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Linux and Windows Hardware Support

I really didn't want this blog to be anti-Microsoft or anti-Windows, but looks like it's shaping itself this way. So, what do I have to say about Windows today? It's not working with my new monitor, while Linux does.

I do have one Windows XP desktop in my home, it's mostly for games my children play, and Microsoft Office for my wife (who says OpenOffice is not an option since the menus and the buttons are not quite the same). That computer have a nice Matrox Millenium G400 video card which I just like, and I have recently upgraded a monitor from an old 19" CRT to 20" widescreen LCD (Dell 2007WFP). Here comes the problem: the video card refuses to set resolution to LCD's native 1680x1050. And I began to worry -- do I really need an upgrade? The card worked flawlessly for me for the last 6+ years, and I though it will continue to work just fine for a few more years (until I will upgrade the motherboard to one without an AGP slot).

I tried every option: reinstalling monitor "driver", updating the video driver to the latest one from Matrox, then to the latest one from Microsoft (which makes the box freeze BTW), updating video card BIOS, even trying to use Matrox Tweak utility. Every time I fail miserably -- there is no such resolution available, and no ability to set it somehow.

Still, before blaming the hardware, I tried Linux. Took the first distribution CD lying around (it happened to be ASPLinux 9, a Russian clone of old Red Hat Linux 9), booted it, switched to text console, checked the X Window log file, added a modeline to X Window config (according to what monitor reports via DDC) and changed the default resolution, and voila -- it works just fine in 1680x1050! I think that in never X Window version it's not even needed to add the modeline, since monitor itself provides it.

So why the heck it's not working in Windows XP? I dunno. Do I need to upgrade my video card, just because of the incapable driver? Looks like yes. Does Linux supports hardware better that Windows? In my case -- definitely yes.

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