It seems odd to me that 1280x1024 is such a common resolution in Linux. Why not 1280x960, which is in accordance with the 4:3 ratio that seems to be in effect in most other PC resolutions, like 800x600, 1024x768, 1600x1200 and so on.
I assume you can still do 1280x960 with no problems, right??? Anyone have an idea why it's 1280x1024 that became prevalent in Linux as opposed to 1280x960???
1280x1024 is common in unix/bsd and MS also. You need to adjust your monitor to reduce the horizontal width a bit to make it render images 100% correctly. You can get it fairly accurate by making a horizontal and a vertical line of the same length in gimp and then adjusting the monitor width until the lines match (use a ruler or a piece of paper).
I think it is used, rather than 1280x960, just because you can get a little more on the screen. Maybe there were some monitors that were made specifically for this? A TV pixel aspect ratio is ~.9, which is close to 1.25/1.33 (1280:1024/1280:960), maybe from that?