I can give the long version but after all this searching and fidling I prefer just to show the short version.
The problem was that Ubuntu (10.10) installs fine on a Dell SX270, but X just does not want to play. I solved the problem using a custom X config file:
#Section "Device" #Identifier "Configured Video Device" #Driver "vesa" #EndSection Section "Screen" Identifier "Default Screen" Device "Generic Video Device" Monitor "Generic Monitor" DefaultDepth 24 SubSection "Display" #Modes "1024x768" #Modes "800x600" #Modes "640x480" Modes "1280x1024" EndSubSection EndSection
As you can see, the resolution isn’t all that bad. I guess all comment lines (lines starting with a “#”) can be removed. I just left them in there as a tribute to all my hard work 🙂