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LPI exam 101 prep: The X Window System

Junior Level Administration (LPIC-1) topic 110

Ian Shields, Senior Programmer, IBM
Ian Shields
Ian Shields works on a multitude of Linux projects for the developerWorks Linux zone. He is a Senior Programmer at IBM at the Research Triangle Park, NC. He joined IBM in Canberra, Australia, as a Systems Engineer in 1973, and has since worked on communications systems and pervasive computing in Montreal, Canada, and RTP, NC. He has several patents and has published several papers. His undergraduate degree is in pure mathematics and philosophy from the Australian National University. He has an M.S. and Ph.D. in computer science from North Carolina State University. You can contact Ian at
(An IBM developerWorks Contributing Author)

Summary:  In this tutorial, Ian Shields continues preparing you to take the Linux Professional Institute® Junior Level Administration (LPIC-1) Exam 101. In this fifth in a series of five tutorials, Ian introduces you to the X Window System on Linux®. By the end of this tutorial, you will know how to install and maintain the X Window System. This tutorial covers both major packages for X on Linux: XFree86 and X.Org.

View more content in this series

Date:  02 Jul 2006
Level:  Intermediate PDF:  A4 and Letter (560 KB | 32 pages)Get Adobe® Reader®

Activity:  25114 views

Before you start

Learn what these tutorials can teach you and how you can get the most from them.

About this series

The Linux Professional Institute (LPI) certifies Linux system administrators at two levels: junior level (also called "certification level 1") and intermediate level (also called "certification level 2"). To attain certification level 1, you must pass exams 101 and 102; to attain certification level 2, you must pass exams 201 and 202.

developerWorks offers tutorials to help you prepare for each of the four exams. Each exam covers several topics, and each topic has a corresponding self-study tutorial on developerWorks. For LPI exam 101, the five topics and corresponding developerWorks tutorials are:

Table 1. LPI exam 101: Tutorials and topics
LPI exam 101 topicdeveloperWorks tutorialTutorial summary
Topic 101LPI exam 101 prep:
Hardware and architecture
Learn to configure your system hardware with Linux. By the end of this tutorial, you will know how Linux configures the hardware found on a modern PC and where to look if you have problems.
Topic 102LPI exam 101 prep:
Linux installation and package management
Get an introduction to Linux installation and package management. By the end of this tutorial, you will know how Linux uses disk partitions, how Linux boots, and how to install and manage software packages.
Topic 103LPI exam 101 prep:
GNU and UNIX commands
Get an introduction to common GNU and UNIX commands. By the end of this tutorial, you will know how to use commands in the bash shell, including how to use text processing commands and filters, how to search files and directories, and how to manage processes.
Topic 104LPI exam 101 prep:
Devices, Linux filesystems, and the Filesystem Hierarchy Standard.
Learn how to create filesystems on disk partitions, as well as how to make them accessible to users, manage file ownership and user quotas, and repair filesystems as needed. Also learn about hard and symbolic links, and how to locate files in your filesystem and where files should be placed.
Topic 110 LPI exam 101 prep:
The X Window system
(This tutorial). Learn how to install and maintain the X Window System. See detailed objectives below.

To pass exams 101 and 102 (and attain certification level 1), you should be able to:

  • Work at the Linux command line
  • Perform easy maintenance tasks: help out users, add users to a larger system, back up and restore, and shut down and reboot
  • Install and configure a workstation (including X) and connect it to a LAN, or connect a stand-alone PC via modem to the Internet

To continue preparing for certification level 1, see the developerWorks tutorials for LPI exam 101, as well as the entire set of developerWorks LPI tutorials.

The Linux Professional Institute does not endorse any third-party exam preparation material or techniques in particular. For details, please contact

About this tutorial

Welcome to "The X Window System," the fifth of five tutorials designed to prepare you for LPI exam 101. In this tutorial, you learn about setting up the X Window System on Linux. This tutorial covers both major packages for X on Linux: XFree86 and X.Org.

This tutorial is organized according to the LPI objectives for this topic. Very roughly, expect more questions on the exam for objectives with higher weight.

Table 2. The X Window System: Exam objectives covered in this tutorial
LPI exam objectiveObjective weightObjective summary
Install and configure X
Weight 5Configure and install X and an X font server. Check that the video card and monitor are supported by your X server, and customize and tune X for the card and monitor. Install an X font server, install fonts, and configure X to use the font server.
Set up a display manager
Weight 3Set up and customize a display manager. Turn the display manager on or off and change its greeting and default bitplanes. Configure display managers for use by X stations, such as the X, GNOME, and KDE display managers.
Install and customize a window manager environment
Weight 5Customize a system-wide desktop environment and window manager, including window manager menus and desktop panel menus. Select and configure an X terminal, and verify and resolve library dependency issues for X applications. Export an X display to a client workstation.


To get the most from this tutorial, you should have a basic knowledge of Linux and a working Linux system on which to practice the commands covered in this tutorial. You should also be familiar with using GUI applications, preferably under the X Window System.

This tutorial builds on content covered in the previous four tutorials in this series, so you may want to first review the tutorials for topics 101, 102, 103, and 104.

Different versions of a program may format output differently, so your results may not look exactly like the listings and figures in this tutorial.

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Zone=Linux, Open source
TutorialTitle=LPI exam 101 prep: The X Window System