Tuesday, December 27, 2005

A tale of a Sony Vaio and a projector.

I am the proud owner of a Sony Vaio (PCG-V505CP) Laptop. Its small neat and stylish and best of all runs Linux with no trouble. I use Mandrake/Mandriva as I am used to KDE desktop rather then Gnome. Recently I upgraded to Mandriva 2006. It was great as the upgrade seemed to go with no glitches. All my setting still worked and the hibernate to disk now works. Actually I didnt miss it as the battery life is so long on this thing I rarely need it, and it boots up pretty fast. Also the wifi no runs with a linux driver rather than the ndiswrapper I used to use (which uses the windoze driver). I was so happy until I went to give a lecture on the monday morning. Plugged it in the data projector and nothing came out. I rebooted and it came up in some kind of low resolution mode (looks like 640x480) and I had to scroll around the screen yuk.

I can get really worked up about projectors not working. I always try to check the thing before I need it but its not always possible, and I have been caught out by strange old projectors at big conferences. I still have nightmares about it.

Eventually I got around to googling for the bug and its a well known problem with xorg and the Radeon chip set used by the graphics in the vaio. The fix is two lines added to xorg.conf

like this

Section "Device"
Option "MonitorLayout" "LVDS, CRT"
Option "CRT2Position" "clone"

See Bug 19861.

Works on all the projectors I have tried it on now without rebooting.

ps I know Sony have just been elevated to the status of Evil Empire for hiding a rootkit in their music CDs. And I'm not sure I would buy another Sony, although it is harsh to punish the excellent hardware design section for the sins of their music distribution section.
More on the Sony rootkit story on wikipedia.

TuxMobil - Linux on Laptops, Notebooks, PDAs and Mobile Phones


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