Software: Installing XFree86 from source

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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 1999

    Software: Installing XFree86 from source

    Note: The lines starting with '>' are the actual commands you need to type at the commandline (do not type > as part of the command). You will need to be root to install XFree86.

    > cd /

    > mkdir xsource-4.3


    X430src-1.tgz required source
    X430src-2.tgz required source
    X430src-3.tgz required source
    X430src-4.tgz fonts
    X430src-5.tgz fonts
    X430src-6.tgz doc spec source
    X430src-7.tgz doc spec hardcopy





    > init 3

    to go to console mode or reboot into single user mode

    Backup existing installation of XFree

    > cd /
    > mkdir xbackup
    > cp /usr/X11R6 /xbackup -Rr
    > cp /etc/X11 /xbackup -Rr

    > cd /xsource-4.3

    Type the following to extract the .tgz packages

    > find . -name "*tgz" -exec tar zxvf {} \;

    When the extraction of the 7 tgz files has completed

    Compiling XFree86 4.3

    > cd xc

    > make World >& world.log

    This will take quite a while

    When this step has completed, check for any errors

    > tail -n 50 world.log

    If no errors, then continue

    > make install >& install.log

    Wnen this step has completed, check for any errors

    > tail -n 50 install.log

    If no error, then continue

    > make >& man.log

    Wnen this step has completed, check for any errors

    > tail -n 50 man.log

    Check to see if link exists

    > cd /usr/X11R6/bin

    > ls -l X

    If not symlinked to XFree86, then create link

    > ln -sf /usr/X11R6/bin/XFree86 ./X

    Now you may need to reconfigure X

    > XFree86 -configure

    Run the configuration program that will probe and/or guess all your settings.

    This will create a new conf in the root directory.
    To test this new configuration, run this command:

    > XFree86 -xf86config /root/

    This will display a grey hatch with an 'X' for the mouse cursor.

    If this works fine, hit CTRL-ALT-BACKSPACE to return to the commandline.

    Copy this file to the /etc/X11/ directory using this command:

    > cp /root/ /etc/X11/XF86Config-4

    This may not work correctly as further configuration will need to be done.

    > xf86cfg

    If errors such as library not found when running xf86cfg, then do the following

    > ldconfig

    as it should fix the library not found errors. Hopefully...

    > xf86cfg

    This creates the same file, so to test it, follow the same steps as before.

    > XFree86 -xf86config /root/

    > cp /root/ /etc/X11/XF86Config-4

    Once setup correctly, type

    > init 5

    to go back to graphical mode or reboot if booted into single user mode.
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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2001
    SF Bay Area, CA
    We might want to add a bit to this one, between "cd xc" and "make World >& world.log". It would be good to mention that the user can copy config/cf/xf86site.def to config/cf/host.def, then edit it to customize the resulting X installation. For example, if they already have Freetype installed, they can link X against the installed Freetype rather than building the included version. I don't remember what the option is, but it's in there somewhere.

    For this one, a link to the BLFS book might be good too (, since it has a full section on X and its dependencies. But whatever.

    (Mike -- when you decide whether or not to change this stuff, go ahead and delete this post, since it doesn't belong in the final how-to thread. )

    Oh -- might want to add a comment to the first line, too. Something like:

    "The lines starting with '>' are the actual commands ... Do not type the '>' character."

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