Hello from newbie and broken log-in-screen

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Hello from newbie and broken log-in-screen

Postby LadyLuck » Fri Sep 27, 2013 22:19

So hello all just thought I'd stop by introduce myself. I am reaching you from a a Dell Lap-Top (Inspiron 1721) running Sabayon 13.08 Gnome. The lap-top is probably turning 5 years old this fall. It was originally equipped with Vista and had been more or less useless for anything for at least the last two years.

I tried various linux incarnations before settling on Sabayon. I have in the past tried Red-Hat and Mandrake (back in the day) and more recently Fedora, Bodhi and Ubuntu. I also booted Mint, PCLinuxOS and others from DVD images. But that by no means makes me an experienced Linux user.

I did actually try an older version of Sabayon first, i.e. nr. 8 from a Linux Format DVD, and was very impressed. So I burned an image of 13.08 and that then brought me here. I simply installed the system as recommended - no fiddling.

I do have one issue though. It may well be hardware rather than software. When I reboot the system and come to the first log-in window my screen is broken into three or four triangles and the user-name and log-in space are hard to see. This is not such a big problem as long as I am the only user (I simply type my password) but I would prefer to fix this if I can.

Another general question is. Should I go with a "lighter" desktop environment than Gnome.
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Re: Hello from newbie and broken log-in-screen

Postby dave_64 » Fri Sep 27, 2013 23:06

I usually set up "autologin" and "passwordless" login. Then you wouldn't have to squint to find the login fields. You have an ati vid card, so, maybe somebody else can help you with a tweak for that.
As for the DE, I have two computers with somewhat similar specs as your Inspiron (dual core, and 2 gb of ram), and I run KDE on both of them. I think KDE and gnome are similar in weight. They would run faster under a lighter DE, but, they seem pretty responsive under KDE. Basically, it comes down to speed versus comfort. Waiting an extra 3 or 4 seconds to open Libreoffice is a small price to pay for a user friendly and full featured DE. But that's just me. Your requirements may be different. Gamers would probably want to go with a lighter DE.
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Re: Hello from newbie and broken log-in-screen

Postby LadyLuck » Sat Sep 28, 2013 18:13

Thank you for your suggestion dave_64. Maybe I will do that as a work-around eventually. I would however like to understand what is going on first. I will probably stick with Gnome mostly for historical reasons.
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Re: Hello from newbie and broken log-in-screen

Postby LadyLuck » Tue Oct 01, 2013 0:29

So I am not getting anywhere with this problem. When I reboot the Inspiron 1721 (Sabayon 13.08 Gnome) the first screens appear fine (Grub, Sabayon foot print and progress bar) there are some error messages regarding firmware but they disappear to quickly for me to read.

When it comes to the final login screen the the software and firmware/hardware are not communicating correctly. The screen is broken into several triangles and more or less incomprehensible.

Should I look to Dell for Firmware updates or fixes or is it possible that I should re-install Sabayon with some specific configuraiton ?

Is there a particular report in
#sabutil menu
that could shed some light on the boot process e.g. let me read error messages that are generated during boot?
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Re: Hello from newbie and broken log-in-screen

Postby LadyLuck » Sun Oct 13, 2013 15:17

So I managed to get a bit further with figuring this out (with some help). With

Code: Select all
 dmesg | less

I found the following warnings reported in the kernel messages:
[ 0.000000] [Firmware Warn]: MTRR: CPU 0: SYSCFG[MtrrFixDramModEn] not cleared by BIOS, clearing this bit
[ 0.000000] ACPI BIOS Bug: Warning: Optional FADT field Pm2ControlBlock has zero address or length: 0x0000000000000000/0x1 (20130328/tbfadt-603)
[ 0.020000] [Firmware Warn]: MTRR: CPU 0: SYSCFG[MtrrFixDramModEn] not cleared by BIOS, clearing this bit
[ 0.090418] [Firmware Warn]: MTRR: CPU 1: SYSCFG[MtrrFixDramModEn] not cleared by BIOS, clearing this bit


As I understand these warnings are not related to my problem with the log-in screen, and I will simply live with them, for a while at least.

Wtih
Code: Select all
 grep EE /var/log/Xorg.0.log


I found this error
[ 32.463] (EE) Failed to load module "modesetting" (module does not exist, 0)


This error has been discussed in a number of threads related to various distributions such as:
Gentoo: http://forums.gentoo.org/viewtopic-t-95 ... art-0.html
Arch: https://bbs.archlinux.org/viewtopic.php?id=150817
Fedora: http://forums.fedoraforum.org/showthread.php?t=283534

The solutions seems to be "dowgrading" a number of packages to older versions (see Arch thread).

These threads are from the last 14 months (the latest one from august 2013) and so I gather one is looking at a backward compatibility issue that will not be resolved. So either I downgrade or live with the flickering log-in screen.

Any other suggestions are of course welcome.

Thanx
LL
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Re: Hello from newbie and broken log-in-screen

Postby Cb7 » Sun Oct 13, 2013 18:47

You can always change DM (display manager - thing you call login screen) and see whether it changes something.
Perhaps one you're using currently is broken or somethin'.

So, check which you're using now:
Code: Select all
systemctl status display-manager
That's probably gdm, which afaik is default DM for Gnome.

Knowing that you can pick different DM, (available ones are: lightdm, kdm, lxdm, …) install it, and change to it:
Code: Select all
systemctl disable display-manager  ## it disables currently used
systemctl enable lightdm ## now enable new display-manager, for example lightdm
Best for you to check would be probably lightdm, since you use Gnome, and there is no point in installing kdm along with a lot of KDE dependencies, or lxdm which may cause some other problems.

After installing & changing reboot/restart X.

If changing DM won't help, you can revert it back to default:
Code: Select all
systemctl disable display-manager && systemctl enable gdm
Why, and how to add "[Solved]" to your post. Please read. ← credits to Fitzcarraldo

Kind regards
~Zetok Zalbavar
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