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From http://www.x.org/wiki/:

The X.Org project provides an open source implementation of the X Window System. The development work is being done in conjunction with the freedesktop.org community. The X.Org Foundation is the educational non-profit corporation whose Board serves this effort, and whose Members lead this work.

Xorg is the most popular display server among BSD and GNU/Linux users. Its ubiquity has led to making it an ever-present requisite for GUI applications, resulting in massive adoption from most distributions. See the Xorg Wikipedia article or visit the Xorg website for more details.


Xorg can be installed with the xorg-server package.

Additionally, some packages from the xorg-server-utils meta-package are necessary for certain configuration tasks, they are pointed out in the relevant sections. Other useful packages are in the xorg-apps group.

Tip: You will typically seek to install a window manager or a desktop environment to supplement X.

Driver installation

The PacBSD kernel includes open-source video drivers and support for hardware accelerated framebuffers. However, userland support is required for OpenGL and 2D acceleration in X11.

First, identify your card:

# lspci 

Note: Currently lspci requires root permissions to run. Another option is to use pciconf instead.
$ pciconf -lv vgapci0

Note: If there are more than one graphics card in the system adjust the number in vgapic to match the desired card.

Then install an appropriate driver. You can search the package database for a complete list of open-source video drivers:

$ pacman -Ss xf86-video

Xorg searches for installed drivers automatically:

  • If it cannot find the specific driver installed for the hardware (listed below), it first searches for fbdev (xf86-video-fbdev).
  • If that is not found, it searches for vesa (xf86-video-vesa), the generic driver, which handles a large number of chipsets but does not include any 2D or 3D acceleration.
  • If vesa is not found, Xorg will fall back to kernel mode setting, which includes GLAMOR acceleration (see man modesetting).

In order for video acceleration to work, and often to expose all the modes that the GPU can set, a proper video driver is required:

Brand Type Driver OpenGL OpenGL (Multilib) Documentation
ATI Open source xf86-video-amdgpu mesa-libgl lib32-mesa-libgl AMDGPU
xf86-video-ati ATI
Proprietary catalyst catalyst-libgl lib32-catalyst-libgl AMD Catalyst
Intel Open source xf86-video-intel mesa-libgl lib32-mesa-libgl Intel graphics
Nvidia Open source xf86-video-nouveau mesa-libgl lib32-mesa-libgl Nouveau
Proprietary nvidia nvidia-libgl lib32-nvidia-libgl NVIDIA
nvidia-340xx nvidia-340xx-libgl lib32-nvidia-340xx-libgl
nvidia-304xx nvidia-304xx-libgl lib32-nvidia-304xx-libgl

Note: For NVIDIA Optimus enabled laptop which uses an integrated video card combined with a dedicated GPU, see NVIDIA Optimus or Bumblebee.

Other video drivers can be found in the xorg-drivers group.

Xorg should run smoothly without closed source drivers, which are typically needed only for advanced features such as fast 3D-accelerated rendering for games.


Display manager

A convenient way to start X, but one that requires an additional application and dependencies, is by using a display manager.


To start the X server without a display manager, see xinit.