example.com
The current XFree86 core team consists of:
Stuart Anderson firstname.lastname@example.org
Robin Cutshaw email@example.com
David Dawes firstname.lastname@example.org
Egbert Eich email@example.com
Marc Evans firstname.lastname@example.org
Dirk Hohndel email@example.com
Alan Hourihane firstname.lastname@example.org
Harald Koenig email@example.com
Marc La France firstname.lastname@example.org
Kevin Martin email@example.com
Rich Murphey firstname.lastname@example.org
Takaaki Nomura email@example.com
Keith Packard firstname.lastname@example.org
Jon Tombs email@example.com
Mark Vojkovich firstname.lastname@example.org
David Wexelblat email@example.com
XFree86 source is available from the FTP server <ftp://ftp.XFree86.org/pub/XFree86/>, and from the XFree86 CVS server
<http://www.xfree86.org/cvs/>. Documentation and other information can be found from the XFree86 web site <http://www.xfree86.org/>.
XFree86 Version Version 4.3.0 XFree86(1)