Linux, Laptops and Dual Displays

Linux, Laptops and Dual Displays

Summary: I need to update some information related to a post that I made last week about multiple displays with Linux. In a nutshell, I have a laptop and a port replicator with a display connected to it.

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TOPICS: Linux
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I need to update some information related to a post that I made last week about multiple displays with Linux. In a nutshell, I have a laptop and a port replicator with a display connected to it. That gives rise to three basic "states" for display - using the laptop display only (not connected to the port replicator); using the external display only (connected to the port replicator with the laptop lid shut); using both displays simultaneously.

With Windows XP Professional and Vista, the operating system is aware of each of these states, and I can select a resolution for each of them which will then automatically be used as necessary. I can see the result of this by booting the laptop standalone, and getting 1280x800 resolution, then booting with it on the port replicator, and as I open and close the laptop lid, it switches back and forth between 1280x1024 and 1024x768. This is exactly what I would like Linux to do. What I have actually found is:

- Ubuntu (and Kubuntu): Comes the closest to doing what I want. It detects and sets up correctly for laptop only or external only, but I can't get it to do something different for the "both" case.

- Mandriva: I can't even get close; whenever the external display is connected, Mandriva comes up at 640x480, and I can't get it to change from that.

- openSuSE: I can manually select the resolutions for laptop only and external only, the same as what Ubuntu does automatically.

- Fedora: Still investigating. No luck yet.

- Debian: Comes up at 1024x768 no matter what, and I can't find anywhere to change that yet.

jw 22/7/2008

Topic: Linux

J.A. Watson

About J.A. Watson

I started working with what we called "analog computers" in aircraft maintenance with the United States Air Force in 1970. After finishing military service and returning to university, I was introduced to microprocessors and machine language programming on Intel 4040 processors. After that I also worked on, operated and programmed Digital Equipment Corporation PDP-8, PDP-11 (/45 and /70) and VAX minicomputers. I was involved with the first wave of Unix-based microcomputers, in the early '80s. I have been working in software development, operation, installation and support since then.

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3 comments
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  • Linux, Laptops and Dual Displays

    Setting up Linux with displays and resolutions has always been a real hassle and it's good to see that Ubuntu comes the closest, but it would be great if it "just worked"!

    Your readers may learn some more about Ubuntu Linux by watching some sample Ubuntu Linux training videos at:

    http://www.iLearnLinux.com/Ubuntu-Linux

    By the way - thank you so much, J.A., for coming by and having a look at my Ubuntu Linux Book Blog a few weeks ago at:

    http://www.UbuntuLinuxBookBlog.com

    Thanks for the post!

    Clyde Boom, http://www.iLearnLinux.com
    The Easy Linux Training Guy ;) - Easy, self-paced Linux training - in Plain English!
    3boomer7
  • Linux, Laptops and Dual Displays

    - Mandriva: I can't even get close; whenever the external display is connected, Mandriva comes up at 640x480, and I can't get it to change from that.

    I've seen this come up a few times. It seems to be either a case of a monitor whose capabilities can't be detected by the driver, or a driver bug in the version we ship. A newer version of the Intel driver is available in the /main/backports repository; you could try installing that and see if it changes the behaviour. Let me know!
    anonymous
  • Linux, Laptops and Dual Displays

    Hello Adam, thanks for the comment, as always. Unfortunately I have looked everywhere I can think of, and under every name that I can think of, for a newer version of the Intel graphic driver, with no success. I found newer ATI and nVidia drivers in the main backports repository, but no Intel. Can you give me a bit more specific pointer, please? Otherwise I can just wait for the next Mandriva release, this is not a critical issue for me.

    Thanks.

    jw
    j.a.watson1