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[HOWTO] Get X.org CVS running

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rezza    0

X.org CVS HOWTO

Here's a quick guide for people who fancy trying out the new X.org with true transparency and drop shadows etc. It can also be used to give you a very basic idea of how to use CVS in general.

DISCLAIMER

Using unstable software, especially for something as important as your X server, can screw things up. A lot. If you can't afford the possibility that your computer may get completely hosed, this is not for you. If you can't afford the possibility that you might need to reinstall your old X server from a text console, this is not for you. If you are faint of heart or have a weak constitution, this is not for you. Having said that, if you enjoy trying out the newest stuff and don't mind having to pick up the pieces again afterwards if things go wrong, then this is exactly what you've been looking for.

Requirements

You will need the following software installed on your machine:

  • cvs
  • gcc
  • possibly automake and autoconf

There might be some other things you'll need, I'm not completely sure. As long as you have a fairly modern system with developer stuff installed and a recent toolchain, you should be fine.

First things first

First of all you need somewhere to download the source you'll be getting from CVS. It'll be pretty large, a few hundred megs I think. Decide where you're going to put it, open up a terminal, and lets go:

cvs -d :pserver:anoncvs@cvs.freedesktop.org:/cvs/xorg login

This will ask you for a password - just press return. This logs your machine on to the anonymous CVS server at freedesktop.org.

cvs -d :pserver:anoncvs@cvs.freedesktop.org:/cvs/xorg co -P xc

This is the big step. The co near the end of that command means checkout, and the -P xc tells it to get the xorg composite source and put it in a directory called xc (one will be created if it doesn't exist) so that will checkout the whole Xorg source tree onto your machine.

That will take a while. Browse neowin some more, watch a film, go for a walk, make a cup of tea, etc. The next part is when we start getting serious...

So you wanna make it in this world, eh kiddo...?

After its all been checked out, run

cd xc
make World

Which will compile the whole shebang. Again, find something to do in the meantime. Depending on your machine, this can take a while. It took my computer (Athlon 2500+ clocked as a 3200+ w/ 1gig ram) about forty minutes to compile.

Next, we need to install this monstrosity. As root now, run

make install

And watch with trepidation as your computer chugs away shoving the files where they need to go. This shouldn't take too long in theory, but I have heard reports of it taking even longer than the compile on some people's machines! (It took me just a few minutes).

A quick note: from this point on, you may notice strange behaviour with some aspects of your GUI until the end of the process. This is because the libraries which were being used for stuff like window creation and rendering etc are now being overwritten with different versions, and any behaviour is going to be unpredictable. What happened for me was that I wasn't able to create any new windows until I'd finished the install and restarted X.

Final steps

Now you have to edit your /etc/X11/xorg.conf file, or if you're upgrading from XFree86, you should copy your /etc/X11/XF86Config (or /etc/X11/XF86Config-4) to /etc/X11/xorg.conf and edit that. You need to change the keyboard driver entry from

Section "InputDevice"

    Identifier  "Keyboard0"
    Driver      "Keyboard"

to

Section "InputDevice"

    Identifier  "Keyboard0"
    Driver      "kbd"

because the old keyboard driver no longer works. If you want to enable the composite extension to give yourself true transparency and drop shadows etc (and you probably do, because thats the whole point to this exercise ;) ) then you also need to add a new section to the file somewhere:

Section "Extensions"
    Option  "Composite"     "Enable"
EndSection

That will make sure the composite extension is loaded when you next start X.

Now, you've got the new X.org installed, but you won't be able to do anything with it (in terms of transparency and drop shadows) unless you get a composite manager installed. There are a couple of choices here - you can either compile one of the recent builds of the Metacity window manager, which in theory automatically checks for the composite extension during the configure phase and enables a built-in composite manager, or you can simply install the xcompmgr program from the same ol' freedesktop.org CVS server. I chose the latter, because I don't have gnome installed and I really don't want to use metacity as my window manager, and its also a lot quicker than compiling the whole of metacity. Here's how to install the xcompmgr:

cvs -d :pserver:anoncvs@cvs.freedesktop.org:/cvs/xapps login
(press return at the password prompt)
cvs -d :pserver:anoncvs@pdx.freedesktop.org:/cvs/xapps co xcompmgr
cd xcompmgr
export PKG_CONFIG_PATH=/usr/X11R6/lib/pkgconfig
./autogen.sh
./configure --prefix=/usr
make
make install

That will get xcompmgr installed for you.

Now the very last thing you need to get is a little app called transset, which you run then click on a window to make it transparent. You can grab that from the same CVS server, too (how convenient!). Note: I'm skipping the CVS login step here, because you should still be logged into the /cvs/xapps tree of the CVS server from when you grabbed xcompmgr. First go back out of the xcompmgr source directory:

cd ..
cvs -d:pserver:anoncvs@freedesktop.org:/cvs/xapps co transset
cd transset
make

Now transset doesn't have make rules for make install, all it does is create an executable binary called transset. You can either run that from where it is, or copy it somewhere in your path (/usr/bin/ for example) so that you can run it from anywhere.

Getting it going

Now all that remains is for you to exit your X server (if you were even still in one at this stage anyway) and give

startx

a try. If you come up into the X environment, congratulations, you just won yourself a cookie. From here, start up an xterm or something and run

xcompmgr -c

The -c on the end tells xcompmgr to fire up the composite goodness. This should either bring beautiful eye-candy to your desktop, or crash and burn completely. It's pretty much a fifty-fifty chance :p

If you get xcompmgr to work (you'll notice it when it does work: there'll be drop shadows all over the shop) you can now move on to transparency. Run

transset .5

and when the changed mouse cursor comes up, click on a window. The window should be turned 50% transparent. You can vary the number you give to transset to vary the transparency. 0=fully transparent, 1=fully opaque.

And there you have it, eye-candy ahoy. It takes a while, but its quite satisfying when it all works properly.

Troubleshooting

If you are having problems getting this to work, here are a couple of ideas to try.

First off, try running xcompmgr as root. It certainly made the eye-candy more stable on my box, but YMMV.

Next, if transparency settings aren't applying properly, you can kill xcompmgr and run it again. This should catch the transparency settings and apply them properly.

You might need to reinstall / recompile your graphics card drivers after installing, too. I had to emerge nvidia-kernel again on my gentoo setup.

For Nvidia users: It might be a good idea to enable the experimental RenderAccel support in the driver. To do this, add the following to your device section of your xorg.conf:

Option "RenderAccel" "true"

For more information on this, see the Nvidia linux drivers README.

Known bugs

Lots. This is extremely experimental and will most likely crash your X server one or more times. Some of these crashes can only be fixed by SSHing into the box from another machine to nuke the offending process, so if you don't have another machine to connect to your non-responsive box from, you might have to hard-reset it, which is always bad.

There are plenty of rendering bugs with xcompmgr running, too. The text on my fluxbox menu gets screwed up, pixmap themes for any window manager will likely look wrong, and various other little annoyances and discrepancies will show up. You decide for yourself if the transparency and shadows are worth these problems and instability. If you don't want to risk it, you can always wait for the next stable release of X.org, which may or may not have ironed out these problems.

Good luck and happy compositing!

Updating

OK, its all well and good getting a CVS build of it up and running, but CVS is a moving target. You have to stay on your toes if you want to keep up with the latest code versions. Luckily, its not too hard to keep synchronized with the latest changes with CVS, so if you want to update your build, here's what you do.

First off, change to the Xorg source directory, and login to the CVS server again:

cd xc
cvs -d:pserver:anoncvs@cvs.freedesktop.org:/cvs/xorg login

Next comes the updating part. This just compares the local source tree to the one in CVS, and makes any changes necessary:

cvs -d:pserver:anoncvs@cvs.freedesktop.org:/cvs/xorg update -Pd

After that, all we need to do next is recompile and install over the last version:

make World
make install

Restart X, and you're done!

EDITED to add requirements and information for nvidia users.

EDITED2 some minor CVS changes

EDITED3 added Updating section

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JadeWolf324    0

very nice article! post some screen shots of it in action :D

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markjensen    97

Oooh! I like! (Y)

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rezza    0

OK, since JadeWolf324 asked for some, here's a couple of screenshots of it in action:

compositesm.png

pastelsm.png

transsm.png

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JadeWolf324    0

thanx rezza. when do you think we can expect to see this in distros?

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hornett    0

Nice guide (Y) It looks like xorg is making some real headway with the server too - OSX better watch out ;)

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rezza    0
thanx rezza. when do you think we can expect to see this in distros?

Well if you look at the X.org release plan, you can see this:

The dates for this X.Org Foundation release were derived from the dates for the upcoming Red Hat and SUSE distribution releases. The schedule is very tight and there is little room for slippage, so in most cases, features will be cut in order to make the scheduled release date.

...which seems to indicate that getting the next release ready in time for the next versions of Redhat and Suse is the main priority. It all comes down to how stable they can get it. If it is stable by that time, it will be enabled in the official X.Org-6.8 release, if not, it may still be included, but just disabled by default (as is the case with the CVS version available now).

By the way, apparently there have been lots of fixes to the composite code in CVS in the last 24 hours, so now would seem to be a good time to give it a go. I'm gonna have to checkoput and compile it again to get the new improvements...

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JadeWolf324    0

Deadlines

* 30 Jul 2004: Feature Freeze

* 16 Aug 2004: Code Freeze

* 25 Aug 2004: Release

wow. quickly then arent they?

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kjordan2001    220

Wonder how many bugs they can squash in 9 days if it's crashing and has graphical glitches. I'd try it, but then I have an ATI card, which is making me go down to XFree86 4.3.0 to get 100% of it working. :(

Maybe I should just get an nvidia card.

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Danrarbc    1

Are you sure it's supposed to be cvs -d :pserver:anoncvs@cvs.freedesktop.org:/cvs/xorg co -P xorg?

cvs server: cannot find module `xorg' - ignored

Is it supposed to be co xc?

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rezza    0
Are you sure it's supposed to be cvs -d :pserver:anoncvs@cvs.freedesktop.org:/cvs/xorg co -P xorg?

Is it supposed to be co xc?

Oops, yep, sorry :blush: Glad you caught that one!

Edited first post :)

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sui'ke    0

damn make world returned an error :cry:

collect2: ld returned 1 exit status
make[4]: *** [resize] Error 1
make[4]: Leaving directory `/home/sui/xc/programs/xterm'
make[3]: *** [all] Error 2
make[3]: Leaving directory `/home/sui/xc/programs'
make[2]: *** [all] Error 2
make[2]: Leaving directory `/home/sui/xc'
make[1]: *** [World] Error 2
make[1]: Leaving directory `/home/sui/xc'
make: *** [World] Error 2

anyone have a clue ?

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rezza    0
damn make world returned an error :cry:

collect2: ld returned 1 exit status
make[4]: *** [resize] Error 1
make[4]: Leaving directory `/home/sui/xc/programs/xterm'
make[3]: *** [all] Error 2
make[3]: Leaving directory `/home/sui/xc/programs'
make[2]: *** [all] Error 2
make[2]: Leaving directory `/home/sui/xc'
make[1]: *** [World] Error 2
make[1]: Leaving directory `/home/sui/xc'
make: *** [World] Error 2

anyone have a clue ?

What gcc version are you using? What do your CFLAGS look like? Are you overclocking your hardware at all?

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sui'ke    0

my gcc version is 3.3.3

cflags are in the makefile am i correct ? (i havent changed it)

and i havent overclocked anny hardware

i'm on suse 9.1 pro (if that would make a difference)

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rezza    0

OK, here's something to try: go into the xc/config/cf/ directory. In there you'll find a file called xorgsite.def. copy that to host.def in the same directory, then add this line to it (just shove it in somewhere between the whole load of comments in there):

#define DefaultGcc2i386Opt -O0 -g

and try again. That will drop the optimisations slightly and possibly help out your compilation issues.

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Wi1d    0

Great howto && sweet screenshots. I also like what you did with torsmo. Real nice.

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rezza    0

Added upgrading section to the howto.

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Hanfmet    0

Thank you for this great tutorial!

Um... I still have a stupid question: How to get rid of it again? Is there a make rule or something..?

I'm asking cuz I made a backup of xorg-x11 by using quickpkg. I want to be able to install it again when something goes wrong :)

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hadiz    0

Wow, awesome guide, thanks (Y)

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rezza    0
Thank you for this great tutorial!

Um... I still have a stupid question: How to get rid of it again? Is there a make rule or something..?

I'm asking cuz I made a backup of xorg-x11 by using quickpkg. I want to be able to install it again when something goes wrong :)

You can just install your quickpkg over the top of the Xorg CVS without doing any harm. You might have to update a couple of packages again afterward (although probably not) but it will work fine.

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bolerodan    1

should you remove Xfree86 first and uninstall your Nvidiadrivers then reinstall them after you install X.org?

or can you just install X.org overtop Xfree86?

and with these new eye candyabilites, will this mean Gnome or KDE or any WM will be able to add in their own effects?

-bolero

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rezza    0

You can just install over the top, its not going to do any harm. Although if you're particularly fussy about having a clean system, uninstalling the old Xfree86 first wouldn't hurt. You don't need to uninstall the nvidia drivers either, in most cases you won't even have to reinstall them afterwards.

Yep, WMs will now be able to add in whatever shadowy transparent effects they desire. But some will probably choose not to.

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bolerodan    1

edit: heh i forgot the capital on World

-bolero

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bolerodan    1

okay i installed server sucessfully and i added in the Composite section into my xorg.conf file, when ever i run xcompmgr or transset it gives me this error

xcompmgr: error while loading shared libraries: libXcomposite.so.1: cannot open shared object file: No such file or directory

but it is there in /usr/X11R6/lib

Also when ever i run a video in xine or somthing, any shadows or transparent windows which display overtop a movie, just blank out as blue, and i have seen an image with someone ahving tansaprent stuff over a movie playing..

-bolero

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Danrarbc    1

make install fails for me, apparenty even though make World completes succesfully it doesn't compile libglx correctly.

So when I go to make install it can't find that and causes an error, preventing everything after that point from getting installed. I've tried disabling GLX on compile and it still does it. I'll wait a few more weeks and see if they fix that. X works after this mind you, but none of the acceleration or the extensions get installed.

emerge -K xorg-x11

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