X Window with SiS Cards

PCQ Bureau
New Update

Over the last few months, we’ve received a significant amount of mail from users about getting X Window to run on a SiS 6215C card. So, here’s how to do it. 


Setting up the card to run on Linux is tricky, but fairly easy. It’s tricky because the card isn’t fully supported by Red Hat Linux. You need supplementary drivers for it, which we’ve included on this month’s CD in

/cdrom/sorc_code directory.


Copy the files xsis.rpm and xsuseconfig.tgz to / directory. Install the xsis.rpm by typing rpm - i xsis.rpm and extract xsuseconfig.tgz by typing tar - zxvf


Next, we need to configure X to use these drivers. The usual method of configuring a display card in Linux is to run the XConfigurator utility. In case of this card, we’ll need a more rudimentary but reliable utility called xf86config. So type xf86config at the Command Prompt. It’ll ask you to specify some basic details, such as which mouse and keyboard you have, etc. Enter these, and you’ll reach the monitor setup. We’ve briefly described below what you need to do after this at each step. We presume that you’re reading this while actually doing it.

  1. You’ll be asked to select your monitor type. If you have a fairly new (about three years old) color 14” monitor, choose options 5 or 6. Otherwise, choose the standard VGA monitor option, or the one that matches your monitor. 
  2. Next, you’ll be asked to set the vertical sync range of your monitor. These are the refresh rates supported by your monitor. If you’re unsure of the answer, select option 1.
  3. You can skip specifying Identifiers and vendor details by pressing “Enter”.
  4. You’ll be asked whether you’d like to go through the card database. Answer “yes” and then type in 405. 
  5. You’ll be shown a small snippet of information, press “Enter” to continue.
  6. When asked to select which server to run, choose option 5. 
  7. Answer “yes” to the questions of symbolic links and their placement. 
  8. Choose the amount of RAM you have.
  9. You can skip specifying Identifiers and vendor details by pressing “Enter”.
  10. Press “Enter” for the Clock Chip settings.
  11. It’ll then prompt you about whether it should run X probe. Let it run X probe and choose option 5 after it gives you the results.
  12. It’ll prompt you that it wants to write the configuration settings. Press “y” to create the file and finish.

You should now be back at the Command Prompt. Change to /usr/X11R6/bin directory and type

ln - s XFCom_SiS XF86_SVGA

We now need to make some changes to /etc/XF86Config. Open the file in a text editor, such as joe. Scroll down till you see


Screen Sections


Just above this heading, you’ll notice a field concerning the video RAM of your card. Remove the comment from this. Scroll up and add another field just below Identifier: 

ChipSet “SIS86C205”

Now scroll down till you see #The Color SVGA server. You’ll see a number of fields below this. We shall trim these to make life easier. Our area of operation consists of all the fields between #The Color SVGA server and before #The 16 Color VGA server, so stay within these limits. You’ll notice a number of subsections–for example, “Display” etc. Remove all of them and type in the following:

SubSection “Display”

Depth 8

Modes “800x600”

Viewport 0 0



With this, we’ve set up the display for 256 colors (also known as 8-bit color) in 800x600 resolution. This should work if you’ve followed the instructions properly. You can then come back to this file and adjust the settings. A depth of 16 represents 65,000 colors, and 24 represents 16.7 million colors. 

Type startx and if all went well, you should see the opening screen of your Window manager. 


Stay connected with us through our social media channels for the latest updates and news!

Follow us: