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Well I just spent about an hour and a half playing with this but don't have a whole lot to show for it. First, for some reason, the “Ctrl+Alt+F1" hotkey hardly ever works for me which makes experimenting with this very slow and time-consuming. The next major problem I've run into is that no combination of video card and monitor in displayconfig-gtk seems to work for me -- even after manually replacing the driver line with Driver "fglrx".
The process you describe seems perfectly logical to me. Do you have any idea which specific ATI card I should choose in displayconfig (I have a Radeon X1900—and a Samsung 213T monitor)? For the combination of two or three Radeon drivers that I managed to try in displayconfig and the Samsung 213T, I can't succeed in getting the GUI interface to start up—even after putting Driver "fglrx" into the file manually. Also, is there any explanation for why “Ctrl+Alt+F1" just doesn't seem to work for me?
Well, I've not had much luck. I spent some time early this morning working on this again and, whether I use the appropriate Samsung driver or a generic monitor in display configuration, one of two things happens: either the display hangs on boot up or it reverts to very low resolution "plug-n-play." I have to do some real work now but it's rather exasperating to be apparently "so near and yet so far." I am attaching the monitor and driver information from one of my many attempts to make this work. Perhaps you will see something there that that I don't.
I suspect that what might be going on is that the main monitor stays cloned to the S-Video TV output or something like that. At least system/preferences/screen resolution always shows "cloned" as checked no matter how many times I uncheck and "apply" it.
The clip below is from the non-functioning Samsung 213T xorg.conf.