Not using an attached VGA monitor may make installation impossible

I was debating whether this was a calames issue or a distro one but since there maybe ways this can be handled in the caller, I’ll try here first.

If a second screen is attached ( eg VGA monitor attached to a laptop ) calamares apparently assumes the user wants dual monitor setup and splits the desktop over two screens.

There is another possibility which seems to have been missed here : defective laptop screen. Since backlight failing ( or shock damage ) are relative recurrent failings this is probably not such an unusual situation for an older laptop which someone may want to install a light Linux OS on.

Under dual monitor mode, the LH side of the desktop with the icons and the system menu is on the internal display. The empty RH half is relatively useless. Worse, the installer fires up on the internal screen : leaving the user blind in the case of a broken backlight. It appears that the installer has failed to start.

A safer assumption may be that if an external screen is attached, the user wishes to use it. So this would be a safer place to direct single monitor output of the installer, irrespective of why there is a second monitor present.

Ultimately, on firing up the live ISO image, it may be safer to go mono desktop on the external VGA and provide an simply means to flip to dual if that is desired. This should provide a safe route to cover all bases.

In the meantime , is there a way to hack the desktop icon or run it from a terminal with arguments to force it to display installer output on the external VGA. I have a real case of broken screen laptop I wish to install lubuntu on.

Thanks for any workarounds.

I’ve already suggested what I’d probably do.

As I’ve stated elsewhere I had a dell laptop which had issues with its internal display when it got warm, so I experimented with alternatives & was happy with it until it’s hdd also died then decided it wasn’t worth the hassle. Yes you can ‘mirror’ displays, but I don’t think it’s reasonable for developers to make allowances for someone wanting to install on a device with a non-working display, especially given there are workarounds like I suggested.

I’ve also heard on a podcast another Ubuntu flavor’s developer discuss dead laptops, failing hardware, and expecting *Ubuntu to cope with it, he felt they should just buy a cheap raspberry pi & use that instead. I wasn’t a fan of the suggestion, but in the long run it does make sense as newer hardware will cost far less to run (the initial outlay versus power savings)…

I’ve not installed Lubuntu using LXQt and a dead screen, but I did so with Lubuntu using LXDE, opting for the install I mentioned in the other post (or I started with the Ubuntu Server ISO; I can’t recall).

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I posted a possible workaround previously as well. From the screen that is working, you could launch runner (Win + R). In runner type in monitor, from there you can make the external display primary and disable the laptop display. After you do that you should have no issue running Calamares on the external display.

Another possible workaround that is mostly untested is to run Calamares in a framebuffer. You can switch to tty2, login as lubuntu and run sudo calamares -platform linuxfb. I was able to run through this once but I wouldn’t call that a great deal of testing. That being said after the reboot I seem to have a working system.

After installation you will still need to address the fact that the laptop display will need to be disabled.

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Yes, doing a network installation and adding the lubuntu meta afterwards, is a work around ( I think that was what you suggested ) . I assume that is non interactive and will just dump on everything I have on the system now, which is not the object of the exercise.

in the long run it does make sense as newer hardware will cost far less to run ( the initial outlay versus power savings )…
Not sure that works out. Buying a cheap Lenovo is one option but how many years that will last and does it pay for itself:

I estimate this laptop gets less than 2h use per day. Probably eats 80W. Ballpark figure for power 0.15 euro / kWh
80*2/1000.3650.15
8.76 euros/year power bill

If the new system is twice as efficient it will save just over 4 eurobucks per year. That really seems to be a spacious argument. Typical of much of the misguided green consumerism we are now pushed: throw more stuff away, to reduce waste. Continual obsolescence is the key to “sustainable” future.

For me the key to reducing cost is make stuff work longer ( with in reason , when the HD goes too it hits the bin ). The external screen was also an upgrade in resolution since this laptop is essentially housebound anyway.

(Win + R). In runner type in monitor, from there you can make the external display primary and disable the laptop display. After you do that you should have no issue running Calamares on the external display.

Thanks kc2bez, I didn’t quite follow that the first time. Partly the problem is this is a remote system and I have to deal with this over the phone. I’m not familiar with how that looks. On my desktop I don’t see two screens. I’ll need to find a laptop to play with and run through it here.

sudo calamares -platform linuxfb .

That’s the kind of direction I was thinking of but how does that handle partition set up ? Isn’t there a similar switch to tell it to use the external VGA monitor? That’s what I’ve been looking for.

the calamares manpage does not even seem to mention that.
https://manpages.debian.org/unstable/calamares/calamares.1.en.html

Text installs (network or server) will put the identical image on each display - thus since your laptop display isn’t working, you can read everything using the external display. Why I installed it that way, made most of configuration setups using text terminal without worrying about my dead laptop display.

Post install I could switch between text (ctrl+alt+f4 for example) to make changes as both screens (dead internal & working external) show the same, then switch to GUI to see if whatever I changed helped or didn’t (ctrl+alt+f7 as I was using older Lubuntu).

I based the configuration on another box which I setup as I wanted the dead-screen-laptop to be (but it had two working displays making it easy), then copied that configuration across to my dead-screen-laptop (checking for minor differences; eg. the different brands/models didn’t matter but I think my laptops had different resolutions).

From my testing it looks and acts exactly like the normal application. Here is a screenshot from the welcome screen.

cala_start_fb

Isn’t there a similar switch to tell it to use the external VGA monitor?

Not that I know of.

the calamares manpage does not even seem to mention that.

It is undocumented, undertested and likely unsupported. My limited testing shows that it may be useful for what you are trying to do however. I had mixed results in testing on a VM but on my test laptop it seemed to work better. Graphics hardware will likely factor in.

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many thanks kc2bez. The Win-R method worked fine.

Once I disabled the other screen, it automatically resized and I got the full desktop on the external VGA. Very nice.

I was able to run the installer in a perfectly normal way.

Having got the system running again, I mounted the old /home partition previously running under Fedora29. This seems to have borked several things and Win-R and cntl-alt-T no longer work.

I can boot a live image and undo that but I would like to recover that partition.

What (hidden) files do I need to copy from my new lubuntu/home to the other partition before mounting it automatically from /etc/fstab?

I’m also in the dark as to what command is hidden behind the “runner” window when it offers “monitor settings”. What does that run as a command line?

Thanks.

The config file for the shortcut settings is ~/.config/lxqt/globalkeyshortcuts.conf You may also want the openbox settings ~/.config/openbox/lxqt-rc.xml

I’m also in the dark as to what command is hidden behind the “runner” window when it offers “monitor settings”. What does that run as a command line?

Runner is lxqt-runner and the monitor settings are lxqt-config-monitor The monitor configuration is stored in ~/.config/lxqt/lxqt-config-monitor.conf

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many thanks, that looks like just what I needed to know. Hopefully when I copy them across the /home partition it will all fall back into place.

I wonder why the “runner” does not show this information. When I type monitor, there is a drop down list with one entry . It has the text “monitor settings” twice on separate lines. This not only redundant it singularly unhelpful since the user is kept in the dark about what command will be run.

I would expect the second line to show the command itself, not just repeat the human readable version.

Is this a lubuntu config or is there an upstream lxqt project where this should be raised?

OK assuming that this is inherited behaviour I’ve opened a but upstream.