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Old 10-02-2009, 11:18 AM   #1
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New to Linux! Liking it so far but have some frustrations

Hey guys - I just started messing around with Linux and I am definitely enjoying it so far. There are lots of things that I already love about it and I can definitely see how it has the upperhand over Windows in some areas.

One thing I am having trouble with. I have my laptop connected to my 42in HDTV 1080p and I usually use it to watch movies and shows. Works great with Vista and XP, but I'm having trouble using dual monitors with Linux. I am using Ubuntu 9.4 and the graphics card is nVidia GeForce 8400M GS. I went through a bunch of different tutorials and tried a number of different things. No luck. Twin Monitors did not work right because the screen was like it was all 1 monitor taking up the full two monitors... (If that makes sense). So basically, if i maximized a video or set it to full screen, it would show half on one monitor and half on the other... Then I tried "Separate X Displays" and that was totally confused because Once I sent my mouse to monitor #2, I could not get it back onto the original monitor. I toyed with all of this stuff for a while. And also sometimes I test out playing a video on the TV monitor and it would actually freeze up the whole OS.

My TV has a higher rsolution capability than the laptop, so the resolutions are going to be different.

This all works so easily in Vista. Just connect the second monitor, and hit "Extend to this Monitor". Then I get Ultramon and I have my taskbars on both screens. And they are both different resolutions, but Vista doesn't care, it works great.

Now, on my desktop right now, I have Ubuntu 9.4 on that as well. And I have an ATI Radeon video card, and everything works perfect with dual monitors. (Two regular LCD monitors). I even learned how to just add a taskbar to the other monitor. (Replacing the need for something like Ultramon). So it works very nicely on the desktop.

SO - I am thinking there is just a conflict with nVidia and Ubuntu 9.4.... Does that make sense? Would I be better off with Ubuntu 8? OR maybe another Distribution? Thanks for any help. Let me know if you need more details.

Oh and another concern.

I had some trouble getting my speakers to work on the laptop. I have this speaker system that hooks onto a Creative Labs SoundBlaster USB thing. Then the SoundBlaster connects to my laptap via USB. Do you guys know if there is a way to get this going? I was trying to get some drivers from the Creative site, but I don't think they had what I needed. So I was unable to figure it out. Anyone know how hard it is to find a driver for something like that?

SO - The state I am in now.. is... I have completely erased everything on the laptop so that I can start fresh. (I had installed so much shit and so many packages trying to get the Dual Monitors to work). The my laptop is clean. I just installed a fresh Vista on it. Now I am going to setup Dual Boot with one of the Linux Distros. BUT thats where I need YOUR help. Whats the best Distro to work with the two issues I mentioned above? Or am I better off not even trying to fix these issues and just stick with Vista?? Thanks!
Old 10-02-2009, 11:32 AM   #2
Registered: Sep 2005
Location: London, UK
Distribution: Debian
Posts: 258

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Dual monitors and audio are pretty much the two places Linux trips up compared with Windows now. NVidia provide software for using dual monitors with their cars which I've heard lots of good about, but I'm under the impression it's still quite clunky and occasionally forgets itself.

I was also under the impression that SoundBlaster support was mostly working out-of-the-box, too. What exactly is the card? If you run
in a terminal and paste the output here, I (or anyone) can have a look for the driver.

Do you have onboard sound in the laptop? Does that work? If so, it might just be a misconfigured default. As root, run
asoundconf list
Which will list the available soundcards. Running
asoundconf set-default-card <cardname>
Where you replace <cardname> with exactly the name that came up in the `asoundconf list` command should change the default.

Last edited by Lordandmaker; 10-02-2009 at 11:34 AM. Reason: removing [tt] tags.


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