Sunday Apr 30, 2006

Projectors and Xorg

Recently, setting up at a customer site, I had problems hooking up my notebook, running Solaris 10, to the video projector. Not the best timing of course. :-) Playing around with this lateron, I discovered the following. If the function key to switch video (F5, F10, whatever it is on your laptop) doesn't work to switch from LCD to projector, there is a trick.

Logout, and with the Solaris 10 login screen in front of you press <ctrl><alt><backspace>. This restarts the X-Windows server. While it is doing this (so immediately after your three-finger salute) press <Fn><F10>. The trick seems to be that switching video only works when the X-Server is not running.

It will depend on your notebook of course, but it is my experience that where Windows normally allows you three video modes – LCD, external or both – with X-Windows it is either one or the other. However, this could be because my LCD is a 16:9 widescreen afair, while the video projector (or monitor) is the traditional 4:3.

Now we're on this subject: If you create an xorg.conf file with "/usr/X11/bin/Xorg -config", you better add (manually) to the Monitor section some "HorizSync 20-80" and "VertRefresh 50-90" entries. If you don't, Xorg will use the default modes, which are only good for 640x480. This is not specific for notebooks, in the past I noticed the same on a V40z.