Weird Ubuntu 18.04 Video Problem

When I got to work Thursday night, I was unable to boot my Ubuntu laptop normally. It’d get the encrypted disk unlocked, start to boot, and the screens would all go completely black. I’m not sure if it was a display driver, or what, but it was only a problem when I plugged in the thunderbolt docking station which connects to the two external monitors and network.

I got by for a while just using my laptop with a single screen, but my co-worker told me that the previous night, his Ubuntu 18.04 host developed the same problem. After much trial and error, he learned that installing Kubuntu, which uses the KDE window manager, instead of Gnome, seemed to fix it.

So, I tried that. I installed the Kubuntu packages, switched to KDE, and it works. I can connect the docking station again, and everything works better. Later on, I went to the rest room, after locking my laptop. When I got back, all the screens were black, and I couldn’t wake it. I had to power cycle to recover. So, the problem still exists, but not at login time, it’s at screen lock time.

Sigh. I watched a youtube video with english subtitles explaining how to resolve the video issue by modifying the grub boot manager config file and adding a new option to boot Linux.