Thanks. I have tried this (see the story below) and for some reason I get an X session with a blank screen.
Might it have to do with installing a minimal Debian then adding on X-related packages piecemeal - ie, maybe I'm still missing some crucial package? I'm clutching at straws. Read on and see what you think.
(FYI, I can reboot into an almost two-year-old etch install (when it was testing) and X will work fine - on the very same hardware!)
I reinstalled etch 4.0r1 from scratch. So all below refers to stable.
Here's what I did post-install.
# apt-get install xserver-xorg-video-vesa
Made no changes to xorg.conf generated by dpkg-reconfigure.
Then did (as errors revealed missing pkgs):
# apt-get install xfonts-base xfonts-100dpi xfonts-scalable
# apt-get install xterm
# apt-show-versions |sort| grep ^xserver
xserver-xorg-core/etch uptodate 2:1.1.1-21etch1
xserver-xorg/etch uptodate 1:7.1.0-19
xserver-xorg-input-all/etch uptodate 1:7.1.0-19
xserver-xorg-input-evdev/etch uptodate 1:1.1.2-6
xserver-xorg-input-kbd/etch uptodate 1:1.1.0-4
xserver-xorg-input-mouse/etch uptodate 1:1.1.1-3
xserver-xorg-input-synaptics/etch uptodate 0.14.6-1
xserver-xorg-input-wacom/etch uptodate 0.7.4.1-5
xserver-xorg-video-vesa/etch uptodate 1:1.3.0-1
Made an ~/.xinitrc like this:
xsetroot -solid skyblue
I give the command "startx" and I see the
same blank screen I saw when no ~/.xinitrc is present.
X is apparently running. But the screen is totally blank, and when I type,
nothing shows. I kill the session using ctrl-alt-backspace.
I tried also using ~/.xsession with identical contents instead of
~/.xinitrc; identical symptoms.
(My keyboard is a trusty old IBM without a separate keypad so although
I tried, I can't test cycling through the possible active modes.)
I looked using "ps fax" and see the following while that blank screen
is up (trimming some output):
\_ xinit /root/.xinitrc -- /etc/X11/xinit/xserverrc -aut[rest cut off]
\_ /usr/bin/X11/X -dpi 100 -nolisten tcp
\_ sh /root/.xinitrc
Looks okay to me, but I don't know what to look for in an obscure case
like this. But why is the screen totally blank?
(It is definitely taking over virtual terminal 7. I can do ctrl-alt-F1 and see my terminal session screen as it appears after issuing "startx" command. They I can alt-F2 to look at a different terminal session. Then I can alt-F7 and go back to the blank screen.)
The sync setting happen to be displayed on this CRT when modes change.
What is displayed is
48 kHz / 60 Hz
These fall within acceptable limits for my monitor: H 31-115, V 50-160.