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.comment: Little-Iron Chef - page 5

Relieving Ennui

  • March 28, 2001
  • By Dennis E. Powell

The new XFree configurator wouldn't even display properly on the notebook, so I was guided by the README.neo document. When I followed it explicitly, XFree would crap out before even starting. I spent a lot of time inspecting /var/log/XFree86.0.log. It rendered few clues.

Visiting linux-laptop.org and following links, I saw numerous tales of woe involving the NeoMagic chip, some reports of success with few details, and some hints, all of which I'd tried without much success -- the best I'd gotten was a TWM display in which the mouse cursor was about an inch square. In an xterm there I'd run xdpyinfo and was delighted -- really -- to see that the Render extension was supported. I'd hoped to apply some of the tricks I'd been told would bring font anti-aliasing to an LCD screen.

Experimenting, I added the line ``OPTION 'sw_cursor''' to the Server section of XF86Config. The mouse pointer became a mouse pointer instead of a postage stamp. But KDE still suffered from the weird black blocks, and its splash screen was split, the left half of the graphic black, the right half white, the progress graphics visible, but their flashing progress icons were skewed from where the corresponding flashing was taking place.

Having encountered problems on the desktop machine with XFree-4.x making timing assumptions that did not correspond with reality, I cobbled together a modeline for 800x600. I was able to get the logfile to report that I'd achieved a refresh rate of 85 Hz, 70 Hz, and 60 Hz, as i fiddled with the dotclock (Dell's website says that all three are supported; the OS/2 driver is 60 Hz and that's that). This did not solve the problem.

On the videotape, Joey had given up on the knife and was now dismembering his main course with his bare hands. I decided to do something equally drastic.

I inserted the line ``OPTION 'no_accel''' in the server section. This time it worked. Of course, I'd transformed my video chip into that which compared to its full glory is a dumb terminal compated to a computer, but I had a stable display.

Joey was still working on his rat. Time was running out. Would he be done in time? The Junkyard Chef, though sweating, seemed in control.

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