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Continuing Annoyances...

Before I file more bug reports, I thought I'd see whether other
people are having the same issues I'm having.

The system in question is a PowerComputing PowerCenter 132
(Macintosh clone with 604e processor running at 132 MHz), with 80 MB
of RAM.  I'm using the built-in display adapter (Platinum, with 4 MB
of VRAM) with a Portrait Display Labs Pivot 1700 monitor.
Currently running kernel 2.2.12.

1. gdm locks up the keyboard when started at boot time.

   X starts, gdm comes up, the mouse works, but you can't type.
   Which also means you can't switch to a virtual terminal to stop
   and restart gdm.  (Luckily we have three Unix machines in our
   house, so it's only annoying to have to telnet or ssh in and
   fix the problem.)

2. Frame buffer console annoyances.

   When my machine starts up, the text is red on a black screen.
   We run fbset from a script in /etc/rc.boot to correct this
   problem.  The text turns to white on black (hooray), but the
   cursor is invisible.  Other virtual terminals display in
   various funky colors.  X starts (with gdm) at the wrong

      # /etc/rc.boot/0fbdev 
      #  Sets resolution and refresh rate for framebuffer.
      #    11 Jul 1999 by MEO


      # If the serial executable has been removed abort the configuration
      [ -x ${FBSET} ] || exit 0

      echo -n "Configuring frame buffer..."

      # fbset --all 1024x768-75
      ${FBSET} -a -x -depth 16 1152x864-80

      echo "done."

   If I quit gdm (and the X server) and run the same fbset command
   line from the /etc/rc.boot/0fbdev script by hand, then restart
   gdm, I can sometimes get X to come up in the right resolution
   (sometimes I need to run fbset by hand while X is running, then
   quit and restart gdm).  Virtual terminals are white text on
   black background, but no matter what I do, the cursor remains

   Oh, and the resolution actually used seems to be 1152x870-75.
   (Or so fbset reports when run with no arguments.)  Note that X
   misbehaves no matter what fbset reports until after the magical
   manual fbsets.

3. fdutils don't work on PowerMacs?

   I wanted to make some boot floppies.  fdformat doesn't work --
   it claims to be obsolete and recommends superformat.
   superformat, however, doesn't appear to recognize Mac floppy
   drives.  Running 'superformat /dev/fd0 hd' results in the error
   ``get drive characteristics: Unknown error 515'' and upsets the
   kernel enough that it decides that the floppy drive is ``BUSY''
   from that point on, preventing you from doing anything else
   with the floppy drive (such as ejecting the disk) until the
   system is restarted.

4. ~/.Xmodmap file for pointer isn't read.

   I have a .Xmodmap file in my home directory to swap the second
   and third buttons (on my Kensington TurboMouse track ball,
   which has four real buttons, and a chord (making five, all of
   which are detected by Linux).


      pointer = 1 3 2 4 5

   When X starts (from gdm) it reads this file, but doesn't seem
   to find anything to work with.  When I load the file manually
   (using xmodmap ~/.Xmodmap), or run 'xmodmap -e "pointer = 1 3 2
   4 5"', it works fine.  Any idea why it isn't loaded properly
   during the startup process?  (And, yes, you have to specify all
   five buttons.)

      /etc/gdm/Sessions//Gnome: Reading /etc/X11/Xmodmap...
      ! dump of work queue
	      keycode 0x3b = BackSpace
	      keycode 0x7d = Delete
      /etc/gdm/Sessions//Gnome: checking /etc/X11/Xsession.options
        for option allow-user-resources 
      Found allow-user-resources in /etc/X11/Xsession.options
      We supposedly have allow-user-resources...
      Now we test to see if there's a file called /home/claire/.Xresources...
      /etc/gdm/Sessions//Gnome: There was!  So we read
      /etc/gdm/Sessions//Gnome: checking /etc/X11/Xsession.options
        for option allow-user-modmap 
      Found allow-user-modmap in /etc/X11/Xsession.options
      /etc/gdm/Sessions//Gnome: Reading /home/claire/.Xmodmap...
      ! dump of work queue
      Starting /usr/bin/gnome-session --purge-delay=2500 without ssh...

   Also, does anyone have any ideas on how I could use the fourth
   button (and maybe the chord) for anything useful?

5. Does gpm work on PowerMacs?  If so, how should it be

   I have gpm running on my system, as installed from the base
   install (I assume) and with the arguments it came with

      append="-l \"a-zA-Z0-9_.:~/\300-\326\330-\366\370-\377\""

   It appears to have no effect in console applications that seem
   like they might use its features, however.

6. Recent kernels don't work.

   2.2.13 and 2.2.14 (any prerelease patch level -- all from
   standard kernel sources (i.e., *not* vger kernel source -- and
   where is that, these days, anyway?) don't produce functional
   kernels.  They cause a machine check in kernel mode, ``probably
   due to mm fault with mmu off''.

Versions of packages mentioned in this message (all are the latest
binary-powerpc versions as of January 5, 2000):

Name            Version        Description
fbset           2.1-5          Framebuffer device maintenance program.
fdutils         5.3-3          Linux floppy utilities
gdm             2.0-0.beta4.5  GNOME Display Manager
gpm             1.17.8-11      General Purpose Mouse Interface
powerpc-utils   1.1.3-1        Various utilities for Linux/PowerPC
xbase-clients   3.3.5-1.1      miscellaneous X clients
xserver-common  3.3.5-1.1      files and utilities common to all X servers
xserver-fbdev   3.3.5-1.1      X server for framebuffer-based graphics driv

Any help would be greatly appreciated -- I would be glad to hear
I've just misread a man page or dropped a semicolon in a
configuration file.  Like everyone else, I have things I should be
doing that I'm not getting done, at least in part because I'm
wrestling with some of these problems.



 Behind the counter a boy with a shaven head stared vacantly into space, 
 a dozen spikes of microsoft protruding from the socket behind his ear.
   C.M. Connelly               c@eskimo.com                   SHC, DS

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