Ubuntu Linux: followup

I’ve solved the problem with my ATi Radeon 7000 graphic card. I’ll leave this for future reference, you never know…

The Symptoms

ATi Radeon 7000, in combination with an Acer AC711 monitor (17″), just goes wild under XFree86. With the default configuration, X loads with an resolution of 640×480, and a virtual resolution of 1024×768. No matter what modeline I put inside my XF86Config-4 file, and no matter what option I specified for the radeon driver, I could get X to use an higher resolution.

The Solution

The only way of making a ATi Radeon 7000 work with my 17″ monitor was to enable the Radeon framebuffer device inside the kernel (you might want to load the module during the boot sequence, but I strongly suggest recompiling the kernel with the framebuffer device built-in), and change the Device section inside the /etc/X11/XF86Config-4 file like this:

Section "Device"
        Identifier      "ATi Radeon 7000 VE (RV100 QY)"
        Driver          "radeon"
        Option          "UseFBDev"      "true"

I’ve highlighted the line you should add

By telling X to use the framebuffer device, the card successfully reaches a usable resolution, and the virtual desktop is gone for good.

Ubuntu Linux

Yesterday, I’ve downloaded the first official release of Ubuntu Linux – codenamed Warty Warthog. It seems – as I’ve been reading on Planet GNOME and Planet Debian – that this distro is the Next Best Thing® for desktop usage, so I decided to give it a try (currently, on my box I’m running Debian Unstable with some packages from Experimental).

I’ve turned my Dummy Mode on, and launched the installation. Well, not exactely “turned off” – since I actually had to carefully choose the right partition inside the partition table, in order to keep my precious / intact.

The installation worked pretty much flawlessy: it was better than any installation procedure I’ve done in years; it seemed more like a LiveCD booting than a disk installation.

Unfortunately, here cometh trouble. I’ve a crappy Radeon 7000 graphic card and an Acer AC711 monitor; this combination yields major PITA, since X seems to work only when using the kernel’s framebuffer device, by setting the “UseFBDev” option to “true” inside the /etc/X11/XF86Config-4 file. Ubuntu’s kernel image comes with the Radeon framebuffer device compiled as a module – thus I’m unable to activate it before GDM spawns.

Hence, I’ll have to turn my Dummy Mode off, and recompile a kernel with the radeonfb module compiled statically and invoked inside the kernel command line.

So long for a dummy mode installation.