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Altivo
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 15, 2015 2:37 am    Post subject: Xorg on Alpha hadware Reply with quote

I'm a long time (since the mid-90s) Linux user but new to Gentoo. In spite of some definite defects in the Alpha Handbook and LiveCD, I've managed to get the command line environment installed and running well on my PWS 433au. Help from a couple of people here on the forums was particularly valuable in that, and I've offered elsewhere to aid in fixing those instructions to make them more complete and accurate.

I've installed and used X11/Xorg on Slackware, Debian, Ubuntu, and Mint. I'm very familiar with the configuration files and how they are used. I'm a bit intimidated by the need to use portage to compile all that code, but game to try. I've read through the Xorg Guide on the Gentoo Wiki, but it really just brushed the surface and is clearly limited by a focus on Intel environments.

For instance, Alpha users with typical hardware will have video cards that were supported by OpenVMS and/or Tru64. Mostly that means Permedia chipsets (ELSA Gloria Synergy and Powerstorm 4D10T cards) or perhaps MGA (Matrox Millennium) or S3 Trio 64. In fact, I have all three of these cards on hand for my Alphas. ATI and nVidia were never heard of back then and may not even work in these machines. There is at least nominal support for these older cards in the kernel build and Xorg, though I found out some years back that the S3 support in Debian did not work on 64 bit processors. (The MGA and Permedia drivers were OK, though.) Just last week I learned that the Permedia frame buffer code in the Gentoo kernel does not work, at least on the Alpha. The ELSA Permedia card works with command line only if the frame buffer code is disabled in the kernel.

Anyway, I'm trying to figure out where to start with Xorg. Is xorg-core the first package to emerge?

Does anyone have a working Xorg setup on Alpha right now? OpenBSD works for the client side of X, but has no X server for Alpha, so it isn't much use as a workstation environment. I'm hoping that Gentoo will support a workstation (X server and X client on the same machine.)
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NeddySeagoon
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 15, 2015 11:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Altivo,

Google says you need the xf86-video-glint video driver for your Permedia 2 graphics.
You need to find out what to put in VIDEO_CARDS= and INPUT_DEVICES=

Then
Code:
emerge x11-base/xorg-server
.
This will not get you a window manager.

To test
Code:
emerge -1 twm xterm xclock

If all is well startx, will get you three xterms, an analogue clock all wrapped up in twm.
No configuration required for testing.
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Altivo
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 21, 2015 3:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Update: (for any future Alpha installers)

The merge for Xorg took 23 hours on the PWS. It did not encounter any errors, fortunately. It did, however, omit some drivers that really ought to be included for the alpha architecture, notably S3, framebuffer, and probably VESA. It included several that are unlikely to be of use, such as ATI.

Adding twm, xterm and xclock did show that the installed code was functional on the ELSA Permedia card, but only after I wrote my own file segments for xorg-conf.d to define the monitor, device, screens, and layout. The defaults did not work at all, yielding only a black screen. The Xorg logs showed a pile of "No screen" errors as X evidently couldn't recognize the monitor or card correctly.

I eventually went to my working Debian installation and copied Xorg.conf from there, then dissected it to get the necessary bits. I had to write modeline definitions for 1024x768 and 800x600 resolutions in the end. Debian didn't need these, but running xvidtune on Debian got me the starting values. Then I installed and used xvidtune on Gentoo to tweak them into shape.

I unmerged twm, and added fluxbox instead. KDE and Gnome are just too bloated for this environment, and apparently are masked on ~alpha anyway.

A tweak to .xinitrc to make fluxbox the default window manager brought it right up. No problems there. I added rxvt to get a somewhat lighter terminal window for use instead of xterm.

The only remaining piece I haven't solved is the display manager. I have normally used gdm, which is masked and has massive dependencies here. The viable choices appear to be xdm or wdm, and I chose the smaller of the two in wdm. It merged easily, but won't run on the local console. I'm still working on that as of today.

Oh, and the question of a web browser. None of the well-known ones are working on ~alpha, all are masked. I had hoped for Epiphany or Midori, but no luck there. Settled for Dillo, which has rough edges but works mostly. The difficult part is getting cookies to work, since the authors are apparently very opposed to their use. But they can be enabled if you dig, and are essential for using webmail and some online forums.
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Maquis196
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 04, 2016 11:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

out of interest, could you post your x11 config? I've not been able to run X on my Alpha yet and have no debian install to copy from (although im very tempted to get debian 5 installed - had issues getting into an installer for it).

cheers in advance if you get this!
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Maquis196
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 04, 2016 11:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

although remembering back to my original problem, seems to be some issue between Xorg,Alpha and xf86WriteMmio16. Might go try the geforce2MX I have or Vesa.
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chithanh
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 04, 2016 2:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It is possible to use AMD/NVidia/... cards for PCs with these machines, however they will not produce any output during boot because the system firmware cannot talk to them. Only after the kernel has loaded the DRM/fb drivers something will show.
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Maquis196
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 04, 2016 2:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ah yes, I learnt about that.

My issue at the moment is mostly that xorg-drivers blocks almost everything;

Code:

[ebuild     U ~] x11-base/xorg-drivers-1.18-r1::gentoo [1.17::gentoo] INPUT_DEVICES="evdev -acecad -aiptek -elographics -fpit -hyperpen -joystick -keyboard (-libinput) -mouse -mutouch -penmount (-synaptics) -tslib (-vmmouse) -void (-wacom)" VIDEO_CARDS="mga nv* (-amdgpu) (-apm) (-ast) (-chips) -cirrus -dummy -epson -fbdev (-fglrx) (-freedreno) (-geode) -glint (-i128) (-i740) (-intel) -mach64 (-neomagic) (-nouveau) (-nvidia) (-omap) (-omapfb) (-qxl) -r128 -radeon (-radeonsi) -rendition -s3 -s3virge -savage (-siliconmotion) -sisusb (-sunbw2) (-suncg14) (-suncg3) (-suncg6) (-sunffb) (-sunleo) (-suntcx) -tdfx (-tegra) -tga (-trident) (-tseng) (-vesa) (-via) (-virtualbox) (-vmware) (-voodoo)"


I'm looking at emerging xf86-driver-vesa/nv directly. Nouveau would be fantastic, I've not gotten far enough into my project to go see if I can get the geforce working on any level. 2D that works would be good enough for me. Just a shame the MGA driver has issues on this platform that aren't likely going to be fixed any time soon - wish I could help![/code]
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chithanh
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 04, 2016 2:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Most of these packages are unkeyworded because nobody has yet tried them and/or bothered to tell us whether it works. You can just keyword the driver and unmask the VIDEO_CARDS flag and report whether it works or not.
/etc/portage/package.accept_keywords:
x11-drivers/xf86-video-nouveau * (or ~* for ~alpha systems)

/etc/portage/profile/use.mask:
-video_cards_nouveau
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Maquis196
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 04, 2016 2:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

that was my next step alright! I figured that was the case.

Okay, sounds good to me. Is there anywhere specific I should report success to?
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chithanh
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 04, 2016 2:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If it works, report a bug on https://bugs.gentoo.org/ in Keywording and Stabilization, and request ~alpha keyword to be added and the use.mask dropped from the profile.
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Maquis196
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 04, 2016 3:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Considering the amount of software I'll get to play around with shortly. I will do what I can! Thanks for the help :)
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Altivo
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 04, 2016 3:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just received notice that this topic was bumped.

I'd be glad to share my configuration but I don't have it any more. I found Gentoo was simply not usable for any practical purposes on my Alphas. It is missing too many essential applications, and getting those to work is beyond my limited development knowledge so I gave up on it and removed it. The same is true for much-touted OpenBSD, which I tried when its supporters insisted it was usable on the Alpha. I guess either system works if you just want a headless server to run Apache on, but neither is capable of supporting general use computing.

OpenVMS does work, of course, but is also lacking in usable applications. Older releases of Debian that are still available seem to come closest to meeting my needs, but they will gradually decline in usability as the web browser, word processor, and other tools age.
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Maquis196
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 04, 2016 3:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

No worries, thanks for letting me know.

I class this box just as a hobby, so ill see what I can get working on it. I'll stop bumping your thread as well.

Thanks again all.
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