LinuxHappy's Weblog

Failures and Successes of Linux-based Development

Frustrations: Dual screen Linux

Posted by linuxhappy on March 27, 2008

Okay, this post is more or less going to be rant about the past 4 hours. I had Fedora Core 8 on my box.. A dell GX620.. it’s got an Intel 82945G/GZ Integrated graphics chip. FC8 has been ‘ok’, I really didn’t get too much mileage out it because was sshed into it most of the time, and also I wasn’t very attracted to the fact that I had to download about 800mb of updates right after installing it.. The other turn off was the fact that compiz worked once.. and then I rebooted my machine, and then Fedora told me that it could no longer run compiz. UGH!  Anyways.. at around 2pm today, I have a need for a Linux dual screen system. Since I’ve heard so many great things about Fedora Core 8, I figure I give dual screens a whirl. Well.. I tried a couple of the screens and graphics resolution gui’s but all I got were cloned desktops… no help. So seeing how I wasn’t impressed with Fedora Core 8 anyways, I figure I dump it like a smelly x girlfriend and move on to ubuntu 7.10.

A long story short, Ubuntu 7.10 didn’t seem to solve my problem either. The first time I booted xrandr noticed I had a VGA out and a DVI out, but upon following some instructions here:

http://www.thinkwiki.org/wiki/Xorg_RandR_1.2

xrandr seemed to only want to notice only one (vga) of my video ports. Somehow after running `sudo dpkg-reconfigure -phigh xserver-xorg` everything when crazy. Soo after about an hour and a half of trying to get back to where xrandr was seeing two screens, I gave it the middle finger and moved on.

Ubuntu 8.04 is still in beta, and I really hate beta software, but I figure I had nothing to loose since I just formatted my machine to ubuntu 7.10. Anyways.. I was able to get dual screens within 15 minutes of booting the machine a fully installed ubuntu 8.04 machine. All i had to do was modify /etc/X11/xorg.conf with the “virtual” line and then user xrandr to move my screens around.. Some examples can be found here:

http://intellinuxgraphics.org/dualhead.html

Needless to say… Linux distros needs better support for dual screens.. and making it work with compiz. I’d like some sort of gui, comparable to what microsoft windows offers.. I was hoping that the new version of gnome on ubuntu 8.04 would offer it, but the closest thing that I could find was grandr, (which is also offered on ubuntu 7.10) the frontend to xrandr.. Ohwell. Maybe one day.

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