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Old 11-03-2012, 08:33 PM   #1
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Linux with docking station


I have been using Linux for quite sometime and I am trying to find a distribution that can handle docking stations seamlessly when using a laptop. I have a dell latitude E6420 laptop. I have tried Arch, Sabayon, opensuse and couple others, but none of them work automatically when using with docking station. What I need is below.

At work, I have an external monitor. So, I connect my laptop to docking station. It should do the following.

1. When laptop is connected to the docking station and the laptop lid is open, I should be able to use both displays (laptop and external monitor).
2. When I close the laptop lid, I should be able to use the external monitor alone.
3. When I open the laptop lid and undock it from docking station, I should be able to use the laptop display (Usually when I go to some meetings at work).
4. After the meeting, I usually dock the laptop with the docking station and close the lid. In this case, I should be able to use the external monitor.

My point is all this should happen seamlessly with the linux distro. I know I can run xrandr commands to get it to work, but I don't want that. Sabayon has problems when docking and undocking multiple times (at times, both displays are blank and I had to do hard reboot).

I tried ubuntu and it worked as I expected. Does xubuntu also work the same way?

Old 11-05-2012, 02:17 PM   #2
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I share your interest in this situation albeit with different hardware.
Solutions to this requirement fall into two big chunks.
  1. When the dock gets connected or removed, all of the hardware must make itself known to the host OS.
  2. When the OS learns about the hardware, appropriate 'detect' and 'configure' operations must happen.

There are other chunks in the behavior field surrounding these larger topics.
Foremost is the need for a dock and its connected parts to implement power-on connection and removal from the host workstation. A dock with a CD/DVD drive is a notorious culprit, here.
While the 'drive' hardware exists, the 'device' lives in a sort of limbo until one adds either
CD or DVD media to the drive. Insert media... platter run-up... 'device' detected and configured...
events happen based on media content and other configuration. The reverse happens when you eject
the media. The issue gets further complicated when the CD/DVD drive is a gadget one can exchange
with HDD, SSD, FDD, batteries or other types of hardware.

All of this sort of thing is wrapped into packages for ACPI, UDEV, DBUS, and other aspects of whichever distro you decide to use. Do you get good driver support for your hardware versus these packages?
Can you discover the hardware details and manually create any configuration for items that are not
detected automatically or not correctly or completely configured?

Please keep us informed,
~~~ 0;-Dan


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