This book puts you in charge of the most flexible and adaptable graphical interface in the computer industry. The X Window System underlies graphical desktops on Linux and Unix systems, and supports advanced features of modern graphics cards. More people use the X Window System than ever before, but there are few books about X in print. X Power Tools fills that hole with the most practical and up-to-date information available.
Written in O'Reilly's popular Power Tools format, X Power Tools offers dozens of standalone articles, thoroughly cross-referenced, on useful tools and techniques for using X. This unique inside look at X gives Unix/Linux system administrators, owners of self-administered systems, and power users a lot of useful ways to harness the power of this system effectively. This book:
Offers a thorough grounding in X configuration and how the system works
Provides the complete ins and outs of changing a desktop's behavior, such as fonts, keyboard settings, and remote security
Includes articles on how to take advantage of X's "network transparency" -- its ability to display graphical applications on a remote machine
Explores intriguing areas such as using multiple monitors, building kiosks, and accessibility
Features discussions on X Window innovations and the future of the system
X Power Tools covers configuration and use of X, focusing on Linux but also including notes on other operating systems such as Solaris and FreeBSD. Each article in the book gives you insight into X; the entire book gives you a real grasp on this system and what you can do with it.
The X Server
Chapter 1 Introduction to the X Window System
The X Window System
The History of X
The Renaissance: New X Versus Old X
X by Any Other Name
Seven Layers of an X-based GUI
Where Is the Server?
Why Windows Look and Act Differently
Toolkits and Desktop Environments
The Role of Freedesktop.org
Displays, Screens, and Xinerama
Local Connection Mechanisms
Where to Draw the Line: Kernel Versus User-Space Drivers
Chapter 2 Starting a Local X Server
One Size Doesn't Fit All
Starting a Raw X Server Manually
Using a Display Manager to Start the X Server
Enabling or Disabling the Display Manager at Boot Time
What Started the Display Manager?
Starting Multiple X Servers Using a Display Manager
Starting Additional X Servers on Demand Using a Display Manager
Starting an X Server with Clients Only When Needed
Switching VTs from the Shell Prompt
Starting X Within X
Bailing Out: Zapping X
Terminating X Automatically
Chapter 3 Basic X.org Configuration
What Is There to Configure?
Why Only root Can Configure the X Server
Places Your Configuration Could Hide
Let the X Server Configure Itself
The xorg.conf Configuration File
Optional Sections in the xorg.conf Configuration File
Configuring the Pointer Device
Configuring a Two-Button Mouse
Configuring a Mouse with a Scrollwheel
Configuring a Synaptics TouchPad
Configuring Video Card Driver Options
LightSteelBlue and Other Color Names
Configuring a Monitor's Scan Rates
Reading Server Log Files
Configuring the Default Depth of a Screen
Configuring the Resolution of a Screen
Chapter 4 Advanced X.org Configuration
Differences Between Multi-Screen and Xinerama Modes
Scrolling Virtual Screens and Xinerama
Using Multiple Outputs from One Video Card
Parallel Pointing Devices
Using X with GPM or MOUSED
Chapter 5 Using the X Server
Interacting with the X Server
Changing Resolution On-the-Fly
Changing the Resolution and the Screen Size Dynamically
Using the Middle Mouse Button
Using the Clipboard
Keyboard and Mouse Grabs
Chapter 6 X Utility Programs
The Unused Toolbox
Determine the Display Configuration
Getting Window Information
Viewing Server Settings
Control That Bell!
Adjusting the Keyboard Repeat Rate
Adjusting the Mouse Acceleration
Playing with the Lights
Killing a Rogue Client
Examining Part of the Display in Detail
Script a Screen Dump
Preventing the Screen from Blanking During Presentations
The image on the cover of X Power Tools is a power sander. A power sander is an electric tool that is used to smooth surfaces of wood and wood finishes. When using a power sander, it is wise to always make sure to take basic safety precautions. For example, tie back long hair so there is no chance of it being caught in the machinery, wear goggles to protect your eyes from sawdust, and cover your ears to protect them from the loud sound and from the sawdust as well.
I have read the book many times, learning more with each pass. The historical background is fascinating, where X originated, and hints as to where it may be going. There are "aha!" moments, such as to what may be going on at a kiosk, or ATM, or when watching a projected lecture (what you see, and what the lecturer probably sees on his/her monitor). I also benefit from the comprehensive index, when I want to revisit a specific facet of the subject. This is particularly true as I fine-tune my multi-screen Fedora 12 configuration.
Bottom Line Yes, I would recommend this to a friend
X configuration is always one important task when developing application in Unix environment.
In the past we use to interact directly with the X server via Xlib. My library was overloaded with Xlib books and the development was cumbersome and frustrating. Thanks god, there are exelent libraries that makes life easier GTK and QT are great and give me simple, full solution for my requirements. One left thing is to configure the X. How to manage two X servers on the same workstation?
How to configure the X to directly run my application? How to connect special IO devices to the X?
Well, X power tools give you those answers.
It is, of the shelf, book that enables me to fine tune the X to my boss bizarre requirement.
It just open for you the complex world of X configuration