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Man page 1 : Xephyr

Xephyr 1 "xorg-server 1.12.4" "X Version 11"

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Xephyr - X server outputting to a window on a pre-existing X display


Xephyr [: display ] [ option ... ]


Xephyr is a kdrive server that outputs to a window on a pre-existing "host" X display. Think Xnestbut with support for modern extensions like composite, damage and randr.

Unlike Xnestwhich is an X proxy, i.e. limited to the capabilities of the host X server,

Xephyr is a real X server which uses the host X server window as "framebuffer" via fast SHM XImages.

It also has support for "visually" debugging what the server is painting.


The server accepts all the standard options of Xserver(1) and the following additional options:

  • -screen width x height
            sets the screen size.
  • -parent id
            uses exiting window id .If a -screen argument follows a -parent argument, this screen is embedded into the given window.

        set 'cursor acceleration': The host's cursor is reused. This is only really there to aid debugging by avoiding server paints for the cursor. Performance improvement is negligible.


Send a SIGUSR1 to the server (e.g. pkill -USR1 Xephyr) to toggle the debugging mode. In this mode red rectangles are painted to screen areas getting painted before painting the actual content. The delay between this can be altered by setting a XEPHYR_PAUSE env var to a value in micro seconds.


2 Rotated displays are currently updated via full blits. This is slower than a normal orientated display. Debug mode will therefore not be of much use rotated.

2 The '-host-cursor' cursor is static in its appearance.

2 The build gets a warning about 'nanosleep'. I think the various '-D' build flags are causing this. I haven't figured as yet how to work round it. It doesn't appear to break anything however.

2 Keyboard handling is basic but works.

2 Mouse button 5 probably won't work.


X(7), Xserver(1)


Matthew Allum <> 2004

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