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Old 02-02-2010, 08:53 PM   #16
balsam
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I think you're missing the heart of this thread. The point isn't my troubles with the computers/distros I've worked with. I'm looking at the big picture.

Mainstream distro or not, I and many others have trouble making sense of the whole subject. If you go to the Ubuntu forums you'll see many people having the same difficulties. (Ubuntu of course being a very popular distro.) I don't know if any of my troubles had anything to do with what video card was involved. It has more to do with the entire display configuration process.

I'm saying people don't want to have to post a thread every time they set up a computer. Computers compute. It seems that a software process could be made whereby the whole thing would be a lot simpler.
 
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Old 02-02-2010, 09:06 PM   #17
Quakeboy02
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Your stated goal is to put a no-frills linux on an old machine. Why are you so irked that there are no frills?
 
Old 02-02-2010, 09:15 PM   #18
balsam
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As I've stated above, I don't consider a display output to a single monitor to be a frill. I consider it to be a most fundamental part of every computer system. And I think that it should be a priority of the Linux community to make it easier, or at least to consolidate and streamline the documentation (beginner-level documentation.)
 
Old 02-02-2010, 09:28 PM   #19
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OK, let me put this a different way. What have YOU done to help fix the problem? Have you donated money to the distro(s) you're ranting about? Have you donated some of your time? Have you donated code? I know it may seem like LQ is the perfect vehicle to whine about problems you have no intention of helping resolve, but in all probability, distro volunteer developers don't cruise these boards looking for newbie rants to fix. If you see something as a problem inherent to a specific distro, contact the distro maintainer and ask what you can do to help.
 
Old 02-02-2010, 09:50 PM   #20
balsam
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Re-read post #16.
 
Old 02-02-2010, 09:55 PM   #21
damgar
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The only distro that I've tried in the short time I've been using linux that gave me any trouble with graphics was SUSE whcih blanked during install. It was the first distro I tried since I'd seen it several years ago. Since then I've run ubuntu (a few varieties), mandriva (several varieties), slax, and Slackware (several varieties) and I wouldn't consider any of these, on any of the 4 machines that I run linux on, to be problematic display wise.

I have NVIDIA or INTEL or both in each machine, so maybe that's something to do with it, but I haven't so much as had to change resolutions. I do run the NVIDIA proprietary drivers, but even my introduction to that was smooth since Mandriva (the second distro I tried) just told me that they existed and asked if I wanted them.

Wireless has been a pain to get optimized, but display and video has been automatic for me.
 
Old 02-02-2010, 10:10 PM   #22
rich_c
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Having recently dealt with a setup that was a little challenging, i found it to be quite satisfying when it all hung together nicely. Fair enough if ithe problem is really insurmountable, but having to put in a little work is rewarding and refreshing in this world of want-it-now...
 
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Old 02-03-2010, 07:27 AM   #23
MTK358
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I agree that with a single monitor, just run "Xorg -configure" and you're done. But NOTHING works for dual monitors, except editing xorg.conf. And there is NO beginner-friendly documentation on xorg.conf.
 
Old 02-03-2010, 08:52 AM   #24
theNbomr
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I completely agree with the original poster's sentiments. In another collaborative software organization in which I participate, there is a philosophy that whosoever shall rant about a problem is tacitly agreeing to participate in the remedy for said problem...
--- rod.
 
Old 02-03-2010, 09:37 AM   #25
balsam
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Xorg -configure does not work in every case, and anyone who volunteers their time reading forum posts and helping people has likely encountered threads where it didn't.

I don't follow this progression:

Quote:
getting graphics to work in Linux is a horrible experience
Quote:
I've started countless such threads on numerous forums, only one was ever solved (finally)!
Quote:
I agree that with a single monitor, just run "Xorg -configure" and you're done.
~

As for anyone suggesting that I help the problem. I don't know if you actually read my posts or not, but I am a Linux beginner, and someone who is not that great with computers. I have no programming ability, and will never. I have no money to contribute either. Thus fixing up old computers that I got for free, to give to my equally financially disadvantaged family/friends/neighbors.

Starting a discussion is my attempt at helping this situation. This is one of the most popular linux forums, and this thread has over 100 views so far. But what I really wanted to do was hear what others thought about these matters. I don't understand why you can install an entire modern operating system with a few clicks, but then (sometimes) have to run commands and edit files etc to configure a display.

~

I guess some distinctions and clarifications need to be made here. One distinction is that obviously someone who is well-versed in the whole display configuration process, and the files/programs/commands therein, will be able to configure a single display in short order. To put it in the context of this thread: If you did not waste an hour, then your experience is not among the countless hours wasted (obviously).

So who are we talking about? -The people who aren't so fluent in Linux. The beginners, the first time installers, the would-be Linux converts who retreat disappointed, the people who -dispite using Linux for 7 or 10 years- struggle every time with such things as display configuration. The people who don't understand what they read in man pages, and rely on google searching. And when they search they find not a coherent, beginner-friendly, step-by-step, if-this-doesn't-work-then-heres-why-and-so-proceed-to-do-the-following guide; but (instead they encounter) a matrix of unfinished threads, tutorials that don't address their reality, commands shared by pros with no context or explaination, people saying "oh its easy",...

Frankly I don't know if such a tutorial could be written, becuase the collective software components that a display consists of seemingly work in unpredictable ways. If you search the forums for display-related threads, you'll see all kinds of anomolies, supposed 'one-offs', unexplained error messages, unexpected failures, frustration, head-scratching on the part of experts, unsolved threads,.. etc.

If you're thinking "hey it didn't cost you anything. quit complaining." -you're missing the purpose and intent of this discussion. The purpose is: I would like to know why Linux display configuration is the way it is, when the other necessities like hard drives, mice, and keyboards are effortless in a modern Linx OS. And I would like to know what everyone thinks about it. Including those who think its completely easy and perfect.

Last edited by balsam; 02-03-2010 at 09:44 AM.
 
Old 02-03-2010, 09:44 AM   #26
TB0ne
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MTK358 View Post
I agree that with a single monitor, just run "Xorg -configure" and you're done. But NOTHING works for dual monitors, except editing xorg.conf. And there is NO beginner-friendly documentation on xorg.conf.
Sorry, that's not true. Both KDE and Gnome make have GUI interfaces for setting up dual-heads. I've set up Xinerama on several machines, without ever editing the xorg.conf file. The nVidia driver installation/setup programs have an option to do it for you, or enable Twinview (which I personally don't like), through a simple menu.
 
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Old 02-03-2010, 10:05 AM   #27
MTK358
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Quote:
Originally Posted by balsam View Post
I don't follow this progression
With dual monitors!
 
Old 02-03-2010, 10:48 AM   #28
theNbomr
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Quote:
Originally Posted by balsam View Post
I don't understand why you can install an entire modern operating system with a few clicks, but then (sometimes) have to run commands and edit files etc to configure a display.
It is a simple chicken & egg problem. If the graphics display (X server) was working, you could use GUI tools to configure it, but if it isn't working, the means to support a GUI configuration tool is absent.

If you want to contribute without programming skills or money, you can start by documenting the solutions to your adventures with Linux installs. Since you say you are installing on a lot of legacy equipment, you should gain exposure to a wide range of situations, and you could help the rest of the community by contributing detailed accounts of what you do to get the various installations to work. There are plenty of places to publish your information online that get exposure, including this forum and related Blogs. Once you've completed a couple of recipes, you might understand why there is a relatively short list of others having done so before you.

--- rod.
 
Old 02-03-2010, 10:52 AM   #29
MTK358
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Why not make an ncurses-based tool then?
 
Old 02-03-2010, 11:01 AM   #30
GrapefruiTgirl
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When I first installed Slackware 11 (first switched to Linux), I used a console-based xorg-configure thingy, but can't recall the exact name of it. Something like "xorg-setup" or "xorg-configure" and at that time, for the hardware I had, it worked just fine.
An ncurses front-end on it would have been... I guess "better" in some peoples opinion; but it would not have made using the script any "easier" in my opinion -- it would have been the same really, only blue/green/yellow or whatever, instead of pure console text.
The script asked about my mouse, keyboard, video card, resolution, and then provided a list of some 300 card+driver combinations from which to choose.
When all done, it wrote an xorg.conf file which worked!

FWIW, there's a tool included with, for example, the nVidia binary driver, called "nvidia-settings", and while it's cool for some things, like viewing hardware information, querying settings, querying the X configuration and screen layout, it is NOT perfect. For me, it could still not manage to make a working dual-monitor configuration which functioned the way I wanted.
The point? Well, if nVidia-supplied tool cannot perform all necessary steps, to produce a working configuration, under a reasonably large (but common) variety of hardware configurations, then we have probably a long way to go toward making a working one-stop tool of our own.

If configuring video were something that could be done with ONE tool, on EVERY distro, with ANY hardware configuration, well, we'd all be running Windows :/
 
  


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