[xubuntu-users] Video weirdness with strange Xorg behavior

Andrew Kane googoleyes at gmail.com
Wed Jul 23 00:31:48 UTC 2008

      Hi everyone, sorry about the cross-post but I thought this might
be equally relevant to both groups, though perhaps not particularly
interesting to anyone but me.
      I finished building a new junk-box a couple of weeks ago- 1.1
GHz Athlon, 512 MB RAM, weird MSI mobo and ATI Radeon 9200. I can hear
some of you groaning at that last ;)
      In any case, after the initial install I attempted to install
fglrx from the repositories, not realizing that the 9200 is no longer
supported under that version. Of course it broke Xorg, so I had to do
a dpkg-reconfigure xserver-xorg, in order to switch to the "ati"
driver. I did that from tty2 and removed the fglrx package immediately
afterwards, *before* restarting X. At this point I remembered that I'm
retarded, so I did the dpkg-reconfigure yaddayadda again and this time
it skipped the server section entirely- I went through all the usual
prompts about the keyboard, monitor, etc with no mention of the card.
Then I had a look at my /etc/Xorg.conf:

Section "InputDevice"
	Identifier	"Generic Keyboard"
	Driver		"kbd"
	Option		"XkbRules"	"xorg"
	Option		"XkbModel"	"pc105"
	Option		"XkbLayout"	"us"

Section "InputDevice"
	Identifier	"Configured Mouse"
	Driver		"mouse"
	Option		"CorePointer"
	Option		"Emulate3Buttons"	"true"

Section "Device"
	Identifier	"Configured Video Device"

Section "Monitor"
	Identifier	"Configured Monitor"

Section "Screen"
	Identifier	"Default Screen"
	Monitor		"Configured Monitor"
	Device		"Configured Video Device"

Section "ServerLayout"
	Identifier	"Default Layout"
	Screen		"Default Screen"

       ...and I said, "WTF?" (unabbreviated, of course:)
          I fail to understand how this file is useful for anything at
all. Have Xorg's settings for these "configured devices" moved
elsewhere in the system? Am I an idiot for not reading the release
notes, or a dotard for having read them and forgotten what they said?
Anyway, I still am not sure which driver is installed in the system.
The video works fine, glxgears reports about 250-350 FPS, OpenArena
works, etc. Does the ati driver support 3D acceleration? I'm happy to
have it but I was unaware that the driver provided it, and the
performance seems a little low compared to the 8500 LE I used to run
under fglrx back in the day.
          Yes, I know that those old driver versions still exist
somewhere out in the luminiferous aether, but I'm so not going there.
Mostly I'm just happy that the bugger works, but my curiosity has been
aroused. Also, and oddly enough, the 2D performance is more than a
little lacking. Desktop effects in GNOME (why did I install GNOME? So
that I could test the desktop effects ;) work but are jerky, and the
xfce compositor works but with some strange effects- when a drop-down
menu animates, there is about a half-second of static before the
contents become visible. Also, playback of compressed video (flv) is
noticeably slower than it was on another machine, a 450MHz P3 with a
GeForce 2 MX 400 under nvidia-glx-legacy.
           Submitted for your consideration- do y'all think this
machine's performance would improve if I switched to a 64MB GeForce2
MX400, using the nvidia-glx-legacy driver? Would the putative
performance be diminished by the use of a 32MB card (same model)
instead? I'm not sure if the 64MB card works- I found it inside the
machine when I opened it up, along with an old NCR SCSI card, a
wristwatch, two 3/4'' brass washers, and about 40 pounds of dust
bunnies. Oh, and a dime.

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