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["GUI"] > ["XFree86"]
  • {i} XFree86 (up to [:DebianSarge:Debian/Sarge]) has been replaced by Xorg since [:DebianEtch:Debian/Etch]

Configuring XFree86

DebConf configuration

XFree86 can both be configured in Debian (woody+) using ["debconf"]. This is done when the package is installed, but can be re-run any time by executing::

 $ dpkg-reconfigure <package-name>

where '<package-name>' is the name of the xserver. Use 'xserver-xfree86' or 'xserver-<type>'. Editing your /etc/X11/ config file is only necessary if you have some special needs or are particularly curious. If you must...

Manual XFree86

["XFree86"] may be configured by editing the file


If you use XFree 4.x try the command

 $ XFree86 -configure

USB mouse

Your Universal Serial Bus (["USB"]) mouse may be configured correctly by adding this section to your !XF86Config-4.

 Section "InputDevice"
     Identifier "USB Mice"
     Driver "mouse"
     Option "CorePointer"
 #   Option "SendCoreEvents"
     Option "Protocol" "IMPS/2"
     Option "Device" "/dev/input/mice"
     Option "["ZAxisMapping"]" "4 5"
     Option "Buttons" "5"

If you only use a USB mouse use the CorePointer option, otherwise use the SendCoreEvents option.

Using XFree86 with GPM

Configure XFree86

In your XF86Config (-4) file:

 Section "InputDevice"
        Identifier "Generic Mouse"
        Driver     "mouse"
 #      Option     "CorePointer"
        Option     "SendCoreEvents"
        Option     "Device"   "/dev/gpmdata"
        Option     "Protocol" "IntelliMouse"

The IntelliMouse driver corresponds to the "repeat_type=ms3" option in gpm.conf, which is the default repeat type in Debian.

On the gpm side of things

To configure gpm use program gpmconfig. For most of the scroll wheel mice I use a type of imps2. That seems to work best.

In a normal setup gpm listens to the port the mouse is connected to and repeats/relays the mouse events to a unix socket /dev/gpmdata. This allows console applications like mc (Midnight Commander) to get mouse events. For X windows to hear the mouse it should be configured to listen to /dev/gpmdata. I've always had the best luck configuring gpm to repeat in raw mode and configure X windows to use whatever protocol the mouse uses. In this setup the mouse type should be set in two places, in gpmconfig and in your X windows configuration. I get the feeling this is a non-standard approach but it's alway given me the least problems.