I recently got inspired to try out Ubuntu and being a newbie I wanted to have the best of both worlds (Windows and Linux). The solution was simple; get two systems and use a KVM switch. I found a Belkin KVM in my office for my need and thats where all the mess started.

I connect my systems and nothing responds. Not even XP. I had no manual to begin with (and I didn’t think it necessary to have one; after all its just a KVM switch; thats where I went wrong). After a lot of shots in the dark I finally decide to look for the manual to at least know if I had tried the right hot keys. I google “F1DK102U Manual” and this is the link I get.Well, it doesn’t look like the product that I have…..hmmmm does Belkin have the same model number for the two products? After some searches I get to this link product information on Belkin’s website. Seems like they do support Linux (says in the manual) and they have some kind of installation software for Mac and Windows (none for Ubuntu/ Linux). There is no physical switch on the device and so I don’t have an option. I install the software for Windows and it works fine. Nothing for Linux though. After spending a few hours looking at forums, reading blogs and trying out on my own, I give up. This Belkin switch does not work for Linux even though the manual says so.

I look for other alternative switches and am recommended to try the Trendnet or the Iogear KVM switch. I decide to go for the Iogear. No softwares for this one, but Ubuntu doesn’t work again. A similar switch works for a friend for Ubuntu but not for me. I get the controls for the keyboard and the mouse but not for the LCD monitor(Dell 1907FPt). I try the monitor by connecting to the system that runs Ubuntu directly and the monitor does not work. (it used to before I tried the switches). I look for posts on the Ubuntu forums to see if someone ran through similar problems.

I look at the xorg.conf file in my /etc/X11 folder:

Section "Monitor"
Identifier "DELL 1907FP"
Option "DPMS"
EndSection

I don’t see the horizontal and vertical frequecy mentioned so I install xresprobe

sudo apt-get install xresprobe

and get the horizontal and vertical frequencies

sudo ddcprobe | grep monitorrange

I make a backup of my xorg.conf file

sudo cp /etc/X11/xorg.conf /etc/X11/xorg.conf.bkup

and change to make the monitor section to look like this

Section "Monitor"
Identifier "DELL 1907FP"
Option "DPMS"
HorizSync 30-81
VertRefresh 56-76
EndSection

It doesn’t work for me. So, I remove the changes I made to the file. I find a really detailed help page (see here)for fixing video resolutions (not exactly what I am lookng for) that describes a lot of things related to video in general. I try to rebuild my xorg.conf file

sudo dpkg-reconfigure -plow xserver-xorg

I mess up my file and Ubuntu fails to start. I go to safe mode and get a backup of my file, restart and try again with something else. This happens a few times and then I see a section that explains installation of newer drivers. I look at my xorg.conf file and see that the driver that I use is for i810.

Section "Device"
Identifier "Intel Corporation Mobile 915GM/GMS/910GML Express Graphics Controller"
Driver "i810"
BusID "PCI:0:2:0"
EndSection

Could that be the reason? How can I be sure?
I now use the live CD to get into Ubuntu and look at the xorg.conf file. It mentions the driver as “intel”. Thats all I need. I change the driver to “intel” and restart. Fails again. Now what??
One last try ….I re-install the intel driver.

sudo apt-get install xserver-xorg-video-intel

and change my xorg.conf file once again to Driver “intel”
The driver is installed and the i810 driver is removed. No wonder I had a failure in the last step. Using the KVM switch must have removed the “intel” driver and installed the older ‘i810″ one. Doesn’t Ubuntu keep two drivers for the same device?
Anyways…..I restart and the changes work for me. No problems with resolution no problems with the mouse/ keyboard. I try my Microsoft Ergonomic 4000 keyboard and that works fine too. Nothing better.

Finally, this is what Belkin Customer Support had to say:

We understand that you are not able to install this device on Linux operating system.
As if now we don`t have drivers for this device to install it on Linux computer. We are still under progress and drivers will be released soon. Once the drivers are released it will be posted at : http://www.belkin.com/support/article/?lid=en&pid=F1DK102U&aid=9081&scid=0

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