Gnome has an idea about screen parameters different from Xorg.conf

I rebooted my home computer after a long uptime and suddenly the screen is terribly flickering. Reason? “I did not do anything” 🙂 I installed software updates, added and removed users, but never mangled with the screen, as it was already tuned once and forever.

My Xorg.conf file has only one mode line, the one which works fine at 85Hz. Gnome graphical menu item for “screen resolution” gives only one resolution option… at 60Hz. What the heck?

The GDM screen was at fine refresh rate, but after I log in, it drops to that unbearable 60Hz. This at least gave me a hint that this may have something to do with Gnome. Search in .gconf directory of my home reveals two files:

.gconf/desktop/gnome/screen/default/0/%gconf.xml
.gconf/desktop/gnome/screen/[my host name]/0/%gconf.xml

which differ in one line:

<entry name=”rate” mtime=”1152558455″ type=”int” value=”85“>

Value 85 was different in the [my host name]-version, showing 60!

As a first attempt, I just change that value from 60 to 85; I did not actually hope that it will work… but it does. Now my refresh rate is as it was.

My questions to the audience:

  • Where did this poor refresh rate come from? Was it some upgraded package, which decided to change my monitor settings? (I have Ubuntu 7.10 and Gnome 2.20.1)
  • How is a user supposed to solve such problem?

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