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Old 01-07-2003, 05:25 PM   #1
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Registered: Jan 2003
Location: California
Distribution: Slackware 8
Posts: 10

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My abundance of Slackware woes

I need not describe my previous experience with Slackware. Suffice it to say, Slackware and I have a rather unsavory history which involves great conflict and heavy causalities on both sides.

I have (stupidly) taken up arms against this beast once again in attempts to brave Linus Torvalds complex creation... and I'm being raped. I'm about 2/3 to the point where you start hitting your computer, and perhaps 1/8 to the point where you finally say "screw it," and move on. I could go on, although I should probably get to my current problems... at hand.

All I really want is to run Slackware Linux 8.0 with KDE or Gnome, whichever I find more appealing, on our schools (Whittier) network, and maybe use a printer... although I know that's asking a bit much. So here's what I've got so far.

1) X windows won't work. KDE or Gnome, it's a pretty simple problem I think, but I'm stupid and can't figure it out.

If I try to startx with anything above 256 colors, it won't start. I get the

Fatal server error:
AddScreen/ScreenInit failed for driver 0

Above this interesting statement, it says

(II) VGA(0): Not using default mode "yyyyxyyyy" (insufficient memory for mode)

The y's represent numbers, the x represents a multiplication sign.

When I start X windows with 256 colors, the top 6 inches or so of my screen is all black, the resolution sucks, and I can't really do anything for reasons described in #2

My monitor is a Gateway EV910, the specifications are here:

My video card, I'm actually not sure, I forget to check before I deleted windows, and SuperProbe gives me: "First video: Generic VGA (or unknown SVGA)". I think I Have an ATI RAGE something or other, all I know I have no less than 16mb of ram on it, and it's a pretty decent card (works nicely w/ high res under windows and such)... probably 2 or 3 years old.

I have 128 megs of ram, 40 gig HD. /dev/hda1 (SWAP) is 265041 blocks (double my ram, as I read in the manual), and /dev/hda2 is the rest of the HD space and is Linux native.

2) My mouse doesn't work. I have a USB logitech mouse. I've tried messing with all sorts of different mouse options, TTYS0 - 3 or so, and none worked. Hell, I don't even know if USB is enabled. I think I'm using kernel 2.2.19 which comes with the Slackware Linux 8 CD I bought from the website.

3) I can't run linux w/o a boot disk. When I turn on my computer with nothing in the disk drive or CD-ROM drive, I get a black screen with a white block cursor at the top left, I don't remember if it's blinking or not. I tried editing my lilo.conf (by going pico /etc/lilo.conf). At the bottom of the document it says

image = /vmlinuz
root = /dev/hda2
label =

I look up back top and everything seems to be commented out except for...

lba32 # Alllow booting past... blah blah
boot = /dev/hda2
delay = 50
vga = 791

When I run linux with the boot disk, it gives me a menu screen with some instructions and a prompt for entering different perimeters, yet all I have to do is hit enter and it loads fine. Maybe that delay = 50 means delay for 50 minutes or something? I didn't try changing that, and i just noticed it now.. sort of.

Anyway, to be concise in my final list of inquiries:

What should be my top priority? Getting my USB mouse to work? Getting x windows to work properly? Booting Slackware from my HD instead of a boot disk?

Any help would be appreciated, although I'm fairly certain that I'm cursed by the Gods themselves in this battle and all assistance will strike my enemy like water crashing off works.

Thanks to all in advance who help! If I ever get slackware working the way I want (which in theory isn't asking.. much?) I will run around my dorm yelling and screaming for joy.

Last edited by Eibwen; 01-07-2003 at 06:45 PM.
Old 01-07-2003, 06:30 PM   #2
Registered: Dec 2002
Location: China
Distribution: Arch
Posts: 359

Rep: Reputation: 33
If you're having such problems, why not try another distro? Mandrake could give you a wizard-style install. Or try Knoppix, it runs from the cd, and you can even install it to the HD, and it just works.

USB mouse could be difficult. I have no experience, but the ttyS's you tried are for serial mice, so won't work with usb anyway. I think usb is possible, but I don't know how. Is there not an adapter to connect it to a ps/2 plug?

In your lilo.conf it says boot=/dev/hda2, which means lilo installs itself on your second primary partition. You should "toggle the bootable flag" using cfdisk or fdisk, to make hda2 the partition that actually boots when you start the computer. I think it's set differently now. delay=50 means 50 tenths of seconds, so 5 seconds, before it boots the default.

To get X working you should find out which videocard you have and then run xf86config. I know it can be difficult to get the results you want. As you are using Slackware 8.0 you get XFree 4.1.0. Maybe you get better results using 3.3.6 or 4.2.0 (see if you can download the packages from slackware).
Old 01-07-2003, 06:40 PM   #3
LQ Guru
Registered: Jan 2001
Posts: 24,149

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Please do not double post the same questions.

You can reply to this one in the proper forum here:
Old 01-07-2003, 06:44 PM   #4
LQ Newbie
Registered: Jan 2003
Location: California
Distribution: Slackware 8
Posts: 10

Original Poster
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I found out what video card I have- 16MB Nvidia TNT-2 Vanta Graphics Card

As for another distro... I'd rather use slackware, i've found it entirely too trying and difficult, but I think I'm actually learning as I flip through tmy Linux complete reference book (well, not this one so much) and my slackware linux essentials (this one a lot!).

As for booting, I already have * on my hda2 (Linux native).

I'm willing to buy a different graphics card if I need to... to get this damn GUI working!

As for the USB mouse, another guy got it to work with Slackware in the Slackware forums, and I just misread it when they were talking about using ttySx, I think he used /dev/device/mouse or something to actually make it work right... but I forget now.

I think the probem with booting has to do with the lilo.conf itself, and the directions it has in there.. so maybe if I can see someone else's (who uses Slackware) I can edit mine to make it work right? Who knows..


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