Saturday, September 19, 2009

Ubuntu Jaunty on AMD64/SiS Mirage computer

As I already wrote, I installed Ubuntu Jaunty on an AMD64 box with a SiS Mirage AGP 3 graphics card.
While most things work well (other than 3D effects which apparently are not available for the SiS Mirage video card), when I booted into Ubuntu, both sides of the screen (LG Flatron 17", 1280x1024) showed 3-4 vertical flickering lines which were very annoying.
Now, I could get rid of this problem by adding these lines to the Monitor section of /etc/X11/xorg.conf:

HorizSync 60.0-70.0
VertRefresh 45.0-55.00

Unfortunately, while this removed the flickering screen problem, quite a few errors referring to incorrect vertical refresh values were obtained which made getting through to the Desktop was cumbersome.
I actually did a lot of experimentation of the Vertical Refresh range but my experience was that EITHER you got the flickering screen or the error-laden start-up. Note that in spite of the apparent vertical refresh problem, when the Desktop was finally reached, it looked perfect. Maybe a default VR was picked up from somewhere.
In any event, this needed to be resolved. Luckily I came across this site seemingly dedicated to the problems, and their solutions, of using SiS cards in Linux.
One recommendation was to use the vesa driver instead of sis for the graphics. To do this was just a matter of adding the line
Driver "vesa"

to the Device section of /etc/X11/xorg.conf.
After rebooting, no Vertical Refresh errors occurred and no flickering lines -- so a complete success.
Buoyed with this success, I tried to see if 3D effects were available but no -- so looks like wobbly windows are out of the question here.

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