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*nix Thread, OMG, Xorg and Trident Video = 4hours of wasted time in Technical; Right, I got a hold of an old laptop and decided that I would give Ubuntu (8.10) another go, being ...
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    SYNACK's Avatar
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    Cool OMG, Xorg and Trident Video = 4hours of wasted time

    Right, I got a hold of an old laptop and decided that I would give Ubuntu (8.10) another go, being as it was four releases since the last time I put myself through the misery of setting it up. It is very impressive at grabbing drivers for most things but when it can't find one it is difficult. This particular laptop installed fine with the sole issue of the screen which was jammed at 800x600 which is rather limiting. Long story short after four hours of research and restarting X I found the solution buried on the internet. Two lines of text and a three key combination were all it took in the end to fix it which I will post here as well in the hopes that it can help anyone else that may become afflicted with this:

    https://answers.launchpad.net/ubuntu...question/49247
    Quote Originally Posted by Nate Chrysler
    Hello - I think I had a similar issue with a Toshiba Tecra M1 with the "cyberbladeXP4" chipset. I would boot up in Intrepid and only get 800x600, but the screen was obviously capable of 1024x768.
    After a bunch of research, I realized that the only issue was the kernel/driver was using default sync rates, which were too low for a valid 1024x768. Here were the relevant lines from the log:
    (II) VESA(0): Configured Monitor: Using default hsync range of 31.50-37.90 kHz
    (II) VESA(0): Configured Monitor: Using default vrefresh range of 50.00-70.00 Hz
    -and-
    (II) VESA(0): Not using built-in mode "1024x768" (hsync out of range)
    After a bunch of trial and error, the change that got it working was simple: I added the following 2 lines to the "Monitor" section of the default xorg.conf, and restarted X (CTRL+ALT+Backspace):
    HorizSync 28-50
    VertRefresh 43-75

    I hope this is helpful for someone! (or at least stays here long enough for the next time I install Ubuntu on this laptop!)
    This ended up being a simple solution which worked really well but a totally massive mission to find. The last time I had to edit a text file to reset resolution was in Windows 3.1 saying that though I'm sure that I would have needed drivers and tweaks to get it all going with XP but it would not have required looking through several hundred lines of logs. Anyhow, it is now installed and functioning so I can continue on my learning curve and hopefully climb my way up the shear face of config files until I have at least a functional level of skill in Ubuntu just in case I ever have to use it for anything more substantial than a free OS for a browser.

    I hope I don't get flamed to badly by all of the Linux gurus for how long it took me to get it all going
    Last edited by SYNACK; 14th March 2009 at 03:23 PM.

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    Yes, xorg is a pain for things like that.

    Focus has been placed on ATI and Nvidia with their drivers and scripts making those kind of changes for you.

    Really pleased you persevered!

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    powdarrmonkey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SYNACK View Post
    I hope I don't get flamed to badly by all of the Linux gurus for how long it took me to get it all going
    Nope. Really tiny, silly things like this are one of the major adoption barriers. This is what we have to fix if Linux is going to make serious desktop headway.

    Just be aware that putting the sync settings out of range can damage the display (physically fry it, not just make it look nasty) - which is mostly why this is still an obscure setting, to stop people casually playing with it just to see if it works.

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    SimpleSi's Avatar
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    I think the key phrases are latest issue of an OS coupled with old hardware

    The software developers (in this case - just some ordinary people who don't get paid ) aren't going to spend time on drivers for old hardware.

    Compare this with the situation at time of release of the hardware by the manufacturer who paid someone good money to make sure the display worked with the current well financed OS at the time e.g Windows

    A fairer test given the extreme slope of the playing field would be to maybe try the last LT release on some more recent hardware

    But even that might not work.

    If you have problems ,why not write your own unified universal display driver

    Free software needs a bit more TLC than the bill-a-bucks versions

    All comments made with good humour - no flame war intended or wanted

    regards

    Simon

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    SYNACK's Avatar
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    @SimpleSi - I agree that it is possibly a better test when coupled with new hardware, but there seems to be a balance - too new or too old and it won't work. When I booted it via live cd on my primary laptop it picked up everything flawlessly but I am very weary about booting it on there again. I wanted to test it with some media files on a local NTFS partition which turned out to be a bad mistake. I unmounted the volume after use then shutdown but there was obviously some rather random code that sent bad data to the disk. When I rebooted even the BIOS would not pick up the hd. I tried several tools even trying to boot into Ubuntu again and nothing could see the drive. I had to pull all power from it and leave it for an hour before it would detect the drive again. This has never happened with any flavor of Windows and has not happened since I went Ubuntu free on that laptop. In addition to freaking me out totally it has also meant that I will not even boot the live cd on anything that I actually care about anymore hence the older laptop.

    In addition to this the filesystem also still seems to be very fragile, with the older laptop in question I had to reboot after installing some updates. It helpfully froze when it tried to boot informing me that several config files were unwritable, the same thing happens if you loose power and then it requires a fchk or whatever it is called to get it up and running again. I hear about the supurb stability of linux but personally I have never experienced it as it seems to be very delicate when switched off.

    This is not a flame at all but just my experience with it and to get to the desktop it must overcome these rather critical shortcommings as you should not have to call out a technition (standard home user experience) every time there is a powercut.

    There is kind of a unified display driver already in the vesa driver it just does not appear to be as good as the MS one on the systems that I seem to use. It did get me thinking though, you are right about the hardware drivers and their development. The NDIS Wrapper exists for windows wireless drivers I wonder how difficult it would be to expand that framework to include windows video drivers as well. Probably very hard given the nature of kernal vs usermode drivers between the two but there again Vista drivers are much more usermode and so far more compatible in that respect.

    I guess that it is the conflicting messages that puzzle me the most with regard to the open source software movement. There is a vocal group that broadcast its readyness for the desktop, ease of use and abilities but then their is the rather more factual scenario of it requireing a fair bit more work in many situations to get it going and keep it going.

    Again just my observations from my experiences of testing linux on various hardware over the years. By the time I have finally got it working I usually can't stand to look at it any longer

    @powdarrmonkey - I do hope that it does not end up frying the laptop screen, at least it has stopped randommly flickering the screen on and off with the change to new settings instead of default (not hardware fault - Windows fine).

    It sure does make you apreciate the simple beauty of the event log when you are trawling through those log files

    @kmount - I am glad that I got it going too, given the direction of things currently Linux is something that I do need to make more of an effort to learn about as its usage in business and school environments is definitely on the rise. Now that it is going it does handle the tasks well for what it is.

    The next challange it to get it connecting to the ISA 2006 PPTP VPN at work, the client is all installed but it fails to connect so I am guessing that I have some more log reading to do but I will save that for another day
    Last edited by SYNACK; 14th March 2009 at 11:54 PM.

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    The next challange it to get it connecting to the ISA 2006 PPTP VPN at work, the client is all installed but it fails to connect so I am guessing that I have some more log reading to do but I will save that for another day
    What did you install?

    There's a pptp plugin and I can confirm it works fine as I use it >=)

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    SYNACK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kmount View Post
    What did you install?

    There's a pptp plugin and I can confirm it works fine as I use it >=)

    I just checked and it was "PPTP VPN Connection Manager" that I installed from the Add/Remove Programs bit. Is there a better one available directly through apt-get or an external source?

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    Geoff's Avatar
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    BTW it's not always Linux fault.

    Things like disabling ACPI can be tracked down to the BIOS having bugs and not sticking to the ACPI standards. Stuff like Wifi cards not working right is usually due to hardware manufacturers not releasing hardware specifications.

    Newer hardware is better in this regard though generally. Especially stuff from the big manufacturers (such as HP, Dell and IBM) even to the point where you can get Linux pre-installed.

    Also along a similar vein, to give the OP some hope, newer monitors (especially LCDs) support something called DDC. This allows the monitor to tell the graphics card what settings it supports. This means in theory that the user can just ask for a specific resolution and the graphics card and monitor will sort it out between themselves as to what resolutions to use.

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    SYNACK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Geoff View Post
    Also along a similar vein, to give the OP some hope, newer monitors (especially LCDs) support something called DDC. This allows the monitor to tell the graphics card what settings it supports. This means in theory that the user can just ask for a specific resolution and the graphics card and monitor will sort it out between themselves as to what resolutions to use.
    Yeap, found ddcprobe in my hunt for a solution which did correctly identify the moniter and GPU as did Xorg but it insisted on attempting to drive it at too lower sync rates to allow for its maximim resolution. I'm not alone on that either as there are posts scattered across the net about this same fault with varying levels of sucess in fixing it, only the solution posted above worked for me. No doubt that the card is probably junk and maybe all of the DDC information was not there but it was still frustraiting having to dig through kilobytes of logs to find the one single line that led to a solution. I do miss centralised event logs for this kind of stuff.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SYNACK View Post
    I hope I don't get flamed to badly by all of the Linux gurus for how long it took me to get it all going
    You know, I had a Trident video card about ten years ago. Slackware didn't know what to do with it at all.

    So I guess it's nothing new. Trident were always crap anyway!

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