Ivan Čukić

The ordeal

This is not really a KDE post, but rather something that happened and took away two days from me. So, you’re free to skip it :)

Intro

Insanely enough, I decided to completely wipe out my current system and after quite some time reinstall Debian. I completely forgot how tiresome is reinstalling everything from scratch – all the packages needed by KDE SC, all the packages needed by me, and everything else. Even more, I’m used to installing the minimal system, and then installing xorg, …

So, when the initial installation was over, I decided to make a clean KDE build (like I haven’t lost enough time already) – and after a few attempts I managed to install just enough dependencies so that the stuff I want (or work on) works without a glitch.

eeePC as a graphics card

At the time I started to get pleased by my newly refreshed and cleaned system, my screen just went blank, and after a reboot, the computer made quite a few beeps before starting to boot the OS while leaving the screen blank.

One of the capacitors on my graphic card went crazy and had blown up. Since I needed to do some work, I couldn’t allow myself to be without access to the system, and using a much slower (eee)PC with a much smaller screen while my main system lies incapacitated (or incapacitor-ated) was a no-go.

The first solution was to do an ‘ssh -X’ from eeePC and connect my big screen to it. And this worked quite well except that VGA connector didn’t want to allow the full resolution of my screen so the picture was a bit blurry.

The is in a nutshell, the power of Linux and X11.

ATI

After I finished the things I needed to do, I hurried to the last open computer-store to get a new card. The last one left in the store was ATI’s HD6450, so I didn’t have any doubts which card to get.

I have to say that I was thrilled I’m getting rid of NVidia driver problems (although I didn’t really have any :) ) and getting into AMD’s world (after all I haven’t bought a single Intel’s CPU since 80286).

But, as per Murphy’s law, while KWin worked with all fancy effects (via the openGL backend), all openGL programs decided to claim that this driver doesn’t support openGL – at all. Even the simplest examples from the ‘Computer graphics’ course I teach.

After seeking the solution on the intertubes, and trying each and every one, I almost decided to quit and leave it like that. Fortunately, after a while, I /decided/ it was the problem with the fact I need fglrx-glx package which I can’t install because it would break quite a few other packages (and thus apt would uninstall them) including some qt4 stuff which required mesa-glx.

Then I decided to do the dirty thing – to simply overwrite mesa’s libGL.so* stuff with those from fglrx. Usually, this is not really a safe thing to do, but since openGL is a C library that has to conform to a few well-defined standards, all implementations need to be binary compatible, which in turn means those can easily be interchanged.

This and a few radeon.modeset=0 sprinkled in a couple of places made my system fully functional.

Outro

This morning I even decided to tear apart all the components from the case, clean them and resemble the system (cleaning the body as well as the soul – it’s a chán/zen thing :) )

Now I have something that works and feels as a completely new system.

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