Intermittent problem when trying to run XFree86

Intermittent problem when trying to run XFree86

Post by Andrew Lawren » Thu, 08 Jun 1995 04:00:00

I'm having an intermittent problem running XFree86 3.1 on my Linux box.
My machine is using a Diamond SpeedStar (1 meg) to drive a Mag PMV 1448
monitor (which was sold to me through Gateway 2000 as a "CrystalScan
1024 NI").  Brief history: this hardware has been working just fine
since I first installed Linux .99pl13 with XFree 1.2.  It also worked
fine with Linux 1.1.x and 1.2.0 to present (1.2.9) in conjunction with
XFree 2.1.  And it has also been used with 1.2.8 and 1.2.9 in conjunction
with XFree 3.1.  In other words, although the hardware (Diamond) is one
that wasn't supposed to ever work, it has for almost two years, so I don't
think that's where the problem is.

Here's what the problem *is*:  When I try to use XFree 3.1 in 1024x768, I
get a rapid scrolling on the screen which renders it unusable.  When I
ctrl+alt+plus to 640x480, that works fine.  The same Modeline is being
used that I've always used, and this worked fine for about a week before
it started doing this.  A friend suggested that maybe it was due to
something in the new kernel (1.2.9) that was causing the problem, so I
tried to revert to an old kernel.  Realizing that I didn't have one on
hand, I recompiled a 1.2.8 kernel, while still running 1.2.9.  I removed
the XF86Config that I'd been using to try and tweak it into working from
/etc (which is where I keep it), and replaced it with the one that used to
work.  Here's the really weird bit.  Just for yucks, I thought I'd startx
and make sure it wasn't working.  I startx.  It comes up into 1024x768
just fine, like it always has.  I haven't rebooted into the 1.2.8 kernel at
this point.  Nothing has changed.  But now it works.  I ctrl+alt+plus into
640x480.  That works too.  I ctrl+alt+minus back to the 1024x768 screen,
and see the same rapid scrolling problem again, where it had been working
ten seconds previous.

So, at this point, I know that it'll work.  I just saw it work, with 1.2.9
and XFree 3.1.  I try rebooting cold and warm into 1.2.8 and 1.2.9 to no
avail -- I can't get it to come back up in 1024x768.  Just because that's
what I'd done before it worked the last time, I even try booting warm and
cold into either kernel and recompiling both kernels (on different boots),
then trying to startx (can you tell I was getting desparate at this point?
That's because I've been trying to fix this for three days straight now,
including hacking at Modeline's, replacing my entire Linux setup from CD,
installing XFree 3.1.1 -- you name it, I've tried it).

Does anyone have any suggestions?  The only thing I can think of is that
maybe there's some really obscure synchronization bug causing intermittent
failures, and for whatever reason, I'm getting intermittent *successes*
at the moment.

Any help appreciated.  Any pointers to finding help appreciated.  Any one
who wants to help me swear at my computer is appreciated.

Andrew Lawrence


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reproduce the problem but it seems to happen when the system is doing
a lot of swapping (I only have 8 MB of RAM). Any ideas why this might
be happening?

I'm running the Fall 94 Ygg distribution (1.1.47 kernel, XFree86 3.0)
on a 486DX2/66 with 8 MB of RAM with a BusLogic 445C VLB bus-mastering
SCSI controller.

Michael Wang

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