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Old 07-06-2008, 08:59 PM   #1
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Screen resolution/fonts driving me crazy with ATI Radeon X200 video card

I just installed Kubuntu yesterday on my Toshiba Satellite notebook, my HP Slimline series at my office, and my eMachines 6412 here at home. I cannot get my screen display to look decent in any of those places.

Right now I'm most concerned about here at home. I'm so lost I barely know what questions to ask. Any chance someone could just tell me what I should be looking for? It seems like every time I start to try something off a page I found on Google or in these forums, I run into a dead end, with something not fully explained ("hit alt-space to activate your console" - but what's a console, and why isn't alt-space activating it?), or finding that I'm not using the proper version of Linux for the answer to apply.

I consider myself an intermediate-level Windows user, but I'm feeling like an extreme newbie -- a.k.a., "total idiot.' Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

Dave Flowers
Old 07-07-2008, 05:35 AM   #2
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Hi Dave,

first, switching to a new operating system is a long time task. You have installed linux on one day, and it is running. You made the first step and there is no need to be worried about being an "idiot".

- but what's a console,
In windows the console is the "Command prompt" or a "Dos window". In linux the console plays a more important role than in windows: you can do everything on the console what you can do with your graphical programs. Nearly everything you need to configure (screen resolution, network configuration, etc.) is in linux a plain text file. For the most of these configuration files there are graphical programs to change them in a more user friendly way. But you can also edit these within a console. Just keep that in mind.

With Kubuntu you have made a good choice as it ships with such graphical configuration programs. So you don't need to use a console.

In Kubuntu you can open a console in your menu: "K-menu → System → Konsole (Terminal Program)".

This is also explained here:

Long story, now to your problem: What exactly doesn't look right? Do you have the right screen resolution? Open the "System Settings" and look under the section "Hardware -> Display". (You find the System Settings here: "K-menu → System Settings"

Feel free to ask any other questions. If you don't know what question to ask, just describe your problem as exactly you can.

Old 07-07-2008, 07:17 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by dom83 View Post

What exactly doesn't look right? Do you have the right screen resolution? Open the "System Settings" and look under the section "Hardware -> Display". (You find the System Settings here: "K-menu → System Settings"

Thanks for your reply. An excellent first question, also... When I go to System Settings -> Hardware->Display, nothing at all shows up for resolution. There's nothing in that box.

Is it relevant that I can't get KRandR to come up? When I click on that I get the icon indicating it's opening for about a minute, then it disappears and the program never opens.

As far as what doesn't look right, I'm not sure if it's a resolution problem or a font problem. The fonts look extremely blurry. The desktop doesn't look huge, so perhaps the resolution itself is okay, though I don't know what the resolution is since it's not showing in System Settings.

Thanks again for your help.

Old 07-08-2008, 06:04 AM   #4
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I'm sorry but as I neither use Ubunutu or KDE it is quite hard for me to help you. I hope someone else jumps in to help in this area.

Solution 1
I could imagine that it will work with the latest driver from ati. The driver which ships with KUbuntu is as far as I know not from ati but is a free and open driver developed by the community. Therefore it lacks some features. So you could try to install the ati driver and see if it solves your resolution problem. For the installation see this guide:

Pay attention to the side note what to do if your X won't start after the change. It is by no means critical, but you have to know how to edit your X configuration within a terminal. So I would suggest to play around with the "nano" command in a terminal before you restart your X.

In the case you don't know X/xorg: Just look at it as the main program of all your graphical programs. Linux first starts in a terminal mode. At the end of the boot process, KUbuntu starts the X server automatically. For illustration try this while running X: Press "Ctrl-Alt-F1" and you will switch to the terminal. You can switch through the terminals by pressing "Ctrl-F2" to "Ctrl-F9". On one of these your X server runs. So you will be back in your GUI if you press "Ctrl-F7" (maybe it is on another terminal, just try them all out).

Solution 2
Solution 1 is just a shot in the dark. So if you want to know why there aren't any other resolutions, I would suggest the following steps:

1. Open a terminal/console and enter the command "xrandr". This will show you the available resolutions. The one marked with a "*" is your current one.

2. If there aren't any, or only one resolution you can look in the log file of your X server. Open up the file "/var/log/Xorg.0.log" in your text editor - for example with nano. You will find a section where X probes all known resolutions and checks if they will work with your display and graphics card. If not there will be mentioned the reason and you have a clue where to look next.

Hope this helps a bit, and I'm sorry that I mentioned in my first post, that you do not need a terminal and now I direct you to do everything in it . But as I said, I don't know KDE/KUbuntu very well and the "terminal way" will work on every linux.



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