I took my parents old 32-inch flat screen TV into the basement and hooked it up to an old laptop I had just sitting around. With Ubuntu on it, I wanted to keep it shut and tucked out of the way, and just remote in whenever I wanted to do something with it. Great idea, right?
For some reason, Ubuntu’s 10.04 Gnome does not have a do nothing action for when the lid closes on the laptop. You have blank screen, which is normally fine but it cuts VGA/HDMI output. There are suspend and hibernate which would be rather useless in this situation too.
Well, as with many things you are not supposed to do as a regular user, you can in fact get around the lack of this option. While not exposed via any public control panel, the Configuration Editor has the setting.
Open the terminal and run
sudo gconf-editor. Once the window opens up, you’ll see a bunch of closed trees. Navigate through the trees:
apps > gnome-power-manager > buttons. Once there, you’ll see the settings and their descriptions for the setting values.
The description for lid_ac, that is, when the lid closes while plugged in is:
The action to take when the laptop lid is closed and the laptop is on AC power. Possible values are “suspend”, “hibernate”, “blank” and “nothing”.
It strikes me that gnome should know enough to put the nothing choice in there. Finally, change the lid_ac setting to nothing, the word nothing, not blank, and then close the editor. Restarting Ubuntu will put the new setting into effect.
That should do it!