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Potato Jim 04-20-2012 04:43 PM

X problem (?) after fresh install on old laptop
 
Hi Everyone,
I installed Deb 6.0.4 on an old Dell Inspiron 2650 laptop and everything seemed to go well, except...* I'll try to describe a problem I'm experiencing, evidently with X:* The windows are all blank.* Even at the login screen, I can't see the "username,other" selection list -- just a blank rectangle for the login window.* The Debian starry desktop background picture does show up however.* When I wave the mousepointer over the login window, it selectively shows -some- of the contents, enough that I can see to select my username, type my password and log in.
Once logged in, it's more of the same in Gnome.* I can see the starry desktop background picture, and I can see the menu bars, but I can't see the icons (Computer, Home, Trash) on
the desktop until I waive the mouse pointer over them.* I also cannot see the Applications, Places, and System menus on the left side of the top menu bar.* But I can see the network, date, sound and window selector widgets on the right side of the menu bar.* When I click on any of the Applications, Places or System menus, I don't see anything drop down -- but if I pause the mouse over where I expect the menu to be, tool-tips do appear, suggesting that the menu is there.

I am able to ctrl+alt+f* into terminal windows and use them perfectly well.* No problems at all here.
When I was booted off the CD to install Debian, I didn't have any trouble with the GUI environment.* Now I'm trying to figure out what is wrong with this fresh install.
A little more info: I installed from a CD iso that I burned, and the laptop had a running network connection
(ethernet) when I installed Debian.* Additional packages were downloaded from the Internet.* Again, the installation process didn't seem to have any problems.

I'm somewhat of a Linux newbie (especially to Debian), but I can provide further information if anyone can suggest what commands to run and what output to provide.* Also, because I'm having trouble describing my problem, I've also struggled to Google it and find existing information on the subject.* If anyone has pointers, I would appreciate it.

Thanks very much!
Jim

Camaleón 04-20-2012 04:54 PM

X problem (?) after fresh install on old laptop
 
On Fri, 20 Apr 2012 09:43:03 -0700, Potato Jim wrote:

> Hi Everyone,

Hi, please, turn off html when posting to the mailing list. Thanks :-)

> I installed Deb 6.0.4 on an old Dell Inspiron 2650 laptop and everything
> seemed to go well, except...* I'll try to describe a problem I'm
> experiencing, evidently with X:* The windows are all blank.* Even at the
> login screen, I can't see the "username,other" selection list -- just a
> blank rectangle for the login window.* The Debian starry desktop
> background picture does show up however.* When I wave the mousepointer
> over the login window, it selectively shows -some- of the contents,
> enough that I can see to select my username, type my password and log
> in.

(...)

Are you using a nvidia VGA card? If so, you can first try to disable KMS
and see how it goes. Instructions can be found here:

http://wiki.debian.org/KernelModesetting#Disabling_KMS

Greetings,

--
Camaleón


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Potato Jim 04-21-2012 02:56 AM

X problem (?) after fresh install on old laptop
 
Thank you*Camaleón,

The suggestions on that page about blacklisting nouveau to disable KMS did not work.

However, I noticed that if I comment out the "blacklist nvidiafb" line from /etc/modeprobe.d/fbdev-blacklist.conf, *X/Gnome does sort of work again. *I can see the contents of windows, but now the entire screen is a little wavy and shimmery (for lack of a better description).

Does this help identify my problem? *Is there any command or log file output I can provide, or any other information?

Thanks again,
Jim



----- Original Message -----
From: Camaleón <noelamac@gmail.com>
To: debian-user@lists.debian.org
Cc:
Sent: Friday, April 20, 2012 12:54 PM
Subject: Re: X problem (?) after fresh install on old laptop

On Fri, 20 Apr 2012 09:43:03 -0700, Potato Jim wrote:

> Hi Everyone,

Hi, please, turn off html when posting to the mailing list. Thanks :-)

> I installed Deb 6.0.4 on an old Dell Inspiron 2650 laptop and everything
> seemed to go well, except...* I'll try to describe a problem I'm
> experiencing, evidently with X:* The windows are all blank.* Even at the
> login screen, I can't see the "username,other" selection list -- just a
> blank rectangle for the login window.* The Debian starry desktop
> background picture does show up however.* When I wave the mousepointer
> over the login window, it selectively shows -some- of the contents,
> enough that I can see to select my username, type my password and log
> in.

(...)

Are you using a nvidia VGA card? If so, you can first try to disable KMS
and see how it goes. Instructions can be found here:

http://wiki.debian.org/KernelModesetting#Disabling_KMS

Greetings,

--
Camaleón


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Camaleón 04-21-2012 09:59 AM

X problem (?) after fresh install on old laptop
 
On Fri, 20 Apr 2012 19:56:25 -0700, Potato Jim wrote:

Potato Jim, please adjust your MUA to don't posting on the top, get right
quoting (you forced me to delete the full message reference because it
was poorly formatted ;-( ) and there's no need to send me a copy of the
message, I read the list.

> Thank you*Camaleón,
>
> The suggestions on that page about blacklisting nouveau to disable KMS
> did not work.

What exactly did you try and what exactly did you get? Precision does
matter.

> However, I noticed that if I comment out the "blacklist nvidiafb" line
> from /etc/modeprobe.d/fbdev-blacklist.conf, *X/Gnome does sort of work
> again. *I can see the contents of windows, but now the entire screen is
> a little wavy and shimmery (for lack of a better description).

You mean that blacklisting "nvidiafb" (nvidia framebuffer driver) helps?

> Does this help identify my problem? *Is there any command or log file
> output I can provide, or any other information?

Xorg log can be of help, yes. It is located in "/var/log/Xorg.0.log", you
can upload the whole file to "www.pastebin.com" so we can review it.

As you're in Squeeze, there's a set of VGA drivers you can use:

- Nouveau
- NV
- Nvidia legacy

But I'd like to see first the Xorg log :-)

Greetings,

--
Camaleón


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Sven Joachim 04-21-2012 10:48 AM

X problem (?) after fresh install on old laptop
 
On 2012-04-21 11:59 +0200, Camaleón wrote:

> On Fri, 20 Apr 2012 19:56:25 -0700, Potato Jim wrote:
>>
>> The suggestions on that page about blacklisting nouveau to disable KMS
>> did not work.
>
> What exactly did you try and what exactly did you get? Precision does
> matter.

It seems he tried to blacklist nouveau, but this does not actually help
if there is no xorg.conf. I have updated the Wiki accordingly.

>> However, I noticed that if I comment out the "blacklist nvidiafb" line
>> from /etc/modeprobe.d/fbdev-blacklist.conf, *X/Gnome does sort of work
>> again. *I can see the contents of windows, but now the entire screen is
>> a little wavy and shimmery (for lack of a better description).
>
> You mean that blacklisting "nvidiafb" (nvidia framebuffer driver) helps?

No, *un*blacklisting helped. With nvidiafb loaded, nouveau will not
load, and X should use the fbdev driver then.

> As you're in Squeeze, there's a set of VGA drivers you can use:
>
> - Nouveau
> - NV
> - Nvidia legacy

Using one of the latter two is probably the best in Squeeze, but nv is
abandoned, and Nvidia has not published a 96xx legacy driver that works
with X servers > 1.10, neither of them will work after an upgrade to
Wheezy.

> But I'd like to see first the Xorg log :-)

Me too.

Cheers,
Sven


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Potato Jim 04-21-2012 05:25 PM

X problem (?) after fresh install on old laptop
 
I first tried blacklisting nouveau by issuing the following command:
echo*blacklist*nouveau*>*/etc/modprobe.d/blacklist-nouveau.conf
...this was per the instructions here:*http://wiki.debian.org/KernelModesetting#Disabling_KMS


Next, I did as Sven guessed and un-blacklisted nvidiafb by commenting out the "blacklist nvidiafb" line in*/etc/modeprobe.d/fbdev-blacklist.conf

And here is the /var/log/Xorg.0.log:*http://pastebin.com/JEGgZ3aA

Thanks,
Jim


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Potato Jim 04-22-2012 01:33 AM

X problem (?) after fresh install on old laptop
 
SOLVED.

In my last response I had overlooked Sven's comment about having updated the wiki. *I have now looked at the updated wiki and the suggested new xorg.conf file did the trick -- verbatim even, and I'm now using the NV driver. *More precisely, I blacklisted nouveau in a blacklist-nouveau.conf file and created a new xorg.conf file, specifying the NV driver (I also re-blacklisted nvidiafb in*/etc/modeprobe.d/fbdev-blacklist.conf*).

Camaleón and Sven, thank you both for your help!**And thanks for bearing with my newbie faux pas. :)

Sven, you mentioned that neither NV nor Nvidia legacy will work whenever I eventually upgrade to Wheezy. *Can you suggest what I prepare to do?

Thanks again!
Jim



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Camaleón 04-22-2012 11:46 AM

X problem (?) after fresh install on old laptop
 
On Sat, 21 Apr 2012 18:33:22 -0700, Potato Jim wrote:

> SOLVED.

Great! :-)

> In my last response I had overlooked Sven's comment about having
> updated the wiki. *I have now looked at the updated wiki and the
> suggested new xorg.conf file did the trick -- verbatim even, and I'm
> now using the NV driver. *More precisely, I blacklisted nouveau in a
> blacklist-nouveau.conf file and created a new xorg.conf file,
> specifying the NV driver (I also re-blacklisted nvidiafb in*/etc
> /modeprobe.d/fbdev-blacklist.conf*).

Okay, so from now on you are using the "nv" driver, right?

> Camaleón and Sven, thank you both for your help!**And thanks for
> bearing with my newbie faux pas. :)

Glad you finally could solved it.

> Sven, you mentioned that neither NV nor Nvidia legacy will work
> whenever I eventually upgrade to Wheezy. *Can you suggest what I
> prepare to do?
>
> Thanks again!
> Jim

My guess is that your VGA is very old and that can be a problem.

- "NV" driver is dropped (not present) since wheezy so this won't be an
option for you.

- "Nouveau" is the new and natural replacement for the open source driver
but it can have problems with your hardware, so better if you can test it
from a LiveCD of any recent distribution to see how it goes, though
probably any error present in squeezy has been fixed in wheezy.

- "Nvidia legacy" should also work, but maybe you need to get it from
nvidia sources directly and compile by your own in the event they release
a compatible version that works with newer xorg xserver packages. More
information exposing the problematic can be found in a couple of Debian
bugs reports, e.g.:

http://bugs.debian.org/cgi-bin/bugreport.cgi?bug=660158
http://bugs.debian.org/cgi-bin/bugreport.cgi?bug=643584

Greetings,

--
Camaleón


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Potato Jim 04-22-2012 06:57 PM

X problem (?) after fresh install on old laptop
 
Thanks for your advice!

Camaleón wrote:*
>*Okay, so from now on you are using the "nv" driver, right?

Yes, NV for now.

I realized that I now have one new issue, though not as bothersome as the original. *When I CTRL+ALT+F* into a terminal window, or during the start-up/shut-down messages (when X is not running), the screen appears very dim, and has vertical lines that roll across it. *Is there anything obvious that I can do to fix this? *This does not happen when I boot into Recovery Mode -- only when I boot normally.

Thanks again,
Jim


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Camaleón 04-23-2012 02:49 PM

X problem (?) after fresh install on old laptop
 
On Sun, 22 Apr 2012 11:57:05 -0700, Potato Jim wrote:

> Thanks for your advice!
>
> Camaleón wrote:
>>*Okay, so from now on you are using the "nv" driver, right?
>
> Yes, NV for now.

Don't forget to give "nouveau" a whirl from a livecd media, it will be
your better option in the future if you want expand the life of your old
laptop :-)

> I realized that I now have one new issue, though not as bothersome as
> the original. *When I CTRL+ALT+F* into a terminal window, or during the
> start-up/shut-down messages (when X is not running), the screen appears
> very dim, and has vertical lines that roll across it. *Is there anything
> obvious that I can do to fix this? *

Hard to say... being your card quite old (for today "standards", I mean)
and the "nv" driver not maintained anymore, I bet there are not many
documents out there you review :-(. You can try to set/tweak/play with
whatever available options provides the nv driver that can be found in
"man nv".

> This does not happen when I boot into Recovery Mode -- only when I boot
> normally.

Maybe because the recovery mode will boot with vesa/fb VGA driver instead
nv (you can see check this point by reviewing your "/var/log/Xorg.0.log",
the driver in use is logged there) but that's a low level graphic driver
used mostly as "fallback" when nothing more works but not convenient
(meaning: less configurable, less options, less capable) if you are using
a graphical environment.

Greetings,

--
Camaleón


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