openSuSE stumbles, Ubuntu shines

openSuSE stumbles, Ubuntu shines

Summary: I tried loading openSuSE 11.0 on my Fujitsu-Siemens Lifebook S2110 over the weekend.


I tried loading openSuSE 11.0 on my Fujitsu-Siemens Lifebook S2110 over the weekend. It's an AMD Turion 64-based system, and of course it seemed to load just fine. However, for some reason, it stumbled over the Alps touchpad. The touchpad was often completely unresponsive, and when it did work, it generally behaved as if I had drag-lock on all the time. That made it very difficult to use, and in particular I had a lot of trouble shutting down - in fact, it turned out to be a good thing that pressing the power button on the laptop triggers a shutdown.

In the office today, using the Logitech Alto notebook stand and a Logitech Cordless VX Nano mouse, it worked just fine - but the touchpad was still flaky when I tried it.

On the other hand, Ubuntu really shone this afternoon. I was trying to get the various Linux flavors on the S6510 set up so that I can use the higher resolution (1280x1024) external monitor when it is docked, and the lower resolution (1280x800) laptop screen when not docked. I have accepted the fact that, at least for the time being, Linux is not going to notice and auto-switch resolution, the way that Windows does (I have XP set up to automatically give me 1280x1024 when only the external monitor is present, i.e. docked and the laptop lid closed, 1280x800 when only the laptop display is present, i.e. not docked, and 1024x768 cloned when both displays are present). So now I am trying to figure out how much touble it would be to manually change the resolution depending on which display I am using.

It was dead easy with Ubuntu. Go to screen resolution, choose the value you want, and Bob's your uncle. I can live with that. But openSuSE was a different story, it didn't seem to want to actually change the resolution, no matter what I did. I selected 1280x1024, rebooted, closed the lid, booted with the lid closed, and everything else I could think of, and it never changed. Sigh. Mandriva was even more strange - when I boot with both displays connected, Mandriva comes up in 640x480 mode! I haven't figured that one out yet, but I'm sure that I'm doing something wrong, or have overlooked the setting that I need to change that.

jw 14/7/2008

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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