having spent 3 hours of my life in trying to get a dual-monitor setup + compiz on ubuntu 8.10, i have come to the conclusion that it is simply impossible.
[note: this is on a machine with 2 X300SE ATI cards which are connected to a dell (1280×1024) and a sony (1024×768).]
- ATI+ubuntu = configuration hell. always has been and always will be. make it the seventh hell of hells when you add a dual-head setup into the mix. nvidia (from all the forums) is apparently much nicer.
- ubuntu natively picks up my monitors + resolutions. impressive.
- compiz appears to need the restricted ATI drivers to even work, on this latest iteration. once they are in there, it just works (on a single screen setup). beautifully. memories of spending 5 hours grappling with xorg.conf are sweet mythology.
- if one ditches compiz, and sticks to the open-source drivers, there’s still no scope of managing to ensure that different monitors run at different resolutions, and all work together to form a single desktop. the sony seems like the screen is extending way beyond the actual monitor with icons somewhere in the air above it.
- the ATI catalyst GUI sucks. cannot set up monitors at different resolutions, does not understand how to arrange monitors, ends up setting up the 2 monitors as a single LARGE widescreen, $^%#^&^$…
- default for all graphics configs (initially) is to clone outputs on both screens all the time. why?
- due to this lack of configurability, i have to either downgrade res to 1024×768 on both and have wonky compiz effects, or not have compiz at all.
- i somehow managed to enable a 2560×1024 (don’t ask) screen expanding across both monitors, to find that my cards only support upto 2048×2048 (ok, this is slightly invalid, but i was highly frustrated by this point anyway). ergo, compiz still won’t work.
- ubuntu without compiz effects seems dinky to use, and somehow extremely non-intuitive without all the flashiness.
now, while i’ve always been a fan of the terminal and all the cool commands that you pull out of the hat in linux… why isn’t there even an alt-tab command in linux? or any apparently simple way to set it up? compiz has ultra-funky features, and ubuntu has…nothing? what sense does that make?
incidentally, i had to reboot after an update (first time ever, for a non-kernel update). nasty memory of windows rebooting in the middle of my experiments ensued.
i’m impressed with the ease of setup. ubuntu has come streets ahead since i used it last in 7.10. lack of user-interface customization tells. big time.
solution: back to winxp with ultramon installed. such simplicity. maybe i will now move to winvista-32 or 64 on this machine, just for the heck of it.
crossover works great though, installed office 2007 directly on ubuntu. very cool. too bad the one thing keeping me on windows is the customization, rather than office.