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As I try to understand why an Xubuntu 9.10-based liveCD I'm using won't 1) use a higher definition than 800x600, and 2) while logged on locally, let me change the keyboard layout from US to FR... I figure I should read a bit about how X works and the different issues, eg. I vaguely remember that some video chipsets (Nvidia?) require some proprietay driver to be installed.
Does someone know of a good primer to get the big picture?
PS: I suspect both issues are related. For those interested, here's some information:
# ps aux | grep X | grep -v grep
root 2477 0.1 1.7 23552 17056 tty7 Ss+ 16:37 0:06
/usr/bin/X11/X -nolisten tcp -auth /var/run/slim.auth vt07
# export DISPLAY=":0.0"
# xhost +localhost
No protocol specified
xhost: unable to open display ":0.0"
If you want the nvidia driver (probably best for Xubuntu 9.10) you should not recompile the kernel to get it. Recompiling the kernel is not helpful for installing the nvidia driver.
I don't have a link handy for instructions for installing the nvidia driver in Xubuntu 9.10, but I expect those instructions are easy to find.
I don't know whether the Nouveau driver in Xubuntu 9.10 is missing entirely or merely obsolete. Either way, I expect a Linux expert could get the desired driver into Xubuntu 9.10 and I think that would involve recompiling the kernel. But I think it would also involve some steps beyond my intermediate level of expertise in Linux. Not a good idea for an apparent beginner.
If you want to use the Nouveau driver in Xubuntu, get a newer version of Xubuntu. In Kubuntu 10.04 and Ubuntu 10.04 the Nouveau driver includes significant recent enhancements and now does a much better job of recognizing various hardware and getting resolutions and refresh rates and other features correct. I assume the same would be true in Xubuntu 10.04, but I haven't checked.
3. Try to start X (eg. /etc/init.d/slim start). If it doesn't start with the settings you want, exit X and run "Xorg -configure to create an xorg.conf file that you can customize
Caution: The Modeline returned by "gtf" includes a trailing ".00" which crashed X when starting it. Removing this ".00" solved the problem.