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Red Hat 6.2 video problem on Dell Latitude CPx-H

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  • myl@unagi.cis.upenn.edu
    Short form: I suspect that trouble installing Red Hat Linux 6.2 on a Latitude CPx-H is due to the fact that the agpgart.o module was omitted from the Red Hat
    Message 1 of 2 , May 12, 2000
      Short form: I suspect that trouble installing Red Hat Linux 6.2 on
      a Latitude CPx-H is due to the fact that the agpgart.o module
      was omitted from the Red Hat 6.2 kernel build. However, since a kernel
      update is kind of a pain, I would like to find out if this is true
      or if there is some other problem.

      Long form: Having struggled over the years with the video aspects of
      several linux installations, I decided to take an easier path :-). I
      looked on Red Hat's web site at the "Red Hat Ready" program, which
      offers manufacturers an opportunity to certify that their hardware is
      compatible with Red Hat Linux. Under "notebook computers," two Dell
      models were listed as compatible with Red Hat 6.2, one of them the
      Latitude CPx-H. The compatibility was given the maximal value in every
      category, meaning that all needed components should be on the Red Hat
      CD.

      So I bought a Latitude CPx-H, supplied by Dell with Windows 98, and
      set it up for dual boot. The disk partition went fine. When I tried
      to install Red Hat Linux 6.2 from the (store-bought) CD, it got to
      the point of starting the installation GUI, when the screen went
      to snow and the system froze, so that I had to remove the battery
      to get control back.

      I tried a text-mode install instead. This went fine, until I got to
      the XConfigurator part. It recognized the video components correctly,
      but at the test point, the screen went to snow and the machine froze
      again.

      So I can run Linux fine in text mode, but cannot use X. I tend to
      doubt that the problem is the Xsever version or the XConfig file. For
      one thing, these are specifically supposed to be compatible, and the
      values in XConfig do not seem to differ materially from what is
      specified in various pages on line about installing Linux on machines
      of this type. For another thing, Red Hat's www.redhat.com/errata page
      offers a kernel update, dated April 28, that says: "The agpgart.o
      module was omitted from the 6.2 kernel package. This module is
      required for proper operation of i810 video chips."

      Now, the Latitude CPx-H does not use the i810 chipset. Instead, it
      uses the Intel Mobile 440BX AGPset, with the ATI Mobility M1 on the
      2X AGP bus. Nevertheless, it is still an AGP-based system, and I
      can't imagine that it works very well with agpgart.o omitted from
      the kernel.

      HOWEVER, Dell and Red Hat still list the CPx-H specifically as "Red
      Hat Ready" for Red Hat 6.2 -- this allegedly means that they tested
      it. And Red Hat's errata page references only the i810 chipset, not
      any other AGP-based systems. And a kernel upgrade will be a pain,
      so I would like to ensure that I really need to do it. Or maybe I
      should punt and try another Linux "brand" that takes a little
      more care with their kernel builds.

      Does anyone have any specific experience with this combination of
      Dell Latitude hardware and Red Hat 6.2 software? Or can anyone
      confirm that omitting agpgart.o from the kernel would screw up
      a machine using the Mobile 440BX chipset?

      Let me add that Dell and Red Hat have been completely unhelpful so
      far. Dell's support people say "We don't speak Linux"; Red Hat's
      support people don't seem to answer their email. Since I've wasted
      several hours on this already, I conclude that the "Red Hat Ready"
      certification is basically worthless.
    • myl@unagi.cis.upenn.edu
      ... kernel ... Shortly after posting this, I tried fiddling with XF86Config, and solved the problem. Answers: (1) The standard Red Hat 6.2 kernel is fine on
      Message 2 of 2 , May 12, 2000
        --- In linux-dell-laptops@egroups.com, myl@u... wrote:
        > Short form: I suspect that trouble installing Red Hat Linux 6.2 on
        > a Latitude CPx-H is due to the fact that the agpgart.o module
        > was omitted from the Red Hat 6.2 kernel build. However, since a
        kernel
        > update is kind of a pain, I would like to find out if this is true
        > or if there is some other problem.

        Shortly after posting this, I tried fiddling with XF86Config, and
        solved the problem.

        Answers:

        (1) The standard Red Hat 6.2 kernel is fine on the Dell Latitude
        CPX-H, no upgrade is needed.

        (2) Xconfigurator will produce an OK XF86Config for the Latitude
        CPx-H iff you tell it that the monitor is an LCD 1024 x 768.

        If you tell it "LCD 800 x 600" (which I thought was a safer option)
        then the result is screen snow and a hung machine.

        (3) The resulting XF86Config identifies the pointing device as a
        Microsoft mouse, which does not work. This has to be changed to a
        PS/2 mouse, device /dev/psaux.

        It would be nice if it just worked, or if Dell/Red Hat gave this small
        amount of information out on the web page where they explain how this
        machine is "Red Hat Ready."
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