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// Tales from software development

Running Ubuntu 8.10 headless

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As mentioned in previous posts, I’ve had no end of problems getting SqueezeCenter to stream reliably when running under Windows 2003 Server on a Tranquil T7. I did what I said I was going to do – buy another T7 and install Ubuntu 8.10 Desktop and use this as my SqueezeCenter host.

I’ve run Linux on some of my machines in the past and done some professional development work on AIX based machines but I’ve generally stuck with Windows both professionally and personally. So, it was a bit of a surprise to see just how good Ubuntu 8.10 Desktop is. It is very impressive and performs flawlessly as a SqueezeCenter host.

Once I’d installed and configured SqueezeCenter and copied over all my FLAC files I pulled out the keyboard and mouse USB connectors and the VGA monitor cable. I used RealVNC to control the PC remotely but the first reboot appeared to fail. I plugged the monitor back in and saw this:

Ubuntu is running in low-graphic mode.
The following error was encountered.
You may need to update your configuration to solve this.
(EE) No devices detected

After a bit of googling it appeared that the issue is that Ubuntu’s display manager is querying the hardware to determine which graphics driver to use. This fails when a monitor isn’t attached. The easiest solution for me was to change the xorg.conf file to specify that the VESA driver is used as this doesn’t require a monitor to be attached to work:

1. Open a terminal window (from the menu: Applications | Accessories | Terminal)

2. To edit a system file you’ll need administrator priviliges so use sudo to run an editor such as gedit:

sudo gedit /etc/X11/xorg.conf

3. The default xorg.conf will look something like this:

Section "Device"
	Identifier "Configured Video Device"
EndSection

Section "Monitor"
	Identifier "Configured Monitor"
EndSection

Section "Screen"
	Identifier "Default Screen"
	Monitor "Configured Monitor"
	Device "Configured Video Device"
EndSection

Just add this under the Identifier line in the Device section:

	Driver "vesa"

so that the section looks like this:

Section "Device"
	Identifier "Configured Video Device"
	Driver "vesa"
EndSection

You’ll now be able to run Ubuntu headless.

 

 

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Written by Sea Monkey

April 16, 2009 at 8:00 pm

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