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Re: Squeeze System "Bricked" after Software Upgrades 09/04

On 09/04/2010 12:40 PM, Sven Joachim wrote:
You could also try wicd-curses if that's installed, or use X with the
vesa driver.  Here's an /etc/X11/xorg.conf for that:

--8<---------------cut here---------------start------------->8---
Section "Device"
	Identifier	"n"
	Driver		"vesa"
--8<---------------cut here---------------end--------------->8---

Thanks, Sven! I got the Panasonic system connected using ifup, grabbed the 2.6.32-20 linux-image from the snapshot server, and transferred it from the Dell notebook to the Panasonic notebook over the network.

However, just as I was about to roll up my sleeves and really start messing the system up I got your response. I hadn't even thought about reverting to vesa using /etc/X11/xorg.conf.

I decided to experiment. The system seems to make an abortive attempt at loading gdm with a different login background from the one I have designated, and then it succeeds! I'm able to boot using the new kernel! Is there any reason why I shouldn't just continue this way (using vesa)?

I can see that the system is slightly slower than it was, but it honestly isn't enough to bother me. I use these systems strictly for office applications, e-mail, remote access to other systems, and Web browsing. Obviously with no proprietary stuff installed I don't use them for watching movies or playing games online or anything like that.

It gets a bit more complicated if the package to be downgraded has tight
versioned dependencies forcing you to downgrade other packages, but that
is the basic recipe, and it should work in this case.

I'll remember that if I decide to proceed with the kernel downgrade.

I run "aptitude autoclean" every once in a while, but only when I'm
reasonably sure there are no major problems with the currently installed

Maybe I'll be a little more circumspect about going all the way with upgrades from now on.


But having my display subsystem blacklisted doesn't seem to be
something I can work around.

Do you have any specific suggestions as to how I could go about this?
Is it time to retire this subnotebook (at least from use with Debian)?

It is a bit early to say this, but users of Intel 8xx graphics have been
hosed for a while due to frequent GPU lockups, and no satisfactory
solution has been found so far.

Yes. This is where I've really been pretty boneheaded. You see, I've seen Intel 8xx graphics users complaining bitterly for quite a while now, but I've never had the least bit of trouble with this system, and it gets used for many hours every day. I imagine I just don't use applications that tend to give rise to GPU lockups, but I'm running Xfce with all of the desktop compositing bells and whistles enabled.

Anyway, I've just been shrugging my shoulders and figuring that maybe there was something special about this Panasonic's particular implementation of the graphics hardware that wasn't subject to the problems people were seeing. It didn't occur to me that my display subsystem might get blacklisted at some point.

The downgraded kernel has a big security hole already (CVE-2010-2240),
but as long as you don't have malicious local users there is not too
much to worry about.

This is a single-user system, and I'm usually not malicious -- well, not intentionally anyway. As we've seen, sometimes stupidity can accomplish what one might ordinarily be tempted to attribute to malice.


I'm thinking I should just forge ahead using the vesa driver and keeping up with the updates. Do you think that's a tenable approach?

I really appreciate your help, Sven.

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