I use GNU/Linux on the desktop. This is for both ideological and practical reasons. I develop FOSS Health Software, and my preferred languages work best on GNU/Linux.
I also believe in Software Freedom.
Sometimes I will use proprietary software, if it is obvious that I need to do that in order to 1) further the overall FOSS in Healthcare movement or 2) put food on the table.
It was with some reservation that I have used the nvidia proprietary drivers in order to get three monitors working. I have used Red Hat for years and I usually like to use the latest version of Fedora for my desktop. However, I do not like upgrading as often as Fedora releases. I often get two or three versions behind. I had three monitors working as a single merged desktop on Fedora 9. Almost immediately after Fedora 9 went unsupported, (1 month after two higher versions existed with Fedora 11) an yum update of the livna rpms crashed my desktop.
Since then I have been scrambling to get a working multiple monitor, with merged desktop working.
This has been a painful, brutal process. I have tried two generations of 4 different major distros. I have bought and entirely new computer. In the end I ordered two huge Dell monitors because I could only get two monitors to work at one time.
I will spare you the minuta of what did and did not work. Here is what I discovered during my three month ordeal:
- Multiple Monitor, merged desktop, and Multi-head support is one of GNU/Linux’s greatest weaknesses.
- Multiple Monitor almost never works out of the box.
- Debugging Multiple Merged Monitors is a nightmare.
- Searching for solutions is painful. Almost infinite software and hardware version differences makes what you find almost always useless.
- While x.org is advancing, it is a very poorly managed project.
- Nvidia is making development so painful with proprietary licenses that they should be boycotted.
- By using nvidia’s drivers, rather than participating in efforts to replace them I have been making the problem worse.
I should know better. If I can help it, I will never use a proprietary GNU/Linux module again.