[sf-lug] display totally effed

Jesse Zbikowski embeddedlinuxguy at gmail.com
Tue Apr 14 15:28:04 PDT 2009

Hi Chadwick,

It sounds like you got an updated graphics driver, maybe switching
from the free to non-free driver or vice versa.  Probably it would be
best to start by figuring out what card and driver you have.  You
should be able to get a usable text console with Ctrl-Alt-F1 (or any
of F2-F6; Ctl-Alt-F7 goes back to the X session).  Try lspci like so:

$ lspci |grep -i vga
01:00.0 VGA compatible controller: nVidia Corporation NV34M [GeForce
FX Go5200 64M] (rev a1)

Now you should be able to figure out what packages were recently
installed / removed on your system by examining /var/log/apt/term.log
(assuming the package management via apt, which we hope is the case).

$ grep \.deb /var/log/apt/term.log
Unpacking nvidia-180-modaliases (from
.../nvidia-180-modaliases_185.13-0ubuntu0~intrepid1_i386.deb) ...
Preparing to replace nvidia-common 0.2.4 (using
.../nvidia-common_0.2.4.1_i386.deb) ...
Preparing to replace openssl 0.9.8g-10.1ubuntu2.1 (using
.../openssl_0.9.8g-10.1ubuntu2.2_i386.deb) ...
Preparing to replace xserver-xorg-video-intel 2:2.4.1-1ubuntu10.3
(using .../xserver-xorg-video-intel_2%3a2.4.1-1ubuntu10.4_i386.deb)
Preparing to replace xserver-xorg-video-i810 2:2.4.1-1ubuntu10.3
(using .../xserver-xorg-video-i810_2%3a2.4.1-1ubuntu10.4_all.deb) ...

So this tells me I recently installed updated NVidia and Intel drivers.

You may be able to figure out which driver is loaded with lsmod.
Probably the driver name will contain "nv" for NVidia cards, or "iNNN"
for Intel, where NNN is a 3-digit number like 945.  For ATI I don't
really know, probably something like "ati", "radeon", or "fglrx".

SO getting this diagnostic info would be the first step before
recommending a solution.  One more thing, make sure we are sure what
distro version you are running based on the output of lsb_modules -a:

$ lsb_release -a
No LSB modules are available.
Distributor ID: Ubuntu
Description:    Ubuntu 8.10
Release:        8.10
Codename:       intrepid

In case you somehow upgraded accidentally.  The solution may be to
upgrade the whole system to 8.10 or 9.04 beta.

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