autoconfiguring X (was Re: FreeBSD Most wanted)

Mike Hoskins mike at
Fri Mar 5 10:36:57 PST 2004

On Fri, 5 Mar 2004, Jeremy C. Reed wrote:
> I will have to look closer at the DDC specification. I don't recall it
> giving this vertical refresh and horizontal sync information.

as usual, there are exceptions to the rule.

> If it did, I'd wonder why kudzu (and anaconda and others) using ddc and
> ddcprobe also use a MonitorsDB database that defines the vertical refresh
> and horizontal sync information. Maybe some monitors do give the
> information and some don't.

kudzu does a lot of things, so i wouldn't just use it's behavior as a
shining light.  however, maintaining such a DB to increase the end-user
configuration ease would definately be a plus when it comes to "appealing
to the desktop masses" -- which this thread seems to be about.

> > The only real problem I've had is that XFree86 doesn't always pick the
> > highest vertical refresh frequency supported by the monitor.  That
> > should be easy to fix.
> I am wondering how this is an easy fix.

no need to be obtuse, if you've used an opensource OS for long you already
know this.  it was the same way configuring slackware '94.  ;)  that is,
read your monitor docs/manufacturer website, and set the needed variables
in XF86Config yourself.  you may say "that's not easy", but i'll also say
it's certainly not that hard...  and it's something that has to be done on
many platforms.  i'm not saying it can't/shouldn't improve or get better,
but...  really...  it's not the biggest hangup that exists.  you don't
really even have to track down the docs, but can use a tool like xvidtune
to spit out settings for your hardware.  again, it's not fully automated
voodoo, but it's not that hard either.

>  o Write code to use a Monitors database, either update the old Monitors
>    file or use RedHat MonitorsDB.
>          Chris Morgan is writting code to use MonitorsDB.
>    If xf86cfg could be changed to ddcprobe (in all supported platforms),
>    it would be even be a better solution than using a database.

good, but modifying xf86cfg sounds like it should be discussed on an XF86
list. ;)

> Yes, many times. As a consultant and as an instructor teaching on a wide
> variety of systems, I have had the opportunity to use "XFree86 -configure"
> on maybe a hundred different systems this past couple years. It is not
> perfect and not as good as using the kudzu (or similar methods).

i shudder every time i hear kudzu mentioned, but i guess we just have
a differing train of thought.  i realize you're pointing to pieces of it's
functionality, and not the program in its entirety.


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