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Old 10-14-2006, 07:29 PM   #1
Registered: Oct 2006
Distribution: debian
Posts: 124

Rep: Reputation: 15
Installing ATI 9200SE and X -- Guidance appreciated

Hello All,

I'm trying to install X. It seems that I have to do quite a bit of configuration before it will work, and as it seems somewhat daunting I'd appreciate any advice you can give:

1: My setup: Gentoo with a Linux kernel 2.6.15. The graphics card is an ATI Radeon 9200SE. The processor is a 64 bit Athlon.

2: Having installed X I get errors complaining about missing drivers when I run it:

(==) Using default built-in configuration (53 lines)
(EE) Failed to load module "ati" (module does not exist, 0)

and indeed "locate ati.ko" yields nothing. I went to the kernel source and under the configuration tool there is an option that produces a module called radeonfb.ko. This sounds like a driver but I'm not 100%cert. I compiled it, and now I have to try to persuade X to use it.

3: Looked on the X website. I decided that as I'm a newbie to all this I'd use a configuration tool: xorgconfig. It asks me such questions as the vertical refresh and horizontal sync rates of the monitor. How do I find those out?

I can throw a knoppix disk at the machine and it runs happily, albeit probably in 32 bit mode. Presumably it auto-detects or successfully guesses the monitor settings. Is there a way I can find out what it's using?

4: Regarding the correct driver or drivers for the card, I looked to see what modules Knoppix loads. It has radeon.ko but no ati.ko or radeonfb.ko, hey I wasn't expecting to see something I'd recognise :^). It also lists drm.ko (with a comment that it's used by radeon), agpgart.ko and amd64_agp.ko which seemed kinda relevant. But I don't know what these actually do.

Is there anyone out there with a similar graphics card and an AMD64 bit processor? What are your settings?

Regards, Stuhlbein
I make a lousy computer user: I want to understand _why_ it works!
Old 10-14-2006, 08:40 PM   #2
Registered: Jan 2004
Location: /dev/random
Distribution: Gentoo amd64, CrunchBang amd64
Posts: 350

Rep: Reputation: 32
what you need to run ati video cards with all the bells and whistles:
(if using Xorg >=7.0)
in /etc/make.conf:
INPUT_DEVICES="keyboard mouse"
VIDEO_CARDS="fglrx vesa"
then re-emerge X11 and it should pull the correct drivers.

but to make sure the drivers you are installed emerge ati-drivers.

Or in lieu of the above: Read the Gentoo Xorg Install and Configuration Guide!
Old 10-14-2006, 09:12 PM   #3
Registered: Oct 2006
Distribution: debian
Posts: 124

Original Poster
Rep: Reputation: 15
The following got me past the video card complaints. Now I have a mouse complaint when I start X. The PS2 driver is compiled into the kernel, so nothing to do there. I've put your INPUT_DEVICES line into make_conf and "emerge x11" is running at the moment. (I didn't unmerge it first, poor is after all giving me their bandwidth for free! I imagine that the old emerge will just be rep[laced with the new one, but we'll see!):

Thanks for the other Gentoo link. I'll read that now.

Regards, Langbein
Old 10-14-2006, 09:49 PM   #4
Registered: Oct 2006
Distribution: debian
Posts: 124

Original Poster
Rep: Reputation: 15
Wow! Now I can get an X11 screen up - a gray screen of death! even Alt-F1-5 stop working, so there is no way out but to reboot the machine, as I don't even have an SSH server installed. Now all I need to do is to install Gnome or KDE, or why not practise and install both.

Thanks for your help.

Regards, Entenbein
Old 10-15-2006, 10:51 AM   #5
Registered: Oct 2006
Distribution: debian
Posts: 124

Original Poster
Rep: Reputation: 15
Well, that high didn't last long. When I tried to install kde as per the automatic download & install everything whent screwy, and I can't even get X to work any more.

I could attack this a bit at a time if I knew what the basic components are. E.g. if you said to me: you need to compile the following kernelmodules, put them in such-and-such a place where kernel modules live, and edit the following scripts, I would at least know where I was going.


What exactly are fglrx.ko, radeonfb.ko and radeon.ko? What do they do? Are they all needed?

Also I gather from reading various pages that I should be able to get X and kde running without using any video card specific drivers... For the time being I'd have to live without the whizzy features but it would help break down the problem into small manageable components.

Regards, Fischbein


ati, gentoo, radeon

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