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Re: Laptop console switching



Rodney McKee wrote:
Installed latest FC2T3, still unable to switch between external/internal
console.


I am assuming you mean switching between the laptop's LCD screen and external VGA monitor.

Running on a Thinkpad R31.
Has anyone else got this issue on laptops?
Is this related to the move to xorg?

Highly unlikely. The video drivers of XFree86 and xorg last I heard (a few months ago) have nothing to do with laptop switching of video displays. It is controlled entirely by the BIOS, and it is quite common for switching to either fail completely or cause crashes. Some drivers like ATI mach64 have purposefully disabled VGA switching in order to prevent stability problems.


Part of the problem here is that our great xorg leader mharris lacks any laptops. Please convince hardware manufacturers to send mharris free laptops along with BIOS and hardware specifications, and maybe he would have the chance to actually debug this kind of thing one day.

Unfortunately, even having actual hardware would not make this problem go away quickly. It would need to be individually tested and debugged for nearly every arbitrary combination of BIOS and video card. To make matters worse most laptop sellers are pressured to ship far too early. They test only "does it work with Windows XP?" then ship, despite their product not quite complying with ACPI specifications. Due to these problems it would take a combination of a lot more dedicated (and most likely paid) engineering, and unprecedented hardware manufacturer cooperation, to make this a supported and stable capability for Linux laptops.

Granted things are not totally grim. Our community software is always rapidly improving. For example, my Thinkpad T41 did not work very well when I first got it around FC2 Test1. But since then, the radeon driver with DRI works properly, suspend-to-RAM works, the airo wireless network works, and a dozen other aspects of its operation has improved. This is due to a combination of fast bug fixing in the upstream 2.6.x kernel and new capabilities made possible by xorg.

Ultimately what it will take to make all hardware this well supported by Linux is to give hardware manufacturers economic incentive to do so. This has already happened in a big way for the server market with big players like IBM, HP, and Dell selling Linux servers and workstations. As Linux desktop software continues to improve at a rapid pace, we will make hardware manufacturers and vendors take notice of our ever growing market penetration.


Warren




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