This document has a very specific purpose; to help people who are failing to get X working on Intel's i810 graphics chipset (hereafter "the i810"). It is written by a beginner (me), and it is imagined that it will be of use primarily to other beginners. The author would be flattered to hear that he has helped anyone more skilled than he. Furthermore, I know that the i810 works with XFree86 3.3.6, but I personally have not trod that path. My experience comes purely from XFree86 4.0 (hereafter "X4.x") and the i810/agpgart support available in the 2.2.18 and 2.4.x kernels, and consequently this HOWTO tackles that solution, or procedure, alone. The instructions that follow were written to the 2.4.x compile tune, but the procedure is similar enough to be translatable to the 2.2.18. Use your head, as Tony Buzan would say, and read the READMEs to be sure of any required alterations of method.
Even though I know this procedure works I feel obliged to point out that what I have recorded here is mostly that which I have worked out in my own bumbling way. It may well be that others know a quicker and more efficient method than that which follows. If so I will be happy to hear from them. As I mentioned previously, the i810 will work with XFree86 3.3.6, if one also uses some drivers designed by Intel for the task (namely XFCom_i810-1.2-3 and I810Gtt-0.2-4) but, in the interests of Linux purity, and of course knowing one does not have to use Intel's software, I recommend the method detailed here. It does not need Intel drivers.
Finally, no introduction would be complete without the following words of caution; this HOWTO should be regarded as a 'bare bones' set of instructions and should therefore be followed with all relevant README literature to hand. What follows is not exhaustive by any stretch of the imagination, and needs, at least for beginners, said README stuff.
There are three distinct stages that need not be followed in the order listed here (please feel free to use your imagination). Said stages are;
The first stage is of course listed only as a guide for those who have perhaps tried getting XFree86 3.3.6 working with the i810 and failed, or perhaps those who have not even heard that X4.x supports the i810 and have been struggling vainly with their XF86Config file. I suppose the majority of people who find these instructions useful will have already loaded X4.x. You lot can skip this bit. Anyway, if you do need to know, X4.x can be got from; ftp://ftp.xfree86.org/pub/XFree86/4.0/binaries
But before you rush ahead and download away you must first be sure which version of X4.x suits your system. So download Xinstall.sh on its own and run (from within the folder containing Xinstall.sh):
sh Xinstall.sh -check
The results will direct you to the correct folder within the above mentioned URL from where the appropriate files for your system can be downloaded.
For a basic installation and to save time downloading one needs only the following absolute necessities, without exception (the others are optional and when included in the install process, I feel, increase the chances of things going wrong for the unwary and inexperienced):
Now knowing which set of files are suited to your system you can go ahead and download whichever suits. Then install with the following command (from within the folder containing freshly downloaded files):
If you have been good everything will proceed smoothly. You will be asked some questions which the README file can explain/answer better than I. If something doesn't work as expected I refer you to the far more detailed, aforementioned README file, which you should definitely peruse. As a newbie I always read the readme files before downloading, installing, compiling and even getting up from my seat to go to the toilette. You can never be too sure.
That is the end of this stage.
You can get either kernel from ftp://ftp.kernel.com. Of course, read everything called README while you are at it. (In the README literature that comes with the 2.4.x kernel, there is an important note about where to unpack the source. Make sure you read it.) Put the kernel source file in /usr/src/kernels, and then run the following compile sequence, which I learned from a linuxnewbie article (to which you should refer if my directions are not clear enough for you, however it is specific to 2.2.x kernels). It can be found at the following address; http://www.linuxnewbie.org/nfh/intel/compiling/kernel_update.html. Of course, the location of the still-packed kernel is not really relevant, it only matters that it is unpacked to an acceptable location. OK, now for the commands:
tar -xzvf /usr/src/kernels/linux-2.4.x.tar.gz
or if you downloaded the better compressed bz2 version
bzcat /usr/src/kernels/linux-2.4.x.tar.bz2 | tar xv
and watch the screen spew out pages of information about what's happening. When it is finished it will have created a new linux folder.
OK, so, change to the new directory:
and begin the compile process proper...
There's also make xconfig, but you haven't got X running, or you wouldn't be reading this. So that won't work. And I'm embarrassed to mention it in such an imperfect fashion but there is also something like make oldconfig but I can't find any reference to it in my books. In any case I am not addressing it here, though I am sure the procedure for it is very similar to that which follows for make menuconfig, should you be awkward and want to use it.
Now, I have gone through three text based kernel compiles (make config) and know how long winded they are. I reommend make menuconfig instead, which requires only that ncurses be loaded (you don't need X) and you will be taken through the pretty face of kernel recompilation. I loaded ncurses during a custom install of Red Hat 6.1, but I forget exactly at which stage that option is available. Otherwise ncurses is, I'm sure, on your distro's CD in rpm format, so if issuing make menuconfig just produces errors, install ncurses and try again.
The most relevant stages of the make process for solving our particular problem are:
(It has been pointed out to me that loading these features as modules would be more logical, since they are not required until startx is run. I have not tried the 'loadable module way' yet and will ammend this section of the HOWTO after I have tested it. I recommend the static mode here because I ran this procedure on a test version of the 2.4.x kernel and it was suggested to me that loading statically was a safer and stabler way to go. Now that 2.4.x is officially out there, perhaps modules will be more sensible. I'll let you know how it goes. (Thanks to Heron Ordonez for this.))
When all is over and you feel calm enough, do this;
Now have a look at the /boot directory. You will probably see that System.map is a symbolic link to System.map-[your_kernel_version] and vmlinuz is a symbolic link to vmlinuz-[your_kernel_version]. This arrangement is true for many distros, but not all. I think some store vmlinuz in /, while System.map resides in /boot. Whatever the case is, use your brain and apply these instructions accordingly. So, basically you need to remove the symbolic links like so:
Then new symbolic links need to be created to the about-to-be-copied-over-while-simultaneously-being-renamed, recently created files. It goes like this (assuming you have an i386 computer):
Now you need to edit /etc/lilo.conf. This is achieved thusly:
After editing lilo.conf you must do this:
so that the crisp, shiny, new linux kernel be made known to lilo, otherwise (I have experienced this) the new kernel will not be available for booting. Which would be silly. So after all this take a deep breath and reboot, select your new kernel and with fingers crossed, watch. It should work. If it does, go and celebrate a little. But don't let it get to your head because you have yet to mknod the agpgart module, a simple yet essential procedure done thusly:
which basically creates the very essential character device (X won't run without it) driver which acts kinda like a 'go-between' for the i810 chipset and the X server. (Thanks to Heron Ordonez for saving me some embarrassment here.) Pretty scientic stuff. Sorry about that.
That was the end of this stage.
I've done a lot of this and it get's mighty tedious when it fails 23 times in a row I CAN TELL YOU, so pay attention and read very closely the man page (run man XF86Config at the command prompt). First of all I recommend running the in-no-way-user-friendly xf86config (observe case!) to genertate a base XF86Config file as the other tools seem to produce XF86Config files which are in my experience incompatible with X4.x. When you run through the questions xf86config asks and you reach the card section, there will be nothing for you to choose, so choose that very nothing. You'll be entering the right stuff later, after the base file has been created. Then, after answering all the questions as well as you can, save the file as /etc/X11/XF86Config.
So, finally, the all important addition is:
and it should be inserted in the Graphics Device Section. There should in any case be an existing "Device" section which you could edit if you prefer. From thereon you should, having defined the i810 for X, enter "i810" wherever you see a "Device" field. I am including a couple of sections from my XF86Config file as an example, and hopefully to make a little clearer what I mean:
I am going to be boring and say it again, but a more complete understanding than I can give here of the mysteries of the XF86Config file can be achieved by closely reading the man page (see above). This is really important if you want to have a chance of solving any problems that are bound to come up now and again, that have not been covered here.
That should do it. Now save XF86Config and run:
It should work. It did for me. You will be happy. If not contact me at <email@example.com> and I will endeavour to help you.
I must point out that I would not have known how to fix the i810 and X4.x problem if it were not for the pioneering efforts of Val Henson who guided me through the process and recommended the 2.4.x kernel in the first place. And now that this is an ammended version, I would also like to thank Heron Ordonez for pointing out a few problems which I have in part addressed, and will fully address in due course. Curtis Stone pointed out to me that the features I thought only available in the 2.4.x kernel were present in 2.2.18. Thanks to him too. I am now also endebted to Cameron Kerr for pointing out that the 2.4.x kernel must not be unpacked in /usr/src/linux. I had had no success with the 2.4.x until this was pointed out to me, but would have been OK had I read the accompanying README, ie followed my own instructions.
If this process carries on in this fashion the 'Thank you' will one day be the largest section of this HOWTO. This is an open process and all comments (politely phrased of course!) are welcome.