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[linrad] Re: Debian..X Windows now working

No problem Roger, yes, we spent time but if it helps our friends is a
good thing!

Ramiro's questions in particular got me thinking about things and pointed me to the right place to figure out what was going wrong [/var/log/Xfree..].  Thanks!

I finally got XWindows to work with Debian.  It was all a configuration issue.  The configurator had just too many choices for me, since I am the guy for whom "Linux for Dummies" was written ;)


I repeatedly reconfigured xfree86 until I got things working.  Until that time, I consistently got the error messages in the file /var/log/Xfree86.0.log:

(EE)  Screens found, but none have a useable configuration.
         Fatal Server Error.
         No screens found.

So I changed parameters and ran and reran "dpkg-reconfigure xserver-xfree86" until things worked.  Here is what made it work for me [only 2 changes ended up being important]:

1.  I scrapped the VESA driver and used the i810 driver that also comes with xfree86, which it turns out also works for the newer 865 Intel chip [Intel Extreme Graphics 2] that I have.

2.  The main stumbling block was the color depth.  I had that set to 24, as I wanted 'full color', but although that is supported in windows [I think with even higher resolutions], it is not supported at all in the 810 driver that comes with xfree86.  Intel does have their own XServer that replaces XFree86 which might allow higher resolutions and greater color depth, but it comes as an rpm and they say its only been tested with RedHat, so I think I'll be happy with what I have.  Please recall that I want to use the computer for Linrad and related stuff, and not play with it just to get it to work so that I can use it.  So the XWindows that I have is good enough for me, and I don't want to risk losing it.  With a color depth of 8 I can have up to 1024 x 768 pixel screen size, and that is what I have chosen.  With a color depth of 16 I can have only 640 x 480 pixel screen, which is too coarse for me.

Oh yes, 8 bit color depth is indeed very poor :-( . But if you say that
this computer is only for linrad, no problem. Any way, just for my
curiosity, send me your /etc/X11/XF86Config-4 file.
Anyway, with some luck you will have full color depth when Debian
incorporates the Xorg instead Xfree once Sarge is released.
Sometimes the dpkg-reconfigure program does weird things.

In terms of Ramiro's other questions, the answers are interesting:

1.  I am not sure that Debian does use udev.  What I found was that it did not save the /dev/svga* devices on poweroff or reboot.  I saved them in /etc/udev/devices only because that is where Fedora puts them, and I knew no better.  But Debian doesn't find them on reboot so I have to manually copy them to /dev/.  If someone knows where I can put them so that Debian automatically loads them, I will put them there.  Otherwise, I'll just put a command in rc.d to load them on bootup.  I did not install udev, but the /etc/udev directory was there by default after I installed Debian from the iso that you recommended.

That is very strange, I do not understand. Please, do a "ps ax | grep
dev" and see if you can find some "udev" or "devfs" stuff. Also you can
verify that you do not have "udev" or "devfs" packages installed. Write
 "dpkg -l | grep dev"  and see what it says.

I think that the Debian installer uses some kind of devfs but after
intall it removes it. At least in my install /dev files are stable.

2. I removed all of the alsa-related packages as you recommended. I removed alsa-base, alsa-oss, and alsa-utils as well as libasound2 [I think I got that last one right], but still oss would not install due to soundmodules. To stop this I had to get rid of the file /lib/modules/kernel/2.6.8-2-386/kernel/sound/soundcor.ko.

I think that you must avoid the module loading instead of killing the
module file! I am not sure if perhaps other software is loading the
module (some mixer, volume control....).
I think that you have to tell the "discover" package to avoid that
module loading. I am not sure, but first of all, ensure that you do not
have it in /etc/modules.conf.

Try this (not sure)

Create the file /etc/discover.d/skip_module

(you can name it whatever you like)

And inside it put as many lines you need to skip some modules

skip modulename
skip anothermodulename
skip another_ba_boy_modulename

and reboot.

I have not time to test it, but you must guess what modules you have to
put in the black list. "lsmod" command will show you the offending
module names.

en example:

skip sound
skip soundcard
skip sscape
skip trident
skip trix
skip uart401
skip uart6850

Good luck.

Once I got rid of that module file, then oss will install.

I do not know yet where to go to just tell Debian not to load that module on startup.  That would make more sense than deleting the file, but brute force is better than no force. ;)

You can add 2 more hours to my Debian total ;)
Well, but you are learning a lot of things... ;-), and where things are

Thanks again for all of the help, everyone.  I will try to learn more about Debian now that I am not stuck in command-line purgatory anymore, since XWindows is now working.

Roger, you have to look at the command line as your friend, not your
enemy. In it you get the full power of Linux. Graphical configuration
programs are good, but you loose the control.... ;-)

Please let me know if I can provide any further information.

One more 'stupid question'...Fedora has a nice 'update' facility that automatically updates all of the installed packages.  What is the command for this in Debian?


# apt-get update

and next

#apt-get upgrade

And voila!

Your system will upgrade. When Sarge is realeased, you will have also
the security fixes upgraded.

Do not forget doing the apt-get update first.

I will recomend you to install the Debian Reference Guide installing the

apt-get install debian-reference-en

Then, look for the html files on /usr/share/doc/Debian

It is a very big html file containing everything about Debian
Take a look at it and you will understand soon many things.

Good luck.

ooooppsss, It is too late today, I go to bed now!
I will look at your post joining all documentation tomorrow.
Thank you very much.


Thanks again all, and



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