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Thread: Change screen resolution in 9.04

  1. #1
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    Change screen resolution in 9.04

    Much to my surprise, I managed to get Ubuntu 9.04 working on an old Mac G4. The only thing wrong so far is that I can't figure out how to change the screen resolution, which is currently at 800x600. The System>Preferences>Display app doesn't give me any options but 800x600 and 640x480 even though the monitor is happy at higher resolutions. My monitor is a Sony Multiscan 17sfII which runs 1024x780 @ 75hz on the same Mac with no trouble. I tried an earlier version of Kubuntu (6.10) which had a bunch of monitor profiles with it and I was hoping this distro did too, but if it does I can't find them.

    Isn't there a prefs file somewhere I can edit to deal with this cramped display? Sorry if this is newbie stuff, but really, in linux terms, that's what I am.

  2. #2
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    Re: Change screen resolution in 9.04

    You'll need to manually edit your /etc/X11/xorg.conf file.

    First, make a backup of the original:

    Code:
    sudo cp /etc/X11/xorg.conf  /etc/X11/xorg.conf.bak
    (note the Capital X)

    From a terminal, you can edit the original with root priveleges:

    Code:
    gksudo gedit /etc/X11/xorg.conf
    There might be next to nothing inside, but don't worry.

    The specs for your monitor were found, and I suggest adding these lines to your xorg.conf:

    Code:
    Section "Monitor"
            Identifier      "Configured Monitor"
            HorizSync       31-65
            VertRefresh     50-120
    EndSection
    
    Section "Screen"
            Identifier      "Default Screen"
            Monitor         "Configured Monitor"
            Device          "Configured Video Device"
            DefaultDepth    24
                 SubSection      "Display"
                    Viewport        0 0
                    Depth           24
                    Modes           "1280x1024"
                 EndSubSection
    EndSection
    Be mindful of what lines need start and end-quotes, and those line that don't need quotes.

    Save the file, quit the editor, and then use the logout function to restart X. Or you could just restart the computer. There are other ways to do this, but as a start, this is easiest.

    Let us know how it goes!
    Last edited by stream303; May 9th, 2009 at 10:33 PM.
    20" G5 iMac - AMD64 HP desktop
    http://www.ppclinux.info/

  3. #3
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    Re: Change screen resolution in 9.04

    THANK YOU SO MUCH.

    I'm copying this onto my main Mac so I can do this when I reboot the Ubuntu system later this morning. I read a little on this and as a result I was so afraid of messing with the xorg.conf file that I ALREADY backed it up!

    Very helpful; thank you again.

    UPDATE: I got it working, thanks to your help! I first simply added the monitor but didn't realize I needed to comment out the duplictaed portions of the original. When I did that and rebooted I got the high resolution screen. And now I also see a bunch of other resolutions supported, too.

    This is just great.

    Thanks again!
    Last edited by Benboom; May 9th, 2009 at 03:55 PM. Reason: Formatting

  4. #4
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    Re: Change screen resolution in 9.04

    Issue solved!
    Last edited by Benboom; May 9th, 2009 at 03:56 PM.

  5. #5
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    Re: Change screen resolution in 9.04

    Issue solved! Typing this on large screen!
    Last edited by Benboom; May 9th, 2009 at 04:02 PM.

  6. #6
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    Re: Change screen resolution in 9.04

    Wow - that usually doesn't happen. I thought for sure that this was just an exercise to something larger. I'm glad it worked right off the bat.

    Which machine do you have?
    http://www.everymac.com/systems/appl...wermac-g4.html

    Also, normally I just check to make sure that System > Preferences > Appearances > Fonts > Subpixel smoothing is checked for lcd's and In the details tab I run "slight" hinting.
    20" G5 iMac - AMD64 HP desktop
    http://www.ppclinux.info/

  7. #7
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    Thumbs down Re: Change screen resolution in 9.04

    It's a G4 450

    So far I'm not having any problems with the way it's displaying things but I will look at the smoothing to see if it makes a positive difference.

    In fact, now that I have a screen that functions properly the only thing I have found that I'm not quite happy with is that the audio output from the machine when running Ubuntu is considerably less than it is under OS X. I think I'll post another thread about that; it's about 15 dB lower - that's a lot. On my Mackie mixer it's the difference between 10AM and 3PM on the input level knob.

    But since the main reason I was doing this was so I could see if I could get a handle on Ubuntu prior to our purchase of a netbook for my wife the audio issue is pretty secondary; I just enjoy using the OS and I'm a little surprised because my past experience with Ubuntu (5.10) was not great. I would rather run Ubuntu than Windows but she's used to Windows and I thought that for the net surfing and word processing she's likely to do Ubuntu would be okay. Now that it looks like a "real" computer I'll let her play around with Open Office and Firefox on it.
    Last edited by Benboom; May 10th, 2009 at 12:27 AM.

  8. #8
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    Re: Change screen resolution in 9.04

    Ah, a Sawtooth! Hang on to that baby for sure!

    I mentioned a fix for your audio in the other thread - see if that works.

    In the meantime, could you do us a favor and post your full /etc/X11/xorg.conf file here? I'm really interested since it appears your machine is running an ATI Rage card, and not an nvidia card - unless you swapped it out...

    This will help confirm it:

    Code:
    lspci | grep VGA
    (All-caps on VGA)

    What would really be cool in addition to your xorg.conf file, would be the output of your /var/log/Xorg.0.log for the record. It will be a bit long, but will help out greatly.
    (again, make Xorg.0.log start with a capital X)

    Man - a Sawtooth - wish I had one.
    20" G5 iMac - AMD64 HP desktop
    http://www.ppclinux.info/

  9. #9
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    Thumbs down Re: Change screen resolution in 9.04

    Wow, two for two! The Line Out level was all the way at the bottom in alsamixer and I raised it to 100 and compared it with my second Sawtooth running Audion with the same song and now the volume levels for both machines appear to be the same; this is great. I wasn't even aware of the existance of alsamixer.

    As to the rest of your comments, here goes. I'll post the xorg.conf file but I can't figure out how to make the formatting look correct like yours does. Mine IS formatted like yours is but when I post it the formatting just disappears. With that in mind, here goes [entire file, including comments]:

    # xorg.conf (X.Org X Window System server configuration file)
    #
    # This file was generated by dexconf, the Debian X Configuration tool, using
    # values from the debconf database.
    #
    # Edit this file with caution, and see the xorg.conf manual page.
    # (Type "man xorg.conf" at the shell prompt.)
    #
    # This file is automatically updated on xserver-xorg package upgrades *only*
    # if it has not been modified since the last upgrade of the xserver-xorg
    # package.
    #
    # Note that some configuration settings that could be done previously
    # in this file, now are automatically configured by the server and settings
    # here are ignored.
    #
    # If you have edited this file but would like it to be automatically updated
    # again, run the following command:
    # sudo dpkg-reconfigure -phigh xserver-xorg

    Section "Device"
    Identifier "Configured Video Device"
    BusID "PCI:0:16:0"
    Option "UseFBDev" "true"
    EndSection

    #Section "Monitor"
    # Identifier "Configured Monitor"
    #EndSection

    #Section "Screen"
    # Identifier "Default Screen"
    # Monitor "Configured Monitor"
    # Device "Configured Video Device"
    #EndSection

    Section "Monitor"
    Identifier "Configured Monitor"
    HorizSync 31-65
    VertRefresh 50-120
    EndSection

    Section "Screen"
    Identifier "Default Screen"
    Monitor "Configured Monitor"
    Device "Configured Video Device"
    DefaultDepth 24
    SubSection "Display"
    Viewport 0 0
    Depth 24
    Modes "1280x1024"
    EndSubSection
    EndSection

    ---------------

    As for the graphics card, you are right. The machine has the original card and this is the result of the command you listed:

    0000:00:10.0 VGA compatible controller: ATI Technologies Inc Rage 128 PF/PRO AGP 4x TMDS

    ----------------

    I'm curious as to why you seem to like the Sawtooth. Most people I have read generally dismiss them.

    *I* like these old Sawtooth machines, although the 128 gig limit on the hard drives is a PITA. I got around that with the intech high cap driver and my main one (1ghz Sonnet processor) has a terabyte of storage. But the Ubuntu machine has only a couple of 120 meg drives in it and even if I added bigger ones with the intech driver Ubunu would not recognize the extra space. They are also easy to upgrade and have tons of space inside. I think the fact that I have two ten year old computers which are still able to function in today's world is a reasonable testament. I must say that this old G4 with the 450 mhz processor under Ubuntu, while sort of slow, is also pretty nice now that you have sorted out my initial major issues.

    Thanks so much! I'm sure I will have other questions as I continue to explore it.

  10. #10
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    Re: Change screen resolution in 9.04

    Thank you so much posting those files - it really helps!

    As to the 128gb issue - this is similar to the problem faced with early G3 iMac owners that have 8gb partitioning limitations when they find out that they have upgraded their drives.

    The solution is that the root partition must not extend beyond these boundaries, and typically one has to use manual partitioning (rather than letting guided partitioning just "use the whole disk")

    What I describe here is for a dedicated install, and not any sort of dual-boot!

    The Linux ppc installers have no way of knowing about these root boundaries on these specific boxes that have these limitations.

    Essentially, one keeps that root partition well below the boundary to be safe - that is in your case make sure that root is no larger than say 120 gb, and the rest of the partitions like /home are beyond it is ok.

    The problem is that we need special apple partitions before root, and unless you know how to do it, it can be a pain.

    One solution if starting from a bare disk is to purposely fail with guided partitioning "using the whole disk". Go ahead and install this way - the special apple partitions will be written, although /root is too large and the system will not come up.

    Now, reinstall again, but this time, do a MANUAL partition and leave those first two special apple partitions alone! Manually create or resize a /root that is under 120gb (or say 7gb for G3 iMac users), and a swap about 1x or 2x your ram. Now your whole disk is in use because it is partitioned correctly for that root limitation.

    (swap size is a whole 'nother issue that you can check out elsewhere)

    In the former ubuntu installers, you could do this all in one shot using the "BACK" technique, as I call it. You could start out with guided partitioning "using the whole disk", then BACK out and resize the root partition and add a swap. Unfortunately, you cannot do that these days, so here is the somewhat bodged-together version where you reinstall twice.

    This is an attempt to explain how to do it if you don't have much knowledge of the special apple partitions and manual partitioning skills. Experts can explain it much better than I for sure.

    But in the end, you can get around those 8 and 128gb root partition limitations and put the rest of the disk to good use!
    Last edited by stream303; May 10th, 2009 at 11:12 PM.
    20" G5 iMac - AMD64 HP desktop
    http://www.ppclinux.info/

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