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New Failsafe Graphics Mode For Ubuntu

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the just-light-the-pixels-please dept.

Displays 505

ianare sends us to Ars Technica for news of the Ubuntu Xorg BulletProof-X feature, coming soon to a 7.10 (Gutsy) build near you. "It provides a failsafe mode that will ensure that users never have to manually configure their graphics hardware settings from the command line. If Xorg fails to start,the failsafe mode will initiate with minimalistic settings, low resolution, and a limited number of colors. The failsafe mode also automatically runs Ubuntu's new GTK-based display configuration utility so that users can easily test various display settings and choose a configuration that will work properly with their hardware."

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Oooooooh! (4, Funny)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 6 years ago | (#20436587)

Linux gets Safe Mode!

I guess that's an advance.

Re:Oooooooh! (1, Offtopic)

Volatar (1099775) | more than 6 years ago | (#20436611)

Finally. One small step for linux...

Re:Oooooooh! (4, Insightful)

Jugalator (259273) | more than 6 years ago | (#20436641)

Heh, the flamebait that'd be modded Insightful solely depending on the OS. ;)

Re:Oooooooh! (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 6 years ago | (#20437225)

I already got modded both Flamebait and Troll. I guess we know which OS the mods are running tonight. Humorless twits.

Linux has always had "safe mode". (5, Insightful)

khasim (1285) | more than 6 years ago | (#20436665)

Linux has always had "safe mode". You boot single user from the command line.

This is more "easy GUI re-configuration of X.org when X.org blows up".

Well ..... I guess you could consider it "safe mode" for X.org. But not for "Linux".

Re:Linux has always had "safe mode". (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20436897)

This is more "easy GUI re-configuration of X.org when X.org blows up".

Or, a single linux distro gets save mode

Common XP burning mistake (0, Offtopic)

dbcad7 (771464) | more than 6 years ago | (#20437061)

Often, people will download an ISO, click on it in XP which very helpfuly asks "make a CD ?".. which they do.. but they are not making a bootable CD.. all they have done is copy the ISO to the CD.

If you browse a newly created Ubuntu disk.. it will NOT be one file ending in .iso

There should be several directories.. If not it isn't burned correctly.

You need a proper burning program like Nero or Active ISO Burner. You burn FROM an Image, you dont copy the image to CD.

Again
If you browse a newly created Ubuntu disk.. it will NOT be one file ending in .iso
Again
If you browse a newly created Ubuntu disk.. it will NOT be one file ending in .iso
Again
If you browse a newly created Ubuntu disk.. it will NOT be one file ending in .iso
Again
If you browse a newly created Ubuntu disk.. it will NOT be one file ending in .iso

Common posting mistake (1, Funny)

dbcad7 (771464) | more than 6 years ago | (#20437131)

sorry bout that.. meant to post reply to my own post above. I will be more careful next time

Again
I will be more careful next time
Again
I will be more careful next time
Again
I will be more careful next time

ok I got it... again sorry dude. :)

Future Ubuntu Releases (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20437151)

Angy Akata
Busty Beaner
Crackhead Coon
Ditzy Darkie
Eerie Earfucker
Fisting Feminazi
Grubby Goombah
Horney Homo
Irate Inky
Jumping Jigabo
Kinky Kike
Lame Limey
Morose Moolie
Nappy Nigger
Obscene Oreo
Puny Popolo
Quiet Queer
Reeking Rafter
Sleazy Spic
Tipsy Tranny
Ugly UncleTom
Vvenomous Velcrohead
Wretched Whigger
Xenophobic Xena
Yellow Yenta
Zany Zebra

great! (4, Interesting)

datapharmer (1099455) | more than 6 years ago | (#20436589)

This is great, but should have been done a long time ago! I have heard several people say they "tried ubuntu but it wouldn't work"... I determined the graphics failure to be an issue 100% of the time.

Re:great! (1)

dbcad7 (771464) | more than 6 years ago | (#20436765)

hmmm.. I determined incorrectly burned CD's to be an issue 90% of the time.. with the other 10% devoted to extremely old hardware that couldn't even boot a Windows 98 CD because the bios was too old... I have had the odd case where it was setup in a really strange resolution, but it has always booted graphical for me on the installs I have done.

Re:great! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20436815)

i'm sorry, but "incorrectly burned CD's" ? how can someone really incorrectly burn a CD?

Re:great! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20436861)

Burn the ISO as a file, I bet.

Re:great! (3, Informative)

Fireflymantis (670938) | more than 6 years ago | (#20436867)

Probably where when looking at the CD in windows, the CD gets burned with only one file...

D:\ubuntu-desktop.iso

Re:great! (4, Informative)

JanneM (7445) | more than 6 years ago | (#20436871)

i'm sorry, but "incorrectly burned CD's" ? how can someone really incorrectly burn a CD?
Somewhat poorly worded, perhaps, but the parent is right. It's not that unusual for a burned CD, perhaps burned on cheap media using an old burner, to contain errors. If the user doesn't verify the burned CD, and doesn't do the "test media" thing on bootup your installation will fail.

Re:great! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20437051)

If the user doesn't verify the burned CD, and doesn't do the "test media" thing on bootup your installation will fail.

So if I don't do post-burn checks, then the disc will be a bad burn? How odd...

Re:great! (4, Insightful)

JanneM (7445) | more than 6 years ago | (#20437081)

If the user doesn't verify the burned CD, and doesn't do the "test media" thing on bootup your installation will fail.

So if I don't do post-burn checks, then the disc will be a bad burn? How odd...
No, if you don't do post-burn checks you don't know the burn is bad and won't burn a second disk. It's a difficult concept, I know. Think it over; you'll get it I'm sure.

Re:great! (2, Informative)

dbcad7 (771464) | more than 6 years ago | (#20437167)

I screwed up and posted this on the wrong thread.. Off topic there,,, so some redemption here..

Often, people will download an ISO, click on it in XP which very helpfuly asks "make a CD ?".. which they do.. but they are not making a bootable CD.. all they have done is copy the ISO to the CD.

If you browse a newly created Ubuntu disk.. it will NOT be one file ending in .iso
There should be several directories.. If not it isn't burned correctly.

You need a proper burning program like Nero or Active ISO Burner. You burn FROM an Image, you dont copy the image to CD.

Again If you browse a newly created Ubuntu disk.. it will NOT be one file ending in .iso

Re:great! (1)

shaitand (626655) | more than 6 years ago | (#20437221)

I solve this problem by giving them already burned DVD's. You do know they will send you Ubuntu DVD's already burned and packaged pretty for free right?

I don't encounter many computers so old they won't run win98 anymore, or winxp for that matter. I have encountered MANY that have x issues. This is a godsend that I have been begging for, for years.

Re:great! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20437209)

Oh, I'm very clear on what you intended to say. The problem is that that's not what you actually said. You said that if I don't verify the media or do the "test media" option from the install screen, then my installation will fail. That simply isn't true. Just pointing out a place where you might try improving your communication skills.

Re:great! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20437099)

I suspect a troll, but here goes: No, if you have a bad burn due to cheap media (and the burner doesn't tell you that it didn't burn correctly for whatever reason), and you don't do a post-burn check (or pre-install check), then the install will fail repeatedly.

Re:great! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20436923)

Go to one of your local LUGs install fests towards the end.

As everyone leaves, gather up about a backpack full of abandoned CDs.

Go home, and examine them, and see that the filesystems of all of them contain a single file: "ubuntu.iso"

Re:great! (5, Informative)

MindKata (957167) | more than 6 years ago | (#20436877)

"done a long time ago"

It is very good news, but I hope this fail safe also works for everyone in the installer. I had a machine which wasn't possible to install Feisty Fawn on it, via the graphical Ubuntu install program. This was due to the default resolution being lower than required, for the window size of the install program. (So it wasn't possible to complete options in the installer windows and so continue with the install, using that program). (It occured with the on board graphics card on a new PC build at work, so the quickest work around was simply to put a better graphics card in which I had to hand and was planning on using it at some point anyway. A software only solution would have taken longer and isn't going to be so easy for non-technical users who just hope to try out Ubuntu. (I would expect it to be unfortunately enough to put off some non-technical users).

So anything they can do to improve the graphical support is very good news. The more Ubuntu users the better. :)

Re:great! (5, Informative)

Lord_Breetai (66113) | more than 6 years ago | (#20436977)

This was due to the default resolution being lower than required, for the window size of the install program. (So it wasn't possible to complete options in the installer windows and so continue with the install, using that program).

[alt+leftmousebutton] will allow you to drag the window around as needed from any part of that window. Should have been a tip during install. I found this out by accident.

Re:great! (1)

mpapet (761907) | more than 6 years ago | (#20436891)

Really? Graphics is the failure 100% of the time? Compared to my installation history across many systems, that is amazing.

Beyond the atypical odd-ball hardware which is reasonable, I typically have fundamental installation problems. I'm not the only one either.

https://bugs.launchpad.net/bugs/+bugs?field.search text=ubiquity&search=Search+Bug+Reports&field.scop e=all&field.scope.target= [launchpad.net]

Re:great! (1)

Tribbin (565963) | more than 6 years ago | (#20437097)

Nopes you are wrong.

Mine wouldn't work on one system because of bad sectors in RAM.

So that is 100% minus one at most.

oes this work for drivers that need X to be....... (0)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 6 years ago | (#20436597)

How does this work for drivers that need X to be noting running to install?

Re:oes this work for drivers that need X to be.... (1)

WeblionX (675030) | more than 6 years ago | (#20436609)

Install on reboot?

Nice (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20436599)

I wonder why this type of thing isn't built into X11/xorg itself? When is X12 coming out anyway? The *nix window environment could use a little modernization...

Re:Nice (1)

mark_hill97 (897586) | more than 6 years ago | (#20436651)

the x foundation died a long time ago, dont expect an X12 for a long long time.

Re:Nice (2, Informative)

Lorkki (863577) | more than 6 years ago | (#20437041)

You might not have heard, but these days the X.Org Foundation [x.org] is the one running the show and making the reference implementation (latest being X11R7.2 [x.org] as of now). If you've used a desktop-oriented distribution of Linux within the last five years, chances are that it came equipped with it as the default choice.

In any case, I'm not exactly sure about what cause would be served by changing the base protocol.

Re:Nice (1)

TheRealMindChild (743925) | more than 6 years ago | (#20436799)

Well, I've never built a live CD or even actually use X locally on my linux machines anymore, but from what I remember, X would try and start with the graphic driver you have specified... if it didn't work for whatever reason, it would just exit. Then you had to manually tweak settings. If you got frustrated enough, there was always VESA. That should always work... but it doesn't. Then the last chance would be VGA mode. Technically, all of this can be wrapped into startx... I just don't think anyone has approached it. Both because of the "RTFM n00b" mentality of the linux community when someone complains, and the fact that WHO really wants to run X in VGA mode?

Re:Nice (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20436899)

X11 brought a standard means of controlled extensions to the X protocol. So called "X extensions". So the need for a new protocol revision number for anything other than marketing purposes would be quite miniscule, though these days much of the drawing on your desktop is happening through an extension (e.g. X composite, render, glx ...) rather than core X.

The only thing that would merit it would be a fundamental change to the rendering model necessitating a core protocol change, and really, X's rendering model is quite reasonable (though individual implementations are sometimes lacking in implementation terms in some areas - X.org (and XFree86 before it) have shockingly slow nested subwindow support, for no good reason- in the end, people like Trolltech (Qt) have made a decision, and moved away from subwindows, because it's faster for them to emulate them than use native subwindows. Which is pretty dumb, since X had subwindows specifically to make toolkit implementors lives mh easier (then again, MacOSX native GUI doesn't support native subwindows, and Qt being crossplatform they had to implement an emulation anyway). But you don't need to change the protocol to improve that, just fix X.org to Not Suck).

Re:Nice (1)

orkysoft (93727) | more than 6 years ago | (#20437181)

Couldn't TrollTech have just fixed X.org (or XFree86) instead? That's what open source is all about, isn't it?

Re:Nice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20437223)

They probably could have. But like I said, they had to do the hack for MacOSX anyway. The issue is now highlighted to X folk, but, sigh, the answer might be the deprecation of nesting subwindows (as apple demonstrates, you can do without 'em) rather than fixing their performance.

Positive step (2, Interesting)

ls671 (1122017) | more than 6 years ago | (#20436627)

Although I personally do not care about that feature, I view it as a positive step towards mass adoption of Linux. I have to admit it scares me a bit although. Once mass adopted, we won't have the satisfaction to know we are running a better OS anymore ;-)

Re:Positive step (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20436649)

Better OS than the general public? Maybe not. Better OS than the alternative? Most definitely.

Re:Positive step (1)

ls671 (1122017) | more than 6 years ago | (#20436837)

If that happens, the alternative you might be reffering to will most likely disappear because it has a poor penetration rate in other areas than the general public and once its wide adoption is gone, there not much more reasons to use it ;-)

Re:Positive step (0, Troll)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 6 years ago | (#20437149)

Once mass adopted, we won't have the satisfaction to know we are running a better OS anymore ;-)

We'll all still have that satisfaction unless we switch to a different OS. What we won't have is that deeply satisfying feeling of smugness, of superiority, although that attitude is more common amongst Mac users than the Linux crowd, I'd say.

Re:Positive step (1)

Codifex Maximus (639) | more than 6 years ago | (#20437191)

ls671 wrote:
>we won't have the satisfaction to know we are running a better OS anymore ;-)

I don't think were gonna run outta debatable things. :/ After the playing field is leveled, we can argue over who has the Best(tm) distribution, license, editor, widget set, application, etc...

I remember back when Slashdot first got started. There was a guy, don't remember his name but he was a regular, who posted all the time and was quite interesting. Used to tell everybody to quit pushing Linux to the masses. Then Linux began to get popular; everybody was coming out with support for this and that. Well, he got mad - really mad. He said something like, "Well now you've done it! Are ya happy? Linux is popular. Now we're gonna have a bunch of n00bz using our OS. Fine. I'll go run Hurd or Plan9. Goodbye." Haven't heard from him since.

Linux and FOSS has come a long way since those heady days - I miss em. It was exciting to see it all play out. Now we got Microsoft addz on Slashdot and the Linux Reference Center on Linuxtoday.

Anyway, that was the first thing came to mind when I read yer post.

This is the sort of thing OS needs to focus on (4, Insightful)

Xest (935314) | more than 6 years ago | (#20436635)

As silly as it sounds, I've come across so many new Linux users who have messed up their display settings in some way, been unable to use the command line to fix it and have just resorted to giving up or reinstalling, neither is really an ideal option.

Whilst to the average Slashdotter this may sound silly, I'd bet it's one of the biggest things that puts your average Joe off Linux through the years. Being able to easier recover from broken Linux installs will, imo go a long way to keeping people using Linux rather than the current situation where quite a few try, but many give up. Linux is generally nice and stable, but when it does go wrong, to most people it's just far, far too hard to recover your installation back into a working state - much more so than, dare I say it, Windows. This is however why I'd say Ubuntu has been making such headway in attracting new users to Linux because they do seem to understand what problems exactly that up until now have been putting many new users off Linux.

Re:This is the sort of thing OS needs to focus on (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20436739)

Seriously.

It's pathetic that this problem wasn't solved a decade ago, or more. I've edited modelines, used any number of awful configurators, and they're all terrible.

Every single one was completely and totally terrible.

Linux is a steaming pile of shit, but Ubuntu is at least doing a good job of acknowledging that it'd steam a little less if it was easier to use.

Re:This is the sort of thing OS needs to focus on (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20437009)

Linux is a steaming pile of shit,

Wow, +1 informative! I love how that works.

Re:This is the sort of thing OS needs to focus on (2, Funny)

Ant P. (974313) | more than 6 years ago | (#20437035)

The real problem is that you're ignorant and think the Stupid And Long Way is the only way to get it to work.
sudo rm /etc/X11/xorg.conf && startx

Re:This is the sort of thing OS needs to focus on (1)

UED++ (1043486) | more than 6 years ago | (#20436741)

While failsafe graphics is not just good for average joes. Even more experienced users will benefit from the reduced hassle to troubleshoot display issues. It happens a lot particularly when you are configuring Linux on old hardware. Even then I hope it's optional.

Re:This is the sort of thing OS needs to focus on (1)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 6 years ago | (#20436779)

Exactly! I've spent days (long ago) and hours (more recently) trying to fix/improve/configure graphics on a new system or to install some new toy like Beryl. It almost always results in forcing it into text and fixing it manually. The 'finally' tag doesn't quite say it. 'itsaboutgoddamntime' is more accurate.

Cue the zealots screaming 'fix it yourself!'

Re:This is the sort of thing OS needs to focus on (1)

wanderingknight (1103573) | more than 6 years ago | (#20436787)

I don't know, but even being a really n00b Linux user, I've seen way too many "burn the house down" house-cleaning measures taken in Windows. Of course, most of them are related to viruses/malware in general. A month or so before switching to Linux, I stumbled into an XP BSOD that wouldn't let me log into my user in normal mode. I raked my brain for about two days trying to fix it, since I was 100% sure it was a software issue, but no avail, I just ended up reinstalling.

When I first installed Ubuntu, I broke X a couple of times (mostly because I like doing stuff on my own and many times I end up screwing things up), but I never had the need to reinstall, even being a complete newbie to the Linux concepts. In fact, X broke on me this morning, but I've gained enough experience already backupping my xorg.conf file :D

Re:This is the sort of thing OS needs to focus on (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 6 years ago | (#20436841)

I don't know, but even being a really n00b Linux user, I've seen way too many "burn the house down" house-cleaning measures taken in Windows. Of course, most of them are related to viruses/malware in general. A month or so before switching to Linux, I stumbled into an XP BSOD that wouldn't let me log into my user in normal mode. I raked my brain for about two days trying to fix it, since I was 100% sure it was a software issue, but no avail, I just ended up reinstalling.

Most usual cause of Windows boot failure is
1) Driver for hardware you *used* to have installed
2) Corrupt file somewhere and poor error checking

In both cases, it's almost impossible to figure out what exactly is wrong. After my last big upgrade all around, Windows would crash like maybe two times a day. Normally it was rock stable and up for weeks. Tried every sort of hardware test, no faulty hardware. Reinstalled Windows, no problems whatsoever. Had to be old drivers or something. Windows could seriously use some sort of "clean" mode, and let it redetect everything like in the installer.

I think that is more a problem of perception. (4, Interesting)

khasim (1285) | more than 6 years ago | (#20436823)

Linux is generally nice and stable, but when it does go wrong, to most people it's just far, far too hard to recover your installation back into a working state - much more so than, dare I say it, Windows.

I think that that is the case ONLY because those people are coming from a Windows background.

Personally, I find it far, Far, FAR, FAR easier to recover a damaged Linux box than a damaged Windows box. But that is primarily because the damaged Windows boxes that I get have major Registry issues.

As long as you can get an Ubuntu box to boot to the command line, it is "easy" to fix. "Easy" is in quotes because it takes a little bit of knowledge. But not much. I'm running Gutsy Gibbon at home and even with 2 problems (it is still alpha) I've been able to recover my system without rebooting in less than 5 minutes.

The magic is in APT and the repositories. As long as I can connect to the repositories and run APT, I can remove the problem or re-install over it.

As more people become familiar with Ubuntu (and Debian and Debian-based distributions) the "fear" of Linux will vanish. It's just so much EASIER than Windows. (unless your hardware isn't supported but that's a different issue)

Re:I think that is more a problem of perception. (0, Flamebait)

Xtravar (725372) | more than 6 years ago | (#20437019)

Yeah, man. I'm only screwed in Linux when it doesn't boot at all... but that's usually when I screw up my fstab somehow (why does this happen so often, I do not know). And even then, I just boot the install CD and fix fstab with vim.

I'd say Linux recovery capabilities > Windows recovery capabilities. I've never hosed Linux so bad that I had to reinstall, but I've done it to Windows hundreds of times. Linux is just designed better. People may laugh, but it's true - it's easier to control and manipulate to your bidding.

There's no console mode in Windows where you can say "MAKE_MY_COMPUTER_SUCK=0" and have your computer magically fixed.

P.S.: Mandriva 4 ever, screw this Ubundu fad. Mandrake was the first user-friendly distro and still holds the crown. 8-)

Re:This is the sort of thing OS needs to focus on (1)

black88 (559855) | more than 6 years ago | (#20436827)

I can attest to having reinstalled many times due to an xserver blowup, mostly due to my own tinkering. You know the ironic part of it? Every xserver issue I had was while attempting to run Redmond Linux(Lycoris), Suse, Red Hat, Mandrake, etc. Yet when I first discovered Slackware 9, in it's various guises and was forced to the command line, it did take me a bit to learn, but learn I did, mainly because I was forced to use a tty and edit text files. So I do understand why newbies would want this, and it would ease Linux adoption, but as for me, give me the terminal and bash every time.

Re:This is the sort of thing OS needs to focus on (1)

Willuknight (872781) | more than 6 years ago | (#20436851)

I've been a power computer user for some years now, I built my own machine and know windows backwards, however linux confuses the heck out of me.

I tried Ubuntu once, and i had a problem where every time i restarted, my maximum resolution decreased. I uninstalled linux when it reached 320x, because I couldn't figure out how to fix the problem.

Re:This is the sort of thing OS needs to focus on (1)

_Sprocket_ (42527) | more than 6 years ago | (#20437173)

I've been a power computer user for some years now, I built my own machine and know windows backwards, however linux confuses the heck out of me.
You're a power WINDOWS user. Don't worry - it's a common mistake. ;)

Seriously though... it seems to me that this is a core issue. People gain a certain familiarity with a particular system (according to marketshare, that's likely to be Windows) and then feel threatened when confronted with something entirely different.

Years ago, I did desktop support for a large organization. There was a small number of Macs out there... very few of my tech coworkers wanted to deal with them. Myself included. Unfortunately, I would get roped in to it since I was one of the lead techs. So I would find myself reluctantly sitting behind a desktop that I knew nothing about. More often than not it involved me feeling like an idiot... unable to do simple things. The fact that I could make Windows jump through hoops only hindered my ability (and / or willingness) to learn MacOS.

I got in to Linux because of a job opportunity administering a Unix workstation lab. I picked up Linux to get myself familiarized with the Unix way (queue BSD trolls). I expected to feel like an idiot (and wasn't disappointed). But I was highly motivated to learn the new environment. And I discovered that, indeed, Unix (and consequently Linux) was far, far different than Windows... down to a cultural level.

Don't get me wrong - Linux is imperfect. Linux environments can always use some improvement (and this particular effort does seem to be a good improvement - though one I haven't been particularly concerned with myself). Its simply that a lot of computer hobbiests seem to first touch Linux with absolutely no expectation for exactly how different a world it represents.

Re:This is the sort of thing OS needs to focus on (3, Interesting)

Otter (3800) | more than 6 years ago | (#20436881)

As silly as it sounds...new Linux users...Whilst to the average Slashdotter this may sound silly...your average Joe...

I've been using Linux since MkLinux zero-point-something, and when I had to update a Gentoo box from XFree to X.org, my old conf file didn't work and xconfigurator (or whichever one the command-line tool is called) didn't generate a working file. Eventually it turned out that a serial mouse isn't supported, and switching to a USB mouse allowed a working conf file to be generated that I could then tweak. I never did get the beloved old mouse working.

So anything that improves the X configuration process is a very welcome improvement over calling users names when the crappy old tools don't work.

Re:This is the sort of thing OS needs to focus on (1)

sykopomp (1133507) | more than 6 years ago | (#20436925)

I think I have to disagree that doing this should be the focus. I think the focus should be to take time to make sure as much as possible actually does work, instead of adding more and more bloated configuration tools to an already confusing (under the hood) distro that doesn't tend to be too transparent about what it does. As far as the actual feature goes... this sounds pretty nice, considering I've never been able to just run X, no matter what I install... for some reason, in all 4 computers I own (and a couple others I've run it in), X always fails on first start, and I always have to configure it by hand... Maybe I'm just too used to editing xorg.conf

Re:This is the sort of thing OS needs to focus on (2, Funny)

Bloater (12932) | more than 6 years ago | (#20436971)

X auto detection (of which this is an emergency component - for the auto detection to be tuned/hinted when it fails) is probably *the* biggest deal for Linux since 1997. This is the thing that gives Mr Ballmer angina.

Re:This is the sort of thing OS needs to focus on (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 6 years ago | (#20437055)

Linux is generally nice and stable, but when it does go wrong, to most people it's just far, far too hard to recover your installation back into a working state - much more so than, dare I say it, Windows.

You've got to be kidding. When something goes wrong in windows, standard practice is to format and reinstall. At least with linux you have ways to diagnose and repair the system.

Re:This is the sort of thing OS needs to focus on (1)

Shados (741919) | more than 6 years ago | (#20437205)

Wow, considering even my mom can go to safe mode and fix a lot of things, im glad people around me don't use that as standard practice!

Re:This is the sort of thing OS needs to focus on (1)

MMC Monster (602931) | more than 6 years ago | (#20437199)

A big part of the problem is beginner and intermediate users (I consider myself intermediate) who installs Linux on their only computer. An expert user can fiddle with X setting without breaking a sweat, I'm sure, but the beginner could sure use the help of google or a user forum to ask questions. Kind of tricky when the only computer in the house is stuck in console mode. :-(

Dual booting into Windows to trouble shoot X is a real trial of a newbie's patience.

Silly? No. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20437211)

RedHat, back in the day, used to have Xconfigurator.

Going from RedHat, to trying out other distributions... Was a big case of WTF?! Seriously, the idea that the average user has any idea what refresh rates are, or the proper arcane settings for their monitors and video cards (which may not even be referenced in the manual of said devices)...

Sure, if you want to run Apache, you should know how to make a virtual host entry. You want to run MySQL, you should learn how to put in a root password.

A GUI is not Apache or MySQL. A GUI is, quite frankly, basic. Hate to pull Windows into the argument, but you install Windows, and boom - no wierd questions about horizontal refresh rates and font directories or anything else. It just works. You then install a driver and it works even better. That's what people want, and there's no reason not to have it.

Dicking around with config files and vi is great - for heavy duty stuff. X is not heavy duty. X is something that should work by default, without making users jump through hoops - unless, of course, you'd like Linux to be nowhere else but servers. :P

Very good (4, Insightful)

HalAtWork (926717) | more than 6 years ago | (#20436643)

This is very good, I'm sure a lot of users would like to have the choice of selecting these in a graphical mode, which with they may be more familiar. Many users familiar with Windows/OSX will automatically be more familiar with Ubuntu because of this feature. It's important to have as many options available on CLI and GUI at the same time.

I remember that back in the day YaST (SuSE's Yet Another Setup Tool) used to be incredibly handy because the CLI and GUI for the tool, which controlled almost all configurable options of the Linux distro, would behave almost exactly the same. The CLI used curses for display, and I believe the GUI was QT-based. They functioned pretty much identically. Personally, I have no problem just editing a text file. But, if you are a linux newbie and you poke around in the GUI and mess something up, then suddenly you can't start X, you feel a little bit safer knowing that there's a tool you can use to revert your settings that works exactly the same on the CLI as it does in the GUI, so you can access the program in almost any situation, even from a remote terminal.

Good! (3, Informative)

aarmenaa (712174) | more than 6 years ago | (#20436661)

Being able to get a console and edit xorg.conf will probably always be with us, but it should never be the primary means of configuration for a desktop machine. I see this as a major step forward for Ubuntu in reaching it's target audience. I use many distros, but I generally choose Ubuntu for desktop systems because I really don't have the motivation to do all that by hand just for a lousy desktop. It's also for people like my dad: he can follow instructions and install an OS, but he's not touching a config file.

Both - because it depends upon the situation. (1)

khasim (1285) | more than 6 years ago | (#20436943)

<blockquote>Being able to get a console and edit xorg.conf will probably always be with us, but it should never be the primary means of configuration for a desktop machine.</blockquote>
Unless you're in an office environment where you have many machines that are identical. Then you can just push out the default configuration and allow the user to change from there (<Ctrl><Alt><+> & <Ctrl><Alt><->).

Having the GUI is great for home users who will have every possible video card + monitor combination. Not to mention that they will be able to import the Windows .inf file for their monitor. That makes it even easier for them.

Thanks, Ubuntu. (4, Interesting)

Esteanil (710082) | more than 6 years ago | (#20436685)

Although I've haven't had *nix installed on any of my home computers yet, I'm very happy indeed that Windows XP looks to be the last MS OS I will ever use.
Changing to Linux is now something I'm thinking about on at least a weekly basis, and the upcoming version Ubuntu seems very likely to make me leave Windows. (Except for a small gaming partition).

Re:Thanks, Ubuntu. (2, Insightful)

black88 (559855) | more than 6 years ago | (#20436859)

Two helpful hints for you, then.

You should always have a separate home partition, and when you need to edit your /etc/X11/xorg.conf , make a directory in /home/yourname/ called, for example, config_backup, and copy your xorg.conf there to keep an extra copy safe.

have fun

email me if you want, by the way, if you have any questions.

Re:Thanks, Ubuntu. (1)

Bucc5062 (856482) | more than 6 years ago | (#20436989)

Agreed1

i have been an MS user/programmer since 3.1, and before that I cut my teeth on MSDOS. Today I split between linux (Ubuntu feisty) for home and ms or work. i will do what I can to avoid Vista.

Linux Ubuntu is not quite ready for the average user, but almost there. I've had to do a few more steps to get things to work then your normal click and go crowd, but not much more.

Maybe by Krazy Koala they will surpass M$ in user friendly adjustment, and developers will discover that compiling source code to run a program is not what makes for a better product. Yes, there are more packages these days, but it is still not straight forward.

Example, I need java installed on my AMD 64 system inlinux. I think i get it right, but Firefox still crashes when I run a java applet. That does *not* happen with M$ and tht one simple issue holds me back rom going full court press to my friends to switch.

I believe in Linux, it is ultimately better hten M$, but it is not there yet.

Re:Thanks, Ubuntu. (1)

turing_m (1030530) | more than 6 years ago | (#20437159)

"Linux Ubuntu is not quite ready for the average user, but almost there. I've had to do a few more steps to get things to work then your normal click and go crowd, but not much more."

I think you are correct there. There's a gap in the middle between power user and web+email types who have needs a bit more complex but can't do more than "click and go". With the rate of improvement of Ubuntu I suspect that gap will disappear shortly.

It's getting close though. I'm reminded of the DOS days where a moderately intelligent kid could get most anything he wanted to run, it just took a bit of work. Unlike say, 5 or 6 years ago where your only help was an impenetrable man page that might be of use if you had a CS degree.

How is this news? (4, Informative)

boylinux (775361) | more than 6 years ago | (#20436691)

Xandros and other distros have had this for years.

Re:How is this news? (5, Insightful)

FoolsGold (1139759) | more than 6 years ago | (#20436921)

It's news because Ubuntu is currently the flagship of the mainstream Linux distros - it's generally the first option for people wanting to try Linux out, so improvements like this are rather important to its success.

Re:How is this news? (1)

lixee (863589) | more than 6 years ago | (#20436957)

Because it's Ubuntu.

In case you didn't notice, that particular distribution became a synonym of Linux among the laymen.

Nice (3, Interesting)

PhaxMohdem (809276) | more than 6 years ago | (#20436699)

This has been a problem I've run into a lot as a Linux novice, and newly converted user to Ubuntu 7.04. I really wish that someone would make dual/multi display configuration much more intuitive. In Windows even the n00best of n00bs can easily configure a dual monitor setup. In the various Linux flavors I've tried it is not that simple. Seems like the system display configuration utility and the video drivers I install for nVidia/ATI cards just want to fight each other over who gets to control that second monitor, instead of just working like it does in Windows. Like I said, total novice here so I don't know if its an issue with the distro's themselves, or the third party drivers by nVidia/ATI, all I know is it is annoying, and one of the major caveats preventing me from totally embracing the penguin.

Re:Nice (1)

Enleth (947766) | more than 6 years ago | (#20436931)

Actually, it was some six times I've been asked to configure a second video output under Windows. Every time it was another laptop with ATI display chip, being used to show some presentation with a digital projector hooked up to it. Guess what? It never worked by itself and each time the laptop owner, usually a typical Windows XP user, tried to make it work for 5-10 minutes, struggling with the display configuration manager, to finally give up. The problems ranged from extending the desktop in some stragne direction and refusing to enter the "clone" mode, to limiting the external display to 8-bit colour, to cloning everything but the video overlay, and so on. Every time I managed to fix the display, despite never really using Windows since 98 SE, but the required amount of jumping trough loops and trying to guess what the heck this thing is expecting me to do and in which order, was comparable to configuring sendmail, really - just that it was clicking buttons, not writing a configuration file, doesn't make it any better. Once I just tried to guess what the driver was doing with the hardware, based on what I knew about it, and trick it into changing its state using a sequence of separate configuration changes - it worked, but, well... You see the problem...

Re:Nice (1)

tkavanaugh (863507) | more than 6 years ago | (#20437037)

At my job I build high end linux boxes for tech shows and demo's, now all of my experience has been for red hat only... but nvidia has some great drivers for running multiheaded displays, however running an nvidia and ati card with their prospective drivers has been a disaster for me, you are correct, there is module contention when loading the drivers, then each one has their own configuration tool. I have managed to become quite good at editting the xorg.conf file and can get the two to come up and display correctly, however it takes alot of patience, and alot of looking on the internet to achieve...

It baffles me why they didn't do it before (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20436711)

On several occasions, the first part of the install had ok graphics and the last part of the install ... the graphics were worse. OK, if there was an obvious default setting that produced reasonable graphics, how come things got worse when the distro detected the graphics card and monitor? Anyway, the 'default' mode existed but didn't seem to be an option later in the install. Even if they'd told me what it was ...

BTW, the reason I have had problems with Linux distros is that I tend to use 'atticware'. One of the benefits of Linux is that you can use it on outdated hardware ... right? Well the majority of the time anyway.

Its been over 10 years... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20436769)

Its been over 10 years and linux is just getting up to windows 9x standards of usabillity. You had 6 years to catch up to XP's usabillity before vista came out but gnome and kde still can't create simple control panels for simple settings such as display resoution and safemode. I will be posting this in 10 years time when linux users will be crying "2017 is the year of the linux desktop" and still have silly problems that keep it at less than 1% market share.

Mod me down but I wasted six years of my life "supporting" linux but am happy with Vista on my new laptop and tux will never get near it.

They do have such things..... (1)

armanox (826486) | more than 6 years ago | (#20436949)

Well, KDE and GNOME do have such panels. In GNOME, System -> Preferences -> Screen Resolution In KDE, the program krandr does the same thing. For safe mode, we have the command prompt. Far more functional then windows safe mode.

You don't get it! (1)

Z80xxc! (1111479) | more than 6 years ago | (#20437195)

You obviously don't get it. You can't go to "System -> Preferences -> Screen Resolution" if you can't see anything 'cause your graphics are messed up! And the whole point is to make it easier for people who don't like using the command line.

You heard the man (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20436963)

[quote]Mod me down[/quote]

Have a nice day M$ puppet!

Re:Everyone knows this but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20436999)

Don't you like our Utopian rhetoric?

Re:Its been over 10 years... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20437027)

Its been over 10 years and linux is just getting up to windows 9x standards of usabillity.

I use WinXP at work and Fedora 7 at home, and Fedora passed Win98 at v2 and WinXP at v6 in terms of appearance and functionality (it was always ahead for stability). My 8 year old PC at home with Fedora 7 feels like it's about 5 years ahead of my 2 year old WinXP PC at work.

Incidentally, if you used Firefox V2 it would red-line your spelling mistakes, such as "usabillity" and offer the corrected version, usability.

Also Planned (3, Funny)

JamesRose (1062530) | more than 6 years ago | (#20436771)

An error screen that appears in a crash, maybe a nice calming blue one... ;-)

Re:Also Planned (1)

wanderingknight (1103573) | more than 6 years ago | (#20436821)

Actually, the broken X screen (at least in my Ubuntu installation) is blue :P

Crikey, the brainstorming which must have gone in (1)

j.a.mcguire (551738) | more than 6 years ago | (#20436777)

Welcome to Windows 95!

Mark Your History Books (0, Flamebait)

copponex (13876) | more than 6 years ago | (#20436825)

Summer 2007 - Linux developers discover that users prefer and rely upon GUI environments.

When can we expect a unified program installation method? Sometime after peak oil?

Re:Mark Your History Books (0, Troll)

Ant P. (974313) | more than 6 years ago | (#20437071)

You mean when can _Windows_ expect a unified program installation method. Linux has had package managers for decades, even GUI ones for simpletons.

Re:Mark Your History Books (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20437095)

When can we expect a unified program installation method?

anonymouscoward@localhost:~$ apt-get install youarearetard

Re:Mark Your History Books (1)

bigstrat2003 (1058574) | more than 6 years ago | (#20437197)

anonymouscoward@localhost:~$ apt-get install youarearetard
That's wonderful. That's not a GUI though. Maybe there is a GUI which functions as a unified program installation thingy (I wouldn't know, I don't use Linux, so my point may be invalid), but the command line does NOT suffice.

Until every task the average user needs to do can be done with a GUI, Linux will not be ready for prime time.

Planned for a while... (4, Informative)

d3ik (798966) | more than 6 years ago | (#20436847)

I remember Jeff Waugh (Gnome guy, also worked at Canonical) had mentioned at last year's Ohio Linux Fest there had been talk about this for years but everyone was always busy working on other stuff. Glad to see they finally are getting it out.

OSS on the move! (4, Funny)

Brummund (447393) | more than 6 years ago | (#20436955)

This is clearly a great example of the agile developers of the OSS community. Only months after Microsoft announces similar features in the upcoming Windows version customized for the home user, the OSS movement has once again beat them to it, and implemented features only mentioned with vague release dates by the huge Seattle-based software company. Way to go, guys!

This took getting to version 7.10?! (1)

jayegirl (26328) | more than 6 years ago | (#20437005)

The prosecution presents Exhibit Q, which clearly indicates that it is a failure of attitude that keeps Linux from the hands of the common user.

Re:This took getting to version 7.10?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20437133)

Ubuntu is Year.Month as far as release numbers go. 7.10 is actually only the 7th total release since Ubuntu was created. As in, 3 years.

I suggested this ages ago! (2, Interesting)

Theovon (109752) | more than 6 years ago | (#20437015)

Ok, I'm sure others have too, but I filed a bug report on this problem a LOOOONG time ago. It's taken them quite a long time to get around to fixing this, a rather significant usability problem.

Re:I suggested this ages ago! (1)

fimbulvetr (598306) | more than 6 years ago | (#20437063)

Well it is a _significant_ problem to fix. Imagine writing the tool that could effectively work with almost every videocard/monitor combination known. I'm sure there will be things it doesn't work with, but if it's 90% or better, it will be nice.

Windows doesn't have this problem because when manf. make video cards and monitors, they (usually) just make sure their product is "good enough for windows".

Re:I suggested this ages ago! (3, Interesting)

Theovon (109752) | more than 6 years ago | (#20437157)

You seem to forget that they ALREADY have this tool. It runs when you install the OS! It's very smart and figures out exactly what card you have and everything!

The problems occur when you do something as simple as move the graphics card to a different slot after installation. X is not smart enough to figure out that it just needs to substitute a different PCI bus ID.

Useless (0, Flamebait)

phrasebook (740834) | more than 6 years ago | (#20437023)

A Windows user boots Ubuntu on a new laptop, say, and gets a low-res 'safe mode' telling them that there's no specific support for their video hardware ("Ubuntu failed to start the windowing system because it was unable to properly configure your hardware").

Yeah, now what?

They can't download a driver package and update. They're stuck with whatever came with the version of X in that Ubuntu release. They can't use a driver off a CD that came with the machine, because there aren't any. If X was capable of a better mode it would have used it, like the plain vesa driver with a resolution matching the LCD.

So what are they supposed to do?

It's better than getting dumped to a VT, sure, but it doesn't solve the real issue. On Windows 95 I could put in the CD, install driver.exe, reboot and presto. With Ubuntu the only option for the average user is to wait 6 months.

This feature might be useful if you like to intentionally break xorg.conf [ubuntu.com] , but unless there is actually a way to get real hardware support installed, rather than seeing if you can force X into a different mode (which it should do automatically), it seems pretty useless.

Who is this Bryce Harrington? (1)

ishmalius (153450) | more than 6 years ago | (#20437045)

And how long did he think he could get away with it?

Just kidding. Bryce is a fine fellow, and is also the excellent boss of the Inkscape [inkscape.org] project.

Seen this before (1)

sproketboy (608031) | more than 6 years ago | (#20437059)

Didn't Microsoft do this with windows in like 95? ;)

Cool, now we need better font support (1)

realmolo (574068) | more than 6 years ago | (#20437067)

The one thing that always drives me nuts when installing Ubuntu is that the fonts really blow. And even if you install nice Windows fonts, you STILL have to screw around with your font configuration files to make them look nice. Especially in Firefox. Kubuntu is *slightly* better, but it still sucks.

I sometimes wonder if the Ubuntu team should *really* focus on fixing all the problems with GNOME/KDE. Put all their energy into making the GUI as good as it can possibly be. All the other pieces of a Linux distro are handled well-enough by other people, but the *important* GUI work seems to be handled by a too-small group of developers for the GNOME/KDE project.

Re:Cool, now we need better font support (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20437155)

I sometimes wonder if the Ubuntu team should *really* focus on fixing all the problems with GNOME/KDE. Put all their energy into making the GUI as good as it can possibly be.
Yeah, I mean gosh, look at how well that worked for Microsoft ...

Modes (1)

ucblockhead (63650) | more than 6 years ago | (#20437073)

I hope that they make sure that the dialogs you'd need to fix graphics issues are sized to work in whatever graphics resolution they use in "safe mode".

I say this because I know that many of the current GTK dialogs are too large for 640x480, and because there are Windows dialogs that are annoyingly unusable in Windows "safe mode".
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