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Chapter 13. Workstation

13.1. Configuring the X11 Server
13.2. Customizing the Graphical Interface
13.2.1. Choosing a Display Manager
13.2.2. Choosing a Window Manager
13.2.3. Menu Management
13.3. Graphical Desktops
13.3.1. GNOME
13.3.2. KDE and Plasma
13.3.3. Xfce and Others
13.3.4. Other Desktop Environments
13.4. Email
13.4.1. Evolution
13.4.2. KMail
13.4.3. Thunderbird
13.5. Web Browsers
13.6. Development
13.6.1. Tools for GTK+ on GNOME
13.6.2. Tools for Qt
13.7. Office Suites
13.8. Emulating Windows: Wine
13.9. Real-Time Communications software
Now that server deployments are done, the administrators can focus on installing the individual workstations and creating a typical configuration.

13.1. Configuring the X11 Server

A brief reminder: is the software component that allows graphical applications to display windows on screen. It includes a driver that makes efficient use of the video card. The features offered to the graphical applications are exported through a standard interface, X11 (Bullseye contains version X11R7.7).
Current versions of are able to auto-detect the available hardware: this applies to the video card and the monitor, as well as keyboards and mice; in fact, it is so convenient that the package no longer even creates a /etc/X11/xorg.conf configuration file.
The keyboard configuration is currently set up in /etc/default/keyboard. This file is used both to configure the text console and the graphical interface, and it is handled by the keyboard-configuration package. Details on configuring the keyboard layout are available in Section 8.1.2, “Configuring the Keyboard”.
The xserver-xorg-core package provides a generic X server, as used by the 7.x versions of This server is modular and uses a set of independent drivers to handle the many different kinds of video cards. Installing xserver-xorg ensures that both the server and at least one video driver are installed.
Note that if the detected video card is not handled by any of the available drivers, tries using the vesa and fbdev drivers. VESA is a generic driver that should work everywhere, but with limited capabilities (fewer available resolutions, no hardware acceleration for games and visual effects for the desktop, and so on) while fbdev works on top of the kernel's framebuffer device. Nowadays the X server can run without any administrative privileges (this used to be required to be able to configure the screen) and its log file is then stored in the user's home directory in ~/.local/share/xorg/Xorg.0.log, whereas it is /var/log/Xorg.0.log for X servers started with root privileges and for versions older than Debian 9 Stretch. That log file is where one would look to know what driver is currently in use. For example, the following snippet matches what the intel driver outputs when it is loaded:
(==) Matched nouveau as autoconfigured driver 0
(==) Matched modesetting as autoconfigured driver 1
(==) Matched fbdev as autoconfigured driver 2
(==) Matched vesa as autoconfigured driver 3
(==) Assigned the driver to the xf86ConfigLayout
(II) LoadModule: "intel"
(II) Loading /usr/lib/xorg/modules/drivers/
(II) Module intel: vendor="X.Org Foundation"