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Old 08-24-2005, 02:12 AM   #1
Ariox
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Is my hardware too meager for a GUI?


I installed Slackware 10.1 on an older system today, after formatting Slackware 10 a while ago for lack of space on my primary (currently windows) computer. I hazarded through an install while looking up guides and references all throughout. My problem now, though, is getting a working GUI. The command line interface will work just fine, but when I try to start a GUI (I've tried KDE, Gnome, Blackbox, Fluxbox, WindowMaker, Tab Window Manager, plus others, which all came with my Slackware distro), my computer will boot for a short time, then I get an indefinite black screen. I used ctrl-alt-bkspce and did get a working command line, but each GUI provides various error messages all relating to problems reading/loading files.

I've been googling this for hours, and from the best I can see is that my hardware may just not be up to it. I'm running an emachines etower is600 with Slackware 10.1; 600mhz, 32 megs ram, and I think a 1mb built-in video card. A ram upgrade, though something I'd like to avoid, is a viable solution if needed. If any of you think my hardware may not be the problem, I'll next post the error messages from my first-choice GUIs, although I have a suspicion that a problem with a single solution may be the answer to most. Please keep answers fairly simple, as I'm not much accustomed to Linux at all. And for those of you who've gotten this far, congratulations, because even I usually can't even finish reading my own writing.

Thankyou for your consideration.

--Ariox
 
Old 08-24-2005, 02:24 AM   #2
Tinkster
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32 MB is definitely quite meager, specially if you use
anything larger than e.g. fluxbox or IceWM. How big did
you make the swap partition?

If you try to run Gnome/KDE on that thing you'll see massive
swap activity, and if the swapper is dimensioned small enough
sudden deaths of random applications.


Cheers,
 
Old 08-24-2005, 02:30 AM   #3
Poetics
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I'd go with Fluxbox or even the more basic Blackbox. As for the black screen, I've heard a lot about incompatibilities causing that. Have you tried leaving it on awhile to see if it's just slow?
 
Old 08-24-2005, 02:42 AM   #4
Ariox
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Quick responses

Tinkster: I found out today that KDE and Gnome are much more demanding than other GUIs, but I did try them anyway to see if the problem was specific to certain ones. Currently my swap is ~98 MB (meant to be 64, but oops).

Poetics: After doing some reading I determined that fluxbox was probably my first choice. I have tried leaving it on for 15+ minutes with no change, and am trying again now. I couldn't even get the Tab Window Manager, which is considered primitive enough to put "(very basic)" after it.


Now that I think about it, I may be able to snag some ram from an old computer in our garage. My older brother, although no more tech savvy than I, is a hoarder of electronic goods and has some 5 or more old computers out there,

including my first computer ever, a 200 mhz pc running win 95. I more and more wish my roots (quite weak, but there) weren't in Windows, because the more I deal with Linux, the more I come to dislike it (especially spyware.. ewww!).

Back to topic: How much of my computer's resources is the Tab Window Manager expected to use? Is it possible to guess by this whether or not this is a hardware or software issue?
 
Old 08-24-2005, 03:59 AM   #5
cs-cam
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Software, I'd imagine twm would run on less than what you're offering. Considering I've run Win95 on a 486DX/50 with 16MB RAM and it's been very usable, I'm guessing that you can run twm without a drama. Fluxbox should be fine as well as long as you don't use a pixmap-based theme.

Post the error messages, they'll help a lot. Have you run xorgconfig? You have to do that before you try anything. X -configure will do that job as well
 
Old 08-24-2005, 04:53 AM   #6
Ariox
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Some of my personal notes might be mixed into here, so without further ado, the most typing I've done all day:

*edit: I should add that I did configure X with "X -configure." :P*

When I run

Code:
X -config /root/xorg.conf.new
I get:

Code:
Build Operating Systerm: Linux 2.4.29 i686 [ELF]
Current Operating System: Linux ariox 2.4.29 #6 The Jan 20 16:30:37 PST 2005 i686 
Build Date: 23 January 2005
	Before reporting problems, blah blah blah

Module Loader present
Markers: (--) probed, (**) fron config file, (==) default setting,
	(++) from command line, (!!) notice, (II) informational,
	(WW) warning, (EE) error, (NI) not implemented, (??) unknown.
(==) Log file: "/var/log/Xorg.0.log", Time: Wed Aug 24 01:36:06 2005
(++) Using config file: "/root/xorg.conf.new"
(EE) 1810(0): Less than 6 MB of AGP memory is available. Cannot Procees. 
(EE) Screen(s) found, but none have a usable configuration.

Fatal server error:
no screens found

Please consult the X.Org Foundation support 
	at [their url]
 for help.
Please also check the log file at "/var/log/Xorg.0.log" for addition information.
Although new to Linux, I don't believe in total ineptitude, so I went to see what "/var/log/Xorg.0.log" had to say.

The log file was pretty big, and since I have no way to copy text from that computer to this one, I'll give you what seems most important:

Code:
_XSERVTransSocketOpenCOTSServer: Unable to open socket for inet6
_XSERVTransOpen: transport open failed for inet6/ariox:0
_XSERVTransMakeALLCOTSServerListeners: failed to open listener for inet6

X Window System vertion 6.8.1
And from the top, skipping all the way to the bottom of "/var/log/Xorg.0.log:

Code:
Fatal server error:
no screens found



And trying "startx" gives me (In addition to information that can be found above):

Code:
XIO: 
	fatal IO error 104 (Connection reset by peer) on X server ":0.0"
	after 0 requests (0 known processed) with 0 events remaining.

I hope this really gives you something to work with, because I'm rather lost. Oh, I'm also picking up "Running Linux" tomorrow, so if any of you are familiar with it you can go ahead and refer me to a page in there.

Thankyou for helping.

Last edited by Ariox; 08-24-2005 at 06:30 AM.
 
Old 08-24-2005, 04:59 AM   #7
mugstar
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It'd be well worth finding the extra RAM, and while you're digging in the garage see if there's a PCI graphics card kicking around. 1MB onboard is next to useless, although I have had IceWM "running" on similar specs. A 600MHz CPU shouldn't go to waste - it's still perfectly usable!

*wishes for 5 old computers and a garage to play in...*
 
Old 08-24-2005, 05:12 AM   #8
Ariox
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I wish I had 5 old computers to play around with... My brother had to quiz me over keeping an old floppy drive floating around (plenty of which he has, even in broken computers). Yes, the floppy on my nice computer did break. Never shop at Fry's. Ever. Scary time.

I agree, a 600 mhz computer is still perfectly fine. Although it was about before I was old enough to really have an interest in computers, I have noticed that similar models made around the same time tend to have 128 MBs' RAM, so I'm assuming that this one was a cheaper model (It IS an emachine after all).

Actually, there is an old computer (but much more recent than mine) in the garage running at 500 mhz but with lots more ram and perhaps a reasonable graphics card. The only problem is that the Windows installation is corrupted (surprise... I have nightmares about Windows crashing. ...maybe). By my knowledge, it would be possible to use these nice Slackware ISOs here and format the sucker... But there's no way I could ever get my always-irate brother to give it up, even though he has 3 (three, yes three) of the same exact model. Hmm... Now that I count, theres a 166 mhz, a 200, three 500's, and a 1.8 Ghz comp without a PSU that's been there since my mom got a G5 (quite spiffy) recently. If I could get the PSU back from my electronically inept dad that would rock...

But I'm going off on a tangent (no duh). So please, those select few entertained by this, go read my previous post and help me out.
 
Old 08-24-2005, 05:14 AM   #9
Tinkster
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Quote:
Originally posted by Ariox

*edit: I should add that I did configure X with "X -configure." :P*
Which driver did that pick up for the graphics card,
and what does lspci say?


Cheers,
Tink
 
Old 08-24-2005, 05:17 AM   #10
Charred
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Xorg is, obviously, not recognizing your video setup. From the command line, run "lspci -vv" and write down what it says about your video card, especially how much memory it has. Then dig up the specs on your monitor, most notably the vertical and horizontal refresh rates, as well as the resolution capabilities. Then run "xorgconfig" from the command line, and it will walk you through setting up an xorg.conf file that's more suitable for your system.
IMHO, you would be best served by going to your local hardware shop and picking up a couple of used 64 Meg DIMMS to enhance your ram, and an old agp (if you have the slot) or pci (if you don't) video card. I'm not a big fan of on-board graphics.
 
Old 08-24-2005, 05:25 AM   #11
Ariox
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Quote:
Originally posted by Tinkster
Which driver did that pick up for the graphics card,
and what does lspci say?


Cheers,
Tink
Actually, I looked up my video card, and the option was there; # 15 on the list:

Video Card: (Built-in)
Intel Direct AGP 3D (i810)
(Shared Memory)

typing 'lspci' in bash (I'm assuming this is what you want?) yields:

Code:
00:--.0 Host bridge: Intel Corp. 82810 GMCH [Graphics Memory Controller Hub] (rev 03)
)):01.0 VGA compatible controller: Intel Corp. 82801AA PCI Bridge (rev 02)
00:1f.0 ISA bridge: Intel Corp. 82801AA ISA Bridge (LPC) (rev 02)
00:1f.1 IDE interface: Intel Corp. 82801AA IDE (rev 02)
00:1f.2 USB Controller: Intel Corp. 82801AA USB (rev 02)
00:1f.3 SMBux: Intel Corp. 82801AA SMBus (rev 02)
01:09.0 Multimedia aduio controller: Cirrus Logic Crystal CS4281 PCI Audio (rev 01)
01:0d.0 Ethernet controller: Linksys Network Everywhere Fast Ethernet 10/100 mod el NC100 (rev 11)
01:0e.0 Communication controller: Conexant HSF 56k Data/Fax Modem (rev 01)
I realize you probably don't need most of this information, but this is the screen as it is printed nonetheless.
 
Old 08-24-2005, 05:43 AM   #12
Ariox
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Charred: I couldn't make much out of "lspci -vv", but I did look up my card, and it appears to be 4 MB.

from http://www.intel.com/design/chipsets/810/:

Quote:
Optional 4MB of dedicated display cache video memory
My monitor is quite an ancient one; a temporary use. I would consider keeping it, except it keeps shifting from normal display to cyan overtones. Big red flag of "Something which is not good." :P

I beleive http://monitorworld.com/Monitors/del.../www.17fs.html is the model of my monitor. I'll get to configuring right away.

Btw, I would love to be able to pick up some extra hardware for my old computer here, but money is a very tight resource for a teenager. Currently my account balance is... 0.

Oh, and (duh) I just found the information on the back. when it says "50/60 hz," is that referring to vertical/horizontal refresh rates respectively?
Jan 1994... hehe.
 
Old 08-24-2005, 05:46 AM   #13
mugstar
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Could you do `grep -i 'agp' /usr/src/linux/.config` to see if the kernel is configured for AGP?
 
Old 08-24-2005, 05:58 AM   #14
theYinYeti
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For your information I run Damn Small Linux (fluxbox) on a P166MMX laptop with 32MB RAM. I hardly ever touch swap, unless I start a big thing like Firefox, or a second graphical display.

Also, IceWM is lighter than fluxbox. Too bad it doesn't fit with Damn Small Linux as well as Fluxbox does...

Yves.
 
Old 08-24-2005, 06:03 AM   #15
Ariox
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Quote:
Originally posted by mugstar
Could you do `grep -i 'agp' /usr/src/linux/.config` to see if the kernel is configured for AGP?
"grep -i 'agp' /usr/src/linux/.config":

Code:
CONFIG_AGP=m
CONFIG_AGP_INTEL =y
CONFIG_AGP_1810=y
CONFIG_AGP_VIA=y
CONFIG_AGP_AMD=y
CONFIG_AGP_AMD_K8=y
CONFIG_AGP_SIS=y
CONFIG_AGP_ALI=y
CONFIG_AGP_SWORKS=y
CONFIG_AGP_NVIDIA=y
CONFIG_AGP_ATI=y
I see "AGP repeated often, but I'm not going to judge it for myself. What do you make of it?

Last edited by Ariox; 08-24-2005 at 06:17 AM.
 
  


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