[Lubuntu] Some PC's or LTSP clients stall during boot at a blank, black screen

John Hupp lubuntu at prpcompany.com
Sat Dec 8 23:36:05 UTC 2012

On 12/8/2012 5:15 PM, Jonathan Marsden wrote:
> On 12/08/2012 01:17 PM, John Hupp wrote:
>> Can I force usage of a certain driver?  I read that this was
>> supported with xorg.conf, but that does not exist by default now, and
>> I think Xorg uses an automated configuration system called KMS, about
>> which I know next to nothing.  But perhaps a configuration via
>> xorg.conf is still respected/supported?
> Yes, it should be.  Also you can (in conventional desktop Linux, and so
> I assume also in LTSP) pass parameters to the kernel that will affect
> which video driver is used.  You might, for example find that adding
> something like
>    video=fbdev
> to the client kernel boot options would cause it to use a generic
> framebuffer based graphics driver that could work where using all the
> capabilities of a card/chip-specific driver is failing.  I don't know
> how to tell LTSP to pass custom parameters to the client kernel, but it
> should be doable in a configuration file somewhere.
> One further comment: some of the cards/chips you list seem very old
> indeed (mid to late 1990s?), and some seem to me to be relatively
> uncommon.  If it is practical for you to buy and install some older AGP
> or PCI graphics cards on the (desktop) LTSP client machines you have,
> spending $20 per machine (new items, on ebay, for example nVidia MX440
> AGP cards, or Radeon 7000 or X600 or 9250 cards) might be worth
> exploring, compared to spending hours debugging graphics drivers for the
> each of the many different cards/chipsets you currently have available.
>   In a sense this is "giving up" on a free "just fix the software"
> solution, but if your time has value, it should perhaps  be considered.
> Jonathan
Thanks for all that.

And a good point about buying some cheap supported cards.  I did that 
very thing when I saw that I wanted to learn how to use LTSP, so I laid 
in a small stock of PXE-boot-capable network cards.

But as I got started with this stalled boot problem, I didn't know WHAT 
was going on.  When I started suspecting video driver support within the 
past couple days, I just pulled every PCI or AGP card I could find here 
to test with.  After the smoke clears, I'll look for a practical 
solution.  But at the moment, I feel like I'm still trying to understand 
what's going on.
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