The Network Manager at Westminster School presents solutions to sticky problems...

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Xubuntu 12.10 on VMware Desktop Crash

Using Xubuntu (server edition) as a CUPS print server serving AirPrint clients seemed like a good idea and, on the whole has worked out to a fair degree of success. We did have one problem that could have been a show stopper.

When logging out of the X session, the lightdm login manager would crash without recovery. The same thing happens if you try to change the desktop resolution from its initial cramped 800x600 workspace. These days, anything smaller than 1024x768 feels like the dark ages.

The solution? Create your own config. Now X used to create xorg.conf files based on user input. These days X does everything on the fly based on auto-detect. The xorg.conf is therefore defunct and on its way out the door. You can always try to run X -configure (remembering to shutdown your existing xwindows session) but you might run into the same problem as us, where the configure script runs into problems and panics, leaving you without a configurable script.

That is not the end of the World. The brave new world of the modern X server now uses additional files that it finds in the /usr/share/X11/xorg.conf.d directory. These additions are added to the auto-config on startup and prove to be very useful in stabilising what might end up being an unstable configuration.

We are running VMware 5.1. The VM does not have 3D graphics enabled. We created a file in said directory called 10-monitor.conf and added the following information:

Section "Monitor"
    Identifier    "Monitor0"
    HorizSync 1.0 - 10000.0
    VertRefresh 1.0 - 10000.0
Section "Device"
    Identifier    "Device0"
    Driver        "vmware"
Section "Screen"
    Identifier    "Screen0" 
    Device        "Device0"
    Monitor       "Monitor0"
    DefaultDepth  24 #Choose the depth (16||24)
    SubSection "Display"
        Viewport 0 0
        Depth       24
        Modes     "1024x768"

Save the file and log out. Now the login manager displays at 1024x768 and after logging in, changing the resolution to 1024x768 no longer produces the hang and crash scenario.

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