X Window System not working in Fedora 10

Q Whatever happened to the concept of portability in the Linux community? I know that different distributions will work on a variety of unique machines. Well, shouldn't the same concept be applied to the distribution itself when considering upgrades? I have an Acer Aspire 64-bit dual processor machine with a GeForce 8200 Graphics card, and everything works in Fedora 9. I must admit that I have to poke around with the screen resolution a bit to get what I want, but that's minor. When I try to upgrade to Fedora 10 64-bit, X Window System fails to start - there is no GUI, just a login prompt, and startx doesn't do anything. Why would X work in Fedora 9 but not Fedora 10? Shouldn't the same stuff work in the same operating system even if it's an upgrade?

A The answer to your question is "yes" but I suspect you were hoping for a little more. I doubt that startx does nothing; it may not start X, but it will report to the terminal what has gone wrong. You can find further information in the log file at /var/log/Xorg.0.log. Errors are marked with "(EE)", and you can extract them from the general information in this file with

grep EE /var/log/Xorg.0.log

To some extent, distros are at the mercy of

the various software developers. In this case, the changes to X.org are the most likely culprit. The X.org team are trying to move away from the cumbersome and sometimes cryptic xorg.conf file to a system based entirely on auto-detection, the idea being that any hardware you have should just work, which yours clearly does not. The quickest solution, if you still have your old Fedora 9 installation, or a backup of the important files, is to copy /etc/X11/xorg.conf from Fedora 9 to your Fedora 10 setup. X.org respects anything in this file in preference to auto-detected settings, so it should start working again.

If you don't have an xorg.conf file, you can create one for your hardware by running the following as root:

yum install system-config-display
system-config-display

This presents the same display setup GUI as you saw during installation of Fedora 9, and creates /etc/X11/xorg.conf based on your choices. If it still fails, because it cannot detect suitable settings for your hardware for example, you can specify your choices on the command line, for example

system-config-display --set-resolution=1024x768 --set-depth=24 --set-driver=nvidia

Run system-config-display --help to see all the options.

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