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Thread: Nouveau driver fails to load, monitor resolutions limited

  1. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Arizona USA
    Beans
    2,870
    Distro
    Ubuntu Development Release

    Re: Nouveau driver fails to load, monitor resolutions limited

    Quote Originally Posted by edwards2013 View Post
    Everest output [...]
    Motherboard:
    CPU Type Intel Pentium III, 450 MHz (4.5 x 100)
    Motherboard Name Intel Warm Springs WS440BX (1 ISA, 5 PCI, 1 AGP, 3 DIMM)
    Motherboard Chipset Intel 82440BX
    System Memory 640 MB (SDRAM)
    BIOS Type Phoenix (04/22/99)
    Communication Port Communications Port (COM1)
    Communication Port Communications Port (COM3)
    Communication Port ECP Printer Port (LPT1)
    Aha! P3. I'm running a P4EE (see sig). Just saying...

    The oldest computer I have, that will run a modern Linux distro, with beautiful graphics, et cetera, is an eMachine eTower (circa 1998 / WinME). A friend donated it to me -- 667MHz Celeron, 192MB RAM, Intel GPU, blah, blah, blah. Soooo, it is doable, but...

    The only distro I could find, that would boot from the HD (and, I tried many), was Macpup Opera 2.0 (a Puppy Linux fork). The eMachine was an extreme example of mostly proprietary hardware, but Puppy Linux et al. works just fine, generally speaking, on most ancient iron.

    I also have a Celeron-powered netbook, bootable USB sticks, and so forth that require a light OS (otherwise they are intolerably slow). On modern mobile devices (laptop, netbook, USB sticks) I run Peppermint OS (an Ubuntu fork). It flies like the wind, on modest hardware.

    If it was me, I would be looking for a modern Linux distro, that was designed around an older kernel (intentionally older, for older hardware). That's what I recommend, and what I do.

    As time goes on, older hardware support starts getting pulled from the latest Linux kernel(s). They do that mostly to keep the size down. Kernels are constantly changing -- support for newer devices is added, and support for older devices is removed. P3/i386 support has totally been removed on the most recent kernels. I'm running Linux 3.10 successfully on this P4/i686 box, but my time is coming, too. The distros I mentioned above (and personally run myself) will continue to support i386 machines, via older kernels, for some time to come. It's their 'bag', you know?

    Anyway, I would burn a couple of bootable CD's with Macpup Opera 2.0, and Peppermint OS -- boot them up, see how they run (I think you'll be amazed at the difference in performance). If everything goes well, install one_or_the_other on your HD, and call it a day.

    Otherwise, you might get away with downgrading your current OS, and once you get it working again, start pinning packages to protect them from being upgraded in the future.
    Last edited by VinDSL; July 12th, 2013 at 06:36 PM. Reason: Typo Demon Strikes Again
    Intel ® P4 Extreme Edition 3.4 (Gallatin) || DFI ® LanParty PRO875B rev B1
    Crucial ® Ballistix Tracer PC4000 1GB || Mountain Mods U2-UFO Opti-1203
    XFX 7600GT 560M AGP (PV-T73A-UDF3) || Corsair HX520W Modular PSU

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Beans
    7

    Re: Nouveau driver fails to load, monitor resolutions limited

    Well, I figured that I might run into some dead ends on this project so it's not too surprising. The interesting part is that TinyCore running with XVesa provides full display resolution support, albeit with a more limited desktop environment. I did have Puppy Linux on the short list but have not tried it yet. Xubuntu came up in searches and runs fine for what I am doing, which does not require a graphics heavy environment, so I decided to go with that distro. I know that the age of the equipment is at the edge of being unsupported, end-of-life gear, but the part that keeps me going is that it runs well and all the documentation says it should work. I am also hoping to have some reasonable level of supported OS to insure a modicum of security while exposed to the web. I have not done a lot of customization of the install yet, so mistakes made now are easily cleared with a reinstall (especially now that I understand Grub better). I'll probably try some tweaking of Nouveau once I wrap my head around how to do those installs and activations - I'm still digging through the freedesktop.org site and documentation which is not really geared toward noobs like me.

    Thanks for all of the assistance and suggestions. I'll leave the thread open for another day or so in the hopes that someone will take a look over the weekend and offer up a new idea or two. If I come up with something that happens to work I'll also post the results.

    Edwards

  3. #13
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Beans
    213
    Distro
    Lubuntu

    Re: Nouveau driver fails to load, monitor resolutions limited

    If thinking about going for a different distro, I recommend Slitaz. A very lightweight distro for old computers. They 3.0 and 4.0 stable versions. Installed 3.0 on p3 600mhz and the pc boots in 15 seconds.

  4. #14
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Beans
    7

    Re: Nouveau driver fails to load, monitor resolutions limited

    Thanks for the suggestion jp734. I have looked at Slitaz, but like Puppy I have not loaded either yet. I'll dig a bit further to see if they support a video driver other than nouveau or vesa, as the problem is related to display resolution rather than OS speed and operability. Xubuntu runs fine and does everything I try as quickly as I need it to, but the display is limited to 1024x768. I erroneously posted earlier that Tiny Core and Xvesa allowed a better display, but that was based on a visual improvement from an even lower (800x600) starting point change to 1024x768. I am in the process of trying to follow the compiling instructions on the nouveau site to see if this makes any difference, but I have a bit to learn about make files and how that works. I'm not certain it will do anything to improve the situation, but it's a fun experiment and learning process. I'll post a procedure (if I can determine one) for others who may want to undertake reviving very old hardware for the fun of it.

    Thanks again all.

    Edwards

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