Saturday, February 26, 2011

My PC's Journey Back to Functionality

For starters, the graphics card discussed here is the ProSavage8 KM266/KL266 with the xserver-xorg-video-savage driver. In the event some unfortunate Linux using soul with similar problems finds this, perhaps my journey will be of some use.

It started in Ubuntu 10.04. The display would glitch up when logging in and logging out. After noticing that I was using the latest version of the xorg display driver, I took a gambit and updated to 10.10. Yep, that's when the chaos really started.

After I got it installed, I couldn't get past the GDM. Ubuntu would abruptly crash and return to the login screen. So, I deleted ~/.config/monitors.xml, which caused Ubuntu to search for an acceptable resolution. This worked, but more problems arose. Whenever the pc went idle, it would crash and return to the GDM. It did the same whenever I'd attempt to change the resolution, and also whenever I attempted to open any program which involved resolution changes (i.e. certain games).Furthermore, it would even fizz out when watching mpg videos.

So, the search was on for some solution. I disabled the screensaver to stop the idling crashes, and did my best to avoid performing any action that would result in crashes. After trying numerous things, I eventually resolved to create an xorg.conf file. That didn't work. So, I switched to the alternative xserver-xorg-video-vesa driver. That sort of did it, but then the pc was crashing on shut down. Horrible!

Then, earlier today, I did some searching over at, glancing over the savage driver versions. I thought I'd attempt to install the Ubuntu 9.10 savage driver. Couldn't hurt, right? Well, anyway, I found a new version of the savage driver which hasn't been put into the repositories as of yet. There is at least one fairly minor quirk on the startup, but this version of savage is a hundred times better than the currently used version. (xserver-xorg-video-savage 1:2.3.1-2ubuntu2.1. See the list at this page.) It works. I can change resolutions, log on, log off, shut down, and play 2D games again. Nice.

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