Before installing XFree86, decide on which version to run. XFree86 3.X is a maintenance branch of XFree86 development. It is very stable, and it supports a huge number of graphics cards. However, no new development is being done on the software. XFree86 4.X is a complete redesign of the system with many new features such as better support for fonts and anti-aliasing. Unfortunately this new architecture requires that the video drivers be rewritten, and some of the older cards that were supported in 3.X are not yet supported in 4.X.
The FreeBSD setup program offers users the opportunity to install and configure XFree86 3.3.6 during installation (covered in Section 2.9.11). To run XFree86 4.X, wait until after the base FreeBSD system is installed, and then install XFree86. For example, to build and install XFree86 4.X from the ports collection:
# cd /usr/ports/x11/XFree86-4 # make all install clean
Alternatively, XFree86 4.X can be installed from a binary package with the pkg_add tool or directly from the FreeBSD binaries provided on the XFree86 web site.
The rest of this chapter will explain how to configure XFree86, and how to setup a productive desktop environment.
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