If your monitor uses an Intel video driver you would be wise to test drive the Ubuntu 9.10 distro before installing. Do this by burning a livecd or a USB stick with Unetbootin. Attempt to change your screen resolution with the usual method (System>Preferences>Display). If the highest resolution indicated is 800X600 then you are affected by this confirmed bug. The “Priority” of this bug is “Medium”. You might want to stay with Jaunty until the bug is fixed. I made the mistake of not taking the test drive and that resulted in several hours of searching for a work around. This article will not give you all the details but will point you to two others that do, and hopefully will save you the time and work that I put into it.
The first thing you must do is to edit your xorg.conf file to accept a ‘virtual’ resolution. Then you will make use of the cvt and xrandr commands to establish the capabilities of your monitor and finally to obtain your desired resolution. Find all the details here. It’s a good guide but a little confusing in that the first things you need to do are documented toward the end of the article.
Hopefully, you will soon be looking at the display that you desire. The next time you boot it will be gone and the procedure must be repeated. This is corrected by writing a shell script and making it execute at boot time. The details are here. There is an omission in this article. It fails to give an example of the first line of the shell script. For most people it will be “#!/bin/sh”.
Comment: As long as the Ubuntu crew allows bugs like this to get by, it will remain a “geek’s” OS. While the instructions are not too bad, I cannot imagine a “non-geek” locating the fix, editing the configuration files and composing a shell script. I have the time but many others will not.