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Dark Jirachi 09-16-2007 01:42 PM

Text is garbled when I switch from X back to text mode
I'm running Slackware on a brand new Everex StepNote.

Whenever I switch from graphical mode back to text mode, it looks like I have the matrix on my screen. After staring at it for a few minutes I realized that it is my console, but the text is extremely small and garbled and repeats from side to side and up and down to take up the whole screen. I move my mouse around (I have that program activated that lets you have a mouse in text mode, whatever it was called) and there are about 20 cursors moving around on the screen. Everything jumps around from left to right really fast.

Here's a picture taken by my crappy digital camera. it's blurry because everything moves so fast.

This happens all the time, not just on Slackware. I've seen it on Knoppix, Slax, and the GParted liveCD. I don't know what might be causing it, but it is a pain in the ass because I'm trying to get X working right, and I can't read the error messages it's giving me. It only does it when switching from graphical mode to text mode, when I first start it up everything is cool.


GrapefruiTgirl 09-16-2007 06:01 PM

It's a somewhat common issue. I know there is lots on Google about it. It's an issue with some X video card drivers.
For starters, from what I remember, the 'int10' module may be needed to prod the video card into resetting when you return to console mode, refreshing the screen.
To load this module, edit your xorg.conf file. In the 'Modules' section, add a line like the rest of them, as so:
Load "int10"

And restart X or reboot, and see if the problem goes away.
While you're at it, read the man pages for xorg.conf and see if it is mentioned in there.
I'll have a peek around Google and see if I can find one of the useful threads about that issue.
Oh, and search LQ here for the issue too; I have seen others posting about it.
When you post again, if you still have the problem, please tell us what video device and driver you are using.

EDIT: Here, try this search for starters. I haven't browsed the results, but there are LOADS of them. And it sounds like a lot of them are on laptops, FWIW. Maybe ACPI related?
Anyhow, let us know if you come up with anything, and/or need further info :)

Also, you could try substituting your current driver (whatever driver you have in your xorg.conf file) and put in 'vesa' instead and see if it goes away. If so, then it is to do with your driver.

Dark Jirachi 09-16-2007 09:43 PM

I tried int10, it didn't work. The driver that xorgsetup picked is vesa so that isn't it. I'm not sure what video card I have, it's whatever came with the laptop. It doesn't say what it is...

GrapefruiTgirl 09-16-2007 09:59 PM

Well, perhaps switching to a more appropriate driver may help.
First, you must figure out what the video card is, both to help with this situation, and surely for future reference..

As root in a console, type 'lspci' and see if the video device is listed there. It should be.

Since you're using Slackware, you might be using KDE desktop. If so, then the Kinfocenter from the main menu will also give you PCI bus info on the video device.

Another way would be to get the lshw command from, install it according to the included instructions, and then type 'lshw' in a root console. This too will give you info about the video card.

If the card is something for which tere is a better driver, then trying that driver may well be an improvement regardless of whether or not it fixes this issue, which it may.

GrapefruiTgirl 09-16-2007 10:05 PM

Sorry, I neglected to put the Google search link in my first post. There it is. Have a look at some of them and see if anything stands out, like the same type of computer, etc..

exvor 09-17-2007 05:48 PM

I had this issue on a ati card, if I used any kind of frame buffer driver or use anything other then normal in my boot config file. You might wanna try booting with the console set to normal instead of vga=791 or something. just change it to vga=normal. If you are using grub you can do this by hitting e when you get to the boot menu and then down to where it shows its loading the kernel and change vga=normal.

Dark Jirachi 09-17-2007 07:26 PM


Originally Posted by GrapefruiTgirl (Post 2894123)

Sorry, I neglected to put the Google search link in my first post. There it is. Have a look at some of them and see if anything stands out, like the same type of computer, etc..

Alright, I'll look there, and I'll try vga=normal.

My graphics card appears to be a "VIA Technologies Chrome9 HC IGP WDDM" manufactured by S3 Graphics. How would I figure out what driver to use?

GrapefruiTgirl 09-17-2007 07:39 PM

The drivers for the VIA Chrome series and Unichrome graphics devices are available from VIA, for Linux :)

I'm not really sure if/what driver Linux has built in for it, but check out the VIA website; that I'm sure of.

Dark Jirachi 09-17-2007 08:01 PM

Does it matter which distribution I pick? They don't have a Slackware category and the only drivers listed under "not distribution specific" are for UniChromes...

GrapefruiTgirl 09-17-2007 08:17 PM

It *can* matter, yes. For example, a driver for SuSE Linux would almost certainly not work.
What Linuxes do they offer it for?

Better yet, I don't know what page you are looking at but:

Try that page. If it were me, I would first try the newest driver at the bottom of that page. There are 4 drivers on the page, and if you aren't hurting for bandwidth, I personally would download all of them, and try the newest one first.
It claims to have instructions for other systems, and (I think) says to follow instructions for the UniChrome series.

As a general rule, I think it's safe to say that any archive/source code that is a TGZ file (G-Zipped Tar Archive) will compile on Slackware. Sometimes they may not run, but **usually** they will. Anything that says non-distro specific and is a .TGZ will build on Slackware.

Anyhow, check out that page, download something, and read the instructions carefully.

Good luck! :) I'll be back in like an hour, let me know how it goes, or if you need help.

Dark Jirachi 09-17-2007 10:49 PM

Holy mother of god, I didn't realize compiling a new video driver would be so difficult. The instructions are for Fedora Core and Debian and stuff, I can't figure out what I am supposed to do for Slackware... On top of that it's translated badly.

GrapefruiTgirl 09-18-2007 11:44 AM

Hmmm. How about, later today, I'll download one of the drivers (if it's reasonable size -- I'm on dialup) and see whats what. If I can get it to compile, I'll send you instructions. It really should be a very simple process, but then, for a new user, and with (too-often) badly translated instructions, it can be rough.
I'll get back to you. :)

exvor 09-18-2007 05:24 PM

Yeah compiling it from the source should not be too much trouble unless its for a X module or something then it can be a real pain in the donkeys.

GrapefruiTgirl 09-18-2007 06:18 PM

OK, if you would like me to try compiling this driver, first please verify which one you are trying out. Post me the page link.
I will hafta download it tonight and build it tomorrow, because as I said I have only 28.8K dialup (yes it SUCKS!) so it'll take a while.

GrapefruiTgirl 09-19-2007 12:34 PM

Well, I downloaded and extracted the 4th driver on the page I linked for you.
I admit, that is the most complicated looking, poorly documented driver package I have ever seen.

However, I did run the script 'makedriver' from its root directory, and it did appear to start building. BUT, since my kernel is compiled for nVidia, and an nVidia chipset rather than a VIA chipset, the driver failed, because it couldn't find the necessary stuff on my system.
I have an nVidia based motherboard, which was not one of the offerings when it asked me the config questions at the start..

You might try running the 'makedriver' script, by going to the source folder in a terminal and typing ./makedriver and see what happens.
I realize the instructions really suck, but *maybe* things will begin tofall into place, if it happens to build for you.

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