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Apparently Canonical did something to X that prevents the Nvidia driver to rotate screens (via xrandr or the control panel GUI). This affects all Ubuntu based distros like Mint.

To see if this might be the reason to switch to suse, debian, LMDE or arch, could someone on a non-ubuntu based distro confirm that rotating the screen actually works there (like suggested here)?

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    I can confirm that it works in openSUSE using xrandr
    – n8te
    Aug 24, 2017 at 11:48
  • Which version of ubuntu are you talking about, on the LTS 16.04 everything works fine.
    – Ziazis
    Aug 24, 2017 at 13:16
  • Oh, wow that's interesting. I am on Linux Mint 18.2 cinnamon.
    – Max N
    Aug 24, 2017 at 14:56
  • @Ziazis which Kernel and which Nvidia driver version are you running?
    – Max N
    Aug 27, 2017 at 19:45

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This was a deliberate limitation of the NVIDIA driver which since has been removed. See: https://unix.stackexchange.com/a/392390/48285

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