X Window

X Window

I guess that pretty much everyone that wants to set up Linux on a laptop will want to use graphics. If this is not the case, then ignore X Window, and much of the following setup information. The debian CDs contain a lot of X Window software, but we will only look at setting up the basic X Window system here. Please note that, depending on your version of Debian, X might not work from the box.

Getting X Window

Use the dselect program to install the x-window-system package. If you were to restart the machine now, then it will try to start XDM but fail because of problems with the driver. Hence the next section.

Getting a Usable X Driver

The supplied X drivers do not work with the video chip in the Acer. However, help is at hand from the guru of graphics and SIS at http://www.winischhofer.net/. You will need to download and unzip the sis_drv.o and sis_dri.so files. Make sure that you chose the correct ones. For my version of Debian, I needed the ones built for XFree 4.1.

Once you have these files, they must be copied as follows:
sis_drv.o into /usr/X11R6/lib/modules/driver
sis_dri.so into /usr/X11R6/lib/modules/dri

You should now be able to restart the machine and have the XDM screen greet you. There is no need to alter anything in the XFree configuration files.

I want a Console

To swap between the virtual consoles, you will need to use Ctrl-Alt-F?. You may find the initial X system a little bit restrictive to say the least, and will need to install a Window Manager.