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11th of March, 2003 ANTE·MERIDIEM 11:16

Right, I’m arsing around with my new piece of hardware, and I’ve got all of Windows XP Pro, NetBSD-current, and Gentoo Linux 1.4pre-something  installed. The latter two aren’t entirely set up as I’d like, but the drives are partitioned, and the thing is mostly booting, which is a good start. I also made the credit card scream in pain some more; I bought a 128mb USB memory stick (no MP3 player included this time—maybe next), and it happily works in all three. Isn’t that great? :-)

Annoying bit is; the version of XFree86 that ships with NetBSD 1.6 won’t start up on the box. Which does irk a little, because the BIOS bugs that this Compaq machine ship with—c.f. the first entry in Google for “linux 1510us”—mean that console mode is slightly erratic at best. I’m going to upgrade the firmware this evening, and that will certainly fix some of the keyboard crapness, but I don’t know about X starting.

The last bit from XFree86.0.log is the following;

(II) RADEON(0): Primary Display == Type 2
(II) RADEON(0): Panel ID string: ÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿÿ
(II) RADEON(0): Panel Size from BIOS: 65535x65535

Fatal server error:
Caught signal 11. Server aborting
So. “LATIN SMALL LETTER Y WITH DIAERESIS,” is, as you all know, entry 255 in the Latin 1 character set. 255 is -1 in 8 bit two’s complement arithmetic, and 65535 is -1 in 16 bit two’s complement arithmetic. Why does XFree86 think that all the data associated with the LCD panel are -1? Let’s see ... whence does it get the info? Ah, a BIOS call. Nngh.

How can I work around this? I’m not entirely sure at the moment—the BIOS it’s reading is the Radeon’s BIOS, not the PC’s, so flashing it may not make much difference. The link I mentioned in the second paragraph doesn’t mention that problem for Linux either; maybe I won’t have it in Gentoo? (Hah!)

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