Feb 172006

EDIT: These instructions are for Ubuntu version 5 and lower! If you are installing Ubuntu 6 and higher, you only need to run a single command:


Well, I’ve gone back to Linux and of course it wasn’t pretty. Driver support just will NEVER be as fast as it is for Windows. Sorry but it is true. So, I spent sometime trying not to give up and switch back to Windows.

At first I thought it was my fonts. If you installed linux from 1990-2002 it was always the fonts. I spent sometime installing cleartypes, true types, fixed width, etc. No luck.

Then I noticed that I had this monster f-ing headache and started looking at my display. Everything was blurry and stretched. The icons should have been squares or circles but were rectangles and ovals. I then googled for wide screen laptop and Ubuntu and had to piece through so much crap to figure it out. Plus, nothing I found gave me the trick to getting it all to work, which I finally figured out. Here’s my step by step:

  1. Download 855resolution from http://perso.wanadoo.fr/apoirier/. I think this is also in the universe section of apt.
  2. Ensure you have all the gcc, libgcc, g++, libg++, and dev packages installed. I could step through this, but I won’t because just install ALL of them. Anything that has gcc or cpp or g++ in the name, install it. You’ll save yourself headaches in the future. This includes all -dev packages as well. (Since this is ubuntu, use apt-cache search and apt-get install).
  3. Make and install this as root using the directions from the README.txt in the tarball. Don’t worry about all the other crap, just the Installing section.
  4. Next, I did this the hard way, but you might be able to hack up /etc/init.d/rc or find a chkconfig that works for Ubuntu. I ran out of steam and gave up at this point. Make a script in /etc/init.d that runs the 855resolution executable with the parameters you need to install your resolution to the graphics BIOS. There are a lot of good resources online about how to do this, but essentially you run 855resolution -l and then pick a resolution you will never use and replace it with your real resolution. The Dell 700m has a standard resolution of 1280×800. My script looks like this:
  5. I then added this to my runlevels in /etc/rc[2-5].d as a symlink named S10855resolution. This is the trick! You have to name this using S10 or something lower like S08 in order for it to be run prior to the Ubuntu GDM init script. Since Ubuntu uses a graphical display during startup, it starts GDM pretty early. You need to start 855resolution prior to GDM starting.
  6. If you want to further tweak your display settings. Follow the next steps. Otherwise, reboot and you should have a nice looking Ubuntu Linux install on a wide-screen laptop.
  7. Download this little helper: http://gtf.sourceforge.net/. The website gives compile directions.
  8. Run gtf to get your modeline for your exact video card.
  9. Copy whatever gtf outputs to your /etc/X11/xorg.conf file in the “monitor” section. There should be an existing modeline for your display. You can comment that one out and put in this new one.
  10. Reboot

Hopefully I didn’t miss anything. If you have issues, leave me comments and I can update this post.

Feb 112006

Recently had an issue with InstantRails where executing ruby would cause a dialog to appear that said iconv.dll couldn’t be found. This is easy to solve by adding the InstantRails\ruby\lib directory to your PATH variable.

Feb 072006

Java.net is thinking about adding SubVersion support to their offering. If you are like most of us developers and love SubVersion over CVS, please help everyone that uses Java.net by adding a reply to this forum so that the Java.net team will add SubVersion.


I converted this to a TinyURL to help my blog not look ugly. :)