Finally got desktop effects working (915resolution + xorg.conf)

May 13, 2007

After a few weeks of ignoring the issue I decided to try and get desktop effects working. When I would try to use desktop effects my screen would go blank (solid white). In fact I could not adjust my screen resolution either – it was stuck on 1280×1024 at 61Hz refresh (61?).

I knew I had the integrated Intel 915 graphics which isn’t exactly high-end but it should be enough for basic OpenGL support. I started searching and discovered a few things …

  1. glxinfo would fail on my machine. When I would run it the following would be displayed:
    • X Error of failed request: BadAlloc (insufficient resources for operation)
  2. System -> Hardware Information did detect that the Intel 915/910 graphics controller
  3. dmesg also detected the card

So I started hitting Google and discovered a utility called 915resolution on the Absolute Beginner’s Guide – Following those directions I was able to get into a different resolution.

Still desktop effects would not work though. I needed to tackle the glxinfo problem.

After some more Google time I came across this page on ArchWiki: This page explained how to edit /etc/X11/xorg.conf to support the 915/910 driver (the key is the i810 driver).

While I was in there I noticed that the monitor settings were odd. The monitor ID was a string of gibberish and the refresh rates were all off. I have an HP M70 monitor (which is odd because I’ve never owned and HP computer and I can’t, for the life of me, remember how I came to own this) so I once again went to Google and discovered this page:

Once I made the suggested adjustments and restarted X (ctrl+alt+backspace) I was able to enable desktop effects and enjoy the fun.

I’m going to try running Beryl now.


3 Responses to “Finally got desktop effects working (915resolution + xorg.conf)”

  1. Eric Says:

    I currently have an Intel i945 chipset, and Beryl runs beautifully. I suggest using the official repository and just doing it apt-get style. But make sure to disable Desktop Effects before doing it!

    These desktop effects are an interesting study in the open source landscape. See, a year or so ago, Novell came out with XGL and Compiz. XGL allowed X and OpenGL to run on the GPU, which was just awesome. AIGLX is RedHat’s alternative to XGL and is currently in X by default. Well, Compiz was updated by this dev named Quinn, who added feature on top of feature. Eventually, Quinn forked it into Beryl. Beryl is known for having lots of features, while Compiz has worked on streamlining its code. Currently, they are working on merging their code into one project. You can check out more at

    Long story short, “Desktop Effects” is enabling Compiz. Beryl does not play nice with Compiz when they’re both activated. So just make sure that you disable Desktop Effects before trying Beryl.

    It seems that the instructions have been deleted off of the Beryl Wiki for Ubuntu. Here are the instructions (CompComm is still in extreme Alpha):

    1. Add the following line to your /etc/apt/sources.list
    deb feisty main

    2. Run: sudo apt-get update

    3. Run: sudo apt-get install beryl emerald-themes

    4. Run: beryl-manager &

    5. Enjoy. Beryl settings can be had by running beryl-settings-manager, but it will be put in your System Tools folder in your Applications Menu. Emerald settings (window decorator) will be put in Preferences in the System Menu.

    Have fun!

  2. Mark Czubin Says:

    Well hopefully the new expected somewhere this month(or next one) will solve all those issues (for you & others).

    No more bios hacks to get a proper resolution, no more config editing to get your intel driver loaded… and it should fix your monitor problem as well but don’t count on it.

    BTW: I got 945 and 915 chipsets in my two laptop, they are lovely for desktop and games based on quake 3 engine 🙂

  3. Camouflage Says:

    I had also problems with Ubuntu detecting my monitor and I did:

    sudo dpkg-reconfigure xorg-server

    It asked (too) many questions, but allowed me to set correct resolution without messing with my xorg.conf.

    Another way is to boot some livecd distribution like Knoppix, which does better monitor detection and copy-paste monitor section into your xorg.conf file.

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