Lenovo W700ds dual monitor laptop: works! Another 2010.02 success

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OpenSolaris 2010.02 early access build 124 is really faring pretty well so far. It isn't free of issues, granted, but at the same time, it has improved leaps and bounds on laptop support, especially for netbooks, thanks to a passionate and dedicated team writing up a bunch of device drivers for wifi and network cards found in these little laptops.

Today, I installed build 124 on a Lenovo W700ds.

You probably have never heard of that beast because they probably only sold half a dozen of them, one of which landed on my desk yesterday. The main reason for this success is probably that it weighs a ton (11 lbs or 5 Kgs!!!) due in part to its main 17" monitor, doubled by a netbook-like 10" monitor that slides out from behind the main one.... here are the specs. Notice they call it "portable power". Trasnportable would be more accurate. After using this laptop for about an hour now (I'm writing this post on it), I do have to say that it is quite fantastically comfortable, just about as much a desktop would be...not really surprising if you consider it has a full size keyboard + numeric keypad.

 So, OpenSolaris installs without a glitch, once again the installer just does its job without whining. If you run the device driver utility it will notify you that two devices do not have a driver for solaris, one being the integrated bluetooth card and the other being the fingerprint reader. Not a big deal. Once OpenSolaris is installed, it will boot in Gnome just as on any other machine, but what you really want is the second monitor to work... and there's a trick to that.

 First, the second monitor won't be recognized if you don't pull it all the way out at boot time. Took me a while to figure this one out. To save some mW, the Lenovo folks don't power it unless it's out and that makes it undetectable at first.

Second, once recognized by X, it will actually display sideways. This "companion" display is actually is 16:9 10" netbook display tilted right so that it's width resolution (1280x768) almost matches the height resolution of the main display (1920x1200). So all we have to do is to tilt it "left" to compensate for the hardware arrangement. To do so, simply enable the Rotate and Resize option on the graphics card and then tell X to rotate the appropriate screen left. Here's how:

Section "Monitor"

    # HorizSync source: edid, VertRefresh source: edid
    Identifier     "SlideOut"
    VendorName     "Lenovo"
    ModelName      "LEN 2nd Display"
    HorizSync       30.0 - 75.0
    VertRefresh     60.0
    Option         "DPMS"
    Option         "Rotate" "left"
EndSection

Section "Device"
    Identifier     "Device1"
    Driver         "nvidia"
    VendorName     "NVIDIA Corporation"
    BoardName      "Quadro FX 2700M"
    BusID          "PCI:1:0:0"
    Screen          1
    Option       "RandRRotation"    "on"
EndSection

 Note that TwinView must be disabled because twinview aggregates both display into a single block. Rotation with twinview on will result in rotate both displays. So you need to make them two X displays and enable xinerama.

here is the final xorg.conf in case you're interested...

Additional notes:

Suspend/Resume works great with this laptop -most of the time- however, it seems that sometimes, you will lose the second display upon resume, I'm not sure why.

Comments:

cool

Posted by doc on October 02, 2009 at 05:24 AM MDT #

agreed.

Posted by arnaud on October 02, 2009 at 07:40 AM MDT #

Nicely done, but now the secondary display is always turned on, even when it's closed.

BTW: Did you somehow managed to adjust backlight of the secondary display?

Posted by Anton Krug on May 17, 2010 at 01:24 PM MDT #

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