svgalib is for those video cards that don't play nice with a frame buffer. If you can use a nice frame buffer, do that. For example, my S3 Virge card can't, and so I use svgalib on that machine. This same lib, on my other machine, a Pentium4 with a I845 card, causes the machine to dead-lock; but on that one I can use the Intelfb frame buffer. The difference mainly is using "seejpeg" on the P2 and "fbv" on the P4 for console text-mode graphics viewing.
You didn't say what kernel you're using and I'm not familiar with Mandrake enough to know by the version number of the OS. I'll assume you tried to use rpm and your distro's packages? That should be the first choice if you're running a distro. If there is not one, or it will not work, or is not recent enough for your needs, you can use the source from the svgalib website and compile your own. You'll obviously need an appropriate developmental environment. Before you upgrade/uninstall, I'd save the old shared lib in case anything is linked against it (just a good safety measure in any case). Installing the new svgalib will remove any old files.
If you can run the devel version, do it, because (IMO), it's about production level ready and works great on my S3 Virge. One problem, in linux 2.6.15 and then again in 2.6.16, there were some major changes that effected the svgahelper module. You can still compile and use the devel, even with recent kernels like these if you use this patch. When it didn't compile on the 2.6.15, I wrote the maintainer, and he suggested a few fixes. They fixed most of the errors. I figured out the last of them, wrote back, but he didn't acknowlege the email. As it stands these patches aren't on the website to my knowlege.
Get the latest devel as of this writing: http://www.arava.co.il/matan/svgalib...-1.9.24.tar.gz
Unpack and use this patch for 2.6.15-2.6.16.* (and probably later, unless more changes later).
begin 644 svgalib-1.9.24-2.15-2.16-kernels.patch.gz
Set Makefile.cfg as you like in the src top level directory, make sure to build svgahelper. Go to kernel/svgalib_helper dir and make, install the module to the lib/modules area (gzip/run depmod). Do make install at the src top level.
[ jayjwa@vdrl:/tmp/svgalib-1.9.24/kernel/svgalib_helper>] make
make -C /lib/modules/188.8.131.52/build SUBDIRS=/tmp/svgalib-1.9.24/kernel/svgalib_helper CLASS_CFLAGS= modules
make: Entering directory `/usr/src/linux-184.108.40.206'
CC [M] /tmp/svgalib-1.9.24/kernel/svgalib_helper/main.o
CC [M] /tmp/svgalib-1.9.24/kernel/svgalib_helper/i810.o
CC [M] /tmp/svgalib-1.9.24/kernel/svgalib_helper/interrupt.o
CC [M] /tmp/svgalib-1.9.24/kernel/svgalib_helper/virtual.o
CC [M] /tmp/svgalib-1.9.24/kernel/svgalib_helper/displaystart.o
LD [M] /tmp/svgalib-1.9.24/kernel/svgalib_helper/svgalib_helper.o
Building modules, stage 2.
LD [M] /tmp/svgalib-1.9.24/kernel/svgalib_helper/svgalib_helper.ko
make: Leaving directory `/usr/src/linux-220.127.116.11'
[ jayjwa@vdrl:/tmp/svgalib-1.9.24/kernel/svgalib_helper>] ginstall -o root -g root -m 644 -v svgalib_helper.ko /lib/modules/current/kernel/drivers/char/
The install should make you these nodes:
crw-rw-rw- 1 root root 209, 0 2006-05-02 15:18 /dev/svga
crw-rw-rw- 1 root root 209, 1 2006-05-02 15:18 /dev/svga1
crw-rw-rw- 1 root root 209, 2 2006-05-02 15:18 /dev/svga2
crw-rw-rw- 1 root root 209, 3 2006-05-02 15:18 /dev/svga3
crw-rw-rw- 1 root root 209, 4 2006-05-02 15:18 /dev/svga4
modeprobe svgalib_helper when you want to use svgalib, or maybe place that in your rc.modules or startup files.
You should have a working, new svgalib. Remember though, from my experience it worked great with some cards, and others not so great. If you've already got a means to have graphics on the console (like framebuffer) and it works well, it may be best to stay with that.