Debian Unstable gets X.org

Posted by Steve on Wed 13 Jul 2005 at 17:10

Tags: ,

Debian has now made the transition to the X.org installation of the X11 Window system. If you're running sid/etch you should be able to upgrade now.

The transition had previously been on hold until Sarge was released - as it was judged too major a change to add to the release at the last minute.

Now Sarge is out Debian development continues and one of the most anticipated changes is upon us. (Other changes are also occurring such as the C++ ABI upgrade).

Before starting the upgrade to X.org it's important to do two things:

  • Switch to a console as a paranoid safety measure. If something goes wrong, or X gets restarted you don't want to leave your upgrade in an inconsistent state.
  • Take a backup of /etc/X11 in case you experience problems.

The backup can be something as simple as running:

cp -R /etc/X11 /etc/X11-old

The upgrade will attempt to automatically migrate your XFree86 configuration file to /etc/X11/xorg.conf, and in my case worked perfectly. Still better safe than sorry!

Once you've done those two things you should be ready to proceed. As always the first thing to do is update your list of available packages:

apt-get update

If you wish you can use aptitude instead, I know that I should promote that more.

With that out of the way the installation is started by running:

apt-get install xserver-xorg

This gave me the following output:

The following extra packages will be installed:
  libxau6 libxdmcp6 lsb-base x11-common xfree86-common xserver-common
Suggested packages:
  configlet-frontends libglide2
Recommended packages:
  mdetect xresprobe
The following packages will be REMOVED:
  xserver-xfree86
The following NEW packages will be installed:
  libxau6 libxdmcp6 lsb-base x11-common xserver-xorg
The following packages will be upgraded:
  xfree86-common xserver-common
2 upgraded, 5 newly installed, 1 to remove and 14 not upgraded.
Need to get 7437kB of archives.

As you can see the xserver-xfree86 package is scheduled for removal, as the two conflict.

After downloading the packages from the network you'll be asked which server you wish to run by default by debconf. Choose the xserver-org - as the other server will be removed.

That was literally all I had to do. There were several messages displayed about migrating the server's configuration which appeared to be completely successful:

xserver-xorg config warning: migrating xserver-xfree86 templates to xserver-xorg.

Other diagnostic messages also seemed to indicate the upgrade was occuring without any problems:

 Adding system startup for /etc/init.d/x11-common ...
   /etc/rcS.d/S70x11-common -> ../init.d/x11-common
update-rc.d: /etc/init.d/xfree86-common exists during rc.d purge (continuing)
 Removing any system startup links for /etc/init.d/xfree86-common ...
   /etc/rcS.d/S70xfree86-common

At this point the upgrade was complete, and the only thing left to do was to stop the currently running old installation of xserver-xfree86. The quick way to do this would be to simply reboot, although I wanted to do it manually to make sure it worked as expected.

I use the IceWM window manager with the gnome display manager handling the logins - so to stop X I ran:

/etc/init.d/gdm stop

This step will differ if you're using KDE, in which case you'll need to use "/etc/init.d/kdm stop". If you're using another login manager such as wdm, or xdm you'll need to adjust accordingly.

Once that's done you can restart the manager by repeating the command with start instead of stop:

/etc/init.d/gdm start

Everything came up as expected, and the upgrade was complete.

You can test that you have the correct versoin of X running by issuing the following command from the console:

X -version

The output should look something like this:

X Window System Version 6.8.2 (Debian 6.8.2.dfsg.1-1 20050709222802 david@squee.verizon.net)
Release Date: 9 February 2005
X Protocol Version 11, Revision 0, Release 6.8.2
Build Operating System: Linux 2.6.11-1-686 i686 [ELF] 
Current Operating System: Linux mystery 2.6.11-1-k7 #1 Mon Jun 20 21:26:23 MDT 2005 i686
Build Date: 09 July 2005
	Before reporting problems, check http://wiki.X.Org
	to make sure that you have the latest version.
Module Loader present
OS Kernel: Linux version 2.6.11-1-k7 (dannf@firetheft) (gcc version 3.3.6 (Debian 1:3.3.6-6)) #1 Mon Jun 20 21:26:23 MDT 2005 

After the upgrade you should make sure you don't have any problems, and then see if you need to tidy up any obsolete packages. I discovered I also no longer needed the libxft1 package by using deborphan to find obsolete packages.

The upgrade was painless, and things look even better than before. It's hard to know if I should be expecting a speedup or not, so I'm not going to claim massive gains.

 

 


Posted by Anonymous (216.160.xx.xx) on Wed 13 Jul 2005 at 23:04
What are the supposed advantages of X.org over xfree86? I.e. why should I make the switch?

[ Parent | Reply to this comment ]

Posted by Steve (82.41.xx.xx) on Wed 13 Jul 2005 at 23:14
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Right now I'm not aware of any major technical advantages of X.org however that is likely to change in the future.

The xfree86 people made licensing changes to their distribution which percieved by the community as being .. not good. Almost immediately afterwards a lot of Linux distributors announced their intentions to migrate away from it - taking the code prior to the licensing change as their baseline.

Debian was one of the earlier distributions to announce their intention to migrate, but due to the Sarge release the actual change took longer than other distributions.

There are some changes from the xfree86 tree right now, but the main reason for changing is to get the changes that will occur in the future - the X.org people have a much more active developer community, which is also much more open than the previous xfree86 group. Hopefully this means that good things should happen in the future.

Changes are being discussed right now, and whilst some of them are merely implementation details (such as a more modular build system which will ease things for distributors and developers, but be largely irrelevent to users) and some of them involve new extensions, speedups, and drivers.

If you'd like to find more information the X.org website has lots of details - and the licensing switch has been discussed a lot online - such as in these previous Slashdot discussions I found:

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Posted by yarikoptic (4.64.xx.xx) on Thu 14 Jul 2005 at 07:49
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Right now I'm not aware of any major technical advantages of X.org however that is likely to change in the future.
not true

just from top of my head I can say "composite extension" which let you achieve true transparency of you windows (terminals etc), which is (I trust the words of my friends on that) a VERY important feature to pick up the girls

more profound list of new extensions

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Posted by Steve (82.41.xx.xx) on Thu 14 Jul 2005 at 12:42
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Thanks for the correction, I should have known there was some progress in the months since the split happened.

Steve
-- Steve.org.uk

[ Parent | Reply to this comment ]

Posted by Anonymous (65.204.xx.xx) on Thu 14 Jul 2005 at 13:35
This requires apps that take advantage of the composite extension, though, right?

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Posted by yarikoptic (4.64.xx.xx) on Thu 14 Jul 2005 at 20:11
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not necessarily -- you can pretty much point what should be transparent and how much -- there are tools for that
transset, xcompmgr seems to be their names

[ Parent | Reply to this comment ]

Posted by Anonymous (24.188.xx.xx) on Tue 24 Jun 2008 at 21:28
Hello everyone, my question all is this how do i upgrade to the latest version of X.org? I'm using Debian Etch amd64...Thanks for replying...:-0

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Posted by ajt (204.193.xx.xx) on Thu 14 Jul 2005 at 10:03
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Don't use X.org if you need nvida drivers for 3D. At the moment I'm told that you can use the nvidia drivers and X.org, so wait a while.

See here for more details.

--
"It's Not Magic, It's Work"
Adam

[ Parent | Reply to this comment ]

Posted by Anonymous (81.56.xx.xx) on Thu 14 Jul 2005 at 10:09
nVidia drivers works like a charm with X.org ... unless you wanna use the CompositeExtension : GLX will be disabled.

There's a special option of the driver to enable it even with the Composite extension enabled, but a lot of your GLX apps (says, all) won't work correctly. - Sam

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Posted by JulienV (83.196.xx.xx) on Thu 14 Jul 2005 at 14:00
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I am not aware of such problems.

I have the following options/sections in my /etc/X11/xorg.conf:

Section "Device"
        Identifier      "Geforce 9500"
        Driver          "nvidia"
        Option          "RenderAccel"           "true"
        Option          "backingstore"          "true"
        Option          "NoLogo" "true"
        Option          "AllowGLXWithComposite" "true"
EndSection
Section "Extensions"
        Option  "Composite" "Enable"
        Option  "RENDER" "true"
        Option  "DAMAGE" "true"
EndSection

And everything works OK.

-Julien

NB: to use the composite extension, you have to use backported packages from Ubuntu available at http://debian.linux-systeme.com. transet and xcompmgr are not (yet) available in Debian official repositories.

[ Parent | Reply to this comment ]

Posted by Anonymous (213.103.xx.xx) on Mon 18 Jul 2005 at 20:21
These three extensions are already built-in.
See
grep extension /var/log/Xorg.0.log

[ Parent | Reply to this comment ]

Posted by Regala (134.157.xx.xx) on Fri 15 Jul 2005 at 16:05
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This is not as straightforward as said. Generally, these steps will just break X.
Not to mention that Debian is performing its gcc4 transition, that xorg packages are built with gcc4 and that a ABI transition is required, if you juste upgrade, you will uninstall all apps depending on xlibmesa-glu......
This is not serious to give such a piece of advice, as unstable is on the verge to become more and more unstable, til the 2 transitions are both complete.
Just my 2 cents.

--
Mathieu

[ Parent | Reply to this comment ]

Posted by Anonymous (70.56.xx.xx) on Sun 17 Jul 2005 at 18:25
xlibmesa-glu is the kicker. I tried upgrading with aptitude because I used a pinned setup that prefers testing over unstable and was stopped dead by the fact that nothing can currently replace libglu1, which a ton of my packages insist on having.

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Posted by Anonymous (68.217.xx.xx) on Sun 17 Jul 2005 at 19:28
* Switch to a console as a paranoid safety measure. If something goes wrong, or X gets restarted you don't want to leave your upgrade in an inconsistent state.

You can do this transition in X if you want. Just use GNU screen in your terminal window.

It might be good to wait a few weeks to do this transition (unless you want to help with the testing). The 4.0 C++ ABI transition is taking place, and will cause odd conflicts with some sid packages. If this transition is anything like the 3.0 transition of a few years ago, the month or two wait will be worthwhile for GUI users: notably, KDE sid (umm--Etch now) (and x.org) will resume frequent, trouble-free updates..

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Posted by Steve (82.41.xx.xx) on Sun 17 Jul 2005 at 19:32
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A good tip on using GNU Screen - thanks.

As for the transition, yes that might be problematic at the moment - although less so when I initially posted this article.

Right now things seem to be calming down, but if you're worried about unstable breaking waiting a few weeks might be advisable.

Steve
-- Steve.org.uk

[ Parent | Reply to this comment ]

Posted by Anonymous (66.110.xx.xx) on Sun 17 Jul 2005 at 20:03
I see you promoting deborphan. One of the reasons to promote aptitude is that it includes some deborphan-type features. Installing any packages with apt-get marks them as "not automatic" though, similar to adding them to deborphan's keepers automatically. Using aptitude throughout ensures that you only mark the packages you specifically ask for as keepers.

(I would really like a "mark all packages as 'automatic' that can be, without causing an uninstall" feature, to help marking packages that should have been "automatic".)

[ Parent | Reply to this comment ]

Posted by Anonymous (82.70.xx.xx) on Sun 17 Jul 2005 at 21:57
> (I would really like a "mark all packages as 'automatic' that can be, without causing an uninstall" feature, to help marking packages that should have been "automatic".)

It doesn't take *that* long to do by hand. You can do things like mark everything in "libs" as automatic with a single keystroke, or use the sophisticated "limit" options to limit to packages that are not essential and not automatic, to find all the packages that are marked as inherently wanted, and go through and press "M" against any you don't know for sure you want to see if they get deleted.

--ciphergoth

[ Parent | Reply to this comment ]

Posted by Anonymous (82.3.xx.xx) on Sun 17 Jul 2005 at 21:27
I have just carried out the procedure on my laptop {Packard Bell 4450 / NEC 400E, Celeron 1.5GHz}. Totally seamless upgrade in the end although a little bit scary at first. I stopped my KDM before the upgrade, ran apt-get install xserver-xorg and restarted it afterward. KDE fired up just fine -- it seems to run a lot faster too! Definitely more responsive.

[ Parent | Reply to this comment ]

Posted by Anonymous (64.142.xx.xx) on Mon 18 Jul 2005 at 07:28
I also find X much more responsive after this upgrade, and much faster to start. However, I seem to have lost my TrueType fonts:

Could not init font path element /var/lib/defoma/x-ttcidfont-conf.d/dirs/TrueType/, removing from list!
Could not init font path element /var/lib/defoma/x-ttcidfont-conf.d/dirs/CID/, removing from list!
Could not init font path element /usr/share/fonts/truetype/, removing from list!

Anyone else seen this? Does anyone know how to fix it?
I've tried running mkttfdir manually---to no avail.

Jim

[ Parent | Reply to this comment ]

Posted by Anonymous (64.142.xx.xx) on Mon 18 Jul 2005 at 08:09
Replying to my own post in case it's useful to someone else ...

It seems that Xorg does not use the xtt module (which I loaded under XFree86 to get access to TrueType fonts). X.Org no longer
supplies that module, since the "freetype" module now includes the functionality that was only available in the "xtt" module before. Commenting out `Load xtt' and specifying instead `Load freetype' fixed the problem.

Jim

[ Parent | Reply to this comment ]

Posted by Anonymous (218.22.xx.xx) on Wed 19 Oct 2005 at 17:25
I use the freetype in Xorg instead of the xtt in xfree86.
But it make the iconman of my FVWM cannot startup.
At last I back to xfree86

[ Parent | Reply to this comment ]

Posted by Anonymous (206.106.xx.xx) on Mon 18 Jul 2005 at 00:44
How does the upgrade do at migrating multi-head configurations with Xinerama? It took me longer than I care to think about to get that set up the first time, and I've run across a couple things online that suggest X.org's Xinerama support may be incomplete. I want X.org instead of XFree86 for the licensing reasons, but I don't want to lose a day's work to the transition.

[ Parent | Reply to this comment ]

Posted by Anonymous (192.100.xx.xx) on Mon 18 Jul 2005 at 07:13
I had a dual-head Xinerama setup with nVidia, and I did the upgrade mostly as described in this article. No problem what so ever -- Xinerama works just as before.

[ Parent | Reply to this comment ]

Posted by Anonymous (194.72.xx.xx) on Mon 18 Jul 2005 at 08:08
twinview ?

[ Parent | Reply to this comment ]

Posted by Anonymous (62.107.xx.xx) on Mon 18 Jul 2005 at 12:18
I did the upgrade using TwinView and everything worked fine.

[ Parent | Reply to this comment ]

Posted by Anonymous (68.76.xx.xx) on Mon 18 Jul 2005 at 14:35
It worked just fine with my Xinerama. (I'm the same guy as 206.106.xx.xx above)

[ Parent | Reply to this comment ]

Posted by Anonymous (81.56.xx.xx) on Tue 19 Jul 2005 at 07:58
Don't work with trident driver, you only get a white screen...

[ Parent | Reply to this comment ]

Posted by cvweiss (68.61.xx.xx) on Tue 19 Jul 2005 at 11:53
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Excellent! However, I'm going to wait until this migrates into testing before I switch.

Anyone have any idea how long the migration might take?

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Posted by Steve (82.41.xx.xx) on Tue 19 Jul 2005 at 12:23
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Packages migrate to testing after ten days, assuming that all dependencies are satisfied, and there are no bugs of severity "grave" filed against them.

Migration can be quicker if the package was uploaded at a higher priority.

Steve
-- Steve.org.uk

[ Parent | Reply to this comment ]

Posted by Anonymous (69.70.xx.xx) on Wed 27 Jul 2005 at 04:04
kdm dont start after adding x.org...
i need it for 3d
can someone help?

[ Parent | Reply to this comment ]

Posted by Steve (82.41.xx.xx) on Wed 27 Jul 2005 at 15:51
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You'll need to give way more information than "it doesn't work" to get any assistance.

I'd suggest you start by looking in /var/log/Xorg.0.log - and posting a message to the debian-user mailing list.

Steve
-- Steve.org.uk

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Posted by peterhoeg (62.242.xx.xx) on Mon 1 Aug 2005 at 08:51
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Steve, a couple of comments:
  • I recommend stopping gdm|kdm BEFORE running the "install" step. As a safety measure I always stop services/running software before upgrading it.
  • It makes sense to use apt-get for the "update" step as it is faster, especially on slow machines. Use aptitude for all steps after that.

[ Parent | Reply to this comment ]

Posted by Steve (82.41.xx.xx) on Mon 1 Aug 2005 at 15:16
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Stopping kdm / gdm before proceeding would probably be a good idea.

I assumed that switching to a text-console would be sufficient. But I guess knowing that you've stopped the "old" service first is a good thing to do.

As for apt-get vs. aptitude mostly that comes down to personal preference. I almost always use apt-get, and only force myself to include references on this site to aptitude because peeople complain if I don't!

Steve
-- Steve.org.uk

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Posted by wolftales (24.20.xx.xx) on Tue 2 Aug 2005 at 20:13
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I converting a fresh testing install to unstable to get X.org using 'synaptic'.

The main problem I had with the upgrade was udev depending on 2.6.12 and breaking the upgrade process, but there is already a flamewar on the BTS about that . . . X.org went smoothly for the most part. There appears to be some work needed in detecting hardware, but otherwise, the xserver came up with 2D support on my R300 ATI card. after telling it to use the 'ati' driver instead of 'vesa'. Of course the R300 chipset does not have 3D or HW accel support in the native driver at this time. But those are not needed on this system.

On a side note. I was checking cards supported between Xfree86 and X.org. For whatever reason, there are more cards listed as supported under X.org then Xfree86 between the two latest release from each, 6.8.2 versus 4.5.0. As someone else mentioned, X.org has mind share now, so I believe this may be the reason for this difference and more to come.

I was going to wait till it went into testing, but becuase of the major changes taking place within sid, gcc and xorg to name a few, I don't think that will happen quickly. 'xserver-xorg' still has a not considered tag on the developers info page.

Thanks for the article.

[ Parent | Reply to this comment ]

Posted by Anonymous (68.102.xx.xx) on Wed 3 Aug 2005 at 02:20
is it possible to install xorg using apt without moving everything up to unstable? or would it be best to wait?

[ Parent | Reply to this comment ]

Posted by wolftales (24.20.xx.xx) on Wed 3 Aug 2005 at 02:52
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Depends on what you mean by 'best'. If you can, waiting is always the safer bet.

By using pinning, you could setup apt to see both testing and unstable trees, and pin you distribution to testing. from there you could install xserver-xorg and if everyting is setup right, it should pull down everyting it needs to upgrade to xserver-xorg.

The problem is, at this time, you would be pulling a fair amount of packages besides xorg out of unstable in order to get things setup and running. I also found that goung that route, not everything was updated, I was still running XFree86 pieces at one point. but that was because parts of xorg depending on parts that were unavailable since my prefered distribution was testing and not unstable. Hence the reason for just taking the system up to unstable this time around.

But besides it being safer(less potential for headache that is) to wait, you can certainly use pinning and configure apt to upgrade your xserver. Even with all the dependencies, you should still have mostly a 'testing' system. The longer you wait, the more that will work its way into testing.

[ Parent | Reply to this comment ]

Posted by Anonymous (62.194.xx.xx) on Sun 7 Aug 2005 at 13:06
i read everywhere that with the composite extensions enables, Xorg would be really slow!! also read that with my videocard it would be unwise considering performance.

composite works REALLY fast here with 2.4.31 kernel. 61xx Nvidia driver (newer ones crash), Geforce 4 card, and a 1667MHz cpu with 512MB RAM.

im very glad i tried to install it while i was convinced that it would be too slow..

well, it isnt! so everyone: TRY XORG with COMPOSITE!

superb :)

[ Parent | Reply to this comment ]

Posted by Anonymous (84.194.xx.xx) on Tue 9 Aug 2005 at 22:41
The article is very good. It worked like a charm for me. Furthermore, this website seems to have lots of interesting information!

[ Parent | Reply to this comment ]

Posted by Paul_E (83.44.xx.xx) on Wed 10 Aug 2005 at 21:12
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Hi.

To me the upgrade to xorg didn't worked fine at first:
kdm or a startx would not launch the server.

A look at the log file (/var/log/Xorg.0.log informed me that the driver "Keyboard" could not be loaded.

I had to change "Keyboard" for "kbd" in the driver line of /etc/X11/xorg.conf and I worked fine...

Hope that helps,
Regards,
Paul

[ Parent | Reply to this comment ]

Posted by Anonymous (82.199.xx.xx) on Fri 29 Dec 2006 at 11:45
I have upgraded from sarge to sid and with this I
got x.org. However, X was not able to start and the
error message is that it cannot load two modules:
"kbd" and "mouse" which are listed in the driver
section of xorg.conf for the keyboard and the mouse
respectively. I am puzzled since one of the users
was able to load exactly kbd. How do I find the
correct modules to be loaded for the keyboard and
the mouse?

Thanks,
Martin

[ Parent | Reply to this comment ]

Posted by Anonymous (68.197.xx.xx) on Wed 7 Sep 2005 at 08:29
I found a vast improvement on an older PC with the generic nvidia driver.

[ Parent | Reply to this comment ]

Posted by Anonymous (193.81.xx.xx) on Mon 12 Sep 2005 at 13:17
Hallo.
I have migrated to Xorg yesterday. No problem during instalation (as described above). When I restarted gdm, it started with no complaining. But I'am not able to change console with Alt+Ctrl+F(number). It seems that X server just ignores keypress. When terminal has focus, some mess-like characters are writen. gdm starts 2 X servers and both starts. I'am not even able to get to text console.
Where can be problem?
Thax for help

[ Parent | Reply to this comment ]

Posted by Steve (82.41.xx.xx) on Mon 12 Sep 2005 at 15:01
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See this thread on the debian-user mailing list.

The suggested advice appeared to be adding this section to your configuration file:

Section "ServerFlags"
        Option          "XkbDisable"    "true"
EndSection

Steve
--

[ Parent | Reply to this comment ]

Posted by Anonymous (193.81.xx.xx) on Tue 13 Sep 2005 at 07:57
Worked perfectly.
Thanx

[ Parent | Reply to this comment ]

Posted by Anonymous (56.0.xx.xx) on Mon 12 Sep 2005 at 17:16
If you're running sid/etch you should be able to upgrade now.

I'm running a new sarge install and I get xserver-xorg package not found. So what do I add to /etc/apt/sources.list to make this work?

Thanks.

[ Parent | Reply to this comment ]

Posted by Steve (82.41.xx.xx) on Tue 13 Sep 2005 at 12:49
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Sarge doesn't have this. Only Sid/Etch (testing).

If you wish to get it you'll either have to:

  • Find a backported version for Sarge.
  • Upgrade to Unstable (Sid) / Etch (testing).

To be honest if you have XFree86 and it is working for you I see no reason to change it ..

Steve
--

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Posted by redsolo (85.224.xx.xx) on Sun 18 Sep 2005 at 11:19
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I have a media box running Freevo, with the intel i810 chipset and it worked great when switching the xserver. The xfree86 i810 driver that is in the debian package has several bugs, these bugs were fixed by the newer source (xorg). I was very worried that it would screw up my installation, but everything worked as it should.

(Except for a minor problem in the begining that installing xorg forced the uninstallation of all my kernel images. A quick update to the xlibs (i think) fixed that problem, and had to be done before installing the xorg)

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Posted by barneyward (83.217.xx.xx) on Tue 11 Oct 2005 at 21:57
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Can't use my laptop's touchpad!
I'm trying to start up X window system 6.8.2 on my Dell C400 laptop (i810 driver, synaptic touchpad) under debian 2.6.12-1-386. If i configure with dpkg-reconfigure xserver-xorg, I can't get the touchpad to work. Under most choices, startx just crashes out saying "cannot open input device" and "no input driver matching synaptics". Choosing /dev/ttyS0 and 'auto' successfully starts the xwindow system and kde 3.4.2 - BUT the touchpad doesn't work. I *think* it is run via modules but I don't have a clue how to get it up and running.
Any help appreciated. More info can be supplied!

Barneyward.

[ Parent | Reply to this comment ]

Posted by wolfrider (67.184.xx.xx) on Sun 16 Oct 2005 at 20:38
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--Have you tried pointing it to /dev/input/mice ?

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Posted by Anonymous (84.73.xx.xx) on Tue 15 Aug 2006 at 05:16
i just did the standard debian upgrade, everything worked fine. except firefox. i cant see the font in a window any more and i have to mark it to see it. i have a radeon 9000.

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