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Author Topic: TinyCore x86 boots to black screen with underscore  (Read 3147 times)

Offline GNUser

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TinyCore x86 boots to black screen with underscore
« on: July 25, 2019, 10:32:03 AM »
I have a T400 ThinkPad. Nothing fancy about it except for the fact that it has Libreboot rather then BIOS. All hardware is 2008 vintage, including integrated Intel graphics ("Mobile 4 Series Chipset Integrated Graphics Controller" according to lshw).

- Core x86 (no X) works beautifully on this machine: Boots to a command line and everything works.
- TinyCore x86 (with X) does not seem to work: Boots to a black screen with an underscore at the top left.

I'm not sure how to troubleshoot given that no errors are shown and I can't even change to a different tty using Ctrl+Alt+F<number>

I'd like to make TC the OS on my laptop, but need to get over this hump. Can you please help me troubleshoot this issue?

Offline GNUser

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Re: TinyCore x86 boots to black screen with underscore
« Reply #1 on: July 25, 2019, 11:15:38 AM »
P.S. When booting TinyCore, the initial steps of the boot process seem to go well: I see the duplicate Tiny Core graphic at the top, then several boot messages scroll by without any obvious errors or warnings. Then the screen is cleared a first time and I briefly see an "ascii art" penguin at the top and a message about mcookie...urandom read yada yada. At that point the screen is cleared a second time (my guess is that this second clearing of the screen is when X is being started) and remains all black except for a steady underscore at top-left; keyboard input has no effect.
« Last Edit: July 25, 2019, 11:23:17 AM by GNUser »

Online Juanito

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Re: TinyCore x86 boots to black screen with underscore
« Reply #2 on: July 25, 2019, 12:07:38 PM »
Can you check if Xvesa, flwm, wbar and aterm are loaded?

Offline GNUser

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Re: TinyCore x86 boots to black screen with underscore
« Reply #3 on: July 25, 2019, 12:15:18 PM »
I don't think I can check that. Even if I boot with multivt bootcode, when boot process is complete the system does not respond to any keyboard input.

Online Juanito

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Re: TinyCore x86 boots to black screen with underscore
« Reply #4 on: July 25, 2019, 12:17:13 PM »
Use the “text” boot code.

Offline GNUser

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Re: TinyCore x86 boots to black screen with underscore
« Reply #5 on: July 25, 2019, 12:24:02 PM »
Duh, sorry. Yes, tce-status shows that Xvesa, wbar, aterm, and flwm_topside (among several others) are loaded.


Online Juanito

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Re: TinyCore x86 boots to black screen with underscore
« Reply #6 on: July 25, 2019, 01:32:54 PM »
Execute the first line of .xsession to see if you get a useful error message.

Offline GNUser

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Re: TinyCore x86 boots to black screen with underscore
« Reply #7 on: July 25, 2019, 02:48:01 PM »
I booted with text boot code then executed only the first line of .xsession. It causes the black screen with underscore in upper left corner as described in first post. No error message or warnings.

P.S. This is the first line of .xsession:
Code: [Select]
Xvesa -br -screen 1024x768x32 -shadow -2button -mouse /dev/input/mice,5 -nolisten tcp -I >/dev/null 2>&1 &My hardware must really dislike something about it.
« Last Edit: July 25, 2019, 02:53:22 PM by GNUser »

Offline GNUser

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Re: TinyCore x86 boots to black screen with underscore
« Reply #8 on: July 25, 2019, 03:32:56 PM »
juanito, this may have something to do with Libreboot and Xvesa not getting along. Some graphics-related applications  (e.g., vbetool) work fine on my netbook (which has BIOS) but not on my T400 laptop (which has Libreboot).

I know that full-blown Xorg works fine on this laptop, though, as it I use the laptop daily with X in both Devuan and OpenBSD.

We could try using Xorg instead of Xvesa, but I know too little about graphics (and even less about graphics on TC) to change this without help.


Offline GNUser

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Re: TinyCore x86 boots to black screen with underscore
« Reply #9 on: July 25, 2019, 04:06:13 PM »
SOLVED!

1. use text boot command
2. install graphics-KERNEL and Xorg-N.N extensions
3. remove Xvesa from onboot.lst
4. reboot

Then the whole boot process completes normally, ending at a nice minimalistic desktop with a dock at the bottom.

Just one final quick question: What if I want to use a different WM (e.g., fluxbox)? What's the easiest way to change the default WM? Do I do it in ~/.xsession then backup .xsession using /opt/.filetool.lst?
« Last Edit: July 25, 2019, 04:09:10 PM by GNUser »

Offline coreplayer2

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Re: TinyCore x86 boots to black screen with underscore
« Reply #10 on: July 25, 2019, 05:30:44 PM »
Just one final quick question: What if I want to use a different WM (e.g., fluxbox)? What's the easiest way to change the default WM? Do I do it in ~/.xsession then backup .xsession using /opt/.filetool.lst?
Hello GNUser,   Simply replace flwm.tcz with fluxbox.tcz in the onboot.lst you’re already familiar with


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Offline Rich

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Re: TinyCore x86 boots to black screen with underscore
« Reply #11 on: July 25, 2019, 05:33:34 PM »
Hi GNUser
Start the  Apps  utility.
Select a window manager.
Click the  OnBoot  dropdown and change it to  Download Only.
Click  Go.
Click  Apps->Maintenance->OnBoot Maintenance.
Select your current window manager from the list on the right and click  Delete Item from list.
Select the new window manager from the list on the left and click  Add Item.
Exit  Apps  and reboot your computer.


Offline GNUser

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Re: TinyCore x86 boots to black screen with underscore
« Reply #12 on: July 25, 2019, 05:41:22 PM »
Wow, so it really is just a matter of the WM being installed and the only one loaded?
It's hard to accept that it's that simple :)

How does the system know which of all the loaded extensions is a WM? In TC are all WMs rigged to create a marker file somewhere?

Offline Rich

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Re: TinyCore x86 boots to black screen with underscore
« Reply #13 on: July 25, 2019, 05:44:59 PM »
Hi GNUser
... In TC are all WMs rigged to create a marker file somewhere?
Yes they are. Look in  /etc/sysconfig/desktop.

Offline GNUser

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Re: TinyCore x86 boots to black screen with underscore
« Reply #14 on: July 25, 2019, 07:01:30 PM »
That's devilishly clever. The more I learn about TC, the more I'm amazed.