Yay, Dual Screen is back!!

It turned out to be pretty easy. I used the nVidia tool to generate my xorg.conf and then just had to do a couple of tweaks. First off, since it was running as a non-privileged user, it wasn’t able to save to /etc/X11/xorg.conf. So I had to save it to my desktop. Then I had to edit it because the nVidia tool didn’t want my second monitor to be an awesome resolution, so I had to edit that manually. Then I just copied it to the right spot. Now it’s perfect. Here’s my xorg.conf:

# nvidia-settings: X configuration file generated by nvidia-settings
# nvidia-settings: version 1.0 (buildmeister@builder3) Fri Apr 13 13:36:32 PDT 2007

Section “ServerLayout”
Identifier “Layout0”
Screen 0 “Screen0” 0 0
InputDevice “Keyboard0” “CoreKeyboard”
InputDevice “Mouse0” “CorePointer”
EndSection

Section “Files”
RgbPath “/usr/X11R6/lib/X11/rgb”
FontPath “unix/:7100”
EndSection

Section “Module”
Load “dbe”
Load “extmod”
Load “type1”
Load “freetype”
Load “glx”
EndSection

Section “ServerFlags”
Option “Xinerama” “0”
EndSection

Section “InputDevice”
# generated from default
Identifier “Mouse0”
Driver “mouse”
Option “Protocol” “auto”
Option “Device” “/dev/input/mice”
Option “Emulate3Buttons” “no”
Option “ZAxisMapping” “4 5”
EndSection

Section “InputDevice”
# generated from data in “/etc/sysconfig/keyboard”
Identifier “Keyboard0”
Driver “kbd”
Option “XkbLayout” “us”
Option “XkbModel” “pc105”
EndSection

Section “Monitor”
# HorizSync source: edid, VertRefresh source: edid
Identifier “Monitor0”
VendorName “Unknown”
ModelName “DELL E770s”
HorizSync 30.0 – 70.0
VertRefresh 50.0 – 160.0
Option “DPMS”
EndSection

Section “Device”
Identifier “Videocard0”
Driver “nvidia”
VendorName “NVIDIA Corporation”
BoardName “GeForce FX 5500”
EndSection

Section “Screen”
Identifier “Screen0”
Device “Videocard0”
Monitor “Monitor0”
DefaultDepth 24
Option “TwinView” “1”
Option “metamodes” “CRT-0: 1280×1024 +0+0, CRT-1: 1280×1024 +1280+0; CRT-0: 1280×960 +0+0, CRT-1: nvidia-auto-select +1280+0; CRT-0: 1280×800 +0+0, CRT-1: nvidia-auto-select +1280+0; CRT-0: 1152×864 +0+0, CRT-1: nvidia-auto-select +1152+0; CRT-0: 1152×768 +0+0, CRT-1: nvidia-auto-select +1152+0; CRT-0: 1024×768 +0+0, CRT-1: nvidia-auto-select +1024+0; CRT-0: 800×600 +0+0, CRT-1: nvidia-auto-select +800+0; CRT-0: 640×480 +0+0, CRT-1: nvidia-auto-select +640+0”
SubSection “Display”
Depth 24
Modes “1600×1200” “1280×1024” “1024×768” “800×600” “640×480”
EndSubSection
EndSection

Oh yeah, and the fonts for the internet are MUCH easier to read (at least on my blog) – perhaps this is due to the Liberation fonts?

Double-Plus-Good News on the Dual Screen and Compiz front!

So, readers may remember that when I upgraded to Fedora Core 6, I lost dual screen abilities. Well, after today’s update of the nVidia drivers from livna, it suddenly was working again (after I tried to set it up). But then compiz no longer wanted to work! That frustrated me as I wanted to have both the advantages of dual screen as well as the helpful and fun eye candy of compiz. Well, Yupman in Fedora’s freenode chat helped me through it and showed me how to change my xorg.conf to make it work.

So here it is. You just need nVidia drivers to do it this way:

# Xorg configuration created by system-config-display

Section “ServerLayout”
Identifier “Default Layout”
Screen 0 “Screen0” 0 0
InputDevice “Keyboard0” “CoreKeyboard”
Option “Xinerama” “off”
Option “Clone” “off”
EndSection

Section “Files”
ModulePath “/usr/lib/xorg/modules/extensions/nvidia”
ModulePath “/usr/lib/xorg/modules”
EndSection

Section “Module”
Load “dbe”
Load “extmod”
Load “fbdevhw”
Load “record”
Load “freetype”
Load “type1”
Load “glx”
Load “dri”
EndSection

Section “InputDevice”
Identifier “Keyboard0”
Driver “kbd”
Option “XkbModel” “pc105”
Option “XkbLayout” “us”
EndSection

Section “Monitor”
Identifier “Monitor0”
VendorName “Monitor Vendor”
ModelName “Dell P780”
HorizSync 30.0 – 85.0
VertRefresh 48.0 – 120.0
Option “dpms”
EndSection

Section “Device”
Identifier “Videocard0”
Driver “nvidia”
VendorName “Videocard Vendor”
BoardName “nVidia Corporation NV34 [GeForce FX 5500]”
BusID “PCI:1:0:0”
Option “AllowGLXWithComposite” “true”
Option “AddARGBGLXVisuals” “True”
Option “TwinViewOrientation” “LeftOf”
Option “SecondMonitorHorizSync” “30.0 – 85.0”
Option “SecondMonitorVertRefresh” “48.0 – 120.0”
Option “MetaModes” “1280×1024,1280×1024; 1280×1024,NULL; 1024×768,1024×768; 800×600,800×600; 640×480,640×480”
EndSection

Section “Screen”
Identifier “Screen0”
Device “Videocard0”
DefaultDepth 24
Option “NoLogo” “1”
Option “RenderAccel” “On”
Option “HWCursor” “On”
Option “backingstore” “On”
Option “Coolbits” “On”
Option “TwinView” “On”
SubSection “Display”
Viewport 0 0
Depth 24
Modes “1280×1024”
EndSubSection
EndSection

Section “Extensions”
Option “Composite”
EndSection

Enjoy the perverse joy of dualscreen cubes and other such goodies!

Compiz WORKS!

All I had to add, apart from what I mentioned yesterday was:

Load “extmod”
to the Module section of xorg.conf.

Although others have derided it, I think it is an AWESOME addition to Fedora. It really brings the desktop to the eye candy level of Mac’s OSX. A lot of the eye candy is also extremely functional! I wanted to save this post for a video showing the compiz stuff (it doesn’t really work to show screenshots), but I haven’t been having the best of luck with that. I’ll try again in the next couple of days along with my review.

If I had to make one large complaint it would be that with compiz enabled there is no “send to desktop x” function. So windows have to be dragged across boundaries if you opened them on the wrong desktop.

An Open Letter to nVidia

To All Responsible at nVidia for the production of device drivers,

I want to thank you for producing binary drivers for Linux at a time when most other companies don’t feel that the Linux market penetration is larger enough to develop drivers. So thanks for doing that! In fact, that is why I exclusively buy nVidia for my machines whenever possible. Sure, ATI is sharing NOW, but you were the first to divert some programmers to produce it and your reward is faithful customers like me. Of course, supplying closed-source binary drivers is not the perfect solution, as you have no doubt heard from others. However, I think this is an important first step which allows me to use my computer’s hardware to its maximum and allows Linux programmers to make GUIs capable of eye candy rivaling (and in some cases surpasing) that of Windows and Macintosh.

Continue to provide these and I will continue to buy nVidia – but please see what you can do towards getting open source drivers out there. I predict that if you can find a way to do this to ATI, you will get even MORE devotees such as myself. People get REALLY into the open/closed source driver debate, so being the first would give you considerable leverage. I understand that the graphics market is very cut-throat and you can’t afford to give away trade secrets to ATI, but the sooner an open source driver can be released without hurting your bottom line, the sooner droves will flock to nVidia. Not only that, but by having the drivers open sourced, programmers will be much better able to write programs taking advantage of your great product.

Sincerely,

Eric Mesa

Graphics Cards part 2

A little bit of info to impart here with respect to using the proprietary nVidia drivers. So, first I went to livna and downloaded the nVidia kernel modules that match my kernel. Then things were running great – even a little better than before, but something seemed wrong. The people in the irc room were unhelpful when I tried to ask them if nVidia was running. When I tried to run BZFlag, it no longer ran! I kept getting GLX missing errors! Turns out that it wasn’t running! I had to go to system-config-display (in Red Hat Fedora) and tell it to use the nVidia card as my graphics card. Then I opened up a terminal and typed init 3 and went to another VT for init 5 to restart the X server. This time I saw the nVidia logo when I got to the login screen. Success!

Finally, it was time to play BZFlag with the nVidia drivers loaded (as they were the impetus for my getting the gfx card in the first place!) To recap – before the graphics card, my computer couldn’t handle it. The cheap-o on board graphics that eMachines had installed didn’t do 3D rendering. I tried to play BZFlag and my computer lagged so badly that no only could my tank not more for all practical purposes, but I was kicked out of the game for excessive lag. Then I put in the graphics card, but no nVidia drivers. Now I could play the game! There was still a bit of lag-induced stutter, but it was playable if I had to. Then I went ahead and installed the nVidia drivers and BAM! It plays beautifully smooth!!!

It was a good purchase and definitely worth the $30! I can’t imagine how much better things would be with a graphics card with 512 MB RAM, but I currently don’t use my Linux computer for too much gaming, so this should be good enough.

Oh yeah, I can move windows around without any lag at all and switch desktops with the greatest of ease. Bring on the AIGLX and other similar things! Enable real transparency! w00t w00t!