There is another reason you might want to replace Xvesa: it has a limited range of color depths. Xvesa happily does 16-color VGA (depth=4) and 32768-color SVGA (depth=15), but it can't do anything in between. In particular, Xvesa does not have a 256-color mode (depth=8).
Some old laptops have a maximum color depth of 8. The best display for those laptops is 256 colors, but Xvesa can't do that. Instead it displays just 16 colors on those laptops. This is a significant issue because some graphical software (like AbiWord and Links 2) does not work in 16 colors.
If you need more than 16 colors (and your hardware is not capable of displaying 32768 colors), you should replace Xvesa with the appropriate Xserver from Slackware 4.0.
Step 1: Select the correct Xserver for your hardware
In the /slakware/x1 directory of Slackware 4.0, you will find a dozen different Xserver packages. Find the one that matches your video card:
|x3dl.tgz||GLINT 500TX with IBM RGB526 RAMDAC, GLINT MX with IBM RGB526 and IBM RGB640 RAMDAC, Permedia with IBM RGB526 RAMDAC, Permedia 2 (classic, 2a, 2v).|
|xagx.tgz||IIT AGX-016, AGX-015, AGX-014, XGA-2, XGA-1 and AGX-010|
|xi128.tgz||Number Nine Imagine 128 (series I and II)|
|xma64.tgz||Mach 64, 3D Rage, 3D Rage II, 3D Rage IIC, 3D Rage II+DVD, Rage Pro, and Rage LT Pro.|
|xp9k.tgz||Diamond Viper VLB, Diamond Viper PCI, Orchid P9000, STAR 2000, and other P9000 cards. The Viper Pro and other P9100 and P9130 cards do not use xp9k.tgz (use xsvga.tgz instead).|
|xs3.tgz||S3 chipsets: 911, 924, 801/805, 928, 732 (Trio32), 764, 765, 775, 785 (Trio64*), 864, 868, 964, 968 and M65 (Aurora64V+).|
|xs3v.tgz||S3 ViRGE (86C325), ViRGE/DX (86C375), ViRGE/GX (86C385) and the ViRGE/VX (86C988). xsvga.tgz may also work with these chips (try it first).
||xw32.tgz ||w32, w32i, w32p, et6000. xsvga.tgz may also work with these chips (try it first).
||xsvga.tgz ||Trident, Cirrus, and other SVGA cards not listed above.
||xvg16.tgz ||This provides generic 16-color VGA. It is slower than Xvesa and should only be used when Xvesa malfunctions on your hardware.
||xmono.tgz ||Hercules monochrome.
If in doubt, try the xsvga.tgz package. It works with the majority of video cards.
Step 2: Install the Xserver package
Use the pkg command to install the Xserver. You also need to install the no-xvesa.tgz package from the BL3 add-ons. It provides some additional files needed to run an Xserver (instead of Xvesa).
The xsvga.tgz is just an example. Substitute the name of the appropriate Xserver package.
Step 3: Configure the Xserver
The Xserver configuration file is /etc/XF86Config. You can edit it directly, or you can execute xf86config to configure your Xserver from scratch.
The default XF86Config is fairly generic and might work for you without amendment. It assumes you have a PS/2 mouse, sets a color depth of 8 (256 colors) and uses common settings for HoriSync and VertRefresh. You may need to modify those, especially for a laptop.