LinuxQuestions.org
View the Most Wanted LQ Wiki articles.
Go Back   LinuxQuestions.org > Forums > Linux Forums > Linux - Distributions > Slackware > Slackware - Installation
User Name
Password
Slackware - Installation This forum is for the discussion of installation issues with Slackware.

Notices

Reply
 
Search this Thread
Old 07-20-2010, 02:23 PM   #1
Don_Nadie
Member
 
Registered: Aug 2009
Posts: 43

Rep: Reputation: 0
Angry Nothing I do gets my video card working


Slackware 13.1 install discs 1 and 2, MD5 checksums good

Omnibook XE2-DB notebook built in 1999
Pentium II 333MHz CPU
256MB RAM
4.6GB hard drive
800x600x24 LCD display (vga=789 cheat code, I believe)
Silicon Motion SM811 LynxE video card with 2MB video ram

I sought advice before doing the install; see this thread.

I've run Knoppix and DSL live CDs on this old notebook with no video problems. I'm no Linux genius, but I assume using the cheatcode fb800x600 just gets you a 16 bit color depth.

So after blowing away the sole Windows 2000 partition, I made a 512MB swap partition and a bootable type 83 partition (on the rest of the HD) and ran setup from disc 1.

I installed the A, AP, F, L, N, X and XAP packages because I've only got a 4.6GB HD. After slowly grinding through all the steps but skipping networking, I got the thing to reboot and present me with a "darkstar: ~#" prompt. Then my troubles began.

Neither the
Xorg -configure
Xorg -config /root/xorg.conf.new
nor the simple
xorgsetup
yields a GUI. Instead I get gazillions of garbage characters that go flying off the top of the screen with the last visible text being error messages about wrong resolutions such as 800x800 rather than 800x600 and other error stuff that people who just want to use a PC shouldn't be made to look at.

I don't know much about Linux and I must say this sort of experience just leaves me with a bad taste in my mouth. I saved an image of the Windows 2000 installation to an external HD using Acronis True Image and I have a Windows 2000 installation CD, so I can restore the HD to a bootable Windows 2000 disk if I can't get a graphics environment in Slackware in the next few days.

Supposedly, according to xfree86.org, the siliconmotion driver is supposed to work with my video card. Now I'm going to enrage some Linux fundamentalists by saying that, in my limited Linux experience, Linux drivers only provide a small subset of the functionality that hardware manufacturers provide in their Micro$oft Window$ drivers. There's no money in developing Linux drivers so hardware manufacturers generally don't do it.

I guess I'd like to get whatever functionality Linux can provide for my video card. I don't think starting with vga=789 will do that, but I don't know what the siliconmotion driver can do. After all, I can't get Slackware to use it.

I also guess that someone will suggest that I edit some text file or other to get things working. Well folks, that's why I think Linux has reached saturation level in the world of user PCs. People just want to turn on a PC and use it, not fiddle and twiddle and diddle with it. Only around 10% of people are masochists and only around 10% of OS's on PCs are Linux.
 
Old 07-20-2010, 02:40 PM   #2
SalmonEater
Member
 
Registered: Jun 2010
Location: Up the Big River w/o paddle
Distribution: Salent & Slackel
Posts: 131

Rep: Reputation: 19
"I don't know much about Linux and I must say this sort of experience just leaves me with a bad taste in my mouth. I saved an image of the Windows 2000 installation to an external HD using Acronis True Image and I have a Windows 2000 installation CD, so I can restore the HD to a bootable Windows 2000 disk if I can't get a graphics environment in Slackware in the next few days."

If you insist on a Slackware-based distro for your severly-limited-resource machine, try Salix-lxde-13.1.
My experience has been that I have to wipe the hard drive completely with zeros before a slack install. From a LiveCD, open a terminal and
PHP Code:
dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/sda bs=4096 conv=notrunc,sync 
The Salix forum is superior, too. http://www.salixos.org/forum/-- very helpful!

A Debian-based distro for your machine worth trying is antiX_M8.5-i486 Its hardware recognition abilities are excellent.
Best wishes!

Last edited by SalmonEater; 07-20-2010 at 02:41 PM.
 
Old 07-20-2010, 02:43 PM   #3
GrapefruiTgirl
Guru
 
Registered: Dec 2006
Location: underground
Distribution: Slackware64
Posts: 7,594

Rep: Reputation: 550Reputation: 550Reputation: 550Reputation: 550Reputation: 550Reputation: 550
The fb800* and the vga=789 are only for the Frame-Buffer, which is the console where you get the login prompt; they do nothing as far as the GUI system (Xorg, commonly known as X11).

My suggestion is to either:

1) As root, run one of those xorgsetup tools (I can't recall which one, and hopefully the one I am thinking of is still in Slack - I haven't used those tools in ages.), the one which asks you all the questions about which hardware you have, and how many buttons on your mouse, etc.., and do not select the Silicon driver. Instead, select the VESA driver. That driver should work with nearly any video device around, including yours. It won't give you blazing performance, but then again, I don't suppose you are expecting as much. Also select a normal resolution that your computer can definitely handle, like 800x600 (or maybe 1024x768 if that will work) for starters. Allow the setup tool to create your xorg.conf file. Now run `startx` as your regular user (or as root as a test..) and see if it works.

2) OR, if you already have an xorg.conf and want to edit it yourself, the goal will be the same: set the "Driver" line to "vesa", and put in the resolution you wish to use, in the "Modes" area of the file.

I suspect you will prefer method #1, and I hope it works for you. There's a reasonable chance that both DSL and Knoppix used the vesa driver on your machine, though I can't be sure.

While you're here: I understand your frustration, but sometimes, this is the way things go with really old video cards, or with really new ones too. But by the sounds of things, you aren't really interested in fiddling around to get things to work, and that is something you just might have to do more than you care to with Slackware. If you just want the 10+ year-old machine to "work out of the box", you might have an easier go of it if you use Ubuntu (or a smaller derivative of it) or Mint or Mepis or PCLinuxOS, or stick with DSL or Knoppix. Slackware likes to be fiddled with, and with that old hardware, you may need a lot of fiddling.

Linux users aren't all masochists - but we do tend to prefer having full control and customizability and configuration at our fingertips. Sure, it takes time and is frustrating at times too, but in the end, we usually get a much better performing OS than we otherwise would if we used the Redmond cookie-cutter OS; this is why we do it, among other reasons to be sure. But, for some folks, the Redmond Monster (or Ubuntu or Mint etc..) is the least headachy route to a "Just Works" computer.

Also, very important, IF you wish to try to have an idea why the Silicon driver was not working, or what the problem was: read the Xorg.0.log file located in /var/log/ for information and error messages after trying to start X; this can be VERY helpful in diagnosing such video problems.

Kind regards, and best of luck.

Last edited by GrapefruiTgirl; 07-20-2010 at 02:45 PM.
 
Old 07-20-2010, 04:20 PM   #4
Didier Spaier
Senior Member
 
Registered: Nov 2008
Location: Paris, France
Distribution: Slackware{,64}-{14.1,current} on a Lenovo Thinkpad T61 6457-4XG
Posts: 4,246

Rep: Reputation: 1044Reputation: 1044Reputation: 1044Reputation: 1044Reputation: 1044Reputation: 1044Reputation: 1044Reputation: 1044
I would try this:
Code:
cp /etc/X11/xorg.conf-vesa /etc/X11/xorg.conf
startx
 
Old 07-21-2010, 02:33 AM   #5
allend
Senior Member
 
Registered: Oct 2003
Location: Melbourne
Distribution: Slackware-current
Posts: 3,438

Rep: Reputation: 850Reputation: 850Reputation: 850Reputation: 850Reputation: 850Reputation: 850Reputation: 850
You have only installed from disks 1 and 2, which leaves out KDE.
Have you run 'xwmconfig' to select an alternative window manager/desktop environment? Perhaps try 'xfce' first.
What happens if you then do 'startx'? The latest X is very good at autodetection of hardware and should have no problem with your older graphics card.
 
Old 07-21-2010, 09:03 AM   #6
Don_Nadie
Member
 
Registered: Aug 2009
Posts: 43

Original Poster
Rep: Reputation: 0
what happened to literacy?

Quote:
Originally Posted by GrapefruiTgirl View Post
The fb800* and the vga=789 are only for the Frame-Buffer, which is the console where you get the login prompt; they do nothing as far as the GUI system (Xorg, commonly known as X11).
fb800x600 is X resolution (3) used by xmodule=fbdev. Note the X in X resolution and the x in xmodule.

Download the last version of Damn Small Linux from ftp://ibiblio.org/pub/Linux/distribu...small/current/ It's called current.iso. Burn it to a CD. Boot that CD on a laptop. When the boot prompt appears, type DSL vga=785 and hit the ENTER key. When DSL finishes booting, you will see for yourself that the X windows graphics is 640x480 with 16 bit color depth, laying to waste your false claim that vga=7xx does nothing as far as the GUI system. Learn by doing--Linux lovers are supposed to be like that, eh?

In my original post I provided a link to another post I made so that I wouldn't have to duplicate here what various people said there. Apparently no one wants to click that link, so I'll now mention that advice I got there includes not using KDE and also includes success stories from people who put Slackware onto laptops even older and more resource limited than mine as well as the suggestion that I install the most current release of Slackware. I said I was going to go with xfce in that post and I did.

The truth is I wanted to put Puppy linux on my old notebook because I like the look of it when I boot the live CD on a much newer laptop and because it's small and will run completely from memory on my notebook with 256MB of RAM (Puppy's a little over 100MB). But hey, guess what? Video card hell when I tried to run it on the 11 year old notebook. No, XVESA doesn't work there either.

I have to contrast that with the ease with which I get the correct video setup for my ancient notebook when I run a Knoppix live CD or the fact that a frugal install of DSL also got my video right (probably because I put the cheatcode vga=789 into the appropriate line on whatever file it is that GRUB uses to boot DSL).

I could say a lot more, but I wonder if it's worth bothering to do so. I can see that my options are to either go back to Windows 2000 or to edit some text file someplace or other in Slackware to try to get Slackware to do correctly what Knoppix and DSL do so easily.
 
Old 07-21-2010, 09:22 AM   #7
GrapefruiTgirl
Guru
 
Registered: Dec 2006
Location: underground
Distribution: Slackware64
Posts: 7,594

Rep: Reputation: 550Reputation: 550Reputation: 550Reputation: 550Reputation: 550Reputation: 550
Given the attitude with which you convey your thoughts & situation, it probably is not worth "saying a lot more". People don't really care to try helping those who begin with a chip on their shoulder and devolve over time, particularly as we volunteer to try to help. Please remember, this is FREE help; it comes with no warranty nor any guarantee, and you are free to disregard it.

I hereby apologize to you for making the error I made about fb600x800. Oops, I made a mistake! Egads, I must be human!

I agree with at least one thing you've said, in part:

Quote:
I can see that my options are to either go back to Windows...
Or, use a Linux that has WORKED for you, rather than bang your head over something that doesn't and take your frustrations out on others.

Last edited by GrapefruiTgirl; 07-21-2010 at 09:23 AM.
 
Old 07-21-2010, 09:32 AM   #8
Didier Spaier
Senior Member
 
Registered: Nov 2008
Location: Paris, France
Distribution: Slackware{,64}-{14.1,current} on a Lenovo Thinkpad T61 6457-4XG
Posts: 4,246

Rep: Reputation: 1044Reputation: 1044Reputation: 1044Reputation: 1044Reputation: 1044Reputation: 1044Reputation: 1044Reputation: 1044
@Don_Nadie,

I feel you are a bit rude with people (including GrapefuiTgirl) trying to help you - and wrong.

Rude, because we are not supposed to read another thread to answer a new question - or if it's the same question, why a open new thread ?

What you should have done in that case is give us an accurate summary of what exactly you have done so far, and what you got in doing that.

Furthermore you are wrong:
- the VGA=<something> boot parameter allows you to choose and set up either a VGA driver or a framebuffer driver as Sasha told you and has nothing to do with the choice of a video driver for X
- the fbdev driver for X is not even included in Slackware, probably because it needs an xorg.conf, while Slackware 13.1 does not but in some special cases, including may be yours

Did you try my advise in my last post ?

[EDIT]If you don't know the difference between a video driver shipped with the kernel and a video driver for X, just ask

Last edited by Didier Spaier; 07-21-2010 at 01:32 PM. Reason: replaced "device" by "driver" to use the right word (hopefully)
 
Old 07-21-2010, 10:02 AM   #9
hughetorrance
Member
 
Registered: Aug 2009
Location: London North West
Distribution: x86_64 Slack 13.37 current : +others
Posts: 459

Rep: Reputation: 59
Don_Nadie ...

I have dozens of problems fizzing away... lovely... I must be one of the ten percent... Yes

How about you ask yourself what can I do for Slackware rather than what Slackware can do for you...
 
Old 07-21-2010, 10:05 AM   #10
allend
Senior Member
 
Registered: Oct 2003
Location: Melbourne
Distribution: Slackware-current
Posts: 3,438

Rep: Reputation: 850Reputation: 850Reputation: 850Reputation: 850Reputation: 850Reputation: 850Reputation: 850
What happened to literacy, indeed?
When you first logged in to your new Slackware 13.1 install, you had a message "You have mail". Had you bothered to read your mail, you would have found this in the mail from Pat Volkerding:
Quote:
xwmconfig: If you have installed the X window system, you can use
xwmconfig to choose your default window manager. Running this as root
will set the system default while running it as a normal user will only
set the window manager for that user. An /etc/X11/xorg.conf config
file is no longer required to run X, but you may still use one if you
wish. An initial xorg.conf may be generated by running: X -configure
Please feel free to return to your now unsupported Windows 2000 or another Linux distribution that suits you better.
Also feel free to 'mv "your comments" /dev/null'.
Slackware is all about choice but seems to be the wrong choice for you.
 
1 members found this post helpful.
Old 07-21-2010, 02:24 PM   #11
Don_Nadie
Member
 
Registered: Aug 2009
Posts: 43

Original Poster
Rep: Reputation: 0
A few different things

Quote:
Originally Posted by Didier Spaier View Post
Furthermore you are wrong:
- the VGA=<something> boot parameter allows you to choose and set up either a VGA driver or a framebuffer driver as Sasha told you and has nothing to do with the choice of a video driver for X
If vga=<something> has nothing to do with the choice of a video driver for X, why, when booting up has finished and I'm looking at an X11 window, do I see a 640x480x16 X window if I use vga=785 and see a 800x600x24 X window if I use vga=789? Why is this stuff in xmodule=fbdev if it has nothing to do with X?

Quote:
Originally Posted by allend View Post
xwmconfig: If you have installed the X window system, you can use xwmconfig to choose your default window manager.
I chose my default window manager during setup. It's xfce. I used the "menu" option to work my way through setup because "newbie" is too prolix and "full" won't fit on my HD. When I poke around in the not-working /root/xorg.conf.new file, I see that indeed xfce was the windows manager I had chosen.

I didn't look at mail since it seemed preposterous to receive mail without having set up networking. Sorry, but I'm not crazy about learning how to use mail from the command line. The idea was to get a version of Linux with a GUI. You know, like some other distros.

I'm now reaching the point where I consider any Linux distro that doesn't have fbXXXxYYY and vga=<something> cheatcodes to be a Linux distro I don't want to mess with. The big shortcoming with these cheatcodes is that they work and are much too easy to use. Better to suffer with X setup procedures that fail miserably as in Slackware and Puppy, right? That way one has to fiddle and twiddle and diddle with some text file using an editor from the commmand-line world. If eschewing the command-line is so bad, why did the first Macs do so well despite their price when Micro$oft only had DOS on offer?

I'm not interested in trying to figure out why I get an error message that says something can't work with an 800x800 display unless one of you can tell me where you go to buy an 800x800 display.
______________________________

Read on only if you know a lot about Damn Small Linux.

I have an idea about possibly getting my Slackware X set up correctly by taking advantage of the fact that my DSL X is set up for my 800x600x24 LCD display.

I have DSL on a USB pen drive. I have to use a floppy to boot it, but I don't need to boot it if my idea is feasible. Slackware should be able to read this pen drive that has DSL on it. Somewhere on that pen drive there has to be the correct X configuration, possibly in some compressed file or files. What if I copy the X files (forget about the movies) that work correctly from the pen drive to whatever directory or directories X lives in under Slackware.

Being a Linux ignoramus, I'm stupidly assuming that X was developed as a "one solution fits all" approach to dealing with video output and keyboard and mouse input in Unix. I don't know which file or files are the right ones, but if something like .xinitrc works correctly in one Linux distro, maybe it'll work the same way in another Linux distro. Or wasn't that the idea?
 
Old 07-21-2010, 03:13 PM   #12
Didier Spaier
Senior Member
 
Registered: Nov 2008
Location: Paris, France
Distribution: Slackware{,64}-{14.1,current} on a Lenovo Thinkpad T61 6457-4XG
Posts: 4,246

Rep: Reputation: 1044Reputation: 1044Reputation: 1044Reputation: 1044Reputation: 1044Reputation: 1044Reputation: 1044Reputation: 1044
Quote:
Originally Posted by Don_Nadie View Post
If vga=<something> has nothing to do with the choice of a video driver for X, why, when booting up has finished and I'm looking at an X11 window, do I see a 640x480x16 X window if I use vga=785 and see a 800x600x24 X window if I use vga=789?
My guess is you don't see an X11 window but a Linux virtual terminal (occupying the whole screen, white characters on a black background with a "darkstar: ~#" prompt after login).

If I am right simply type "startx" and see what happens.

If X doesn't start, after a few seconds you should be back to the black virtual terminal. If that occurs type following command as root:
Code:
grep EE /var/log/Xorg.O.log
then copy/paste the whole output in your next post so we can find out what's wrong.

Quote:
Why is this stuff in xmodule=fbdev if it has nothing to do with X?
This command is specific to DSL/KNOPPIX and instructs the system to use the fbdev X driver.

But there are two differences with Slackware:
- KNOPPIX/DSL starts X automatically after booting if I remember well. Slackware does not, at least by default. Il you want to start X after booting, you have to log in, then type "startx" yourself. You can have X started at boot though, provided you replace the line:
Code:
id:3:initdefault:
with
Code:
id:4:initdefault:
in the file /etc/inittab. I don't recommend you to do that though till your X server is working properly.
- As I told you already Slackware does not ship the fbdev X driver. It's not difficult to install it though - I have done that - but my guess is you don't need it. I could be wrong though, we will know after you send output of aforementioned command. Would that be the case I will tell you how-to have fbdev working on Slackware - provided you didn't already give up using Slackware, of course

[EDIT]Or simply try another distribution. You could search here one which fits your needs and taste.

Try to do what I recommend you then get back to us.

PS
Quote:
I'm now reaching the point where I consider any Linux distro that doesn't have fbXXXxYYY and vga=<something> cheatcodes to be a Linux distro I don't want to mess with.
That's really stupid

Oh, and by the way, the command to read mail on the console is "mail". Too hard for you, it seems

Last edited by Didier Spaier; 07-22-2010 at 12:01 AM.
 
  


Reply

Tags
graphics, slackware, video


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Video Card Not working Super9LinuxWow General 3 12-16-2009 04:12 PM
Can't get new video card working mosthigh Linux - Newbie 1 01-08-2008 09:49 AM
How do i know if my Video Card is working! LinuxNoob1234 Linux - Newbie 16 05-10-2005 01:23 PM
some help getting my video card working with dri please maq Linux - Software 1 05-09-2005 08:36 PM
3D Video Card it's working? Gerardoj Linux - Hardware 6 11-30-2004 10:17 AM


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 05:07 PM.

Main Menu
My LQ
Write for LQ
LinuxQuestions.org is looking for people interested in writing Editorials, Articles, Reviews, and more. If you'd like to contribute content, let us know.
Main Menu
Syndicate
RSS1  Latest Threads
RSS1  LQ News
Twitter: @linuxquestions
identi.ca: @linuxquestions
Facebook: linuxquestions Google+: linuxquestions
Open Source Consulting | Domain Registration