First Significant Disappointments with Linux

I've run into the first significant problems with Linux on my laptops. I had pretty much decided to go with a dual-boot XP/Ubuntu setup on my main laptop (S6510), the same as what I am currently using on the test laptop (S2110).

I've run into the first significant problems with Linux on my laptops. I had pretty much decided to go with a dual-boot XP/Ubuntu setup on my main laptop (S6510), the same as what I am currently using on the test laptop (S2110). But I had not yet tried the S6510 with its port replicator bar, which has a lot of the peripherals that I use in the office permanently connected to it. So I tried it... and uh-oh...

First, the Logitech AudioHub speakers sort of work, in that they emit the correct sounds, but they also have a loud buzz accompanying any sound. A very irritating sound... not good.

Second, the support for dual monitors is rudimentary, at best. From what I can tell, Ubuntu supports a second monitor only as a clone of the first, which I suppose would be fine for a beamer or some such, but is of no interest to me. Anyway, not only does it show the same thing on both monitors, but they both have to be the same resolution. In my case, the laptop display does 1280x800, while the external monitor looks awful at that resolution, so I use it at 1280x1024.

In searching the web, and testing other Linux versions, I have found that other drivers for the Intel 965 chipset include a dual-head mode, which may then allow the two displays to be different resolution, but even then they either display the second as a clone of the first, or they merge the two into one huge meta-display that spans both. Neither is what I want.

I suppose I have gotten spoiled by the way Windows handles this situation. I can set different resolution for the laptop display and external monitor, and the correct display and resolution are automatically selected based on whether the laptop lid is open or closed. Hmmm. In theory, the "clone" display mode I mentioned above is what I want, but what is missing is the ability to automatically select the display and change the resolution.

This is not the end of the world, or even the end of my Linux experiments. The S6510 has a large enough display that I can simply do away with the external monitor, and recover some space on my desk as a bonus. The AudioHub speakers are nice, but they are certainly not critical, and I already know that the Logitech V20 speakers work just fine with Ubuntu. But I hope that I don't run into many more of these sorts of limitations.

jw 25/6/2008

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