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Table Of Contents  CertiGuide to A+ (A+ 4 Real)
 9  Chapter 6: The Graphical Interface of the LINUX OS
      9  The Gnome and KDE Desktop Interfaces

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Video and Graphic Installation

At times a system administrator will need to upgrade or change either the monitor or the graphics boards on a system, in these cases or when one is having trouble getting the X Windows system to run, the system administrator will need to run one of the X Windows configuration tools.

Configuration will also be much easier if the existing hardware is checked against the various compatibility lists. Each distribution usually has one, additionally there is one at either: http://www.xfree86.org/support.html or http://www.xfree86.org/current/Status.html.

Much time and grief can be avoided by checking these lists before installing Linux on a system with a poorly supported graphics card or installing a new card that is incompatible.

There are usually several configuration tools shipped on most systems, which can be run when the X Windows system is either not configured correctly or not functional. The two most common are: XF86cfg, or XF86config.

Get Video Subsystem Information First

Important: before running either of these tools the system administrator needs to obtain certain basic information regarding the video sub-system. For example: the make and model of the graphics card installed, how much memory the graphics card has, the make and model of the display monitor and if possible the vertical and horizontal frequencies that the monitor will support at different resolutions. Consult the available manuals or the manufacturer's websites to find the necessary information.


Although each of these tools will attempt to probe both the card and the monitor to identify them, and in most cases will do so successfully, being forearmed with the proper information will simplify the process if the probes do not go as planned. If the administrator is modifying a working system, it is suggested that the X Windows configuration file be backed up. This file is usually located in the directory /etc/X11 and is named either XF86Config, XF86Config-4 or xorg.conf (remember file names are case sensitive in Linux). If both files are present then the second one is the one that should be backed up. This can be done either at the command line using the cp command to copy it to XF86Config-4.bak or by using a GUI tool (i.e. Konqueror or Nautilus), to make a backup copy of this file.


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