Weblog entry #5 for forrest
As all of the commenters suggested, I tried bringing up my box without X.
Now here I have to interject a gripe about Debian: there's no way to bring up a full-featured system without X: there's single-user mode, and then the very next runlevel starts X.
My first linux distro (back in 1995) was Slackware. It was sensibly configured so that runlevel 2 was everything you could possibly run without X, and then runlevel 3 started X. You've got 4 levels between 1 for single-user and 6 for reboot: it seems there should be some useful differentiation of functionality between them, right?
Of course, maybe I'm missing something and there's an easy way to get all your daemons fired up, but I just booted single-user mode for my test.
I booted my uniprocessor 2.6.18 with noapci as a parameter. I couldn't think of much to do in single-user mode, but I started a song with ogg123, backgrounded it, and did an ls -lR /. That ran fine. Then I started X with "init 2" (see gripe above) and I was back to the situation I described before: a blank screen, and when I ssh'd into it, I saw Xorg eating 98% of the CPU.
Then I tried building another SMP 2.6.18 kernel. I had high hopes for "noapci" solving my problem, but I also wanted to tweak some other kernel parameters: I made the Radeon framebuffer device a module instead of compiling it into the kernel, thinking that might help with the video issues.
I booted that kernel with the parameters "noapci vga=ask s" Interestingly, it didn't ask me about vga modes at all, but kept it at the standard 80x25. My last smp kernel only made as far as "waiting for /dev to be populated" (or something like that) so I was quite pleasantly suprised when it booted all the way up to the prompt for my root password.
I got inspired testing my smp kernel without X. I ripped a CD using "abcde -j 4" which allows as many as 4 processes (cdparanoia and oggenc) to run at once. While that was moving right along at a heady clip, I backgrounded it and listened played another ogg file with ogg123. Perfect sound, not even a hint of a hiccup.
So, I booted to X, and ... X came up. I tried the ogg123 test I mentioned in my previous post and it worked fine. I brought Iceweasel up and started to enter a post about how everything was rosy for me now ... but then I needed to go do some other things. I got back to my computer maybe an hour later and started to type but nothing happened. I moved the mouse, but the mouse cursor didn't move. I tried to ssh in, but got "No route to host".
So now I'm back to my working 2.6.16 uniprocessor kernel.
And I'm wondering what to try next.
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