Debian 4 install wont start Xserver on CRT after installing with LCD monitor attached

Discussion in 'Installation/Configuration' started by rjamesd, Sep 2, 2008.

  1. rjamesd

    rjamesd New Member

    I installed at home Debian 4 Etch with a Samsung 730 MW 17" LCD Monitor attached via the D-SUB analogue input. The install is fine and I can use the standard Debian GUI (GNOME I think).

    Then I took the machine to where I want it to be used in our organisation's premises, and attached a IIyama Vision Master Pro 410 CRT Monitor, again via the D-SUB analogue port.

    On starting the machine with this CRT, I can see it go through the initial boot sequence with lots of log output as you'd expect, in DOS style type face.

    However, on finishing this, I am presented with the error: "Failed to start the X server (your graphical interface). It is likely that it is not set up correctly. Would you like to view the X server output to diagnose the problem?"

    So I click yes, and I get a fair bit of text, too much to write here, but a key statement I see here is: "Screens(s) found, but none have a usable configuration."
    "Fatal server error"
    no screens found

    The graphics card is a ATI 3D AGP 1x 133Mhz (old I know, but works fine on my LCD).

    The machine is a Pentium III 133Mhz FSB 512Mb RAM. Again old I know, but fit enough for its purpose I intend it for.

    There aren't funds available to use an LCD, nor to upgrade.

    Anyway I think it's great to be able to recycle the kit, I don't want to get into a discussion about hardware, as funds aren't available. I think the issue here is precisely with Debian not being flexible about a different monitor being used from that which was used during the install. Which could happen on newer hardware.

    I'm fairly sure that I could solve the problem by starting again and reinstalling Debian 4 with the CRT attached from the beginning. Because I think deep down somewhere, the install has become dependent on the monitor used on the install. I'm surprised at this because plug and play has advanced on Linux.

    When I take the machine back to using the LCD it works fine again.

    When I exit the error messages, I am returned to the command line prompt, where I can issue commands. Is there a file I can edit to get the install to accept the CRT? I'd rather do this than have to reinstall.

  2. falko

    falko Super Moderator ISPConfig Developer

    The file you'd have to edit is /etc/X11/xorg.conf, but I'm not sure what to put there.

    Maybe you should try Ubuntu as a desktop OS? It's based on Debian, but should be more flexible.
  3. rjamesd

    rjamesd New Member

    Hey Falko, thanks for the /etc/X11/xorg.conf reference - I've had a look at this file on another working installation. This is encouraging: looking at the file I can see that there is an entry for the monitor being used and for the graphics card.

    So what I intend to do is manually change this on my problem installation to use the IIyama CRT and then restart. I will have to find the standard name string for the monitor - I know I can't just put in any old string.

    Do you know where the devices referred to in this file are defined? Like a kind of master standard list? I'll do a search on the internet.

    The advantage with Debian is that there are no variations of it. By this I mean by comparison Ubuntu is available in Desktop and Server versions - the Debian distribution is just one offering, containing both server and desktop programs. Sure there are Debian versions, e.g. 3, 4 etc. but there are no variants.

    I tried Ubuntu server but there is no GUI as standard. I would like Ubuntu Desktop + Ubuntu Server all in one install. Looking at the official Ubuntu forums and support pages there were several ways to get the functionality of both but there ought to be a single official standard way.

    I'll definitely let you know how I get on with details of changing the xorg.cong file - whether it works or not.
  4. falko

    falko Super Moderator ISPConfig Developer

    Unfortunately not... :(
  5. rjamesd

    rjamesd New Member

    I had a look at /etc/X11/xorg.conf
    And found an entry in the monitors area that included the string Syncmaster - referring to the LCD connected to the machine that I installed Debian on. I tried replacing this with Configured Monitor, Default Monitor, Plug and Play Monitor which were used in examples of xorg.conf I found searching the web. None of them worked - still got the same error.

    So I'm guessing that another file might be involved which we don't know about.

    It's probably easier for me to just reinstall with the CRT monitor attached - as this monitor will be the one that is going to be used.

    But I will say this again, I think this is a concern if people wish to move machines around their premises and use different display hardware from that used in the install.

    HOWEVER, I have found a very promising book - "X Power Tools" by Chris Tyler published by O'Reilly in 2007 (great! Fairly recent!) which devotes TWO whole chapters to configuring the X Window System! This looks very encouraging.

    There is a, perhaps very telling, section called "Places Your Configuration Could Hide" which might help me solve my problem.

    I'm loathe to buy yet another book, having spent a considerable amount already on other books. Particularly if I know I can get around the problem by just doing a reinstall (but I don't know yet!) My curiousity may overwhelm and tempt me to buy the PDF download though. I'm mentioning the book in case anyone else has had the issues, or similar, as I have. Good old O'Reilly! And good old

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