No xorg.conf, I Thought this Was what Everyone Wanted

Over the past few releases, Xorg has been gradually moving away from xorg.conf.  The goal would be to completely get rid of xorg.conf and have everything “just work” through auto detection.  However, since auto detection was introduced along with some nifty HAL goodness, I’ve heard a lot of people complaining about it.  A lot of people are saying that they actually want to edit their xorg.conf.  This strikes me as odd because a while ago it was the exact opposite.

2 years ago, back when I started with Linux, everyone made a huge deal about editing xorg.conf.  The big complaint was that dealing with xorg.conf was the biggest thing holding Linux back from making it onto the mainstream desktop.  A new user would be turned off if they had to edit a confusing text file to get their graphics working.  If Windows doesnt’ need a xorg.conf, we shouldn’t either.  And it went on and on.

This is where we are right now.  Things should “just work” with little or no configuration, but now people are complaining that they can’t edit their xorg.conf.  I thought that’s what everyone wanted.  It seems to be a no win situation. 😐


4 thoughts on “No xorg.conf, I Thought this Was what Everyone Wanted”

  1. That’s not about it.
    The main idea is that user must be able to CHOOSE if he wants to edit his config files manually (e.g. for some nifty features like various dual-head configurations), or if he’s fine with autoconfigured defaults. The problem currently is: HAL configuration compared to xorg.conf is overcomplicated. No jokes. And to make things worse, hal’s config files are XML, not plaintext.
    So basically, atm user has this choice: he is either all good with “some reasonable defaults”, which hal autoconfigured, or is bound to read through a freakin’ heap of docs and edit another freakin’ heap of config files just to make his some-why-not-working keyboard layout work. That’s a poor choice if you ask me. Almost like no chocie at all.
    In contrast, to make things work in xorg.conf he needed to write ONE LINE. Maybe two. You get the point, right?

    P.S. Sorry, hadn’t much English practice lately, so my grammar’s a bit off.

  2. The problem is that the autoconfigured defaults are often wretched, and there is nothing I can do about it because the config file is screwed up.

    That’s why I use Xvesa. No mess and no fuss.

    1. Except that Xvesa, as far as I know, must be run as root. Major, major security problem from what I’ve read.

      My idea? HAL defaults, and options in xorg.conf to manually append additional values or override specific defaults. Then create an easy, Unix-philosophy-obeying way to specify those new values.

  3. Having no xorg.conf works fine when there are sensible defaults but it gets annoying when you want to improve things. For instance I found out my HP nc6120 laptop (intel graphics) can actually do a higher resolution than 1024×768 and yet I have no way of setting it to this as it does not appear in monitor preferences and no xorg so I can;t manaully set it! grrrr.

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