X.org hung after update

The other day, I ran an update on my debian testing (etch) box, after which X ceased working, things worked fine, until I tried to start a secound X session which never came up, just garbeled the existing session. After a bit of debugging I gave in and rebooted the box, which went fine until kdm started, the screen gave off the usual click when changing resolution and stayed black. The keyboard and mouse was also unresponsible. Neither Ctrl-Alt-Backspace nor Ctrl-Alt-F[16] nor Ctrl-Alt-Delete were working.

Luckily I could connect from another machine on my network, but that gave no further clues, Lots of free memory and only the folding@home daemon taking up any noticeable CPU power. I could kill the kdm process, but the screen stayed black.

I had an old SIS videocard sitting in my shelf so I installed that on the expence of the Hercules radeon card that was populating the AGP bus until then. I moved the xorg.conf away and ran the xorgcfg to configure. then I just ran X and the terminal hung, well terminally.

Next try, move the xorg.conf away and rerun X. It ran in 640×480 but, it worked! Swap back the original card, and still a working VGA-resolution kdm. A closer inspection of /var/log/xorg.0.log showed the interesting fact that it identified and loaded the radeon driver, but it did not recognice my screen. An even closer inspection yielded the fact that it did load a lot fewer extention than what was in the original xorg.conf. After commenting out all extentions except for those that was loaded by default, I had a working X in 1200 x 1600 again.

The machine’s data:

  • AMD 1400 MHz
  • 1 GB RAM
  • Hercules, radeon 8500 LE card
  • xserver: x.org 6.9.0 dfsg 1-2
  • kernel 2.6.12 k7, stock debian

Presently, the only modules loaded are:

  • dbe
  • extmod
  • freetype
  • glx

Next step: Try to find out which extentions I need and reload one and one until I find the showstopper…

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