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Oh ye Gurus, I am not totally inexperienced with administering Debian systems, but this here has me baffled. Summary: When I start Xorg, my monitor goes blank and displays "invalid ...
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  1. #1
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    Question Xorg crashes on start (Etch/Amd-64/Nvidia 8600)


    Oh ye Gurus,

    I am not totally inexperienced with administering Debian systems, but this here has me baffled.

    Summary:
    When I start Xorg, my monitor goes blank and displays "invalid sync". When I kill X, the monitor stays blank until I reboot! (Etch/Amd-64/Nvidia 8600 with "vesa" driver) When I try with the nvidia driver (installed the Debian Way), I get a kernel panic instead.

    History:
    I have had this HP workstation for something like a year now, maybe a bit more. It used to run in 32-bit mode, first Sarge, and then Etch. Kde, some development tools, a bit of games. News, mail, and web. A week ago I had a phone technician here to fix my internet connection, and he came to power the machine down pretty hard (yanked the cord). It came up all right with no errors, but after that, when ever a program tried to use GLX things, my X would go down with a segfault. Then, in a moment of distraction, I decided to reinstall the nvidia drivers the Nvidia way, instead of the Debian way. After that, I could not get those drivers to work at all. I got X up with the "vesa" driver, and that is what I am using now to post this.

    I decided that this was the right moment to reinstall the machine, and go for the full 64-bit stuff, now that Etch supports it nicely. Luckily I could arrange my partitions so that I could install the new system on another partition, and dual-boot into which ever I wanted. Unfortunately I can not get Xorg to start up, it messes up my display and the only way to get back to a text console is to reboot. I believe Xinit has returned, and the console is OK, since I can type commands (beep), but I can not see anything.

    Situation now:
    I have
    - AMD Athlon(tm) 64 X2 Dual Core Processor 3800+
    - Fairly minimal Debian/Etch installed from a hard-disk boot, and netinst image
    - Nvidia 8600 GTS card
    - crash
    I have tried to use different drivers for Xorg:
    - vga: works, in low resolution, low colors, etc. Proves that something is functioning
    - dummy: works. Like vga, it can exit back to the console when done
    - vesa: hangs as described above
    - nv: Does not recognize my card
    - nvidia (installed with the Debian Way, with module-assistent). Crashes with a kernel panic

    I have also tried kernel options pci=nommconf, idle=poll, maxcpus=1, in various combinations, but no luck.
    Since the Xorg log is so large, I have not attached it here, but placed it on my web server. You can see it at http://www.lsd.dk/xorg.crash.log. There are some anomalies in the log:

    (II) OS-reported resource ranges:
    [0] -1 0 0x00100000 - 0x3fffffff (0x3ff00000) MX[B]E(B)
    [1] -1 0 0x000f0000 - 0x000fffff (0x10000) MX[B]
    [2] -1 0 0x000c0000 - 0x000effff (0x30000) MX[B]
    [3] -1 0 0x00000000 - 0x0009ffff (0xa0000) MX[B]
    [4] -1 0 0x0000ffff - 0x0000ffff (0x1) IX[B]
    [5] -1 0 0x00000000 - 0x000000ff (0x100) IX[B]
    (EE) end of block range 0x1fffffff < begin 0xe0000000
    (..snip..)
    (II) resource ranges after xf86ClaimFixedResources() call:
    [0] -1 0 0x00100000 - 0x3fffffff (0x3ff00000) MX[B]E(B)
    [1] -1 0 0x000f0000 - 0x000fffff (0x10000) MX[B]
    [2] -1 0 0x000c0000 - 0x000effff (0x30000) MX[B]
    [3] -1 0 0x00000000 - 0x0009ffff (0xa0000) MX[B]
    [4] -1 0 0xfdbf0000 - 0xfdbfffff (0x10000) MX[B]
    [5] -1 0 0xfe02a000 - 0xfe02a0ff (0x100) MX[B]
    [6] -1 0 0xfe02b000 - 0xfe02b3ff (0x400) MX[B]
    [7] -1 0 0xfe02c000 - 0xfe02cfff (0x1000) MX[B]
    [8] -1 0 0xfe02d000 - 0xfe02dfff (0x1000) MX[B]
    [9] -1 0 0xfe02e000 - 0xfe02efff (0x1000) MX[B]
    [10] -1 0 0xfe02f000 - 0xfe02f1ff (0x200) MX[B]
    [11] -1 0 0xf8000000 - 0xf9ffffff (0x2000000) MX[B](B)
    [12] -1 0 0xd0000000 - 0xdfffffff (0x10000000) MX[B](B)
    [13] -1 0 0xfa000000 - 0xfaffffff (0x1000000) MX[B](B)
    [14] -1 0 0x0000ffff - 0x0000ffff (0x1) IX[B]
    [15] -1 0 0x00000000 - 0x000000ff (0x100) IX[B]
    [16] -1 0 0x0000e400 - 0x0000e40f (0x10) IX[B]
    [17] -1 0 0x00000500 - 0x0000050f (0x10) IX[B]
    [18] -1 0 0x0000ec00 - 0x0000ec0f (0x10) IX[B]
    [19] -1 0 0x0000f000 - 0x0000f003 (0x4) IX[B]
    [20] -1 0 0x0000f400 - 0x0000f407 (0x IX[B]
    [21] -1 0 0x0000f800 - 0x0000f803 (0x4) IX[B]
    [22] -1 0 0x0000fc00 - 0x0000fc07 (0x IX[B]
    [23] -1 0 0x0000cc00 - 0x0000cc7f (0x80) IX[B](B)
    (EE) end of block range 0x1fffffff < begin 0xe0000000
    (..snip..)
    (EE) AIGLX: Screen 0 is not DRI capable

    Those EE lines are not present when I boot to 32-bit etch and start Xorg up with the vesa driver.
    http://www.lsd.dk/xorg.ok.log - feel free to ignore the cruft from the failed nvidia installation.
    lspci lists (in the 32-bit mode):

    00:00.0 Host bridge: ATI Technologies Inc RS480 Host Bridge (rev 10)
    00:02.0 PCI bridge: ATI Technologies Inc RS480 PCI-X Root Port
    00:05.0 PCI bridge: ATI Technologies Inc RS480 PCI Bridge
    00:12.0 IDE interface: ATI Technologies Inc 4379 Serial ATA Controller
    00:13.0 USB Controller: ATI Technologies Inc IXP SB400 USB Host Controller
    00:13.1 USB Controller: ATI Technologies Inc IXP SB400 USB Host Controller
    00:13.2 USB Controller: ATI Technologies Inc IXP SB400 USB2 Host Controller
    00:14.0 SMBus: ATI Technologies Inc IXP SB400 SMBus Controller (rev 11)
    00:14.1 IDE interface: ATI Technologies Inc Standard Dual Channel PCI IDE Controller
    00:14.3 ISA bridge: ATI Technologies Inc IXP SB400 PCI-ISA Bridge
    00:14.4 PCI bridge: ATI Technologies Inc IXP SB400 PCI-PCI Bridge
    00:14.5 Multimedia audio controller: ATI Technologies Inc IXP SB400 AC'97 Audio Controller (rev 02)
    00:18.0 Host bridge: Advanced Micro Devices [AMD] K8 [Athlon64/Opteron] HyperTransport Technology Configuration
    00:18.1 Host bridge: Advanced Micro Devices [AMD] K8 [Athlon64/Opteron] Address Map
    00:18.2 Host bridge: Advanced Micro Devices [AMD] K8 [Athlon64/Opteron] DRAM Controller
    00:18.3 Host bridge: Advanced Micro Devices [AMD] K8 [Athlon64/Opteron] Miscellaneous Control
    01:00.0 VGA compatible controller: nVidia Corporation GeForce 8600 GT (rev a1)
    02:00.0 Ethernet controller: Broadcom Corporation NetXtreme BCM5751 Gigabit Ethernet PCI Express (rev 20)

    I have considered the possibility of a hardware malfunction, but find it hard to believe. There was (of course) nothing visibly wrong with the nvidia card nor the motherboard when I looked inside. I have had a friend try my card out in a windows box, and it functions fine.

    I am also wondering if booting from the 32-bit Grub into the new partition can manage to screw up something. The new installation built its own grub on the new partition, but it is the old one that comes up when I boot. I have added the new kernel there with pointers to the proper disks. Should I do this part differently?

    I am trying to avoid complications by getting xorg to work with the "vesa" driver, before I dive into the installation of Nvidias closed-source drivers. (have since tried them too, and they just crash)

    I have probably left out some crucial piece of information. Just tell me what it is, and I try to provide it.

    I would be grateful for any hints, pointers, or ideas on how to get this mess fixed. Also, if anyone has a 8600GTS card functioning with an AMD-64 machine, I'd like to hear.

    Best regards

    Heikki Levanto

  2. #2
    Linux Guru coopstah13's Avatar
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    I actually have an 8600GTS with an AMD64 3800+ single core processor using Debian x86 (I've gotten x64 to work as well), but I'm using lenny and not etch. Maybe there is a newer version of the nv driver that lenny provides that you could somehow get access to and try. I would check my xorg config for you but I am at work and can't access my home PC. I believe I am using the nv driver though, I couldn't get the nvidia drivers to work either.

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    Linux Guru techieMoe's Avatar
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    Well, you were certainly thorough. The first thing I would try is running dpkg -configure xserver-xorg as root and see if that gives you a usable non-3D-accelerated base to work with.
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    Quote Originally Posted by techieMoe View Post
    Well, you were certainly thorough. The first thing I would try is running dpkg -configure xserver-xorg as root and see if that gives you a usable non-3D-accelerated base to work with.
    Sorry, should have said that I have tried this a few times. No luck. Normally I prefer to edit xorg.conf by hand, I often know what I am doing there...

    Thanks anyway!

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    Quote Originally Posted by coopstah13 View Post
    I actually have an 8600GTS with an AMD64 3800+ single core processor using Debian x86 (I've gotten x64 to work as well), but I'm using lenny and not etch. Maybe there is a newer version of the nv driver that lenny provides that you could somehow get access to and try. I would check my xorg config for you but I am at work and can't access my home PC. I believe I am using the nv driver though, I couldn't get the nvidia drivers to work either.
    That is one of the next things I will have to try. The nv driver in Etch refuses to recognize my card, so it is not of much use. Perhaps I should go to Lenny then.

    Another thing I noticed when taking that bloody card out again, it was pretty warm. Could not measure it, but certainly more than I would hold in my bare hands. Does yours do that too? I note that my machine (HP workstation) is a small upright cabinet, so the card sits with the cooling element downwards. Looks like it would not get much convection that way...

    Thanks for the thumbs-up, it is good to hear that someone has got it working. Some day "real soon now" I will install Lenny...

  7. #6
    Linux Guru coopstah13's Avatar
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    Yeah my card runs pretty hot, if its been on for a while i wouldn't wanna touch it with my bare hands either until i gave it some time to cool off. Its fairly simple to upgrade to lenny from etch, you don't have to reinstall the base system or anything, just edit /etc/apt/sources.lst and change occurences of etch to lenny, then run apt-get update; apt-get dist-upgrade

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    Progress

    Progress report: I upgraded to Lenny. No problems, as long as I stick to a bit older kernel (2.6.18-5-amd64). With the 2.6.22-3-amd64, I experience problems with KDE's fish protocol (file transfer etc over SSH), which I use for my calendar and for accessing my server. Found that by simple googling.

    Finally got around to sticking the card back in the machine, and voila - runs fine with the vesa driver. Does not (yet?) run with the nvidia driver, complains "module not found" and refuses to start X even after following the instructions in the debian-nvidia-dri-howto, which I downloaded somewhere on the net.

    I am trying to find out where the module should be, and why it is not there.

    And this time I will stick to the Debian way of dealing with the driver, or live with nv if I have to.

    Thanks for all the help so far. Stay tuned, there will be more comments later...

    - Heikki

    P.S. KDE has decided that I may change my screen resolution all the way up to 2048x1536, much higher than what I was used to. This at 60 Hz, which I can live with, although I'd like a bit less flicker. Anyway, extra pixels are always welcome.

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    Linux Guru techieMoe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by heikkilevanto View Post
    Finally got around to sticking the card back in the machine, and voila - runs fine with the vesa driver. Does not (yet?) run with the nvidia driver, complains "module not found" and refuses to start X even after following the instructions in the debian-nvidia-dri-howto, which I downloaded somewhere on the net.
    You might also try this method:

    http://www.linuxforums.org/forum/lin...d-drivers.html

    It's not the "Debian Way" but it might give you more luck.
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    Quote Originally Posted by techieMoe View Post
    You might also try this method:

    http://www.linuxforums.org/forum/lin...d-drivers.html

    It's not the "Debian Way" but it might give you more luck.
    Thanks. That is what I call the Nvidia way. The last time I tried, it messed up my system real bad. I have seen warnings against this in various places on the net - it looks like Nvidia wants to keep some files in different location than Debian standard says, and this can give problems both now at installation, and at later upgrades.

    Over the years I have come to appreciate the stability of Debian - I have machines in production that started as Debian/Potato (2.2) and have successfully been upgraded all the way to Etch (3.1), without reinstalling! So I try to stick with the Debian Way, as far as reasonably possible. Perhaps I am old fashioned, and perhaps I miss some of the excitement, but as a sysadmin, I prefer that.

    - Heikki

  11. #10
    Linux Guru techieMoe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by heikkilevanto View Post
    Thanks. That is what I call the Nvidia way. The last time I tried, it messed up my system real bad. I have seen warnings against this in various places on the net - it looks like Nvidia wants to keep some files in different location than Debian standard says, and this can give problems both now at installation, and at later upgrades.

    Over the years I have come to appreciate the stability of Debian - I have machines in production that started as Debian/Potato (2.2) and have successfully been upgraded all the way to Etch (3.1), without reinstalling! So I try to stick with the Debian Way, as far as reasonably possible. Perhaps I am old fashioned, and perhaps I miss some of the excitement, but as a sysadmin, I prefer that.

    - Heikki
    No problem. It's your hardware. If you're not doing any 3D accelerated application work, you should be just fine with vesa or nv. (Though I personally have had stability problems with nv and would stick with vesa.)
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