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X server

If you have old hardware try Xfce desktop system.

Xfce is a lightweight desktop environment for various *NIX systems. Designed for productivity, it loads and executes applications fast, while conserving system resources.

Xfce 4.4 embodies the traditional UNIX philosophy of modularity and re-usability. It consists of a number of components that together provide the full functionality of the desktop environment. They are packaged separately and you can pick and choose from the available packages to create the best personal working environment.

Mayank Sharma has posted a nice review:

For years, the lightweight Xfce has been a popular desktop environment for Linux distributions running on older hardware, thanks to its lower demand on resources as compared to KDE and GNOME; it's an ideal desktop for machines with less than 256MB of memory.

Xfce lightweight Linux and UNIX desktop environment for old hardware

You can simply install xfce4 under Debian or Ubuntu Linux with following command:
$ sudo apt-get install xfce4

FreeBSD Gnome Installation howto

GNOME is a complete desktop environment (no matter what Linus says ;) ). In GNOME, everything is easy to use, and works the way you want.

So how do you install Gnome Desktop system under FreeBSD?

These days it is quite easy to install Gnome Desktop system under FreeBSD. You have following choices (use only one of the method).

Option # 1: Fetch and install Gnome binary package from Internet

To install GNOME 2.16 from binary package over Internet or local FTP server type the command:
# pkg_add -v -r gnome2

Now proceed to post installation instructions.

Option # 2: Install Gnome binary package from CD/DVD

Login as root and type sysinstall:
# sysinstall

Select Configure > Packages > CD/DVD > Gnome

Select all packages and hit install button

Now proceed to post installation instructions.

Option # 3: Install Gnome using FreeBSD ports system

To compile and build Gnome type the following command:
# cd /usr/ports/x11/gnome2
# make clean; make install clean

Now proceed to post installation instructions.

Enable and start GNOME automatically

You need to start all of the GNOME-related services when system comes (at boot time). All you need to do is add following line to /etc/rc.conf file:
Open /etc/rc.conf file:
# vi /etc/rc.conf
Append following line:
Save close the file.

If you have other system such as KDE and just want gnome as default add the following line to ~/.xsession or ~/.xinitrc file so that GNOME 2.16 can be started as soon as you type startx command:
echo 'exec gnome-session' >> ~/.xsession

How do I use Gnome?

You can login using GDM or simply type the command:
$ startx

Further recommended readings

By default Linux disallows TCP connections from remote hosts. It prevents applications from running on a remote host and being able to be displayed on the local x server.

To enable the X server to display remote applications open /usr/share/gdm/defaults.conf file. Set DisallowTCP=true to false

# vi /usr/share/gdm/defaults.conf
Set DisallowTCP=true to false

Setting DisallowTCP to false will allow remote clients to connect.

If you don't know exact location of GDM defaults.conf conf file use find command
find / -name "defaults.conf"

Now restart GNOME aka GDM.
# reboot
# init 3
# init 5

How do I test new setup?

Type any one of the following command on the client
xhost remote-ip
xhost remotehost
xhost remote.server.com

Now SSH into the remote client and type any one of the command:
xeyes -display remote-ip:0
xeyes -display remotehost:0
xeyes -display remoteserver.com:0

xeyes should popup on client system. Enjoy!

Download of the day: VLC media player

The VLC media player is an open source and my favorite media player is out with a new version.

It is a highly portable multimedia player, encoder and streamer that supports many audio and video codecs and file formats (MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, DivX, mp3, ogg, ...) as well as DVDs, VCDs and various streaming protocols. It is able to stream over networks and to transcode multimedia files and save them into various different formats.

It can also be used as a server to stream in unicast or multicast in IPv4 or IPv6 on a high-bandwidth network.

Supported oses:
=> Linux
=> Microsoft Windows
=> Mac OS X
=> BeOS
=> *BSD
=> Windows CE
=> Sun Solaris

Highly recommend even if you are using Windows XP.

Download VLC

=> VLC 0.8.6 download Link

X.Org Logo

The X Window System is a network transparent window system which runs on a wide range of computing and graphics machines. The X.Org Foundation Open Source Public Implementation of X11 (the XOrg Server) is the official reference implementation of the X Window System.

X.org includes several useful utilities and features that almost no one knows about. You can accelerate your display, nest one X server in another, distribute your session across multiple monitors on different machines, and watch a session on another machine. Dru Lavigne explains.

This article covers

=> Tuning your Video cards
=> Nesting Xservers
=> Distributed Multihead
=> Monitor Other Systems etc

Read Fun with X.org ( Via Daemon Dancing in the Dark )

Linux or UNIX desktop systems are quite stable. However, some time weird things happen like unreadable screen and confusing application causing massive screen messed up, which makes it difficult to read what is on the Linux desktop.

Generally, I have observed that most users prefer to hit CTRL+ALT+Back Space or just kills the X session. However, there is way to get rid of this problem.

xrefresh is a simple X command that causes all or part of your screen to be repainted. This is useful when system messages have messed up your screen. Xrefresh maps a window on top of the desired area of the screen and then immediately unmaps it, causing refresh events to be sent to all applications. By default, a window with no
background is used, causing all applications to repaint smoothly. However, the various options can be used to indicate that a solid background (of any color) or the root window background should be used instead.

Just type the xrefresh:
$ xrefresh

You can also pass -white and -black option to xrefresh command:
$ xrefresh -white
$ xrefresh -black


  • -white: Use a white background. The screen just appears to flash quickly, and then repaint (this is a default).
  • -black: Use a black background (in effect, turning off all of the electron guns to the tube). This can be somewhat disorienting as everything goes black for a moment.

If refresh will not clear the X display consider using xkill to kill particular X application or kill your self i.e. kill user account.

I am not sure if there is any such a program exists for Windows XP desktop. If any one has information please share with us.

How to: Setup Xorg X11 and Transparency

This guide is going to show you how to get X.org 7.1 up and running on Linux (the emphasis will be on using Gentoo, but it should work on any other Linux distro as well).

From the howto page:
We of course can't possibly do anything if we are missing X.org. To obtain this in Gentoo is very simple:

emerge --sync
emerge xorg-x11

Once X.org is done building, you will be ready to get started using it. If you previously used X.org, then your config file at /etc/X11/xorg.conf will be used. If you are a XFree86 user moving over, then X.org will automatically load your /etc/X11/XF86Config, but I would recommend renaming the config to xorg.conf for consistency. Read more...

Found via Digg