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video on laptop - Compaq Armada 1750

Hi guys,

Hopefully simple question that sort of has me stumped.  I have a Compaq
Armada 1750, that i've installed Debian Woody bf24 kernel onto.  I've chosen
the ATI module for Xfree86 (which is the correct module I believe).
Interestingly at bootup the LCD screen flashes white, making text or
anything for that matter impossible to read.  I shut the laptop down at this
point as I believe it will damage the video card/LCD screen.  Now i'm not
sure why it does this, and would love an explanation (or a pointer to a
website etc that specifically explains it).  I end up booting linux as:

linux video=vga16:off

That fixes the issue.  I'm not sure what all of that line actually means, I
can guess the vga refers to vga = 16 bit, I have no idea what the off means.
My question is how do I automate this?  It becomes tiresome to have to do
this each time I boot the machine up.  I've had a look at lilo.conf and it
has a line for "vga=".   I've read the man pages for lilo, lilo.conf and
also read the BootPrompt -HOWTO, and also a few linux books I have lying
around here at home, but none of them clearly indicate what I should do, or
how.  As far as I can see, if I set vga in lilo to "vga=ask" it will prompt
me for video settings the next time I boot up.  I'm not sure if that's what
I want and i'm hesitant to try it without some good confirmation that i'm
heading in the right direction.

My lilo file is a standard lilo file on a fresh debian install.  Laptop is
not on the network and will not easily be placed on the network here (I seem
to have lost the dongle for the pcmcia network card and despite 6 months of
looking have not found it).  I've had a look at the XF86Config-4 file and it
looks OK to my eyes.  Here are details of the monitor section from said
config file:

Identifier	"Generic Monitor"
HorizSync	28-48
VertRefresh	43-72
Option		"DPMS"

Here are screen details:

Section  "Screen"
Identifier	"Default Screen"
Device		"Generic Video Card"
Monitor		"Generic Monitor"
DefaultDepth	24
SubSection  "Display"
	Depth		1
	Modes		"800x600"  "640x480"
SubSection  "Display"
	Depth		4
	Modes		"800x600"  "640x480"
SubSection  "Display"
	Depth		8
	Modes		"800x600"  "640x480"
SubSection  "Display"
	Depth		15
	Modes		"800x600"  "640x480"
SubSection  "Display"
	Depth		16
	Modes		"800x600"  "640x480"
SubSection  "Display"
	Depth		24
	Modes		"800x600"  "640x480"

I hope that helps, if anyone wants more information let me know and i'll do
my best to provide it (above was typed out not copied/pasted).

Interestingly i've had Redhat 7, 7.1 and 7.2 and Suse 8 pro on this said
laptop previously without a single issue with X or any need to edit the XF86
config file.  

One other thing and this perplexes me - Linux will either NOT run 1024*768
on this laptop (Redhat 7, 7.1 and 7.2) or will run it (Suse 8 pro) but the
display is larger than the screen size (sort of hard to explain).  Now i've
had Windows 2000 and Windows 95 on this very same laptop and have ran
1024*768 without a single issue.  So it's not a hardware limitation.  I can
only think it's a limitation of X.  I have told the machine to use 1024*768
(with Redhat it just caused the X server to crash, in fact linux wouldn't
even boot into a working system as it crashed as well [until I killed the X
server with ctl alt backspace]).  Suse 8 pro will do it, but the display is
larger than the screen size as mentioned before and makes it very awkward to
navigate around the desktop.  Anyone got any ideas (please no "go back to
windows" replies)?


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