Solved: Several questions/issues

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Solved: Several questions/issues

Postby Lim-Dul on Thu Jun 05, 2008 8:25 pm

Hello there! I'm not THAT much of a newbie but the last distro with X11 I was using was Kubuntu Edgy Eft, so I'm not quite up to date. I carry around SLAX on a flash drive with me all the time but that system needs no configuration and my experience with Linux is mostly connected to setting up specialized devices like printservers, fileservers and routers through terminals...

Although I'm NOT one of the guys who think that Linux is necessarily better in all instances than Windows, especially in my line of work, and am one of the few people in the world who never ever had any problems with Windows Vista (I still left it as the default boot option in GRUB :-P) I decided that it's time to have a look at how things are progressing in the Linux OS community and after trying out a LOT of LiveCDs etc. I settled for Linux Mint because it met all my (very strict!) requirements - it simply is an awesome distro - based on but much better than Ubuntu IMHO. It's especially intuitive for die-hard Windows power-users (like myself since NT 3.1) and that's one thing more Linux distros should realize if they want to increase their user-base and the overall popularity of Linux - have an open and welcoming, not an elitist "holier than thou" attitude. =)

Anyways - here come the issues (and questions) I have with the system and don't know how to fix myself because of my relative lack of familiarity especially with the X11 system in ascending "annoyance order":

5. Is it possible to disable the logon-beep? I have already turned off the system beep in the sound settings but that didn't help...

4. The LiveCD usplash was working perfectly - I checked the parameters on my monitor and it was running in 1280x1024 mode. However, after I installed NVIDIA drivers I get a black border around the loading screen - it is centered and the screen is running at 1280x1024 but the image itself is too small. I tried editing usplash.conf (which appeared to be setup correctly) and running update-initramfs -u but that didn't help. Lowering the resolution only made usplash move to the upper left corner... Adding the vga=795 parameter in grub.conf only made the text-mode boot sequence display correctly. :-(

3. When I shutdown the system it changes to text-mode for some network-related shutdown procedures instead of displaying usplash constantly, as was the case during my LiveCD experience. It DOES kick in but only for the last bit (and is, again, too small like in point 4.).

2. I can't get my microphone to work. I have a SoundBlaster Audigy 2 ZS and you wouldn't believe how many distros have trouble with that seemingly pretty common card (even SLAX requires some alsamixer action) although at least the playback works like a charm in Linux Mint. I checked the +20 boost, neither the capture nor the playback micro is muted or deactivated, I disabled the external amplifier and checked the digital output jack setting (these two things seemed to be causing trouble in other distros). I also checked the sound system settings - everything is set to alsa. What options do I have left?

1. I've read that LCD displays run at 60Hz by default. Is it possible to somehow force them to 75Hz (which my monitor can handle)? I did the "DynamicTwinView" trick and while GNOME assures me that my display is set to 1280x1024@75 my monitor tells me otherwise. Inserting a modeline generated with gtf into xorg.conf didn't appear to have done anything at all... If you'll tell me that I have to live with 60Hz then so be it but I know if there's a way to avoid that. =)

That's it for now - I might be coming back with much simpler interface-related questions e.g. if it is possible to add a Mac OS X-style panel in addition to the default "task bar" (Windows lingo :-D) - I've seen that in Dreamlinux but that was running XFCE, I think... Also - how do I add a global keyboard shortcut to launch GNOME Do (e.g. Alt+Space - default Launchy shortcut in Windows :-D)? Now THESE are some real newbie questions. ;-)
Last edited by Lim-Dul on Thu Jun 12, 2008 3:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Several questions/issues

Postby 67GTA on Thu Jun 05, 2008 9:59 pm

Welcome to Linux Mint. This version of Mint is still in development, so try to keep that in mind.

5. There is a bug in Gnome pertaining to this, so the sound settings method doesn't work. You will have to blacklist your PC speaker module. After installing, open a terminal window, and run
Code: Select all
sudo gedit /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist
then add
Code: Select all
blacklist pcspkr
to the end of the file.

4. This is supposed to be fixed in the final version.

3.This is supposed to be fixed also.

2. Not sure. Most distros are switching to Pulseaudio, so I am lost now. Alsa isn't used by default. Try switching to pulseaudio in the sound settings.

1. Run
Code: Select all
nvidia-settings
as root. Set your desired settings, and select the "Save to X configuration file" button. This will merge the settings into the xorg.conf file. The newest version of xorg is still a little shaky. It attempts to auto configure your settings now at each boot. Xorg.conf is basically a reference file now. You can even boot without one.

I ran across this page a few days back while searching for something else. It will answer your last two questions. Just search for "Global Hotkeys" and "Dock Window". Avant is already in the repos. http://priyank.co.in/readarticle.php?article_id=18
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Re: Several questions/issues

Postby Lim-Dul on Thu Jun 05, 2008 10:31 pm

Thanks! You've been most helpful! It turns out disabling dynamic twin view hurt more than it benefited me since it prevented me from configuring the display with nvidia-settings. =)
However, my monitor is still running @60Hz - isn't there an option to turn the auto-detection/autoconfiguration of X.org off or is it only a problem with the recent X.org release?

2. Not sure. Most distros are switching to Pulseaudio, so I am lost now. Alsa isn't used by default. Try switching to pulseaudio in the sound settings.


Do I still configure everything with Alsamixer after switching to Pulseaudio? If not, then with what other utility?

As to my final issue - the Deskbar Applet solved all my problems. It's as close to Launchy (or the other way round) as possible and it even has its own hotkey setting. :-D
The strange thing is that the Deskbar Applet window is moving closer to the bottom with each launch... I tried fixing its position in Compiz but that didn't help... Hmmm...

P.S. I know that it's only a RC but working with this distro has been a real pleasure so far anyway. These are minor quibbles that don't make the OS unstable or unusable in any way. Basically one of the criteria I judged all the distros by was how little (or how much) configuration they require. Not because I couldn't ask or figure out how to configure them but because it just goes to show how much thought and work has been put into relieving clueless users of major pains. ^^
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Re: Several questions/issues

Postby 67GTA on Thu Jun 05, 2008 10:45 pm

The new xorg has auto detection built in. There is no way to turn it off. It will get better as more work is done to it. Since you are using the nvidia driver, the nvidia-settings tool is the easiest way to make the res/refresh rates stick. I am completely lost with pulseaudio. I haven't learned to configure it yet. I have been used to configuring alsa. You might get some better help with it if you make a separate post in the hardware section. Someone will know more than I do about it. The deskbar window moving is weird. Do you have compizconfig-settings-manager installed? There are several window related options there to set window positions, etc. You might try playing with that. Compiz can cause all sorts of things to go haywire.

P.S. I know that it's only a RC but working with this distro has been a real pleasure so far anyway. These are minor quibbles that don't make the OS unstable or unusable in any way. Basically one of the criteria I judged all the distros by was how little (or how much) configuration they require. Not because I couldn't ask or figure out how to configure them but because it just goes to show how much thought and work has been put into relieving clueless users of major pains. ^^


That is one of Clems goals. Make Mint more user friendly.
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Re: Several questions/issues

Postby Lim-Dul on Thu Jun 05, 2008 11:30 pm

Since you are using the nvidia driver, the nvidia-settings tool is the easiest way to make the res/refresh rates stick


The tool pretends that they are sticking while the display is still at 60Hz but I guess this is X.org doing its autodetection job so I won't bother with that anymore.

I am completely lost with pulseaudio. I haven't learned to configure it yet. I have been used to configuring alsa. You might get some better help with it if you make a separate post in the hardware section.


Thanks. Will do.

The deskbar window moving is weird. Do you have compizconfig-settings-manager installed? There are several window related options there to set window positions, etc. You might try playing with that. Compiz can cause all sorts of things to go haywire.


I sure do have the config tool - been playing around with it a lot and even tried making the Deskbar NOT move but it didn't make a difference. Anyway - this doesn't matter much either.
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Re: Several questions/issues

Postby 67GTA on Thu Jun 05, 2008 11:47 pm

Now that I think about it, there was a bug with the nvidia driver that makes the refresh rate be incorrectly reported. It may still be hanging around. You can add
Code: Select all
Option "TwinView" "False"
to the "Device" section of xorg.conf to make X report this correctly after a reboot. My 19" monitor refresh rate was reported as 50 until I added this to xorg.conf.
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Re: Several questions/issues

Postby Lim-Dul on Fri Jun 06, 2008 12:05 am

It's actually:

Code: Select all
Option "DynamicTwinView" "false"


but that doesn't matter. Either X.org is reporting a false refresh rate or Nvidia - my display ends up in 1280x1024@60 anyway. ;-)
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Re: Several questions/issues

Postby 67GTA on Fri Jun 06, 2008 12:23 am

Yep, that's it. It works for me. That is weird. You can try setting it with xrandr. The new xorg is fed the info it needs by dbus and hal, and xrandr at each boot. Xrandr detects and sets the monitor info. Just run
Code: Select all
xrandr
in aterminal to see what your current settings are. Run
Code: Select all
xrandr -help
for options. Try
Code: Select all
xrandr --refresh 75
. That might force it at each boot.
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Re: Several questions/issues

Postby Lantesh on Fri Jun 06, 2008 12:53 am

Lim-Dul wrote:4. The LiveCD usplash was working perfectly - I checked the parameters on my monitor and it was running in 1280x1024 mode. However, after I installed NVIDIA drivers I get a black border around the loading screen - it is centered and the screen is running at 1280x1024 but the image itself is too small. I tried editing usplash.conf (which appeared to be setup correctly) and running update-initramfs -u but that didn't help. Lowering the resolution only made usplash move to the upper left corner... Adding the vga=795 parameter in grub.conf only made the text-mode boot sequence display correctly. :-(


Try changing the virtual resolution setting in xorg.conf to 1024 x 768. That's how I fixed it on my box.

Code: Select all
Section "Screen"
   Identifier   "Default Screen"
   Monitor      "Configured Monitor"
   Device      "Configured Video Device"
   Defaultdepth   24
   SubSection "Display"
      Depth   24
      Virtual   1024   768
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Re: Several questions/issues

Postby Lantesh on Sat Jun 07, 2008 9:01 pm

Ok in getting Elyssa Stable set up I realized that my above statement was incorrect. The virtual resolution setting in xorg.conf only changes the logon screen res. To change the res on the Mint progress bar screen install the program "startupmanager". It's a GUI, and it has a res setting that effects this boot screen. I changed mine to 1024 x 768, and the black borders are gone. It looks much better.
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Re: Several questions/issues

Postby Lim-Dul on Sat Jun 07, 2008 10:03 pm

Yeah - your "tip" changed the resolution for everything (not only the login screen!) but that was promptly fixed. :-D

Thanks for the hint with startupmanager - everything is looking fine now. I even copied over some fonts from Vista and changed various settings both in the system and some apps (e.g. Firefox) so Linux Mint looks even closer to it now (I hope this isn't blasphemy :-D). That's not to say I don't like the default Mint/Elyssa theme which I'm running unmodified except for the fonts - it's awesome and I'm not much of a wallpaper switcher (I used the standard Areo theme in Vista for ~half a year and then switched to this one because it cheers me up every time I look at it :-D). I always disliked the font choice in most Linux distros, though, but that might be just a matter of getting used to them and I know that Microsoft fonts (and other similar looking fonts) are usually commercial and can't be bundled with GPL-ed OS-es.

The only issue that remains now is getting my microphone to work either through Pulseaudio or ALSA but I'll post a separate thread in the hardware forum like 67GTA suggested.

I wonder if there's a possibility to configure a non-password prompt (in graphical mode) for sudo... I mean, like UAC in Vista - of course I have UAC turned off there but I'd rather turn it on in Linux to know when I'm entering root-mode and can potentially mess something up and I don't want to enter my password (which is quite long and complicated) when the sudo session expires. I set NOPASSWD in sudoers but that's not a very elegant solution (although I have no problems in running an administrator account on Vista all the time - maybe because I'm more aware of all the potential risks and vulnerabilities).

BTW - Where and how can I request something to be added/updated in the Mint (or Ubuntu for that matter) repository? I realized that e.g. Carrier (formerly Funpidgin, the pimped version of Pidgin) isn't available there and Pidgin-Plugins-Pack requires Pidgin to be installed (even if you compile the sources like I did). Also, The Battle of Wesnoth isn't present in the newest version and I don't want to switch to Vista for such a flagship multiplatform game. The newest version with all the campaigns is available at getdeb but then the package manager flags all the packages as "obsolete" and removes them during cleanup etc. which is annoying. =)

I spent more time in Linux than in Vista recently but that's probably because it makes next to no difference when surfing the internet, especially since I shared my Thunderbird and Firefox profiles between the OS-es and even installed the etx2 driver in Vista for greater file-copying comfort. =)
However, I'm afraid that all this might change once the novelty wears off - that's what happened to Ubunty Edgy Eft in my case... I simply have no need for Linux except for messing around with it and admiring the progress some of the distros are making or installing and configuring specialized OS-es on network devices... In the end I have bought Vista legally so the money is gone anyway, also I'm working as a video game journalist and translator and for that reason (especially the former although some tools I use for translation don't work under Linux either :-( I have to go back to Windows all the time anyway. It's kinda sad because some distros (Linux Mint for example :-D) are really becoming a viable Windows alternative, at least for some user-types... Well, at least when everything is working because even though GUI programs have popped up all over the Linux world you still have to be a guru to fix certain things and grasp many unintuitive intrinsics of the OS...

P.S. I wish that some day most software in the world would be compatible with all the major OS-es or available in different versions. Yes, I'd even like to see the kinds of MS Office (and all the games, given my profession :-D) on Linux without any Wine trickery. Then one could really choose any OS just for the OS'es sake without having to accept all the downsides and limitations that come with each alternative... Well - I'm a hopeless dreamer, especially since no Windows-oriented developer will want to waste time on ~1, maybe 2% tops, of desktop users who are used to free software anyway. :-(
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Re: Several questions/issues

Postby Lantesh on Sun Jun 08, 2008 12:09 am

Lim-Dul, I'm glad to hear startupmanager worked for you. I can see your point about Vista being paid for, and if you need it for your job then you need it. Given time, maybe five years, I think you will see Linux's market share grow significantly. If it gets upwards of 15% then developers will certainly take notice. That's when things will get interesting.
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Re: Several questions/issues

Postby Lim-Dul on Sun Jun 08, 2008 8:20 am

Aaah! The "show desktop" applet messed up my window positions and although I managed to retrieve most of them the Deskbar Applet is off-screen now and I can't bring it back (except if I set its "stick to panel option" which alters its behavior and appearance altogether) - fixed position in Compiz doesn't work on it for some reason. :-(
Does anybody know where its window position is stored?

I sure hope the market share of Linux increases because competition is ALWAYS good for the customer but I'm not as optimistic. When I look at the current figures and the speed at which they are (or aren't :-\) increasing only a miracle might change the current situation. Maybe we need a revolution instead of evolution. ^^
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Re: Several questions/issues

Postby ed@Mint on Sun Jun 08, 2008 9:19 am

Hi Lim-dul:

I can't help you with this particular problem, i don't use Compiz nor OSX-like stuff.
Just wanted to add a few things related to your previous statements :
  • you can install the 'msttcorefonts' packages to get some of the main MS fonts.
  • There's no way to make sudo behave as UAC. Disabling sudo password is a bad idea and goes against UNIX philosophy, but you're the end user so it's your choice...
  • As we use the ubuntu repos, software requests have to be made upstream. However, we will add third party softwares in our software portal soon. So it's likely we have more recent versions for softwares like games. Stay tuned.

On a side note, i personally wish that as few as possible commercial software will make it in Linux.
I don't like Wine, i prefer to encourage use and enhancement of OSS. :wink:

This said, enjoy Linux Mint and welcome aboard. :)
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Re: Several questions/issues

Postby Lim-Dul on Sun Jun 08, 2008 3:06 pm

ed@Mint wrote:you can install the 'msttcorefonts' packages to get some of the main MS fonts


Thanks - I did that, too. However, I wanted to have the default Vista font, Segoe UI, so I simply copied it over. =)

There's no way to make sudo behave as UAC. Disabling sudo password is a bad idea and goes against UNIX philosophy, but you're the end user so it's your choice...


That's a bummer. Well - I don't do anything crucial in Linux so I'll probably only mess up the system itself. I think disabling sudo passwords goes more against some distros' philosophy but otherwise I'd sit on the root account or simply use su all the time and THAT is not the way to go.

As we use the ubuntu repos, software requests have to be made upstream. However, we will add third party softwares in our software portal soon. So it's likely we have more recent versions for softwares like games. Stay tuned.


Sooo... How and where exactly are Ubuntu repository requests made? =)

On a side note, i personally wish that as few as possible commercial software will make it in Linux.
I don't like Wine, i prefer to encourage use and enhancement of OSS.


I don't know if Linux will ever be able to achieve a break-through by relying only on OSS... I mean - if you like it or not, major corporations are where the money is although I'm more of a lefty myself (which isn't to say that I dislike open market economy - we Poles went through communism after all). =)

This said, enjoy Linux Mint and welcome aboard. :)


Already enjoying it - I've written all of the above posts on Linux. ^^
Will have to switch back to Vista soon, however, since I have some work-related stuff to do. =)
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Re: Several questions/issues

Postby ed@Mint on Sun Jun 08, 2008 5:49 pm

Lim-Dul wrote:I think disabling sudo passwords goes more against some distros' philosophy but otherwise I'd sit on the root account or simply use su all the time and THAT is not the way to go.

That is what i meant.

Sooo... How and where exactly are Ubuntu repository requests made? =)

I don't know exactly... see the Ubuntu FAQ or stuff..

I don't know if Linux will ever be able to achieve a break-through by relying only on OSS... I mean - if you like it or not, major corporations are where the money is although I'm more of a lefty myself (which isn't to say that I dislike open market economy - we Poles went through communism after all). =)

That was just an excuse to put my 5 cents :wink:

Will have to switch back to Vista soon, however, since I have some work-related stuff to do. =)

I hope you'll find valuable alternatives for your work. I personally have everything i want in Linux and i'm glad about that.

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Re: Several questions/issues

Postby Lim-Dul on Tue Jun 10, 2008 11:47 am

By the way - I fixed the position of the Deskbar Applet using gconf-editor although it still slides around like crazy but that must be a bug in the program itself.
I switched to GNOME Do anyway. :-P

On a side note: I followed this guide to automount my SMB share (it's on a Linux based Linksys NSLU2 fileserver) and been able to achieve only partial success. This is the line I used in fstab:

Code: Select all
//192.168.1.3/lim-dul /media/NSLU2 cifs auto,uid=1000,gid=1000,username=myusername,password=mypassword,file_mode=0700,dir_mode=0700,iocharset=utf8 0  0


The success is partial because I don't seem to have the correct permissions on the share and can't follow symlinks. Also, when I set up a ~/.credentials file and ran this line:

Code: Select all
//192.168.1.3/lim-dul /media/NSLU2 cifs auto,uid=1000,gid=1000,credentials=~/.credentials,file_mode=0700,dir_mode=0700,iocharset=utf8 0  0


CIFS reported that no username has been provided (although I set it in the credentials - could it be a problem with my username being hyphenated?).

Maybe I'm just too dumb to configure all of this but the basic goal I want to achieve is that my share is automounted on /media/NSLU2 and I'm the only one read/write permissions (without having to input the username and password, which, coincidentally, are the same as my desktop username and password =).

Update: OK, with 770 perms at least the share is properly mounted and with uid=1000 and gid=1000 I'm the owner of the share as well. Still don't know why my ~/.credentials don't work and why I can't access symlinks (which work in Windows) I set up on the fileserver. This format of the .credentials file is correct, I assume?

Code: Select all
username=my-username
password=mypassword


I tried to link to the credentials both with ~/.credentials and /home/username/.credentials and with various chmods and chowns (root R/W/own, usernmae R/W/own, 777 etc.). I really don't want to have my password visible in fstab. :-\
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Re: Several questions/issues

Postby Lim-Dul on Tue Jun 10, 2008 4:43 pm

*sigh*

It's moments like these that make me doubt Linux will ever become really, really user friendly and accessible to non-gurus. ;-)

After some intensive online research I managed to solve both issues with Samba.

The credentials file wasn't working because smbfs isn't installed by default - I didn't know that, in Ubuntu it is, I gather. Maybe it should be preinstalled since I suppose many Mint users will want to have all the SMB mounting options at hand.

The second problem (not following symlinks) was even harder to solve. Yes, I found several solutions to it - most of them involving "unix extensions" being turned off but it still didn't work. I disabled "unix extensions" in smb.conf globally on my client (desktop) machine and checked that they were turned off on my fileserver anyway. I tried messing around with the "follow symlinks" and "wide symlinks" on my server but this didn't help either (again I must stress that in Windows all of this was a one-click affair).

In the end it turned out that the ONLY solution that worked was adding the nounix parameter to the mount entry in fstab - strange, since it's supposed to do the same thing as "unix extensions = no", isn't it?

In the end my fstab entry looks like this:

Code: Select all
//192.168.1.3/lim-dul /media/NSLU2 cifs auto,nounix,uid=1000,gid=1000,credentials=/home/lim-dul/.credentials,file_mode=0770,dir_mode=0770,iocharset=utf8 0  0


The upside, as most experienced Linux users would assure me, is that I went through tons of posts, tutorials and the fstab documentation to make everything work so if I had to do it again I'd know what to look for. Also, I gained some Linux knowledge. I say: screw it, I wasted several hours on this - give me some GUI app or make the whole thing simpler. ;-)
Going through mounting this share and setting the correct parameters reminded me of configuring pipelines in VMS - they worked beautifully if set up correctly but hell, the procedure required a lot of manual-reading. ;-)
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Re: Solved: Several questions/issues

Postby Lim-Dul on Thu Jun 12, 2008 3:32 pm

OK - last update in this topic - I already marked it as "solved".

I managed to get the microphone working in Linux. Sometimes it helps when... it is actually PLUGGED IN. Ha, ha, ha!
I was so convinced that Linux wouldn't recognize it automatically (which it did) that I didn't check even the most basic thing on any troubleshooting list...

I found it out when I tried to tune my guitar in Windows (I use AP Tuner, a quite nice, accurate and simple app for this) and noticed that I didn't get a signal either. Then I recalled that I was installing a new CD/DVD-RW drive recently and moved my computer - the microphone plug must have fallen out and I didn't notice it because all the cables are hidden behind my desk. ;-)

Sorry to have you bothered with it, guys, although I probably spend more time looking for an answer why my microphone isn't working (I tried virtually all possible software solutions) than you. ;-)
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Re: Several questions/issues

Postby qotsa on Mon Jul 14, 2008 9:02 pm

Lantesh wrote:Ok in getting Elyssa Stable set up I realized that my above statement was incorrect. The virtual resolution setting in xorg.conf only changes the logon screen res. To change the res on the Mint progress bar screen install the program "startupmanager". It's a GUI, and it has a res setting that effects this boot screen. I changed mine to 1024 x 768, and the black borders are gone. It looks much better.


I already tried this, but it wasn't a solution for me. There is still a black border around the Mint Bootscreen. Any other suggestions?
qotsa
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