Ruminations on the Digital Realm

Jan Stedehouder

Fine tuning Sabayon

The decision was made to keep SL running in day to day use, so that also means solving all glitches that prevent that from happening.
One thing that bothered me was the maximum resolution of the screen: 1024×768. I know the Mobile Intel 940 GML can handle higher resolutions. With the new KDE menu structure it would be nice to have somewhat more screenspace as well. Fortunately I could build up some experience with xorg.conf (to be found in /etc/X11) with the various iMac installs. I also did a search in the SabayonLinux forums for similar problems.
The solutions suggested hinted at two things:
(1) adding the proper driver to xorg.conf, and
(2) a small utility called 915resolution.

Checking the xorg.conf file revealed that the driver was already properly added in the device section. This left me with 915resolution. In the forum this was well explained and it was just a matter of following the various steps. I’ll repeat them here.

Step 1 – emerge 915resolution
emerge -av 915 resolution

Step 2 – add 915resolution to runlevel boot (so it loads at startup
rc-update add 915 resolution default

Step 3 – use gedit in root mode to edit /etc/conf.d/
then added the following the end of the document:
with[0]=”1280 800″

Step 4 – I then used gedit in root mode to edit /etc/X11/xorg.conf to add “1280×800” to the Monitor modes section
SubSection “Display”
Depth 8
ViewPort 0 0
Modes “1280×800” “1024×768” “800×600” “640×480”

SubSection “Display”
Depth 16
ViewPort 0 0
Modes “1280×800” “1024×768” “800×600” “640×480”

SubSection “Display”
Depth 24
ViewPort 0 0
Modes “1280×800” “1024×768” “800×600” “640×480”


Step 5 – restart the x server or reboot the computer and it should come up with the proper resolution

The strange thing was that I could not get it to run properly yesterday. I followed all the steps, restarted X, rebooted the laptop, but to no avail. Today, when I booted the machine all was working properly. The screen is now at a 1280×768 resolution with some very, very crisp fonts. Since this happened with other distributions in the past I guess it is some quirk that some things require a few reboots to kick in.

That leaves me with two annoyances while working under KDE. One is the KDE menu. I still find the box too clumsy and too big. I want to find out if I can make the icons smaller. Second thing to work on is the touchpad. The mouse cursor changes the focus and I don’t want that to happen. A bit less responsive would be great as well.

To start with the second problem, it is always a good idea to check out the KDE Control Center where the Touchpad is part of the Peripherals section. Fiddling around with the various items made the touchpad a lot more pleasurable to work with.

I browsed through the various options in the Control Center to change the KDE Menu items, but without any succes. Using the right mouse button in the Applications Tab did bring out the KDE Menu options box. Interesting. I need to look into that one. Pressing the right mouse button on the “Start”/KDE button reveals the option to choose the older KDE menu. Back to the old days. Bummer though. With the enormous amount of applications that is available the menu is overcrowded. Tough choice: do I get used to new KDE menu box or do I stick with the older panes? LOL. When using the RMB it reveals that the menu box is referred to as Suse style. Anyway, it is definitely worth looking through the various panel options to fine tune your graphical interface. In the end I decided on the KDE Menu style with only the names of the applications. It might be a small thing, but if you have to work with it every day you don’t want to be annoyed everytime you use the interface.
One other thing I noticed. Before SL I was running Ubuntu Dapper Drake on the laptop. Gkrellm shows that my CPU is only using 3-4% of it’s capacity with a temperature of 46 degrees, while Ubuntu was running at 100% capacity and 56 degrees. The laptop felt much warmer as well. It seems like SL is better able to master the laptop’s resources out of the box than Ubuntu did.


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One thought on “Fine tuning Sabayon

  1. Thanks for sharing this. I’ll try it when I take it to a LAN tomorrow, since KDE Wi-fi manager isn’t connecting.

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