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Author Topic: IBM 380XD garbled screen (Desktop): deploying framebuffer X server / Xfbdev.tcz  (Read 297 times)

Offline luddite

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[Synopsis: does the screen photo linked below (smaller version attached) of a garbled (Desktop) screen suggest this is a potential candidate for deploying framebuffer X server - or is the cause likely something else? Beginner question.]


Further to the last (2012) poster's question regarding his IBM 380XD [main specs. at end of post]  at
http://forum.tinycorelinux.net/index.php/topic,11545.msg66820.html#msg66820

I also have that laptop (~22yo) which I still use for working with a document scanner under MS Windows 98SE; its performance is enhanced by the 8GB PATA SSD I installed in place of the hdd. It also works with a 4GB CF card in a CF to IDE adapter mounted in its drive bay, which is the medium I planned on using with TC if I can get over the initial hump described below.

The laptop can load, from cdrom (or usb stick inserted in a controller card in the pcmcia slot, by the clever artifice of PlopBM pcmcia floppy disk), the desktop in Knoppix versions e.g. 3.7, 5.1 and 8 and I can then use the  bundled tools like qparted/gparted, but those cd distributions are 8-15 years old so I had an initial look at light distributions which might work for the net and which include pcmcia services.

Running both TC and Coreplus from cdrom (laptop can boot from that without PlopBM) I've reached both initial boot menu, then command prompt and desktop but the desktop is so garbled in all iterations of initial menu and later xsetup permutations as to be illegible and unusable.  Photo attached plus a dmesg from a Knoppix distrib as I couldn't see enough to do it on TC and save the file.

***garbled screen photo***:
newbielink:https://imgbox.com/eXuvbpgd [nonactive]

Would some kind soul take a look at the screen pic and hazard a guess whether this indicates another possible case where a solution as per FAQ might indeed be using framebuffer X server / Xfbdev.tcz (or say if it looks like some other cause entirely) because I do not find that module in the iso distribution:

opened with 7z archiver in Windows 7, the iso's directory CorePlus-current.iso\cde\optional\  does not include Xfbdev.tcz but I find it eg here:

newbielink:http://distro.ibiblio.org/tinycorelinux/11.x/x86/tcz/ [nonactive]

Xfbdev.tcz   2020-Jan-18 06:24:50   340.0K   application/octet-stream
Xfbdev.tcz.dep   2020-Jan-18 06:24:50   0.1K   application/octet-stream
Xfbdev.tcz.info   2020-Jan-18 06:24:50   0.5K   application/octet-stream
Xfbdev.tcz.list   2020-Jan-18 06:24:50   0.1K   application/octet-stream
Xfbdev.tcz.md5.txt   2020-Jan-18 06:24:50   0.1K   text/plain
Xfbdev.tcz.tree   2020-Jan-18 06:26:03   0.9K   application/octet-stream

The wget download is indicated for an earlier version implying the file is present for later versions.

Now, quoting from the FAQ, my beginner questions IN CAPS:

FAQFAQFAQ
How to use framebuffer X server?

In order to use framebuffer (Xfbdev) you will need to have a persistent store, e.g., a PPR. [WHAT'S A PPR?  WIKIPEDIA DOESN'T GIVEN AN ABBREVIATION THAT LOOKS RELEVANT]
Boot Tiny Core as follows, using an appropriate vga code from the f2 boot help screen and an appropriate disk partition.  [OK AT THE PRE-KERNEL MENU I'VE SELECTED VARIOUSLY X/GUI ONLY AND COMMAND LINE ONLY AND ADDED THE ARGUMENTS WAITUSB=10  (when booting off usb stick for a change), XSETUP  INTEL_IOMMU=OFF.  WHEN I REACH XSETUP I SELECT 800X600 / 24 AND 4 FOR PSU MOUSE. BUT THAT STILL LEADS TO A GARBLED DESKTOP]

boot: tinycore tce=hda1 text vga=788

[DIDN'T UNDERSTAND THIS. YOU'RE AT THE PRE-KERNEL BOOTING MENU AND PRESS TAB FOR BOOT OPTIONS - ADDING THAT LINE AFTER THE KERNEL REFERENCE JUST LEADS TO A HANG.]

At the system prompt:

[SO PRESUMABLY IN THE EARLIER MENU YOU SELECTED COMMANDLINE ONLY, NO GUI...?]

$ tce-load Xfbdev.tce wget install # This is for TC 2.2 and below
[OK IGNORE AS IRRELEVANT TO 11.1]
$ tce-load -w -i Xfbdev.tcz # This is for TC 2.3 and above
[DID THIS BUT IT CAN'T FIND THE FILE AS NOTED ABOVE. I CAN'T DO A WGET AS THE LAPTOP NEEDS PCMCIA WORKING TO USE THE IBM ETHERNET PCMCIA CARD WIRED TO ROUTER, AND IF ANY DESKTOP UTILS ALLOW FOR THAT, THEY'RE UNREADABLE IN PRESENT STATE OF THE DISPLAY.

IN MY IGNORANCE I WONDERED IF I COULD ADD, MAYBE USING 7z, THE 6 FILES FROM THE ABOVE FTP LISTING TO
CorePlus-current.iso\cde\optional\
THEN REBURN THE MODIFIED ISO AND TRY BOOTING WITH THAT SO I CAN THEN TEST IF
THE NEXT STEP WORKS:]

$ xsetup.sh
$ startx

[PERSISTENCY CAN BE LEFT TO A LATER STAGE OF KNOWLEDGE.... MY CURRENT OBJECTIVE IS TO GET A  FEEL FOR WHETHER I CAN GET PAST THE GARBLED DISPLAY IMPEDIMENT RELATIVELY EASILY OR NOT. IF NOT, I'LL HAVE TO LEAVE IT TILL MORE TIME AVAILABLE]

From the X desktop, shutdown with backup. Your Xfbdev X settings will be saved and used on the next boot.
Do not use the text boot code and your framebuffer X server should start successfully.
FAQFAQFAQ


[main specs of my machine]
233MMX Intel P5 (Pentium MMX) 233MHz
Model/Type: 2635-9AO
Current memory total: 160MB
Video chipset: NeoMagic NM2160CR MagicGraph 128XD
Display: 12.1" HPA, 800x600x16M; refresh/contrast ratio: 150ms / 50:1 [per Knoppix 3.7:  H28.0-96.0kHz; V: 50.0-75.0Hz.  Modes: 1024x768, 800x600, 640x480

Offline Sashank999

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Until you get a better reply,

1. Don't use Xfbdev on x86. Use Xvesa. Xvesa is really good for x86, for me in my personal TCL Journey.
2. Some times, the blue colored prompt for selecting TC Window manager options does not work (they didn't work for me from second time boot). Hence you land at the system prompt. Then, do this :
Code: [Select]
tce-load -i Xvesa aterm wbar flwm
xsetup.sh
startx
and then you should get a desktop.
3. Also see this. It may help on PCMCIA : http://forum.tinycorelinux.net/index.php?topic=7410.0

Offline jazzbiker

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Hi, luddite!

May be I've missed the spot (Your post is quite long) but what TC version have You tried? I use 6.4.1 for my old Pentium MMX box. The newer kernels cause panic. But for such old version You will not have fresh network stuff in the repo.

Offline curaga

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Your screen is garbled because that old Neomagic GPU is not fully Vesa compliant. As such, you should use Xorg with the neomagic driver, or try the framebuffer with Xfbdev.

Your pcmcia ethernet card may work directly, no actions required, straight from the command line. Boot to text mode, and try pinging something, google.com, your router, etc. Alternatively, you could use another computer to install TC and Xfbdev/etc to that CF card. Even a virtual machine would work, TC installs are fully transferable, it doesn't matter if you do the install on a more capable machine.
The only barriers that can stop you are the ones you create yourself.

Offline luddite

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Thanks very much for replies.
Yes, it's current i.e. v.11.1

On the 380XD I tried Sashank999's solution for an ungarbled Desktop then again after booting with the laptop option which however failed both times because the PC is not downloading the package - it's either not seeing the IBM Network pcmcia card or more likely in the light of later experience, it's not getting DNS server IPs from the router, because I got no working ping on external sites and "bad address" for when it tried getting the .tcz ('wget: bad address 'repo.tinycorelinux.net').  I did manage to get the dmesg off the IBM 380XD this time however which I attach.  (Same non-connectivity issues with booting the Knoppix v.3.7 Live CD from 2004 though its Desktop displays perfectly).

At that point I deployed a usb stick  to boot instead a Sony VPCEB1C5E which is an i5 with 8GB RAM and selected the default Desktop option which worked fine.  Again however no connectivity so this time, having access to the Desktop and tools, I was able to manually set a fixed IP etc plus also DNS server IPs and got connectivity.  At that point I remembered having a similar issue after installing debian 10 on another Sony (Centrino cpu and 2GB) which did not work till I manually input the DNS server IPs using its network gui tool. Again at that point connectivity worked. So armed with that recollection I may go back to the 380XD and see if there's a means of setting the DNS IPs in the console without any X and then try the X setup etc again and see if the package download works, at which point if the Desktop can be made visible I'll attempt a save to CF card.  (If that doesn't work then I may dig out another pcmcia network card I have although dmesg does seem to indicate the existing can be seen etc).  The router interface has two DNS servers' IPs set and it reserves from DHCP a small range of internal IPs for static IP setting so the problem seems to be with the router's DHCP  not giving out IPs.
Further on the Sony, dmesg | grep eth0 says enabling interface, link is up at 1000 Mbps, full duplex etc.; ping failed, but in desktop, once I'd set static ip and dns servers, ping worked in terminal.

Next, I killed desktop by cntr alt backspace and ran tce-load -i Xvesa aterm wbar flwm
xsetup.sh
startx
- but startx fails reporting "failed in waitforx".  So then (here recollection getting hazy) I could not save the system including downloaded X components to the CF card using the Desktop tool, and I  realised I'd forgotten how to mount a device (e.g. device name, where the mount point is, file system type if not auto-found etc).  At which point time ran out.

Anyway I feel progress has been made thanks to your suggestions but am now conscious at this interim stage that to move forward I need to refresh the *very limited* Linux knowledge which I had for a while when dabbling 20+ years ago, which work I'll have to defer for a few weeks as I'm now immersed in tax reporting  :~(   Maybe reading newbielink:http://www.tinycorelinux.net/corebook.pdf [nonactive]   will do the trick.

Offline polikuo

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Hi, welcome to Tiny Core.

Do you have any USB network cards ?

Either ethernet or wireless will do.

I managed to get the Wi-Fi working on this old crap

That could easily fix your network problem.

If you're going to use wireless USB card, make sure to test the required drivers on a faster computer before you put it in the box.