[sf-lug] Ubuntu 7.10 Video Problem

Rick Moen rick at linuxmafia.com
Thu Dec 20 16:16:37 PST 2007

Quoting Ted Nebus (x351912 at gmail.com):

> I started to install Ubuntu 7.10 (i386).  During boot up it started to
> switch into the graphics mode. It but kept switching back to text

So, the first question tends to be "What's the video chipset?"  I notice
that several lines in your hardware list had that stray "R" at the end,
so I'm assuming we're really speaking of a Gigabyte GA-MA69VM-S2

Checking that with search engines, one finds that the motherboard has:
Northbridge: AMD 690V 
Southbridge: ATI SB600 
Integrated video: ATI Radeon Xpress 1200 (RS600 model 7942 video chip)
Integrated sound:  Realtek ALC888 
Integrated ethernet:  Realtek RTL8110

Drivers are inherently written specific to chipsets.  The sales people
don't tell you what the chipsets are:  You're lucky if they accurately
convey the _motherboard_ model designation.  So, you typically have to
research the chipset information on your own.

(Worse, sometimes you ask for the southbridge, which is important to
determine if the SATA or PATA is easy to support, and the sales folk
tell you the _northbridge_ chip identity because it's all they have.)

This thread shows that you're not alone with your Ubuntu 7.10 problem on
the Radeon Express 1200:
(Note the final post, to which, unfortunately, no solution was posted.)

This Thinkwiki page reveals that the proprietary fgrlx driver (ugh!)
from ATI supported the Radeon Express 1200, starting with version
8.28.8:  http://www.thinkwiki.org/wiki/Fglrx

And this page makes clear that the optional "restricted" package
repository in Ubuntu provides access to exactly the proprietary fgrlx
driver package that fully supports the Radeon Express 1200, in
Ubuntuised form:

This post makes clear that ATI folded in support for that chipset into 
fgrlx in August 2006:

The question remains as to whether the standard open source "vesa" or
"ati" drivers provided in the regular open source X.org packages _can_
be made to work -- without having to resort to proprietary rubbish from
ATI.  From the limited amount of information you provided (not intended
as a criticism!), I suspect the answer is "yes", but that it's going to
involve sifting through /var/log/Xorg.0.log to find out what the problem
was, followed by some manual editing of /etc/X11/xorg.conf .  That sort
of problem is really difficult to solve via mailing lists, so I'd
suggest you bring the machine to an SF-LUG, or CABAL, or SVLUG meeting
to have the experts help you.  (CABAL meets next this Saturday, 4pm to
midnight.  However, it's at my house near Stanford University, in west
Menlo Park, so you need to drive, get a ride, or take CalTrain.  See:
http://linuxmafia.com/cabal/ )

In short:  You can probably solve your problem by enabling the
"restricted" package collection and installing fgrlx.  In your shoes,
I'd spend some effort getting the "vesa" or "ati" driver working,
instead, to avoid proprietary-software suckage.

More information about the sf-lug mailing list