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TinyX, aka Kdrive

The predecessor to TinyX formed as an attempt on how small package working X could be crammed into. The codebase for TinyX was rewritten, and it now shares much code with "full" X.

The concept

The main idea in TinyX is to include only one driver for keyboard, one for mouse, and one for video (and possibly additional stuff such as support for Truetype fonts). This makes a small executable, with still enough to be usable.

They are named as X + driver name, for example Xvesa for the Vesa driver.

Usage in DSL

DSL includes two TinyX servers from XFree 4.3.0: Xvesa, and Xfbdev.

Xvesa supports all video cards with Vesa 1.2 or later. It has limited 2d acceleration, so if it works, it's a little faster than fbdev. Xfbdev uses the framebuffer, which is present on all EGA+ cards. It's the thing that gets displayed on your screen. Drawing directly to it works on more cards than vesa, but is a little slower. Xfbdev also needs a working Linux kernel framebuffer driver, and only vesafb is included (irony, isn't it).

The TinyX set also includes other servers beside these two. The others don't work on all cards, but they have partial acceleration. In practise this means only 2d accel, and better video memory handling. It can make a difference, though.

The following TinyX servers are available in MyDSL testing (all from XFree 4.6.0):

  • Xvesa - it is a little newer version, with some bugs fixed
  • Xfbdev - likewise
  • Xchips - for Chips & Technologies cards
  • Xi810 - for Intel 810 (only seems to work with i810, not other models)
  • Xmach64 - for Ati Mach64-based cards
  • Xsavage - for S3 Savage cards
  • Xsis530 - for the integrated chipset in Sis 530 motherboards (socket 7)
  • Xtrident - for Trident cards
  • Xtrio - for S3 Trio cards
  • Xts300 - Unfortunately I have no idea what this driver supports (Possibly Tseng Labs?)


Toshiba Satellite 200CDS has a Chips & Technologies 65550 graphics card. It's a 64-bit card with nice 2d performance. As soon as I had finished installing DSL, I downloaded Xchips.tar.gz and set .xserverrc to use it. Here's what I noticed:

  • X started faster. It was a noticeable difference, about one second.
  • Windows were drawn faster (ie they opened faster). This is a common benefit of 2d acceleration.
  • Slightly more ram was free, most probably due to the accelerated driver using the video card memory to keep textures and windows.
  • Moving windows around didn't lag anymore (it did with Xvesa)

As a conclusion, if your card is supported, go for the acceleration :)