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The Concise Guide to Xfree86 for Linux is the first book on the market that gives you the expert-level information you need to understand, configure and administer Xfree86 (also referred to as "X"). X provides the infrastructure for graphical environments like KDE and Gnome. This book addresses the high-level information need that has arisen as support personnel are required to troubleshoot and support all facets of Linux. Some of the topics that are covered: Tunneling X through ssh, runtime environment configuration, widget hierarchies, and maintaining the X resource database. This book is aimes at the advanced, more experienced, Linux user to help you get the most out of your X experience. X comprises many different and difficult to understand configuration files. This book tells you what you need to know to troubleshoot and successfully tailor the configuration files to meet your needs.
Aron Hsiao quickly acknowledges that XFree86, at the level he covers it in The Concise Guide to XFree86 for Linux, is outside the realm of what most Linux users (a group that's growing more mainstream all the time) will care to know. The XFree86 implementation of the X11R6 windowing system hasn't gone away, but it's shifted to the background as software products like the K Desktop Environment (KDE) and Gnome have matured.
Still, for Linux power users who want to know as many details as possible about their windowing system, Hsiao brings manna. His deliberate, fact-rich approach explains how XFree86 188.8.131.52 and 3.3.5 implement X11R6, and reveals how XFree86 integrates with KDE and Gnome. Readers find fact-rich descriptions of startx, xinit, and XFree86 utilities, as well as alternative window managers (like fvwm and tvwm) that aren't obvious parts of many popular Linux distributions.
Hsaio generally steers clear of straight documentation, though he does list command options and other details when appropriate. More often, he walks his audience through processes, explaining why the steps he outlines are appropriate and telling what's going on in the background. He's quick to introduce the reader to diagnostic monitors and other tools that make it easier to see what's happening. The result is a detailed yet readable guide to X under Linux.
The Concise Guide to XFree86 for Linux is important reading for those who want to take advantage of the X environment's capabilities, particularly in unusual situations. --David Wall
Topics covered: All aspects of XFree86 for Linux, including elementary installation and configuration but with emphasis on advanced capabilities and little-known features. Special attention goes to hardware configuration (keyboard, mouse, and video display), the X way of thinking about fonts and colors, and the relationships between XFree86 and various software that runs on top of it.
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