Getting my dual display setup to work on Ubuntu 9.0.4

My Macbook Pro recently died and I decided to stage a new development desktop using Ubuntu 9.0.4.  I’ve had colleages complain in the past about poor support for ATI graphics cards and was a bit concerned aboout getting the hardware that I had handy work correctly.  Well, I suppose I got lucky.  I decided to pass on what I learned with the hopes that it would help others in the same situation (namely Mr. Meridth).

First off, here’s the hardware I am working with: Dell Optiplex 755 (love that model #, use it all the time with chmod), ATI Radeon HD 3450, Dell E170Sb 17″ monitor, Dell E228WFPc 22″ monitor.

I first tried to install Ubuntu from a live CD, but the image disappeared after the splash screen…sad times.  So, disconnected the monitors from the ATI card and used the onboard video to get through the install.  Once done with the install, I started researching into problems with ATI cards such as mine.  Fortunately, I found a super-helpful site here: https://help.ubuntu.com/community/RadeonDriver.  I found that there were problems with the proprietary drivers, so I elected to use an open source variant.  It looks like there’s no 3D acceleration for my card, but what do I care (I’m not using it for games or animation).

On the community site I’d read, “You can often just take away your xorg.conf and it will run fine.”  So, this is what I did on my first run.  I followed the site’s instructions for installing the new drivers.  Here they are in short:

1. Get your graphics card info: lspci -nn | grep VGA
1.1. Should return info including the BusID, device type, and card model. If you get "None known." you are stuck with the "fglrx" driver.
2. Remove the "fglrx" driver if it's already installed: sudo apt-get remove --purge xorg-driver-fglrx
2.1. If anything was removed, reboot after removal.
3. Check to see if libGL.so from ATI is still in /usr/lib ( ignored this and went ahead with the reinstall in 3.1.1.): glxinfo | grep vendor
3.1 If you see ATI under the 'OpenGL vendor string" then you'll need to reinstall the OpenGL libs.
3.1.1. To reinstall: sudo apt-get install --reinstall libgl1-mesa-glx libgl1-mesa-dri
4. Ensure that "fglrx" is not listed in /etc/modules: sudo cat /etc/modules
5. Ensure that "fglrx" is not listed in /etc/X11/xorg.conf
5.1. On my first from, I just renamed xorg.conf to bu.xorg.conf to remove and backup.

After all this, I was able to get my dual monitor setup to work with my card.  This was awesome, but since my 22″ monitor’s resolution was throttled and looked ugly.  I was stuck at 1280×1024.  This was ugly encough to have a go at the X11 config, which turned out to be far simpler than I had thought.  Now everything is working like a charm!

Following is what I ended up with in xorg.conf:

Section “Monitor”
    Identifier    ”Configured Monitor”
EndSection

Section “Screen”
    Identifier    ”Default Screen”
    Monitor        ”Configured Monitor”
    Device        ”Configured Video Device”
    SubSection “Display”
        Virtual    2960 1050
    EndSubSection
EndSection

Section “Device”
    Identifier    ”Configured Video Device”
EndSection

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    About Joshua Lockwood

    I code stuff and people pay me for it.
    This entry was posted in ATI, DELL, drivers, dual display, Jaunty, Linux, Ubtunu. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

    3 Responses to Getting my dual display setup to work on Ubuntu 9.0.4

    1. The Other Steve says:

      Thanks for this reminder for why I abandoned Linux years ago.

    2. lilikindsli says:

      cdIHvY I want to say – thank you for this!

    3. Globals says:

      all good things

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