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Re: [vox-tech] Debian configuration: X and modem and zip]
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Re: [vox-tech] Debian configuration: X and modem and zip]

Quoting Ashleigh Smythe (absmythe@ucdavis.edu):

> You asked about my XFree86:  dpkg -l shows that I just lists 1 main 
> package that I can see: xfree86-common 4.1.0-16woody1 X Window System 
> (XFree86) infrastructure".  There are other related packages but I 
> guess that those are all for the same X package I have (things like 
> xserver-xfree86 4.1.0-16woody1 the XFree86 server...).

Thanks.  To explain, that means the XFree86 version is 4.1.0, and the
Debian package version is "16woody1".  

According to
, that version is indeed the current one for Woody (Debian 3.0) on IA32
architectures.  My best guess is that proper support for i845 didn't
enter XFree86 until version 4.2.1 or 4.2.2.  (Distributions like Debian
will often "backport" fixes and enhancements to older, known-stable
versions of software rather than leap to the latest/greatest versions,
so you can't go strictly by version numbers.)

You would, I estimate, need to either retrofit a driver (e.g., the
download from Intel) into your existing XFree86 4.1.0 software or find a
way to upgrade to somewhere in the vicinity of 4.2.1/4.2.2.  As
mentioned, the _standard_ package repositories for woody don't include
anything above 4.1.0 (for IA32).  

If you have a look here, using the "apt-get.org" search engine for
third-party (unoffical) Debian package repositories...


...you'll see, among other things, XFree86 package maintainer Branden
Robinson's unofficial backports of 4.2.1-1 (XFree86 version 4.2.1,
package version 1) to Woody.  To use those, add the indicated line to 
/etc/apt/sources.list as a new line:

deb http://people.debian.org/~frankie/debian woody/x421/ 

Then, do "apt-get update", followed by "apt-get dist-upgrade".  The
former command contacts all listed data repositories to get fresh copies
of their available-packages catalogues.  The latter fetches current
versions of all already-installed packages as necessary, from those
repositories, bringing your Debian box up to date.

You would still, at that point, need to muck about with the strange
kernel drivers (agpgart, dri), and make sure /dev/agpgart exists and is
correct, but at least you'd (probably) have a usable XFree86 4.x driver
for your "video card", at that point.

Alternatively, you could do what *I* would do, and start over with
Debian-sarge (currently the "testing" branch, where Debian 3.0 = woody
is the current "stable" branch).  Or you could buy a separate video
card.  Or both.

> Jonathan Stickel posted a message yesterday about getting a 64 MB
> Nvidia card - do any other people (Rick?) have opinions/suggestions on
> a video card?

Oh, everyone has opinions.  ;->  Mine are a little out of date on the
current state of video, because, one, I don't buy often, and two, I
couldn't care less about whizbang 3D graphics features that are all the
rage among people truly impassioned about these things.[1]

If you buy a current-production Nvidia card, you can either use either
recent XFree86 open-source drivers (more than good enough for ordinary
video), or proprietary XFree86-compatible 4.x binary-only drivers issued
by Nvidia, which you have to download separately and retrofit into
XFree86.  The 3D graphics enthusiasts, who are primarily gamers, will
tend to enthusiastically endorse the latter.  You're probably already
seeing this coming:  The topic leads directly into yet another
traditional flamewar, between the 3D gamer (*cough* and other)
enthusiasts and those of us who run an open-source operating system in
part because we got tired of being jerked around with dependencies on
proprietary software.

Nvidia's biggest competitor is ATI, and the situation with ATI cards is
very similar:  If you buy a selected-at-random current-production model,
odds are you'll end up with one that has more than adequate performance
with open-source XFree86 software, but cannot do 3D at all without
proprietary drivers from ATI (if those are available).

I have a bit about this situation at http://linuxmafia.com/kb/Hardware/
, in the "Video Cards" and "Video Cards for Linux" entries.  

I've just updated the former of those with the following note at the

<p><em>RM adds:  Paul's opinion notwithstanding, one can have absolutely
stellar video including very good (but not absolutely maximum-speed/quality)
3D performance using certain ATI Radeon cards and open-source software
only, provided that one is very careful about which ATI Radeon chipset
one buys.  As the DRI Project's <a
href="http://dri.sourceforge.net/cgi-bin/moin.cgi/ATI";>ATI Technologies
page</a> points out, "Radeons up to 9200 are supported".  In particular,
one wants to avoid ending up with ATI's cutting-edge "r300" or "Rv300"
chipset series (generally speaking, Radeon models 9500 and above), as
those require ATI's binary-only proprietary driver, if you want 3D
support.</em>  </p>

Personally, if I were going out and buying a video card and cared about
3D (which I honestly don't), then I'd probably seek an ATI Radeon 9200
or similar -- or some other ATI Radeon cards that uses an R200 or rv250
/ M9 or rv280 / M9+ chipset.  I would not _personally_ go with Nvidia.

Views Differ.<tm>

[1] Some of which I expect will now join this thread -- at extremely
high frame rates, clock speed, and colour-compression rates.[2]

[2] <FoghornLeghornMode>"That's a joke, son.  Ah say, ah say, it's a
_joke_, son."</FoghornLeghornMode>

Cheers,     Founding member of the Hyphenation Society, a grassroots-based, 
Rick Moen   not-for-profit, locally-owned-and-operated, cooperatively-managed,
rick@linuxmafia.com     modern-American-English-usage-improvement association.
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