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Bug#610598: Radeon RV250 (Mobility FireGL 9000) needs KMS disabled

Package: debian-installer
Version: 20110106+b1


This is on a 2004 Laptop with the following video hardware:
01:00.0 VGA compatible controller: ATI Technologies Inc Radeon RV250 [Mobility FireGL 9000] (rev 01) (prog-if 00 [VGA controller])
        Subsystem: Uniwill Computer Corp Device 2301
        Flags: bus master, stepping, 66MHz, medium devsel, latency 64,
	IRQ 16
        Memory at d0000000 (32-bit, prefetchable) [size=128M]
        I/O ports at b000 [size=256]
        Memory at ffcf0000 (32-bit, non-prefetchable) [size=64K]
        Expansion ROM at ffcc0000 [disabled] [size=128K]
        Capabilities: [58] AGP version 2.0
        Capabilities: [50] Power Management version 2


The debian squeeze installer as of Jan 14 on i386
(Selections: Laptop, Graphical User Interface).


The installer enables kernel mode-switching (KMS).
This causes the "radeon" module of the X server to end in a blank,
but back-lighted, screen. The computer is unusable.

The solution that worked for me:
   echo options radeon modeset=0 > /etc/modprobe.d/radeon-kms.conf


In several tries I found no way to get to a working commandline
from the grub prompt. Anything I tried got the screen blanked
during the boot process.

This made it a particularly nasty bug. In the end, I hit Ctrl-C
several times during boot, got a single-user prompt but without
network connection, dinstalled gdm3, rebooted, and installed the
ssh daemon.

What didn't work to get a commandline:
 o The 'safe' boot choice in grub.
 o Changing the 'quiet' option in grub's kernel commandline
   to 'single', 'Single', 'S', '3', '1'.
 o Using the following options in grub:
   'vga=none', 'nomodeset'
 o The Ctrl-Alt-F1 combination once the screen was blanked.


I'm not sure who should fix this particular problem:
 - installer should configure radeon without KMS
 - grub should have a working option to get to a commandline
   boot without any graphics mode switching or X
 - kernel should honor the nomodeset parameter
 - xserver-xorg-video-radeon should not use KMS by default
 - the new init scripts should have a documented way to
   get to a non-X mode

Claus Fischer <claus.fischer@clausfischer.com>

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