Tuesday, 16 March, 2004

Red Hat's Fedora versus my video card

I've not had much luck with Linux systems lately.  The Mandrake install on my lab machine seems to be working well, but I've been unable to install Red Hat 9.0 or the Fedora Linux test that I downloaded.  Both get past the video detection phase and then the screen goes blank.  I've tried installing with the "noprobe" and other switches, all to no avail.  Both systems correctly report my video card, and Fedora even gets the monitor right.  I'm not sure what it's doing (probably starting the XWindow system), but the monitor goes dark and the light blinks like it does if I unplug the video cable.

I know I could install in text mode and manually configure X--I've done it before--but I'm trying to install like an average (if there is such a thing) desktop user.  And I think that most users who see the screen go dark one minute into the install process won't be favorably impressed, nor will they be inclined to install in text mode and go poking around in the X configuration file.  I'm disappointed, because I really want to try out Ximian Desktop, but it doesn't run on Mandrake.  I guess it's time to try out Lindows or Xandros.

Come to think of it, I've installed both Red Hat 9 and Fedora on my laptop at work (in Virtual PC images), so I guess I could install Ximian there.  But there again I have video problems.  I'm not sure if it's Virtual PC not quite virtualizing the screen correctly or if it's X not understanding, but the best resolution I can get is 800x600, and that's just not enough screen real estate to be productive.