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Barvinok
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Joined: 29 Sep 2013
Posts: 29
Location: Ukraine

PostPosted: Fri Jan 16, 2015 9:25 pm    Post subject: GNOME3: randomly missing text, characters, icons and corners Reply with quote

Hi!

I'm running an Intel Atom N270 netbook with Gentoo only on it. Using systemd and GNOME3 aka gnome-shell.

So far I've managed to set up and run GNOME Shell on it, but only for a few minutes per each session. Then, suddenly, in a non-reproducible way (it always happens during different activity) the whole text labels and/or certain characters from the shell elements become missing. Just a blank space. Also missing are the icons in the Activity or Applications menu, virtually all text and icons in the window that pops up when I click on the upper-right corner, etc. Note that window contents of the started applications (firefox, terminal, nautilus etc) aren't missing and appear as they should. The shell appears to be working though, if only I can remember what and where all controls were and what were their text labels. Also, rounded corner tiles on some of the gnome shell dialogs and buttons are also missing.

I've taken some screenshots to illustrate the effect: one, two, three, four, five.

So I started googling and found some of the similar issues. Such were: this, this and this. None of the search matches mentioned Gentoo or anything recent enough, though.

Most of the suggestions were related to changing the video drivers, namely nvidia and ati, which is not the case here. Summarizing the suggestions voiced by the people in the discussions of the aforementioned cases, I investigated the possible solutions. To my surprise, these were quite few.
1. Using gnome-tweak-tool to switch font antialiasing from Greyscale to RGBA.
2. Using gnome-tweak-tool to switch font scale from 1.00 to 1.2
3. Switch from UXA to SNA (or vice versa) acceleration in the video driver.

I tried all of them to no avail. Switching between SNA and UXA does not seem to have any effect. Using gnome-tweak-tool to change font settings (scale, AA and hinting) does bring some (not all) text labels back but, again, for a few minutes. journalctl does not reveal any errors or relevant warnings at the time of the glitch. It just happens any time.

Another suggestion was to downgrade cairo as the library responsible for rendering text in gnome-shell UI (I use current stable cairo 1.12.16) but I generally dislike such solutions as they would imply some form of hardware dependence for something that should not care about it, plus generally breaking the elegance of versioning.

I'm desperately looking for any advice.

Here's basic info on my netbook
wgetpaste --info-only
zcat /proc/config.gz | wgetpaste
lspci -knn | wgetpaste
dmesg | wgetpaste

Thanks in advance.
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eccerr0r
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Joined: 01 Jul 2004
Posts: 7131
Location: almost Mile High in the USA

PostPosted: Fri Jan 16, 2015 10:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have a gut feeling that the recent releases of xf86-video-intel are kind of borked.

Most of my machines are working okay though, so not exactly sure what's going on. Which GPU are you using?

My 915G (CeleronM) seems to completely break on Gentoo-x86 stable right now and had to backtrack one version to get things working again. My 945GM (Atom N270) seems to work, as well as my HD4000 (i5). However only my HD4000 is using Gnome, the other two are XFCE.

I have another HD4000 (Atom Z3735G) that seems to have issues but am happy that I can see anything at all on it... But so far neither of the Gnome/Intel graphics boxes I have - have the artifacts you're seeing.

Are you getting this error in dmesg per chance?
Code:
*ERROR* pipe is still busy with an old pageflip

https://forums.gentoo.org/viewtopic-t-1007522-highlight-.html

xf86-video-intel 2.21.15 on my 945GM, and I'm probably running ~x86 or ~amd64 for the HD4000's. The 915G I think I just downgraded mesalib which shouldn't affect 2d...then again...
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Barvinok
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Joined: 29 Sep 2013
Posts: 29
Location: Ukraine

PostPosted: Sat Jan 17, 2015 8:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

eccerr0r wrote:
I have a gut feeling that the recent releases of xf86-video-intel are kind of borked.

Not sure what this implies.
I've upgraded xf86-video-intel to an ~x86 version, tried it with either UXA and SNA -- no effect, still the same glitch.

eccerr0r wrote:
Most of my machines are working okay though, so not exactly sure what's going on. Which GPU are you using?

Err... AFAIK the netbook have only one video card, which GNOME identifies as "... on i915 (chipset: 945GME)".
lspci, however, shows two relevant entries
Code:
00:02.0 VGA compatible controller [0300]: Intel Corporation Mobile 945GSE Express Integrated Graphics Controller [8086:27ae] (rev 03)
   Subsystem: Intel Corporation Device [8086:1999]
   Kernel driver in use: i915
00:02.1 Display controller [0380]: Intel Corporation Mobile 945GM/GMS/GME, 943/940GML Express Integrated Graphics Controller [8086:27a6] (rev 03)
   Subsystem: Intel Corporation Device [8086:1999]

Again, I'm not sure how to interpret this.

eccerr0r wrote:
Are you getting this error in dmesg per chance?
Code:
*ERROR* pipe is still busy with an old pageflip

No, I don't. System journal is painfully silent on this problem.
I've managed to record a two-minute screencast video of how this happens (2.3 MB), the glitch occurs at 01:20.

Now, how do I increase the log verbosity for gnome session?
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