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Old 03-10-2013, 05:22 PM   #1
olliegab
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Why do so many distros start up with a black screen?


I've used Linux a few years now (but still feel like a newbie in many respects!) - mainly Ubuntu, Mint and now mostly Debian.
I do, however, like to try out new distros but most of the times, these days, I end up with a black screen when trying to boot a live CD. I think I know the reasons for this and I have also been able to sort it so that it does not happen (using nomodeset as a boot option, for instance).
This does not work all the times though (tried Mageia today and it didn't 'respond' as I wanted).
How can 'we' expect to get non-Linux users to try out - and like - Linux if this is to happen each time they stick a disc in their CD drive? Shouldn't their first experience with this great OS be easy and painless (as well and easy and painless for a somewhat more seasoned user as myself!)?

Ciao
 
Old 03-10-2013, 05:58 PM   #2
lleb
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thats a pure hardware issue. sounds like your system uses some graphical hardware that linux just does not like. for that blame the OEM venders of your product, not Linux it self.

This has always been the case with ALL OSs except Apples OSx. The reason for their exception is simple, Apple is not only a software vender but a hardware vender, thus they get to pick and choose what hardware their OS will run on.

Just think back to the days in the MS world were you could not get higher resolution then 640x480 if you didnt install 3rd party drivers. Now that is not as big of an issue as MS mandates that major hardware venders PAY them for official supported drivers and thus MS rolls their base driver set into their kernel.
 
Old 03-10-2013, 07:48 PM   #3
olliegab
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I don't blame Linux in any way but from what I understand certain boot up conditions (such as screen parameters) are 'buried' further into the kernel nowadays and the screen doesn't really know what to do during boot-up as it hasn't reached that point yet when it wants to kick into action. (I know, that explanation is highly un-technical, but what the hell...).
This problem happens only on my laptop, which is a fairly standard common machine; never on my desktop.
And I assumed that it is also a fairly common problem as there seems to be quite a bit about it in various forums.

It doesn't bother a great deal as my main OS - Debian - works fine on both desktop and laptop but it is a bit of an irritant when I just want to play around and test other distros.
And I can see a potential new Linux user give up on the start line if he/she can't even get picture up on the screen.
 
Old 03-10-2013, 08:28 PM   #4
lleb
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again, this is a hardware issue. the details for X11 (your GUI, that would be the graphical user interface) is what contains the drivers and instructions on howto handle the display. If X11 fails to auto detect the HARDWARE it will refuse to start.

This is again no different then the old MS days of 640x480 resolution for your display if the OS failed to detect drivers for your video card.

Can it be an issue for a brand new user, yes, but then again any one who knows computers will understand this. if you are teaching or introducing new users to Linux you would wisely choose to do so on compatible hardware with the OS.
 
Old 03-10-2013, 09:01 PM   #5
frankbell
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Once I was booting a computer to Knoppix and had this problem. The Knoppix docs told me how to pass video parameters (in this case, display resolution) to the kernel on boot.

I probably had been using Linux for less than two years at the time; it was so long ago I forget the syntax.

Try checking the docs for the distro in question; they may help with this.
 
  


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