Thursday, July 29, 2004

Switching from XFree to X.org

I have finally made the switch from XFree86 to X.org. On Gentoo I pretty much followed the instructions posted on the Gentoo forums. After setting up the font directories correctly i.e., switch from /usr/X11R6/lib/X11/fonts to /usr/share/fonts, KDE was working as usual. There were two problems however:

  • Direct Rendering was disabled on my ATI Radeon 7200.
  • For some reason all the Mozilla apps (Mozilla, Firefox, Thunderbird, etc.) would crash as soon as they started rendering a page

The first problem was unrelated to the X.org upgrade and was just something that I noticed now. It was easily solved by following this email thread. Essentially I had to make sure that the agpgart module was loaded before the radeon module. I have a VIA KLE133 AGP chipset and so in /etc/modules.autoload.d/kernel-2.6, I have the modules specified in this order:

  • agpgart
  • via-agp
  • radeon

With this setup, dmesg should report detection of the AGP chipset first (e.g.: agpgart: Detected VIA KLE133 chipset) followed by initialization of the Radeon card (e.g.: [drm] Initialized radeon 1.11.0 20020828 on minor 0: ATI Technologies Inc Radeon R100 QD [Radeon 7200]). Also, since i have an older Radeon card, I didn't have to use the new ATI drivers. OpenGL settings are to use the base X.org implementation i.e., opengl-update xorg-x11 (as opposed to opengl-update ati for the ATI drivers).

On my machine, glxgears now reports a frame rate of around 1005 fps as opposed to the earlier 125fps!

Using strace, I figured out that the problem with Mozilla was that some of the fonts in the /usr/share/fonts/TTF were readable only by root. I made them readable ad now Mozilla is working again.

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