Volume 9, Issue 103; 23 Oct 2006; last modified 08 Oct 2010

Rotate and resize your display without restarting X.

Empowerment of individuals is a key part of what makes open source work, since in the end, innovations tend to come from small groups, not from large, structured efforts.

Tim O'Reilly

One of the nicest things about open source development is that it continues along even when you're not paying any attention. If you work in open source, you spend time improving the bits that you care about, that you have the time and expertise to work on, but that's what everyone else is doing too.

As a result, running Linux on a Laptop has slowly and steadily become less tedious and more stable (commodity parts and other factors play a role, no doubt). Where I used to build a custom kernel and spend half a day getting things working, I now simply insert the latest distribution CD and install it. I expect everything to work when I do this, and it does.

(Every now and then I worry about the wasted memory of extra drivers and support for hardware and features I'll never need, but it's been a couple of years since those concerns were strong enough to move me to action. The only thing that causes my machine to break into a sweat with any regularity is filtering spam!)

My latest discovery is that xrandr now works, mostly out of the box. I had to tell X11 what resolutions to consider:

Section "Device"
	Identifier	"ATI Technologies, Inc. M10 NT [FireGL Mobility T2]"
	Driver		"ati"
	BusID		"PCI:1:0:0"
	# ndw
	Option		"MonitorLayout"	"LVDS,CRT"
        Option		"MergedFB"       "true"
        Option		"CRT2HSync"      "32-91"
        Option		"CRT2VRefresh"   "56-76"
        Option		"CRT2Position"   "Above"
	Option		"MetaModes" "1600x1200 1600x1200-1600x1200 1600x1200-1024x768"
	# /ndw

But other than that it just works. I can switch easily between 1600x1200 (using my laptop away from my desk), 1600x1200-1600-x1200 (using my laptop in dual screen mode), and 1600x1200-1024x768 (using my laptop with a lower-resolution project as the second display).

So much for all the caveats I had last time.


Usable Linux on laptops? We truly are living in the future!

*blush* for my lack of faith, and my holidaying in the lands of MacOSX and Cygwin... I'll be back...

—Posted by Dan Brickley on 23 Oct 2006 @ 04:58 UTC #

I'm trying to configure my dual-monitor setup.
$ xrandr --output DVI-0 --left-of DVI-1
xrandr: screen cannot be larger than 1600x1200 (desired size 2880x1200)
---end of quote---

How come xrandr says the above, and how can xrandr fix it? I prefer it if I don't have to mess around with xorg.conf.
Thank you.
I'm using ubuntu 7.10

—Posted by JC on 28 Oct 2007 @ 06:15 UTC #

I don't know whether there's a fix without messing around with the xorg.conf. But if you do want to mess with the xorg.conf, it's just a matter of setting your Virtual size in the display subsection. So under the "Screen" section where there is the "Display" sub section you add the line:
Virtual 2880x1200

That's all that I had to do anyway.

—Posted by Abdullah Zainul Abidin on 06 Mar 2008 @ 09:50 UTC #


On my Thinkpad T42p (w/ ATI Firegl T2) I encounter the following problem using xrandr:

The FireGL t2 has two CRTC's; per default #0 is used by LVDS (laptop panel); and #1 is used by VGA-0 or DVI-0.

Now if I put my Thinkpad into its docking station I have two external Monitors attached (20"@1600x1200); and I can use them both if I turn off LVDS. The only thing is: The external Monitor (either VGA-0 or DVI-0) using CRTC 0 does not work properly; it displays a wabbling image. I fooled arround with some modes but so far I couldn't get it working. I posted this to some german ubuntu-forums but so far nobody could help me. Since you are using the same graphics adapter I hope you can give me a hint?

so long


—Posted by el_lobo on 04 Jun 2008 @ 08:50 UTC #

Sorry el_lobo, I've sold my T42p and switched to MacBookPro.

—Posted by Norman Walsh on 04 Jun 2008 @ 07:36 UTC #

I found that xrandr worked on my Ubuntu machine -my only interest is rotating the display to work with my rotatable flat screen. BUT, in portrait mode, only the top part of the screen is used so I still have a landscape view. Any ideas ?

—Posted by B J Russ on 04 Mar 2009 @ 07:43 UTC #