What is Xorg’s server DPMS module for? And how to use it to reduce your computer power consumption

Thursday, 21st April 2011

As I’m manually configuring a Xserver via xorg.conf I have noticed a block of code in:

Section "Monitor"
Identified "Generic Monitor"
Option "DPMS"
That triggered my curiousity to research further what is DPMS . A very quick google search revealed that DPMS’s purpose is to communicate to communicate between the monitor and the computer, to make the computer turn off the (CRT or LED) based monitor if the computer is not used

Thus in short to rephrase DPMS is a power saving handy Xorg feature. I many custom configured xorg.conf like the mine I’m building right now does not include DPMS as many people doesn’t have idea what DPMS is and how to enable it.

DPMS is also an interface to the Energy start power-saving capability if not all, most of the modern day monitor screens.

DPMS enables the Xserver to control automatically the computer screen and thus reduces the overall computer power consumption.

To enable the use of DPMS on my Linux, all I had to do is place a couple of configuration directives in my xorg.conf .:
Here is how I enabled DPMS in my Xorg server:

1. Edit with a text editor /etc/X11/xorg.conf

2. Find the Monitor Section , e.g.:

Section "Monitor"

3. Add inside the Monitor Section Options "DPMS" "true"

4. Lookup for the ServeryLayout section , e.g.:

Section "ServerLayout"

5. Place inside the ServerLayout section For instance the following options:

Option "StandbyTime" "20"
Option "SuspendTime" "10"
Option "OffTime "25"

You might like to change the options StandbyTime, SuspendTIme or OffTime to match your likings.
6. As a last step restart the Xorg server.

Press Ctrl+Alt+BackSpace or by issuing:

host:~# pkill -HUP X

Test that DPMS is loaded properly by reviewing /var/log/Xorg.0.log for example:

host:~# grep -i /var/log/Xorg.0.log
(II) Loading extensions DPMS

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