Daily Archives: August 21, 2007

Using the D-Link USB KVM-Switch DKVM-20 with Ubuntu 7.04

I’ve just installed Ubuntu on a couple of boxes so I can learn more about Linux, especially about networking. I had one display and moved the cables between the boxes during the install. While looking for some cable in my basement I came across a DKVM-20 KVM Switch from D-Link that I had bought many months back.

By way of background, I had previously used a Zonet KVM switch between the Windows XP laptop that I use for work and a box I had built that ran Suse. This switch uses PS/2 style connectors for the mouse and keyboard and I found the mouse wouldn’t switch properly so I used two different mice,switching only the display and keyboard. That worked fine, though I eventually stopped using the switch after I installed a Leadtek TV Tuner card on the Suse Linux box so I could watch Mets games on TV whilst working on Windows. The D-Link switch used USB connectors and I was curious to see how it would work.

I decided to try the D-Link switch so I wouldn’t have to move the cables. After I installed the switch I ran into a problem. Both boxes were running Ubuntu 7.04 but the result was they were displaying at different resolutions, one box at 1280×1024, the other at 640×480.

Curious to see if I could make it work correctly with both Ubuntu boxes I did a little investigation via the web.

I paid a visit to newegg. Though they don’t stock this model, a search of the customer comments for comparable models showed some users had been able to use the switch with Ubuntu Linux but there were some reported problems. One reviewer wrote

Server 2003 on one side and Ubuntu Linux on the other. The hot key works fine, setup was cake but the
Linux box only offers 640×480 when used with the KVM. Haven’t found the fix or work around for this yet.

As it happens, my previous blog post was about an issue with limited resolution of 640×480 when installing Ubuntu. See Configuring Intel 845G video chipset on Ubuntu 7.04 Feisty Fawn desktop. This piqued my interest. Reading on, I found the comment:

Cons: Didn’t handle Linux immediately, but after one or two tries — then fine thereafter.

Other Thoughts: Need to start each machine with keyboard, video, mouse present — can’t start both simultaneously. As always, appreciated Newegg’s quick service!

and also

I don’t actually own the product, but I wanted to help out those using linux (specifically ubuntu) and having display issues. The problem is that at startup, X will probe your monitor for available resolutions. If it can’t get that data from your monitor, it defaults to 640×480. I had the same problem starting X over VNC. Here’s a link explaining how to fix it:

That made sense. Indeed, it probably explained what was going on in the fixes mentioned in the Intel 845g post. They had the effect of enabling the probe of the monitor so it could use the higher resolution.

It was easy to confirm this guess. I just adjusted the switch to select the box which was displaying at low resolution, and restarted that machine. When it came up it displayed this time at the higher-resolution. The other box didn’t know I had restarted this one, so it continued to display at the higher resolution.

Problem solved. Thanks to all the people who had taken the time to share their experiences I was able to fix my problem.

Indeed, I have found a new hobby lately — trying to solve technical problems with the help of the web. I’ve become am amateur detective.

So it’s only fair I share that knowledge in the form of my own post, and I have just done.

Now I can say, “Case closed.”

Configuring Intel 845G video chipset on Ubuntu 7.04 Feisty Fawn desktop

I just finished installing Ubuntu 7.04 desktop on an old IBM desktop I bought over three years ago. This desktop had a video chipset on the motherboard. The install went fine except that when it was done and the system booted up the graphics resolution was only 640×480.

Seeking a solution that would let me use the 1280×1024 resolution of my Viewsonic VG7010B LCD display, I found the IBM machine type to be 8199-54u and from that learned the video chipset was the 845G from Intel.

So I did a web search for “intel 845g ubuntu.” The two highest-rated were both from Ubuntu Forums. The second was Intel 845 On-Board GPU?. It addressed just this problem, and after reading through a few posts I came across a post that said:

had the same problem

this is how it was resolved

http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=434175

🙂 zostra 🙂

When I followed that link I found a post that said,

If you are using Feisty 7.04 you are better off to use the new Intel driver, which is available in the repositories.

If you have installed 915resolution, just un-install it, using Synaptic Package Manager.

After that is done, type this in a terminal:

sudo apt-get install xserver-xorg-video-intel

Then re-start your PC and it should have correctly detected your optimum video settings.

I did as suggested and found my display was now working at the resolution I desired!

I’ve been using Linux for close to a decade now, and back in the early days a frequent problem doing an install was to configure the video. There was a lack of drivers and one had to fiddle with X11 config files.

This problem remains but things are *much* better now. It took less than fifteen minutes of web investigation to find a solution to this particular Ubuntu install problem, and I’ve had similar experiences with other questions like this lately.

Ubuntu is much more than a spiffed-up Debian. It is also a community that is quite extraordinary in its reach, something I’m coming to appreciate more and more with each passing day.

Ubuntu is a hill of beans that is worth much more than a hill of beans

Ever heard the expression, “It ain’t worth a hill of beans?”

I just found a very valuable hill of beans. It has over half a million beans. It is called Ubuntu forums.

When you visit the forums you will see frequent mention of “beans.” Beans are valuable, so much so that some people even hide the number of beans they have.

A ‘bean” is a contribution to that ongoing discussion in the form of a new post.

I don’t mind sharing. I’m not only a bean counter but a bean creator. See for example my post in the thread Re: Ubuntu on GeForce 6100 / nForce 430.

I’m up to almost a dozen beans now and I just started a few days ago. It doesn’t take that long to find a thread that’s interesting and that I can help move along.

I’ve only been looking at Ubuntu in a serious way for a couple of weeks, but it’s already clear there is an extraordinary community being built here, much beyond anything else I’ve seen in Linux-land. This is a very promising development.

Indeed, there is even a song about it.

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