[clug] problems with my Ubuntu

Ian darkstarsword at gmail.com
Sat Aug 25 04:33:22 GMT 2007

Hi Julian,

Before we go any further I would suggest you make a copy of the
xorg.conf file just in case something goes wrong (like making a typo
in the wrong place). I'm going to show you how to do this using only a
terminal, since in the worst case it may be all you have access to. I
don't think that it is likely that anything will go wrong, but if it
does this will help you out. Also, I don't know how much experience
you have with a using a UNIX/Linux terminal, so I'm going on the
assumption that this is the first time you have used it.

Open up a terminal now - Click Applications => Accessories => Terminal
and type in this:
cp  /etc/X11/xorg.conf  ~

Broken down this command does this:
* cp - copy a file
* /etc/X11/xorg.conf - the file we want to copy, note that it is case
sensitive - the X in X11 is capital, while the x in xorg is lower
* ~ - the destination we are copying to, in Linux ~ evaluates to your
home directory (/home/username), but you could just as easily
substitute an alternative directory and/or filename.

You will now have a copy of xorg.conf in your home directory, double
check that it there, but don't edit it.

Now if something goes wrong after you restart X11 (hopefully nothing
will), you will need to do this to restore that file and get back to a
GUI (It might be an idea to print this out or write down these next
* X may attempt to start several times, during this time your screen
may change resolution back and forwards, Just wait until it gives up.
* You may get an error indicating that X failed to start and offer to
show you debugging information, view it if you like - it may hint at
what went wrong.
* You should get a login prompt. Log in the same way you would through
the GUI - the only difference is that it appears black & white
instead. If you do not get a login prompt, try pressing Ctrl+Alt+F1 or
* At the prompt enter this (basically the reverse of the above cp
command, but note the sudo preceding the command to indicate the
command is run as "root" (the superuser). You will be prompted for
your password again. Alternatively you could use nano to edit the file
directly here if you feel up to it (see below) - so long as you don't
alter your backup you can always restore it later):
sudo  cp  ~/xorg.conf  /etc/X11/
* Now enter this to start the GUI login:
sudo  /etc/init.d/gdm  restart

Ok, now that I've shown you how to recover if something goes wrong,
I'll tell you why you got the error you mentioned:

The reason you are getting that error is because you need to be the
superuser to edit it. In order to do that, you just need to precede
the command with 'sudo' in the terminal
(Applications->Accessories->Terminal), like this (replace gedit with
your preferred editor):
sudo gedit /etc/X11/xorg.conf
instead of just:
gedit /etc/X11/xorg.conf

Let me know how it goes or if you need any other clarification.

Cheers and good luck,

On 24/08/07, Julian Milthorpe <jules.milthorpe at gmail.com> wrote:
> Hi Ian,
> Thank you for your help! I have followed all the instructions you layed out,
> and some of those talked about on the page, and have had some success in
> editing. I followed the example in the tutorial and used nano to edit the
> xorg.conf file, but when trying to save I get and "error writing
> X11/xorg.conf: permission denied" error. What should I do now?
> Cheers
> Julian
> On 8/23/07, Ian <darkstarsword at gmail.com> wrote:
> > Hi Julian,
> >
> > Check out the info on this page:
> >
> http://ubuntuforums.org/archive/index.php/t-351058.html
> >
> > Much of that is about manual configuration by editing the
> > /etc/X11/xorg.conf file. which will give you access to set all options
> > (including the two finger drag to scroll, multifinger tap to
> > right/middle click, decreasing sensitivity to try to fix your random
> > clicking problem and so on).
> >
> > For a GUI frontend you have 3 choices that I am aware of. None of
> > these will provide access to every option you can change by manually
> > editing xorg.conf, but they may be useful to change things on the fly
> > or experiment with touchpad sensitivity to find an optimal value that
> > won't randomally click:
> >
> > * gsynaptics (Designed for GNOME, but as far as I can see it doesn't
> > have some advanced options like two or three finger tap).
> > * qsynaptics (Qt based but should work in Gnome, has two/three finger
> > tap option, but doesn't look like it has the ability to set touchpad
> > sensitivity).
> > * ksynaptics (Designed specifically for KDE, and since it is a control
> > center module, probably won't help with GNOME, but keep it in mind in
> > case you ever install KDE).
> >
> > If you want to use any of those programs, you will have to make one
> > manual modification to /etc/X11/xorg.conf file first, from a terminal
> > enter:
> > sudo gedit /etc/X11/xorg.conf
> >
> > Then find the section starting with:
> > Section "InputDevice"
> >         Identifier      "Synaptics Touchpad"
> > And add the line:
> >         Option          "SHMConfig"     "on"
> > So all up that section should look like something like this:
> > ...
> > Section "InputDevice"
> >         Identifier      "Synaptics Touchpad"
> >         Driver          "synaptics"
> >         Option          "SendCoreEvents"        "true"
> >         Option          "Device"        "/dev/psaux"
> >         Option          "Protocol"      "auto-dev"
> >         Option          "HorizScrollDelta"      "0"
> >         Option          "SHMConfig"     "on"
> > EndSection
> > ...
> > Save and close the file, then restart X - the easiest way to do this
> > is (SAVE YOUR WORK FIRST) probably the hot-key Ctrl+Alt+Backspace,
> > otherwise rebooting the computer will work.
> >
> > Let me/the list know if you have any trouble with this, or need
> > something I have  said clarified.
> >
> > -Ian
> >
> >

On the day *I* go to work for Microsoft, faint oinking sounds will be
heard from far overhead, the moon will not merely turn blue but
develop polkadots, and hell will freeze over so solid the brimstone
will go superconductive.
     -- Erik Raymond, 2005
Please avoid sending me Word or PowerPoint attachments.
See http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/no-word-attachments.html

More information about the linux mailing list