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Thread: S-Video on an ancient Thinkpad, or WTH is xorg.conf?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2012

    S-Video on an ancient Thinkpad, or WTH is xorg.conf?

    I'm a total n00b to linux, running Xubuntu 12.04 on an IBM R51 2883 Thinkpad with an intel 855 graphics chipset. With XP my s-video hooked up with nary a glitch, but now it's not even being detected. I've read posts telling me to edit the xorg.conf file, but I have no idea where the friggin file is. Supposedly my system has xorg installed, but I can't for the life of me figure my way around the system.

    Any advice for a long-time mac user and GUI girl who's somewhat intimidated by terminal commands?

    Please, Thank You and a huge Kiss on the Cheek to the one who can help me get this working.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2013

    Re: S-Video on an ancient Thinkpad, or WTH is xorg.conf?

    I can't provide a DIRECT answer, but I suggest poking around in the root( File System) directory in your file browser application. Basically just look in the different directories for folders that seem relevant. And if you get to know the OS, you'll find that it's not TOO different from Mac, as well as the fact that you're going to have to use the terminal a bit for certain things. I had to freaking Google commands all the time when I was a beginner. Nice computer by the way

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2012

    Re: S-Video on an ancient Thinkpad, or WTH is xorg.conf?

    I've poked through all the folders but, as far as I can tell, there's no xorg.conf file. Anybody know if there's some kind of search I can use on the internal file system?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2012

    Re: S-Video on an ancient Thinkpad, or WTH is xorg.conf?

    The xorg.conf file would be located in the /etc/X11 directory HOWEVER most of the current xserver-xorg implementations (at least the open source ones) probe the hardware at runtime and don't use an xorg.conf file at all

    That being said, if the file exists it should get read in addition to the hardware probe, so you should be able to create one and put any custom configs in there - for example on this machine I have:

    $ cat /etc/X11/xorg.conf
    Section "Device"
    Identifier "Configured Video Device"
    Driver "nvidia"
    Option "NoLogo" "True"
    # Option "UseVBios" 0
    which suppresses the proprietary Nvidia banner.

    [Sorry I can't help with the specifics - I *do* have an old Thinkpad X30 with IBM graphics but I never tried to get S-Video out of it]

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2012

    Re: S-Video on an ancient Thinkpad, or WTH is xorg.conf?

    So in other words, if I don't have one I can just put one there and the system will recognize it? Scary yet cool! ::begins evil machinations of learning code and hacking this machine until it begs for mercy::

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Dallas, TX
    Ubuntu 16.04 Xenial Xerus

    Re: S-Video on an ancient Thinkpad, or WTH is xorg.conf?

    Hi macinpidey.

    Could you post the content of this file?
    Please paste it here:, and then post back the link.


  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2012

    Re: S-Video on an ancient Thinkpad, or WTH is xorg.conf?

    OK, the content is pasted at:

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Dallas, TX
    Ubuntu 16.04 Xenial Xerus

    Re: S-Video on an ancient Thinkpad, or WTH is xorg.conf?


    There's no reference to the S-Video output. Are you sure you boot your computer with the cable connected and the TV turned on?

    Could you post the result of this command?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    West Hills CA
    Ubuntu 14.04 Trusty Tahr

    Re: S-Video on an ancient Thinkpad, or WTH is xorg.conf?

    I have a T43p built around the same time as an R51. I did get S-video to work under linux, but as I recall, I had to plug it into a TV to wake it up, then hit the Fn-F8 key to cycle through the displays. No xorg.conf fiddling was needed. That was running Jaunty with open radeon (ati) drivers. I don't know how the Intel graphics chip (in your case 855) responds to S-video. You will have to do more searching.

    Open a terminal:

    modinfo i915
    tgalati4@Mint14-Extensa ~ $ modinfo i915
    filename: /lib/modules/3.5.0-27-generic/kernel/drivers/gpu/drm/i915/i915.ko
    license: GPL and additional rights
    description: Intel Graphics
    author: Tungsten Graphics, Inc.
    license: GPL and additional rights
    srcversion: 692E5F708611008E1674B76
    alias: pci:v00008086d00000155sv*sd*bc03sc*i*
    alias: pci:v00008086d00000157sv*sd*bc03sc*i*
    alias: pci:v00008086d00000F30sv*sd*bc03sc*i*
    alias: pci:v00008086d0000016Asv*sd*bc03sc*i*
    alias: pci:v00008086d0000015Asv*sd*bc03sc*i*
    alias: pci:v00008086d00000162sv*sd*bc03sc*i*
    alias: pci:v00008086d00000152sv*sd*bc03sc*i*
    alias: pci:v00008086d00000166sv*sd*bc03sc*i*
    alias: pci:v00008086d00000156sv*sd*bc03sc*i*
    alias: pci:v00008086d0000010Asv*sd*bc03sc*i*
    alias: pci:v00008086d00000126sv*sd*bc03sc*i*
    alias: pci:v00008086d00000116sv*sd*bc03sc*i*
    alias: pci:v00008086d00000106sv*sd*bc03sc*i*
    alias: pci:v00008086d00000122sv*sd*bc03sc*i*
    alias: pci:v00008086d00000112sv*sd*bc03sc*i*
    alias: pci:v00008086d00000102sv*sd*bc03sc*i*
    alias: pci:v00008086d00000046sv*sd*bc03sc*i*
    alias: pci:v00008086d00000042sv*sd*bc03sc*i*
    alias: pci:v00008086d0000A011sv*sd*bc03sc*i*
    alias: pci:v00008086d0000A001sv*sd*bc03sc*i*
    alias: pci:v00008086d00002E92sv*sd*bc03sc*i*
    alias: pci:v00008086d00002E42sv*sd*bc03sc*i*
    alias: pci:v00008086d00002E32sv*sd*bc03sc*i*
    alias: pci:v00008086d00002E22sv*sd*bc03sc*i*
    alias: pci:v00008086d00002E12sv*sd*bc03sc*i*
    alias: pci:v00008086d00002E02sv*sd*bc03sc*i*
    alias: pci:v00008086d00002A42sv*sd*bc03sc*i*
    alias: pci:v00008086d00002A12sv*sd*bc03sc*i*
    alias: pci:v00008086d00002A02sv*sd*bc03sc*i*
    alias: pci:v00008086d000029D2sv*sd*bc03sc*i*
    alias: pci:v00008086d000029C2sv*sd*bc03sc*i*
    alias: pci:v00008086d000029B2sv*sd*bc03sc*i*
    alias: pci:v00008086d000029A2sv*sd*bc03sc*i*
    alias: pci:v00008086d00002992sv*sd*bc03sc*i*
    alias: pci:v00008086d00002982sv*sd*bc03sc*i*
    alias: pci:v00008086d00002972sv*sd*bc03sc*i*
    alias: pci:v00008086d000027AEsv*sd*bc03sc*i*
    alias: pci:v00008086d000027A2sv*sd*bc03sc*i*
    alias: pci:v00008086d00002772sv*sd*bc03sc*i*
    alias: pci:v00008086d00002592sv*sd*bc03sc*i*
    alias: pci:v00008086d0000258Asv*sd*bc03sc*i*
    alias: pci:v00008086d00002582sv*sd*bc03sc*i*
    alias: pci:v00008086d00002572sv*sd*bc03sc*i*
    alias: pci:v00008086d0000358Esv*sd*bc03sc*i*
    alias: pci:v00008086d00003582sv*sd*bc03sc*i*
    alias: pci:v00008086d00002562sv*sd*bc03sc*i*
    alias: pci:v00008086d00003577sv*sd*bc03sc*i*
    depends: drm,drm_kms_helper,video,i2c-algo-bit
    intree: Y
    vermagic: 3.5.0-27-generic SMP mod_unload modversions
    parm: invert_brightness:Invert backlight brightness (-1 force normal, 0 machine defaults, 1 force inversion), please report PCI device ID, subsystem vendor and subsystem device ID to, if your machine needs it. It will then be included in an upcoming module version. (int)
    parm: modeset:Use kernel modesetting [KMS] (0=DRM_I915_KMS from .config, 1=on, -1=force vga console preference [default]) (int)
    parm: fbpercrtc:int

    You are probably running a different Intel driver such as i810:

    tgalati4@Mint14-Extensa ~ $ modinfo i810
    filename: /lib/modules/3.5.0-27-generic/kernel/drivers/gpu/drm/i810/i810.ko
    license: GPL and additional rights
    description: Intel i810
    author: VA Linux Systems Inc.
    srcversion: 89374CACC51639B5B32918A
    depends: drm
    intree: Y
    vermagic: 3.5.0-27-generic SMP mod_unload modversions

    Modinfo gives you the switches that you can play with directly when loading the module. Xorg.conf allows additional configuration, but you will have to search for the switches specific to the video driver that you are running.
    Oooh Shiny: PopularPages

    Unumquodque potest reparantur. Patientia sit virtus.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2012

    Re: S-Video on an ancient Thinkpad, or WTH is xorg.conf?

    pabibe -

    When I enter xrandr I get:

    pidey@pidey-ThinkPad-R51:~$ xrandr
    Screen 0: minimum 320 x 200, current 1024 x 768, maximum 32767 x 32767
    LVDS1 connected 1024x768+0+0 (normal left inverted right x axis y axis) 0mm x 0mm
    1024x768 60.0*+
    800x600 60.3 56.2
    640x480 59.9
    VGA1 disconnected (normal left inverted right x axis y axis)

    The machine is freshly rebooted with the s-video cable attached, but the damn thing just plain isn't showing up. Grrrrrrr.

    tgalati4 -

    For those two commands I get:

    pidey@pidey-ThinkPad-R51:~$ lsmod
    Module Size Used by
    rfcomm 38139 4
    michael_mic 12540 4
    arc4 12473 2
    lib80211_crypt_tkip 17240 1
    lib80211_crypt_ccmp 12789 1
    joydev 17393 0
    snd_intel8x0 33455 3
    snd_ac97_codec 110213 1 snd_intel8x0
    ac97_bus 12642 1 snd_ac97_codec
    snd_pcm 80916 2 snd_intel8x0,snd_ac97_codec
    thinkpad_acpi 73942 1
    snd_seq_midi 13132 0
    snd_rawmidi 25424 1 snd_seq_midi
    pcmcia 39826 0
    snd_seq_midi_event 14475 1 snd_seq_midi
    snd_seq 51592 2 snd_seq_midi,snd_seq_midi_event
    snd_timer 28931 2 snd_pcm,snd_seq
    snd_seq_device 14172 3 snd_seq_midi,snd_rawmidi,snd_seq
    psmouse 96718 0
    snd 62218 16 snd_intel8x0,snd_ac97_codec,snd_pcm,thinkpad_acpi, snd_rawmidi,snd_seq,snd_timer,snd_seq_device
    i915 423514 2
    ipw2200 146210 0
    nsc_ircc 23240 0
    libipw 46732 1 ipw2200
    serio_raw 13027 0
    nvram 14029 1 thinkpad_acpi
    cfg80211 178877 2 ipw2200,libipw
    soundcore 14635 1 snd
    irda 185517 1 nsc_ircc
    snd_page_alloc 14115 2 snd_intel8x0,snd_pcm
    dm_multipath 22747 0
    yenta_socket 27428 0
    pcmcia_rsrc 18367 1 yenta_socket
    lib80211 14040 4 lib80211_crypt_tkip,lib80211_crypt_ccmp,ipw2200,li bipw
    pcmcia_core 21511 3 pcmcia,yenta_socket,pcmcia_rsrc
    crc_ccitt 12627 1 irda
    parport_pc 32114 1
    ppdev 12849 0
    bnep 17830 2
    bluetooth 158479 10 rfcomm,bnep
    binfmt_misc 17292 1
    drm_kms_helper 45466 1 i915
    drm 197641 3 i915,drm_kms_helper
    shpchp 32265 0
    i2c_algo_bit 13199 1 i915
    mac_hid 13077 0
    video 19115 1 i915
    lp 17455 0
    parport 40930 3 parport_pc,ppdev,lp
    e100 36289 0
    floppy 60184 0
    dm_raid45 76451 0
    xor 25987 1 dm_raid45
    dm_mirror 21822 0
    dm_region_hash 16100 1 dm_mirror
    dm_log 18193 3 dm_raid45,dm_mirror,dm_region_hash
    pidey@pidey-ThinkPad-R51:~$ modinfo i95
    ERROR: modinfo: could not find module i95

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