Tuesday, 11 September 2007
I have run Linux on a laptop before, but gave up after not being able to get things like Suspend to work, but I figured that it was time to try again. I've been using Ubuntu for a little while and I've always been a fan of Debian's package management so figured it was time to give it a try.
Mostly, it's been a very good experience. I'm running a Dell Latitude D820, which is a dual core machine with 2GB memory. Everything I have installed works (sound, wireless etc) which is exactly what I expected to happen. There are two acid test's for me though, the first is Suspend, and the second is the ability to get the laptop output sent to a projector. Suspend worked originally, but after a while restore started to fail.
One other reason for putting Ubuntu on the machine was the eye-candy, so I've installed Beryl/Compiz and the binary NVidia drivers and the display is great, wobbly windows and all. I've also bought VMWare Workstation so I can still do the Windows work I'm paid for.
Last week I took the machine on the road for the first time since I configured it like this. Now I could test the projector stuff.
I configures TwinView and the external monitor worked, however I discovered (and I don't know if this is me) that the output to the external monitor is the same resolution as to the laptop monitor, i.e. 1900x1200, this meant that the display on the external monitor was way to big and I ended up panning. After much configuration I couldn't change this. A quick Google pointed me in the direction of xrandr. This changes the size of the X Desktop. Tried it to switch to 1024x768 and it works. Switch back to 1920x1200, and that work. Try it once more to be sure, and...the machine hangs (well the desktop hangs, not the machine.
After searching for this and finding some references on xrandr and Beryl, I decided to disable Beryl and then try xrandr, sure enough it now works (I'm on the road again next week so it'l be interesting to try this with a different projector).
The suspend problem was also down to Beryl. When the machine resumes the entire screen stays blank apart from about one square centimeter of it. I can move the mouse but can't use the keyboard. As Beryl was controlling the screen I decided to disable it then suspend. Sure enough, resume now works.
So currently I'm happy with the setup - although I'll probably be bored again in a week and want to try something else!
Posted by Technologyat 11:06 AM in