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Old 02-03-2008, 01:13 AM   #1
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Why are the simplest things so hard in Linux? How do I select my monitor model?

Can anyone tell me how to configure my computer monitor through the OS? I want the OS to know what monitor I have (Phillips Brilliance 107p), so it can load the "do's and do not's" for the then I can increase my refresh rate. The flicker. I'ts really bothering me. I was using Freespire and I couldn't figure it out. Now I'm running PCLinuxOS 2007 and I can't figure it out either. SuSE's YAST made it simple to select my monitor but now I can't find any setting that allows me to do that. Even before I installed my graphics drive I could select the resolution.

I'm at the Configure- KDesktop screen and right now the monitor can only be adjusted to 1024 X 768 @ 60Hz. I can't increase the refresh rate. This monitor is capable of doing well over 80Hz at that resolution. :-/

Last edited by aweir14150; 02-03-2008 at 01:16 AM.
Old 02-03-2008, 01:26 AM   #2
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Since PCLInuxOS is based on Mandriva, there is a good chance that you can simply use the XFdrake command (as root) to perform that sort of configuration. However, like so many GUIS, XFdrake won't allow you to specify anything else than what it thinks are the appropriate selections. If those are still not right, you'll need to edit the refresh rates values as well as the resolution modes (/etc/X11/xorg.conf file).
Old 02-03-2008, 01:37 AM   #3
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I found the "Administration Center" icon in the panel and opened it. There was an option to "configure your monitor". I don't understand why I could not have found this in the application menu itself*.

And why on earth would I have to do this through a command line when I can just use a GUI and do it ten times quicker?

I can't figure this out. There's a Control Center but there's no way to configure my hardware within it. *this might be a distro-specific gripe but it makes no sense at all. Common sense would dictate that the program to select your monitor model should be linked directly to the program that adjusts your resolution/refresh rate. Oh well.

Last edited by aweir14150; 02-03-2008 at 01:40 AM.
Old 02-03-2008, 07:11 AM   #4
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And why on earth would I have to do this through a command line when I can just use a GUI and do it ten times quicker?
Because sometimes the command-line is easier and faster in the long run......but that's another story..

Setting up video can be annoying---but you already know that!! Sometimes I try "xorgconfig", but I typically let the system do its thing and then go in and edit xorg.conf. About the only thing you need to know on the monitor is the refresh rates. What is equally important is to have the right driver for your video card. If the Linux installer can't determine your video card or doesn't have a driver for it, it will typically default to "vesa", which has only limited modes.

Bite the bullet, open up xorg.conf and first check the scan rates. Then tell us what is your video card and what driver is specified.

Here are the relevant entries from my machine---edited to include the only info that is really required:

Section "Monitor"
Identifier "monitor1"
HorizSync 24-92
VertRefresh 50-75

Section "Device"
Identifier "device1"
Driver "radeon"
The "Screen" section will include the entries "monitor1" and "device1". Some xorg.conf files have other junk in them, so be sure you are looking at the right entries.
Old 02-03-2008, 07:18 AM   #5
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In PCLOS, you should be able, from the command line, to issue the following commands to get the monitor configured:

first, as normal user: xhost +localhost (that will give graphic capabilities to the root user, which authority you will probably need).

second: su to root

third: harddrake (to start up the hardware configuration tool). If I remember correctly, that's the Mandriva/PCLinuxOS configuration tool (the GUI tool you want).

fourth (in harddrake): select the monitor configuration tool, and set it up as you want it.

fifth: when you're all done, close harddrake, then enter 'exit' on the command line to exit root user.

sixth: xhost -localhost to reverst the first command.

Last edited by bigrigdriver; 02-03-2008 at 07:23 AM.
Old 02-03-2008, 08:48 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by aweir14150 View Post
I want the OS to know what monitor I have (Phillips Brilliance 107p), so it can load the "do's and do not's" for the monitor.
The related features in Windows may have convinced you there is some benefit to having the OS know the brand and model of your monitor. That was never actually true in Windows and Linux doesn't pretend it is true.

It is useful to have the OS know the frequency limits of the monitor, and for most monitors those can be queried directly from the monitor. Windows and Linux both do that, though they seem to use the resulting info differently.

Linux seems to be a lot worse than Windows at doing a decent job of monitor setup through simple GUI interfaces.

I don't know if you will find this practical, but I've found Linux is much more flexible than Windows in resolutions and refresh rates you can reach by doing things the hard way. The "hard way" in Linux, editing xorg.conf, is also a lot easier than the "hard way" in Windows, editing .ini files.

I don't know how much the following paths and file names vary by distribution. There are two files you should be looking at:

The first was configured by something (I don't know such things yet) when you installed. It probably wasn't configured very well. It tells the display system how to function, including listing the valid resolutions and refresh rates and how to generate them with your monitor and display card. That is the file you might edit to tune your display performance.

The program that configured it, probably copied the brand/model info from your monitor into that file (which has just ID value, not configuration value). It also probably copied the monitor's valid range for H and V frequencies, which is very important for save configuration of resolutions and refresh rates.

That second file represents a log of info seen and/or decided while initializing the display. It has lots of verbose crap that is useless and/or hard to understand. It also have key information about your monitor and your display card that will help in editing xorg.conf. It also has diagnostic info that will help you understand why the instructions currently in xorg.conf don't produce the expected results.

Last edited by johnsfine; 02-03-2008 at 08:50 AM.
Old 02-03-2008, 11:27 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by pixellany View Post
Because sometimes the command-line is easier and faster in the long run......but that's another story..
True. Also, as Ian (IBall) once explained to me, "It's much easier to tell someone to 'open a terminal and type this command' than it is to say 'open this menu, click that, search for this, click here, click there, click...'"

Here's a quick guide for using XFdrake.

Old 02-03-2008, 11:36 AM   #8
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Actually, this is what I love about Linux. I open my xorg.conf, set it up and forget it. It's not going to change anything all by itself as it happens in that other OS.
Old 02-03-2008, 11:38 AM   #9
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For better or worse, Linux is not Windows.
Old 02-03-2008, 05:02 PM   #10
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Thanks for all the help. It's only been the second day using it, but I'm through with Freespire. This OS is a joke. No way to confire my monitor through a GUI, no way the search for OS updates. CNR is a jumbled mess of software. "It can install your ATI graphics driver for you". LOL

Right now my display resolution is set to 1024 X 768 and yyet is actually like 1600X1200 or something like that because the text is so small I can bearly read the screen. I can barely read the screem. I'm going to use PCLinuxOS or Kubuntu instead. Actually i WAS using the PCLinuxOS LLive DVD before.

Last edited by aweir14150; 02-03-2008 at 05:09 PM.


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