Xorg(1x) manual page (2024)

Table of Contents


Xorg - X11R6 X server


Xorg [:display] [option ...]


Xorgis a full featured X server that was originally designed for UNIX and UNIX-likeoperating systems running on Intel x86 hardware. It now runs on a widerrange of hardware and OS platforms.

This work was derived from XFree864.4rc2by the X.Org Foundation. The XFree86 4.4rc2 release was originally derivedfrom X3861.2 by Thomas Roell which was contributed to X11R5 by Snitily GraphicsConsulting Service. The Xorg server architecture includes among many otherthings a loadable module system derived from code donated by Metro Link,Inc. The current Xorg release is compatible with X11R6.6.


Xorg operatesunder a wide range of operating systems and hardware platforms. The Intelx86 (IA32) architecture is the most widely supported hardware platform. Other hardware platforms include Compaq Alpha, Intel IA64, SPARC and PowerPC. The most widely supported operating systems are the free/OpenSource UNIX-likesystems such as Linux, FreeBSD, NetBSD and OpenBSD. Commercial UNIX operatingsystems such as Solaris (x86) and UnixWare are also supported. Other supportedoperating systems include LynxOS, and GNU Hurd. Darwin and Mac OS X aresupported with the XDarwin(1) X server. Win32/Cygwin is supported withthe XWin X server.

Network Connections

Xorg supports connections made usingthe 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 someother mechanisms.
Xorg listens on port 6000+n, where n is the displaynumber. This connection type can be disabled with the -nolisten option (seethe Xserver(1) man page for details).

Environment Variables

For operatingsystems that support local connections other than Unix Domain sockets (SVR3and SVR4), there is a compiled-in list specifying the order in which localconnections should be attempted. This list can be overridden by the XLOCALenvironment variable described below. If the display name indicates a best-choiceconnection should be made (e.g. :0.0), each connection mechanism is trieduntil a connection succeeds or no more mechanisms are available. Note:for these OSs, the Unix Domain socket connection is treated differentlyfrom the other local connection types. To use it the connection must bemade to unix:0.0.

The XLOCAL environment variable should contain a list ofone more more of the following:


which represent SVR4 Named Streams pipe, Old-style USL Streams pipe, SCOXSight Streams pipe, and ISC Streams pipe, respectively. You can selecta single mechanism (e.g. XLOCAL=NAMED), or an ordered list (e.g. XLOCAL="NAMED:PTS:SCO").his variable overrides the compiled-in defaults. For SVR4 it is recommendedthat 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 exportif using sh or ksh) XLOCAL globally. If you use startx(1) or xinit(1),the definition should be at the top of your .xinitrc file. If you use xdm(1),the definitions should be early on in the /usr/X11R6/lib/X11/xdm/Xsessionscript.


Xorg supports several mechanisms for supplying/obtainingconfiguration and run-time parameters: command line options, environmentvariables, the xorg.conf(5x) configuration file, auto-detection, and fallbackdefaults. When the same information is supplied in more than one way, thehighest precedence mechanism is used. The list of mechanisms is orderedfrom highest precedence to lowest. Note that not all parameters can besupplied via all methods. The available command line options and environmentvariables (and some defaults) are described here and in the Xserver(1)manual page. Most configuration file parameters, with their defaults, aredescribed in the xorg.conf(5x) manual page. Driver and module specific configurationparameters are described in the relevant driver or module manual page.

Inaddition to the normal server options described in the Xserver(1) manualpage, Xorg accepts the following command line switches:

XX specifiesthe Virtual Terminal device number which Xorg will use. Without this option,Xorg 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 terminal support.
Allow the serverto start up even if the mouse device can't be opened or initialised. Thisis equivalent to the AllowMouseOpenFail xorg.conf(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 equivalentto the AllowNonLocalModInDev xorg.conf(5x) file option.
Make the VidMode extension available to remote clients. This allows thexvidtune client to connect from another host. This is equivalent to theAllowNonLocalXvidtune xorg.conf(5x) file option. By default non-local connectionsare not allowed.
-bgamma value
Set the blue gamma correction. value must bebetween 0.1 and 10. The default is 1.0. Not all drivers support this. Seealso 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 forcea non-default framebuffer (hardware) pixel format.
When this optionis specified, the Xorg server loads all video driver modules, probes foravailable hardware, and writes out an initial xorg.conf(5x) file based onwhat 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, withreal-uid 0).
-crt /dev/ttyXX
SCO only. This is the same as the vt option,and is provided for compatibility with the native SCO X server.
-depth n
Sets the default color depth. Legal values are 1, 4, 8, 15, 16, and 24. Not all drivers support all values.
Disable dynamic modificationof input device settings. This is equivalent to the DisableModInDev xorg.conf(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 xorg.conf(5x) file option.
-fbbpp n
Sets the number of framebuffer bits per pixel. You should onlyset this if you're sure it's necessary; normally the server can deduce thecorrect value from -depth above. Useful if you want to run a depth 24 configurationwith 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 supportall values.
Swap the default values for the black and white pixels.
-gamma value
Set the gamma correction. value must be between 0.1 and 10. Thedefault 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 -ggammaoptions. Not all drivers support this.
-ggamma value
Set the green gammacorrection. value must be between 0.1 and 10. The default is 1.0. Not alldrivers support this. See also the -gamma, -rgamma, and -bgamma options.
The Xorg server checks the ABI revision levels of each module that it loads. It will normally refuse to load modules with ABI revisions that are newerthan the server's. This is because such modules might use interfaces thatthe server does not have. When this option is specified, mismatches likethis are downgraded from fatal errors to warnings. This option should beused with care.
Prevent the server from detaching its initial controllingterminal. This option is only useful when debugging the server. Not allplatforms support (or can use) this option.
-keyboard keyboard-name
Use thexorg.conf(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 relevantInputDevice section is used for the core keyboard.
-layout layout-name
Usethe xorg.conf(5x) file Layout section called layout-name. By default the firstLayout section is used.
-logfile filename
Use the file called filename asthe Xorg server log file. The default log file is /var/log/Xorg.n.log onmost platforms, where n is the display number of the Xorg server. The defaultmay be in a different directory on some platforms. This option is only availablewhen the server is run as root (i.e, with real-uid 0).
-logverbose [n]
Setsthe verbosity level for information printed to the Xorg server log file. If the n value isn't supplied, each occurrence of this option incrementsthe log file verbosity level. When the n value is supplied, the log fileverbosity level is set to that value. The default log file verbosity levelis 3.
-modulepath searchpath
Set the module search path to searchpath. searchpathis a comma separated list of directories to search for Xorg server modules. This option is only available when the server is run as root (i.e, withreal-uid 0).
Disable Silken Mouse support.
Set the internalpixmap format for depth 24 pixmaps to 24 bits per pixel. The default isusually 32 bits per pixel. There is normally little reason to use thisoption. Some client applications don't like this pixmap format, even thoughit is a perfectly legal format. This is equivalent to the Pixmap xorg.conf(5x)file option.
Set the internal pixmap format for depth 24 pixmapsto 32 bits per pixel. This is usually the default. This is equivalent tothe Pixmap xorg.conf(5x) file option.
-pointer pointer-name
Use the xorg.conf(5x)file InputDevice section called pointer-name as the core pointer. This optionis ignored when the Layout section specifies a core pointer. In the absenceof both a Layout section and this option, the first relevant InputDevicesection is used for the core pointer.
Causes the server to exitafter the device probing stage. The xorg.conf(5x) file is still used whenthis option is given, so information that can be auto-detected should becommented out.
Suppress most informational messages at startup. Theverbosity level is set to zero.
-rgamma value
Set the red gamma correction.value must be between 0.1 and 10. The default is 1.0. Not all drivers supportthis. See also the -gamma, -bgamma, and -ggamma options.
When thisoption is specified, the Xorg server scans the PCI bus, and prints outsome information about each device that was detected. See also scanpci(1)and pcitweak(1).
-screen screen-name
Use the xorg.conf(5x) file Screen sectioncalled screen-name. By default the screens referenced by the default Layoutsection are used, or the first Screen section when there are no Layoutsections.
This is the same as the -version option, and is includedfor compatibility reasons. It may be removed in a future release, so the-version option should be used instead.
-weight nnn
Set RGB weighting at 16bpp. The default is 565. This applies only to those drivers which support16 bpp.
-verbose [n]
Sets the verbosity level for information printed onstderr. If the n value isn't supplied, each occurrence of this option incrementsthe verbosity level. When the n value is supplied, the verbosity levelis set to that value. The default verbosity level is 0.
Print outthe server version, patchlevel, release date, the operating system/platformit was built on, and whether it includes module loader support.
-config file
Read the server configuration from file. This option will work for any filewhen the server is run as root (i.e, with real-uid 0), or for files relativeto a directory in the config search path for all other users.


TheXorg server is normally configured to recognize various special combinationsof key presses that instruct the server to perform some action, ratherthan just sending the key press event to a client application. The defaultXKEYBOARD keymap defines the key combinations listed below. The server alsohas these key combinations builtin to its event handler for cases wherethe 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 recognizethe special key combinations, see the documentation on the HandleSpecialKeysoption in the xorg.conf(5x) man page.

The special combinations of key pressesrecognized directly by Xorg are:

Immediately kills theserver -- no questions asked. This can be disabled with the DontZap xorg.conf(5x)file option.
Change video mode to next one specifiedin the configuration file. This can be disabled with the DontZoom xorg.conf(5x)file option.
Change video mode to previous one specifiedin the configuration file. This can be disabled with the DontZoom xorg.conf(5x)file option.
Not treated specially by default. Ifthe AllowClosedownGrabs xorg.conf(5x) file option is specified, this keysequence kills clients with an active keyboard or mouse grab as well askilling any application that may have locked the server, normally usingthe XGrabServer(3x) Xlib function.
Not treated speciallyby default. If the AllowDeactivateGrabs xorg.conf(5x) file option is specified,this key sequence deactivates any active keyboard and mouse grabs.
For BSD and Linux systems with virtual terminal support, these keystrokecombinations are used to switch to virtual terminals 1 through 12, respectively. This can be disabled with the DontVTSwitch xorg.conf(5x) file option.


Xorgtypically uses a configuration file called xorg.conf for its initial setup.Refer to the xorg.conf(5x) manual page for information about the formatof this file.

Starting with version 4.4, Xorg has a mechanism for automaticallygenerating a built-in configuration at run-time when no xorg.conf file ispresent. The current version of this automatic configuration mechanismworks in three ways.

The first is via enhancements that have made many componentsof the xorg.conf file optional. This means that information that can beprobed or reasonably deduced doesn't need to be specified explicitly, greatlyreducing the amount of built-in configuration information that needs tobe generated at run-time.

The second is to use an external utility calledgetconfig(1), when available, to use meta-configuration information to generatea suitable configuration for the primary video device. The meta-configurationinformation can be updated to allow an existing installation to get thebest out of new hardware or to work around bugs that are found post-release.

The third is to have "safe" fallbacks for most configuration information.This maximises the likelihood that the Xorg server will start up in someusable configuration even when information about the specific hardwareis not available.

The automatic configuration support for Xorg is work inprogress. It is currently aimed at the most popular hardware and softwareplatforms supported by Xorg. Enhancements are planned for future releases.


The Xorg server config file can be found in a range of locations. These are documented fully in the xorg.conf(5x) manual page. The most commonlyused locations are shown here.
Server configuration file.
Server configuration file.
Server configurationfile.
Server configuration file.
Server configuration file.
Server log file for displayn.
Client binaries.
Header files.
Colornames to RGB mapping.
Client error message database.
Client resource specifications.
Manual pages.
Initial access control list for display n.


X(7x), Xserver(1x), xdm(1x), xinit(1x), xorg.conf(5x), xorgconfig(1x),xorgcfg(1x), xvidtune(1x), 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), rendition(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),
Web site <http://www.x.org>.


Xorg has many contributors world wide. The names of most of them can be found in the documentation, CHANGELOGfiles in the source tree, and in the actual source code.

Xorg was originallybased on XFree86 4.4rc2. That was originally based on X386 1.2 by Thomas Roell,which was contributed to the then X Consortium's X11R5 distribution by SGCS.

Xorg is released by the X.org Foundation.

The project that became XFree86was originally founded in 1992 by David Dawes, Glenn Lai, Jim Tsillas andDavid Wexelblat.

XFree86 was later integrated in the then X Consortium'sX11R6 release by a group of dedicated XFree86 developers, including thefollowing:

Stuart Anderson anderson@metrolink.comDoug Anson danson@lgc.comGertjan Akkerman akkerman@dutiba.twi.tudelft.nlMike Bernson mike@mbsun.mlb.orgRobin Cutshaw robin@XFree86.orgDavid Dawes dawes@XFree86.orgMarc Evans marc@XFree86.orgPascal Haible haible@izfm.uni-stuttgart.deMatthieu Herrb Matthieu.Herrb@laas.frDirk Hohndel hohndel@XFree86.orgDavid Holland davidh@use.comAlan Hourihane alanh@fairlite.demon.co.ukJeffrey Hsu hsu@soda.berkeley.eduGlenn Lai glenn@cs.utexas.eduTed Lemon mellon@ncd.comRich Murphey rich@XFree86.orgHans Nasten nasten@everyware.seMark Snitily mark@sgcs.comRandy Terbush randyt@cse.unl.eduJon Tombs tombs@XFree86.orgKees Verstoep versto@cs.vu.nlPaul Vixie paul@vix.comMark Weaver Mark_Weaver@brown.eduDavid Wexelblat dwex@XFree86.orgPhilip Wheatley Philip.Wheatley@ColumbiaSC.NCR.COMThomas Wolfram wolf@prz.tu-berlin.deOrest Zborowski orestz@eskimo.com

Xorg source is available from the FTP server <ftp://ftp.x.org/>, and from theX.org server <http://www.freedesktop.org/cvs/>. Documentation and other informationcan be found from the X.org web site <http://www.x.org/>.


Xorg is copyrightsoftware, provided under licenses that permit modification and redistributionin source and binary form without fee. Xorg is copyright by numerous authorsand contributors from around the world. Licensing information can be foundat <http://www.x.org>. Refer to the source code for specific copyright notices.

XFree86(TM) is a trademark of The XFree86 Project, Inc.

X11(TM) and X WindowSystem(TM) are trademarks of The Open Group.

Table of Contents

  • Name
  • Synopsis
  • Description
  • Platforms
  • Network Connections
  • Environment Variables
  • Options
  • Keyboard
  • Configuration
  • Files
  • See Also
  • Authors
  • Legal
Xorg(1x) manual page (2024)


Is X11 the same as Xorg? ›

Xorg is an open-source application that interacts with client applications through the X11 protocol used with the X Window System, or simply X. The X system, which debuted in 1984, was designed to render graphics over a network.

Where are the Xorg logs? ›

The default log file is /var/log/Xorg. n. log on most platforms, where n is the display number of the Xorg server.

What is Xorg X11 server in Linux? ›

X.Org Server is the free and open-source implementation of the X Window System (X11) display server stewarded by the X.Org Foundation.

Is X11 deprecated? ›

Apple originally ported X to macOS in the form of X11. app, but that has been deprecated in favor of the XQuartz implementation. Third-party servers under Apple's older operating systems in the 1990s, System 7, and Mac OS 8 and 9, included Apple's MacX and White Pine Software's eXodus.

Is Wayland going to replace Xorg? ›

Wayland is a protocol that defines the communication between a display server and its clients, as well as a library implementing the protocol. It is intended to replace the legacy X Window System (X11 or Xorg), which has been the standard for graphical user interfaces (GUIs) on Unix-like operating systems for decades.

Does pop OS use Xorg or Wayland? ›

Pop!_ OS currently uses Xorg as its display manager, with Wayland available optionally. TensorFlow and CUDA enabled programs can be added by installing packages from the Pop!_ OS repositories without additional configuration required.

Which is faster, X11 or Wayland? ›

All I can say is I've noticed much better performance using Wayland on my PC but it may be different for you. I mentioned in a post earlier that under X11 I could barely play Divinity Original Sin 2 with the minimum settings however on wayland I am able to play it comforatbly with medium settings.

How do I switch between Xorg and Wayland? ›

On the Login, screen click on your Username. When Username is selected, find the “gear” icon lower right corner. Click on the “gear” icon and select “Ubuntu on Xorg”. Type your password and hit Enter to login.

How do I know if Xorg is installed? ›

If you want to check whether x11 is installed, run dpkg -l | grep xorg . If you want to check if x11 is currently running (if logged in) then run echo $XDG_SESSION_TYPE .

How do I know if I am using Xorg? ›

Using loginctl Command

This command will display the session type for your current login. If it says wayland , you're on Wayland. If it says x11 , you're on Xorg.

How do I know if Xorg is running? ›

Check whether Wayland or Xorg is in use

If you use xorg (X display server), you should get x11 in the output. To summarize: Check the value of $XDG_SESSION_TYPE variable in terminal. For Wayland, you get wayland and for Xorg you get in the output.

Is Xorg.conf needed? ›

Newer versions of Xorg are auto-configuring, so manual configuration should not be needed. If Xorg is unable to detect any monitor or to avoid auto-configuring, a configuration file can be used.

Does GNOME need Xorg? ›

The GNOME session uses Wayland instead of X but is otherwise identical. Wayland is a newer display protocol that is a better match for the needs of modern applications. The Xorg session will eventually be retired.

What is the alternative to Xorg server? ›

X.Org alternatives? MicroXWin, Wayland, Y, DFB, Xynth, Fresco, etc..
  • MicroXWin: (from their website) "X Window Systems is a standard graphics framework for Unix/Linux desktops. ...
  • Y Window System: (from their site) "Network Transparency.
Dec 22, 2009

What replaced X11? ›

Wayland is a replacement for the X11 window system protocol and architecture with the aim to be easier to develop, extend, and maintain.

Do I use Wayland or X11? ›

Wayland's protocol is designed from the ground up to be more straightforward than X11's. The X11 protocol has accumulated many legacy features and extensions over its long history. A simpler protocol often results in faster execution and, hence, lower latency.

Does Wayland run as X11? ›

In Wayland, though, most of the compositors are also the entire display server. So you can run e.g. Mutter Wayland, kwin_wayland, weston, sway, etc. as an X11 client to varying degrees of success, and it looks and functions kind of like running a nested X server, just, with a Wayland server.

What is the alternative to Xorg Linux? ›

MicroXWin, Wayland, Y, DFB, Xynth, Fresco, etc.


Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Jeremiah Abshire

Last Updated:

Views: 6483

Rating: 4.3 / 5 (74 voted)

Reviews: 81% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Jeremiah Abshire

Birthday: 1993-09-14

Address: Apt. 425 92748 Jannie Centers, Port Nikitaville, VT 82110

Phone: +8096210939894

Job: Lead Healthcare Manager

Hobby: Watching movies, Watching movies, Knapping, LARPing, Coffee roasting, Lacemaking, Gaming

Introduction: My name is Jeremiah Abshire, I am a outstanding, kind, clever, hilarious, curious, hilarious, outstanding person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.