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Re: Why

On 05-Dec-99 Bart Szyszka wrote:
>> My guess is that the windows install probably uses the same
>> lowest-common-denominator graphics mode (it looks like it to me)
>> ...  If this is the case then the x-based setup
>> routines should be written for a standard 640x480x16 mode,
>> regardless of which video hardware is detected during setup, no?...
> This is exactly what I was thinking. The windows installer uses a
> generic 16-color, 640x480 mode ("Standard SVGA" or just "Standard
> VGA"?) and I've never heard of anyone having graphic-card related
> problems with it.
> Why can't someone do something similar with Linux? Is that what Corel
> did?

This is in fact exactly what happens in any Linux installation where
the X-configuration stage offers you the choice between a graphical
and a text-based approach.

If you choose the graphical one, then the XF86_VGA16 driver is started
in 640x480 resolution and you have a working X display. This almost
always starts up successfuly, whatever your hardware.

Now, here's the secret. This server, being a XF86 server like any other,
needs an X Config file to look up before it starts. So this file must
be somewhere, mustn't it? So you can find it, can't you?

OK. Almost always, this file is somewhere under /tmp (exactly where,
depends on which distribution you are installing and on which graphical
X configuration program you are running).

By this stage, you can usually switch to a VT (e.g. Ctrl-Alt-F2 / F3 ...)
which is running a shell. Now cd /tmp and poke around below this (ls -a)
until you find it (it will be easily recognisable). Having found it, copy
it to root's home directory. (Do this during the X configuration
process, since it gets deleted after that closes down).

If you wait until you have specified your mouse and keyboard before
making the copy, you then have available a perfectly well working, though
very basic, X configuration file. If you copy this to where X expects
to find its configuration file by default (e.g. /etc/XF86Config)
then you will be able to run a basic X. If you kow what you are doing,
you can then edit this file experimentally to enhance the X functionality.

You can then try it with the X driver you really want to use
(e.g. XF86_SVGA).

This trick has got me past the X config stage on more than one laptop,
in those cases where the config program refuses to come to terms with
the hardware itself, and drops you back without having set X up (and,
of course, having by then deleted its temporary Config file ... ).

Hope this helps.

E-Mail: (Ted Harding) <Ted.Harding@nessie.mcc.ac.uk>
Date: 06-Dec-99                                       Time: 10:07:20
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