Create Xrandr Shortcuts

If you have a monitor that swivels to portrait or landscape mode, you can easily create shortcuts in Ubuntu that makes rotating screens via the Xrandr utility that more easier.

With a couple of application shortcuts on the Gnome Panel (see above), changing monitor orientation is literally just a mouse click away. The application icons: the left and right arrows indicate the direction of the rotation. You can find these icons under the directory below in Ubuntu.


My Ubuntu desktop is a bit unusual since I’m still using Gnome 2 and Ubuntu 10.04. You can add application launchers on other windows managers as well, whether it’s Unity, Cinnamon, Gnome or KDE, it doesn’t really matter which one do you use. Just use the following Xrandr commands below.

To default: xrandr -o normal
To rotate left: xrandr -o left
To rotate right: xrandr -o right
To rotate upside down: xrandr -o inverted

The application launchers I created just happen to be on my Gnome Panel. It makes changing my monitor orientation that much easier. I wished I did this a long time ago.

Linux Mint Helena LXDE Released

Linux Mint Helena LXDE is a distro based on Linux Mint 8 Main Edition, Linux 2.6.31, Openbox, PCManFM 0.5.2, and Xorg 7.4. It features a complete and familiar desktop experience while being low on resource usage and is suitable for a good variety of older hardware. The benchmarks are remarkable. Boot time from Grub to the login manager is about 26 seconds, the same benchmark as XFCE and less than Fluxbox. RAM usage at idle is only at 141 MB. If you have an old and aging hardware, Linux Mint Helena LXDE may be the path to go. It’s fast with a very small footprint. Learn more.

XRANDR Comes to the Rescue

What could be more frustrating than trying to install Ubuntu or Mint on a new CPU, motherboard, with a built-in graphics card and your display goes south. Here’s the scenario, after the initial flash screens, the screen goes blank. It seems that Xorg is using a screen resolution your monitor does not support.

Why is that? So frustrating. So, my older 19 inch Samsung monitor comes to the rescue. It seems to cope better than my 22 inch HPw220h monitor. The initial screen seems to be twice as big as the monitor supports, hence it doesn’t display properly on certain monitors.

There is one trick, well, a fix to make things all right again. XRANDR comes to the rescue. You will need to perform the following to get your Xorg displaying properly.

  • Hit Ctrl-Alt-F1. This will take you to the terminal screen.
  • Type in XRANDR -s 1024×768. This resets the screen a certain size.
  • Hit Ctrl-Alt-F7. This will take you back to XORG.

You can then make the Xorg changes and make it stick. Once I regained my screen, I was able to reconfigure Xorg to the resolution I wanted, 1680×1050 on my HP monitor.

To make my changes stick, I selected Preferences>Display. Say NO when prompted. Logout and Login.

The new Xorg configuration is now set.

Ubuntu in 10 seconds or less

Ubuntu 10.04 is aiming for a sub 10 second boot time. Canonical plans to take an aggressive approach to next year’s release to achieve its goal. Improvements to the Xorg display, to how root file systems are mounted, to suppressing the splash screen and progress bar are just a few things that are being considered. Ubuntu has already made dramatic changes to the boot time the last few releases.

Ubuntu 8.10 = 65 seconds
Ubuntu 9.04 = 25 seconds
Ubuntu 9.10 = < 25 seconds
Ubuntu 10.04 = < 10 seconds