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Old 10-26-2004, 12:00 PM   #1
Registered: Oct 2003
Location: Zürich
Distribution: Debian
Posts: 537

Rep: Reputation: 39
odd behavior with dpkg-reconfigure when installing new card?

In an effort to get rid of a wavy distortion on the screen, I've installed a new (used) graphics card. I tried several things to configure the system, and even cleaned the hardware, which temporarily improved the problem, leading me to believe that it's a hardware issue.

The old card is an Nvidia Vanta TNT2. The new one is a Matrox G400. I'm using a several-weeks-old Sarge distro with the 2.6.8-1 kernel.

The possibly odd behavior comes when I try to configure the X server for the new card. I simply swapped the cards and booted the system. xdm did not start the server, as I expected. I logged in as root and ran "dpkg-reconfigure xserver-xfree86", selecting the mga driver instead of nv. I moved to a new terminal, logged in as a user and entered startx, but it failed. I looked at the /var/log/XFree86.0.log file and it seemed to be detecting the card in the AGP slot correctly, since it gave some info that I hadn't provided. It showed that it was loading /etc/X11/XFree86-4, but the info from it was the info from the old configuration with the nv. So I ran dpkg-reconfigure xserver-xfree86 again and then looked at the /etc/X11/XFree86-4 file again. The date of change was several weeks old. It seems that that configuration file is not being created by the dpkg-reconfigure.

What could I be doing wrong here?

Old 10-26-2004, 07:37 PM   #2
Registered: May 2004
Distribution: debian
Posts: 235

Rep: Reputation: 30
i think it's bug - i've encountered the problem too.

your gonna have to manually edit XF86Config-4

#nano /etc/X11/XF86Config-4
scroll down till you find a section like this:
Section "Device"
Identifier "Generic Video Card"
Driver "nv"
BusID "PCI:1:0:0"

and change driver to "mga" or whatever it need be.
Old 10-26-2004, 09:39 PM   #3
Senior Member
Registered: Jul 2003
Posts: 1,017

Rep: Reputation: 52
Install the new net-installer pre-rc2

The reason for this, is that i was having inexplicable problems with the AltGr key on my Logitech kb, i never read the errata on the installer.

The net-installer-pre-rc2 has all the rc1 net-installer bugs fixed, i had no problems with the keyboard anymore, hopefully your video problems will also be solved, we have to remember this is a beta installer after all.

Another thing that got fixed in my computer was the automatic shutdown when i did 'shutdown -h now', the new installer has an option/parameter (noapic nolapic), i included it at the boot prompt and after the installation installed 'apmd', rebooted and the shutdown went perfect.

IIRC, you have a fast connection, download the pre-rc2 and maybe this will be it.

Last edited by macondo; 10-26-2004 at 09:41 PM.
Old 10-26-2004, 11:19 PM   #4
Senior Member
Registered: Dec 2001
Location: 35.7480° N, 95.3690° W
Distribution: Debian, Gentoo, Red Hat, Solaris
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I had the problem and had to move the file before it would reconfigure properly.

mv /etc/X11/XF86Config-4 /etc/X11/nv.XF86Config-4

This should let you now run dpkg-reconfigure xserver-xfree86
Old 10-27-2004, 06:50 AM   #5
Registered: Oct 2003
Location: Zürich
Distribution: Debian
Posts: 537

Original Poster
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I first tried renaming the file and running dpkg-reconfigure again. This didn't work. Although "dpkg-reconfigure xserver-xfree86" took me through all the menu screens and knew my previous selections (including mga and the name I gave the card as an identifier), no new XF86Config-4 file was produced. So the information is being accessed and stored in a file somewhere, but not where you might expect.

I then copied the previously renamed file and edited it by hand. I don't like resorting to this, because it means for any future issues, the dpkg-reconfigure won't work, which it should. The manual edit worked, and I have a nice and stable screen to work with, which is of course a very beautiful thing.

So to sum up so far, my video problem seems fixed, but now I have discovered a new problem with dpkg-reconfigure xserver-xfree86.

macondo, you may have found the root of the reconfiguration problem, I don't know. I did not understand the actual difference between the net installer and the Debian Installer, so your post caused me some confusion since you write about the net installer but the link seems to discuss the Debian Installer. After some reading about the installers, I believe that the net installer is just one flavor of the Debian Installer, other flavors being the CD and other media. Is this correct, that the Sarge pre-rc2 installer refers to the Debian Installer regardless of whether installed by net-install, CD or another method? In any case, I didn't use the net installer. I should have specified that this is not my system at home (which was installed via CD 1 and the rest via apt-get over the net), but the system at work. My system at work is not (yet) allowed any network access, so it is a stand-alone system. Therefore, I installed it with CDs 1-4 of Sarge (the images were downloaded in the week of September 30).

So if I've understood right, it is the version of the Debian Installer that is important. As chance would have it, I used the Sarge version available on the servers for the week of September 30 (I know because of a post I made here, and I think I downloaded them Sept. 28 or 29), and Debian-Installer pre-rc2 was announced on September 30. So I must not have used the pre-rc2 installer but the rc1 installer.

Now in my case where Debian is already installed, I have the first four CDs from before the pre-rc2 Installer, and I have no network access, what can I do? Since we are talking about the Debian Installer, do I need to again download the first four CDs and reinstall Debian? I'm willing to do that, and it more or less makes sense if the previous version had a bug that causes trouble, but it seems like an extreme measure (and some trouble to go to).

Thanks for the help,
Old 10-27-2004, 10:37 AM   #6
Senior Member
Registered: Jul 2003
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It is the net-installer!


Installing sarge with the Debian-Installer

If you just need an installation that works, we recommend you use the pre-rc2 release of the installer, after checking its errata. The following images are available for pre-rc2:

* netinst CD image, with Debian base
[alpha] [arm] [hppa] [i386] [ia64] [m68k] [mips] [mipsel] [powerpc] [sparc]
* businesscard CD image
[alpha] [arm] [hppa] [i386] [ia64] [m68k] [mips] [mipsel] [powerpc] [sparc]
* full CD sets will be available later
* other boot images (netboot, usb stick, floppy)
[alpha] [arm] [hppa] [i386] [ia64] [m68k] [mips] [mipsel] [powerpc] [sparc]

michapma: I like you, but every time i read your posts, i get a headache. LOL!

There are 2 kinds of net-installer, the business card (30-40 MB), and the CD one (100 MB), use the latter, is faster on the long run, unless you have a super fast connection.

Having no net access is a severe handicap, how are you going to update/dist-upgrade after the installation?


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