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topcat
Status: Interested
Joined: 30 Dec 2008
Posts: 10
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Thanks for taking the time on this. I am still pretty much a newb though I've been using Mepis for about two years now.

I was a bit confused by all your responses but here is what I did. I ran dpkg-reconfigure xserver-xorg and got this resulting small xorg.conf:

# xorg.conf (X.Org X Window System server configuration file)
#
# This file was generated by dexconf, the Debian X Configuration tool, using
# values from the debconf database.
#
# Edit this file with caution, and see the xorg.conf manual page.
# (Type "man xorg.conf" at the shell prompt.)
#
# This file is automatically updated on xserver-xorg package upgrades *only*
# if it has not been modified since the last upgrade of the xserver-xorg
# package.
#
# If you have edited this file but would like it to be automatically updated
# again, run the following command:
# sudo dpkg-reconfigure -phigh xserver-xorg

Section "InputDevice"
Identifier "Generic Keyboard"
Driver "kbd"
Option "XkbRules" "xorg"
Option "XkbModel" "pc104"
Option "XkbLayout" "us"
EndSection

Section "InputDevice"
Identifier "Configured Mouse"
Driver "mouse"
EndSection

Section "Device"
Identifier "Configured Video Device"
Option "UseFBDev" "true"
EndSection

Section "Monitor"
Identifier "Configured Monitor"
EndSection

Section "Screen"
Identifier "Default Screen"
Monitor "Configured Monitor"
EndSection

==========================================
Then I ran sgfxi -C first and then sgfxi. Both resulted in error:

ERROR: (195) dkpg -i failed for package: fglrx-driver_8.561-1_i386.deb

I posted both resulting sgfxi.log files from first C option and then without it here:

paste.debian.net/24823

I am now running with the xorg.conf file generated by dpkg-reconfigure xserver-xorg that was unchanged by sgfxi. I guess this is using the vesa driver.

Hope that is what you asked.

...topcat
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techAdmin
Status: Site Admin
Joined: 26 Sep 2003
Posts: 4018
Location: East Coast, West Coast? I know it's one of them.
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well, that's certainly odd.

I don't know why now your mepis decided to not install the drivers at all, before they were installing fine, but then the mepis fglrx drivers were getting incorrectly pulled in, but in a way I can't really stop yet.

this error means that the generated driver packages failed to install, previously they were installing fine, but then a post install step was pulling in the mepis fglrx driver package.

The xorg.conf stuff wouldn't have caused any difference, I didn't expect a change to be honest.
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techAdmin
Status: Site Admin
Joined: 26 Sep 2003
Posts: 4018
Location: East Coast, West Coast? I know it's one of them.
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thanks for you patience, can you try one more thing?

Run this command to install the free xorg driver and reinstall xorg:
sgfxi -N radeonhd
I think that works
Make sure it works for your card, it should.

Start your desktop, makes sure it works, 2d at least should be working.

then run sgfxi again, like so: sgfxi

if it errors out on 195 error, there's not much more I can do until I get hold of some ati hardware to debug this issue.

ati driver support in linux is weak to terrible, unless they are fairly old cards. Always problems with the non free drivers as well.

If sgfxi succeeds after doing the above sequence, ie, the second time you run it, plain: sgfxi
it works, then it was some issue with xorg getting corrupted by something in the process, now I have sgfxi reinstalling xorg each time you use the native driver (-N or -n) option.

However, if radeonhd works, it will be far superior to vesa, by a large factor. But it will not be as fast as fglrx, radeonhd is the ATI paid for xorg free ati card driver, and fglrx is the non free ati card driver. Both are largely developed by ati for ati cards though.

vesa is a fail safe default for any video card, it's like the weakest lowest common denominator.

xorg now automatically detects your card and assigns the xorg driver it thinks is best, but I can't remember exactly how to see which driver it's using, maybe the command: glxinfo in a terminal on your desktop might show it, I can't remember.
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topcat
Status: Interested
Joined: 30 Dec 2008
Posts: 10
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sgfxi -N radeonhd does not work. It appears to finish ok and prompts 1 to startx but it will not start.

Thanks for all your assistance but it seems a no go. Maybe I should return the laptop and get one with a nvidia driver.
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techAdmin
Status: Site Admin
Joined: 26 Sep 2003
Posts: 4018
Location: East Coast, West Coast? I know it's one of them.
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Does: sgfxi -N radeon
work?
then: sgfxi -n
then
sgfxi -N vesa

If all those fail to work, then there is something seriously wrong with how Mepis is handling its packaging of fglrx, at least that's my first guess.

Objectively, however, there are only 3 good options for laptops, or desktops for that matter, but more laptops because of the consistently poor support from ati for non free drivers.

Option 1 is best: Intel graphics
Option 2 is best if you want high end graphics: nvidia. Only nvidia has consistently produced working high end graphics for the Linux kernel over the past years.
Option 3 is ok if you don't need much in the way of 3d performance: low end, bottom of the line ATI, running the radeonhd xorg driver.

At no point is it a good idea however to get high end ATI, since you are just throwing your money away.

If I am going to run non free drivers, there is only one choice: nvidia.

If I am going to run free drivers, there are only two realistic choices: Intel, all, and ATI, low end.

Via has also started producing a free working xorg driver as well I believe, though I don't know its current status.

I'll be building a test box for fglrx soon to see if I can learn where the stuff works and where it's failing, but it's looking more and more to me like something in the mepis fglrx driver may be messing up xorg, though I cannot be certain of this without seeing actual log files and xorg.conf files, both in working and non-working cases.
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topcat
Status: Interested
Joined: 30 Dec 2008
Posts: 10
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Thanks for your help and advice.

Just to summarize, I got the ati fglrx 8.51.3 driver working with the mepis xwindows assistant, but I was only getting about 475 fps using fglxgears, and was told that was very low. My two year old desktop gets 1500 fps using an onboard nvidia Geforce 6100. So that is when I tried sgfxi to try and get a better driver.

I got a newer driver 8.53 using yamal's debs (but still getting only about 500 fps) as per thread here:

[link]

debs here:
[link]

I would like to use this laptop to demonstrate linux and would like it to run compiz etc..

At this point I believe I will return the laptop and try to get one with a better graphics driver.

Thanks again for your prompt replies and for your smxi/sgfxi scripts as I know they are valued highly over at the mepislovers forum.

Regards,

...topcat
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techAdmin
Status: Site Admin
Joined: 26 Sep 2003
Posts: 4018
Location: East Coast, West Coast? I know it's one of them.
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The only way to actually test this is by installing the systems in question, debian, mepis, sidux, and testing in real time the installer.

I am almost certainly going to give up using the deb generator feature of fglrx driver install permanently, and just leave it as a secondary user option, with default being a direct driver install, no debs, which I really wanted to avoid, but it's just not worth trying to keep fglrx working if ATI refuses to make their stuff reliable enough month after month.

This means it will install the package directly to your system without generating debs and using apt, which I did not want to do, but fglrx is not working for too many people, making it fairly useless in sgfxi overall.
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