This section details the manual installation and configuration of the Xorg display server and common related services and utilities. If you would just like to install a full desktop environment, it is recommended to try the xfce image.


Void provides a comprehensive xorg package which installs the server and all of the free video drivers, input drivers, fonts, and base applications. This package is a safe option, and should be adequate for most systems which don't require proprietary video drivers.

If you would like to select only the packages you need, the xorg-minimal package contains the base xorg server only. If you install only xorg-minimal, you will likely need to install a font package (like xorg-fonts), a terminal emulator (like xterm), and a window manager to have a usable graphics system.

Video Drivers

Void provides both open-source and proprietary (non-free) video drivers.

Open Source Drivers

Xorg can use two categories of open source drivers: DDX or modesetting.


The DDX drivers are installed with the xorg package by default, or may be installed individually if the xorg-minimal package was installed. They are provided by the xf86-video-* packages.

For advanced configuration, see the man page corresponding to the vendor name, like intel(4).


Modesetting requires the mesa-dri package, and no additional vendor-specific driver package.

Xorg defaults to DDX drivers if they are present, so in this case modesetting must be explicitly selected: see Forcing the modesetting driver.

For advanced configuration, see modesetting(4).

Proprietary Drivers

Void also provides proprietary NVIDIA drivers, which are available in the nonfree repository.

Input Drivers

A number of input drivers are available for Xorg. If xorg-minimal was installed and a device is not responding, or behaving unexpectedly, a different driver may correct the issue. These drivers can grab everything from power buttons to mice and keyboards. They are provided by the xf86-input-* packages.

Xorg Configuration

Although Xorg normally auto-detects drivers and configuration is not needed, a config for a specific keyboard driver may look something like a file /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/30-keyboard.conf with the contents:

Section "InputClass"
  Identifier "keyboard-all"
  Driver "evdev"
  MatchIsKeyboard "on"

Forcing the modesetting driver

Create the file /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/10-modesetting.conf:

Section "Device"
    Identifier "GPU0"
    Driver "modesetting"

and restart Xorg. Verify that the configuration has been picked up with:

$ grep -E -m1 '\(II\) modeset\([0-9]+\):' /var/log/Xorg.0.log

If there is a match, modesetting is being used.

Starting X Sessions


The xinit package provides the startx(1) script as a frontend to xinit(1), which can be used to start X sessions from the console. For example, to start i3(1), edit ~/.xinitrc to contain exec /bin/i3 on the last line.

To start arbitrary programs together with an X session, add them in ~/.xinitrc before the last line. For example, to start xscreensaver(1) before starting i3, add xscreensaver & before the last line.

A ~/.xinitrc file which starts xscreensaver and i3 is shown below:

xscreensaver &
exec /bin/i3

Then call startx to start a session.

If a D-Bus session bus is required, you can manually start one.

Display Managers

Display managers (DMs) provide a graphical login UI. A number of DMs are available in the Void repositories, including gdm (the GNOME DM), sddm (the KDE DM) and lightdm. When setting up a display manager, be sure to test the service before enabling it.