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After a battle of trying to get my monitors working on Ubuntu, I have given up Ubuntu as my primary development platform. I am seeking for a more stable OS with the following criterion:

  • GCC
  • Python and its library
  • Haskell
  • JVM
  • llmv
  • Nvidia Support (If such thing exists)
  • Default Multiple monitor support

Fancy GUI is least of my concern and I need this quick! I have looked into FreeBSD and mang features are very attractive, thought I am not sure how well python's library work on FreeBSD. Does anyone have good suggestion? Anything is appreciated.

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migrated from serverfault.com Oct 17 '09 at 14:09

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Bad question. (No, I'm not the downvoter.) To give a solid answer, an expert would need to know your hardware details so they can judge how easily you could set up nVidia support. Also how many monitors you want to work and their specs wouldn't hurt. –  CarlF Oct 21 '09 at 5:31
1  
distrowatch.com - then try dist by dist from the popularity list –  Johan Oct 21 '09 at 7:46

7 Answers 7

Your problem is with X. Unless you switch to Mac OS X or Windows, you will be running X on any OS you use. So, the question is whether you can get a better X experience by leaving Ubuntu.

One of the design goals of the "RandR" extension was to allow hot-plugging monitors to Just Work. But it isn't working right for you.

The thing is, X.org has been making huge strides in a relatively short time lately. There is a reasonable chance that the latest X.org in Ubuntu 9.10 might solve your problems. Why not download an Ubuntu 9.10 CD image and give it a go?

As for FreeBSD, I haven't tried it, but I'm certain its Python is as good as any other. And, it has a completely different kernel than Ubuntu (not Linux) so the drivers have completely different underpinnings... will that help you? Not sure. But I checked, and nVidia does support FreeBSD, so at least I know you can get drivers.

Good luck.

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2  
While all the distros use X.org, they all have slightly different versions, and many are heavily patched. The default configuration also makes a huge difference, as does interaction with drivers and specific kernel versions. There is a good chance that X on another distro will provide completely different results even if the version is similar. –  Kamil Kisiel Oct 17 '09 at 5:09

I got multiple monitors working pretty easily with Ubuntu with my nVidia card. Just google for "multiple monitors ubuntu nvidia" and you'll find the information.

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specific links would be helpful. –  quack quixote Oct 24 '09 at 0:42

I've had good luck with openSUSE working out of the box, but admittedly never tried it with a multihead monitor configuration.

If you're feeling more adventurous, I know all those things work on Gentoo, but you'll have to spend more time tweaking your system.

As for FreeBSD, you can also give that a shot. You shouldn't have any problems with Python libraries, they are generally quite portable and I've yet to hear many FreeBSD-specific complaints.

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I'd recommend Fedora 12 (which just released its beta; the final will be out in just under a month)

It has multiple monitor and nVidia support, to quote the beta release announcement:

The Fedora graphical startup sequence now works better on systems with multiple monitors. Also on multiple monitor systems, the desktop will now automatically be spread across all monitors by default, rather than having all monitors display the same output, including on NVIDIA chips (where multiple monitor spanning was not possible without manual configuration changes in Fedora 11). Systems with NVIDIA graphics chips also gain initial support for suspend and resume functionality via the default Nouveau driver.

It has Haskell support:

Name       : haskell-platform
Arch       : x86_64
Version    : 2009.2.0.2

For JVM (java), it has:

java-1.6.0-openjdk

and

java-1.5.0-gcj

For python, it's got:

python-2.6.2

And for llvm:

Name       : llvm
Arch       : x86_64
Version    : 2.6
Release    : 0.5.pre1.fc12

For gcc, it's got:

gcc-4.4.2

and

compat-gcc-34-3.4.6
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It sounds like your primary motivator here is trying to get multiple monitors working in Ubuntu. Welcome to the club! (I got it working on my system, but had to manually configure X)

There is so much variation between Linux distributions in terms of "the little things." It can be absolutely maddening.

What you do is this: download every reputable Linux distro's "Live" CD and give them each a shot, focusing on the things that are currently frustrating you. When you find one that works, there you go. Your software requirements are not difficult to meet. I think you might have a little more luck with something like OpenSUSE, but then you'll probably find the package management a real chore. There are always tradeoffs.

If that doesn't work, perhaps you could try falling back to an older version of an Ubuntu Long-Term Release. Ubuntu 8.04 LTS is still my go-to for Linux.

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Package management on openSUSE is just as easy as on Ubuntu these days. Simply use zypper instead of aptitude and you'll hardly notice the difference. –  Kamil Kisiel Oct 17 '09 at 4:40
    
But has it sped up much? Last time I used it, about a year ago, it was painfully slow. –  boden Oct 17 '09 at 4:58

I run a FreeBSD laptop, and will only speak to the use of Python Modules. In most cases you can install the python module using the freebsd ports library. (I use portinstall) And if all else fails you can just use easy_install.

Note that the base version of python that ships with freebsd 7.2 is 2.6.

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I've had a fine experience with a Nvidia 8600, Ubuntu and multiple monitors. Have you installed the Nvidia proprietary drivers?

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