Saturday, November 10, 2007

Linux Dual Monitor nightmare

So I was at the local store and decided to get an nvidia 7300GS with dual outputs so that I could run two monitors on my Ubuntu installation at home with my spare 17" monitor.

So when I got home, I installed the card and I started by allowing the Ubuntu restricted device manager to install the Nvidia driver. I restart X, X crashes complaining about an "API mismatch" or some such. After unsuccessfully trying nvidia-glx and nvidia-glx-new packages, I decided to uninstall everything related to Nvidia and restricted drivers from synaptic and try Xinerama with the open source "nv" drivers. But unfortunately it turns out that "nv" can't handle more than one screen per GPU, which basically means it's a worthless piece of shit.

So next I try manually installing the Nvidia binary drivers. X crashes on startx unless I turn one of monitors off, but I finally manage to get to Gnome. I turn the second monitor on, start nvidia-settings, detect monitor, enable twinview. It seemed to be working when my 19" monitor freaks out and goes completely out of sync. Same thing on restart. So next, I try setting up Xinerama by manually going into xorg.conf and creating entries for the second set of screen, monitor and graphics card. Voila, it works! Dual monitors! (Nevermind the fact that all new windows appears right in the middle of the two screens).

At this point I almost all is well, but I don't want my 17" to be my primary screen. So I switch my cables on the video card which makes my nice 19" monitor the main screen. But _now_ Ubuntu insists on shifting my screen 300 pixels to the right and around 100 pixels down, so there's a gigantic black gutter on my monitor. I try adjusting the monitor manually but it won't move that fair, not to mention the image was all fuzzy like it was running at an improper sync rate.

At this point, I said "Fuck it", and decided to go back to my original setup of using the integrated video. So I take out the 7300, reboot, and all is fine? NO. Somehow the nv driver doesn't want to render my mouse cursor. So now, after wasting my time trying to get dual monitors, I'm stuck with running VESA (meaning no acceleration whatsoever) on a single monitor. Conclusion: Fuck Linux, Fuck X11, Fuck Ubuntu, Fuck Nvidia, and Fuck everyone on and #ubuntu on FreeNode.


kozmcrae said...

For a minute there I thought you were going to start cursing all the other distros. You might find better luck with another distro. You don't need to switch entirely, just install it on a spare partition/drive and see if getting your dual monitors to work is possible. At the very least the exercise might give you some information you didn't have before.

I just Googled "dual monitor linux" (without the quotes). The first entry was the Gentoo HOWTO Dual Monitor wiki. I know you're not using Gentoo, but the information I got told me that what you're trying to do is not a simple matter (I suspect that you already know that). I added Ubuntu to that string and got more specific information. I'm sure you've already tried the Ubuntu forum. It just seems that there is a lot of information out there. You just have to know how to ask the right questions.

If your mouse disappears when X starts up, then you need to ad the line 'Option "HWCursor" "off"' without the single quotes in in the Display section in your xorg.conf.

I'm sorry I don't have anymore specific information for you. Hardware and software should just work but with the exception of Apple, which has its hardware made to its specifications, those days are still far off.

And now the scolding. I don't have a problem with people cursing and ranting at a corporation like Microsoft. I do it all the time myself. But some of the applications you were cursing at were put together by some very hard working UNPAID people. They do it for the love of programing and to help us all rid ourselves of Beast from Redmond. Most likely the problem is not with their code. Either way I think you owe them an apology.

mike said...

I came to this blog because I've been struggling with getting Linux to accept my ATI-based dual monitor setup. It doesn't work and it's the only reason I haven't abandoned Windows yet. I am aware that UNPAID people are doing all the work required to get this stuff to work and what they have accomplished is incredible but I'm still waiting for good dual screen support.