Rich Freeman on 21 Feb 2012 08:23:14 -0800

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Re: [PLUG] Extreme Debian weirdness

On Tue, Feb 21, 2012 at 10:12 AM, Adam Zion <> wrote:
> But I just tried a 32 bit live image- and it works perfectly. Clearly, the
> answer for now is to install the 32 bit image w/PAE to utilize the full 4 GB
> of memory on this box. But has anyone ever encountered a problem such as I
> describe above? And, if so, any suggestions for how to resolve it other than
> use the older kernel and wait for a new kernel that works?

I can think of a number of things that could be going wrong.

To start with it wouldn't hurt to know what the old and new kernel
actually are - version number at least, as well as configuration.

Is your distro using console framebuffers (is it displaying any kind
of graphics before X11 loads)?  Is it using kernel modesetting?

The old model was that the kernel didn't touch the graphics card, and
X11 ran as root and just directly accessed the hardware.  The newer
model is that the kernel manages the video modes, and X11 just asks it
to do so.  I'm not sure if it has gotten to the point where X11 can be
completely non-root yet.  There are many other in-between models where
the kernel used a framebuffer console, and X11 would either output to
that framebuffer, or would just take over and switch modes.  However,
I'm not sure that every graphics card fully supports kernel
modesetting yet.

Unfortunately this stuff can be tricky to deal with.  I'd suggest
looking at a distro-specific support forum to see if anybody else is
having the same issues.  You might consider logging a bug with your
distro as well so that they're aware of the problem.

On most distros the general expectations is that this stuff "just
works."  Most distros would probably discourage users from trying to
change settings to fix this except as a workaround.  I run Gentoo, and
on Gentoo neither a kernel nor X11 is part of the base configuration,
and there are guides to getting stuff like kernel modesetting to work,
but I'll be the first to admit that it was a bit tricky in my case.

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