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[ SOLVED ] old ati question

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old ati question
« on: August 24, 2017, 02:00:41 PM »
 

trinidad

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I have an old Dell optiplex 320 which I have intsalled LL on for friend. I had Deb 9 on it for a while and was able to deal with its quirks. It apparently only alows a pre-boot resolution of 640X480 which is fine for the grub menu though in Linux Lite it curiously displays a Deb 8 splash. I'll hide grub anyway before I give it to my friend. I have not worked with plymouth much in LL other than to change the boot splash on a few systems. On this ati card the boot splash does not display correctly even from live cd in LL or Ubuntu LTS. I could change this in Deb 9 by enabling the old black screen text with three boxes basic splash. Can I script for Lite boot to display at 640X480. I realize it's coded for best resolution seeking but this old card will not allow the splash to display at anything but a fixed 640X480 resolution. The lightdm splash displays fine at 1280X1024 as does the booted LL system so the card and the plymouth script serve their intended purpose. As this computer is intended for an inexperienced user I need to correct the splash problem in pre-boot. The plain black three box splash worked for Deb 9 but I know it's not the same as the one in LL. Also I have yet to figure out changing plymouth themes in LL. Will my Deb 9 scripts work?

Addition: As I suspected normal Debian commands and scripts don't work. The new question is: If I remove plymouth-themes altogether will the system still boot and display the lightdm splash and login after loading? I can't send a computer out of my shop with the globbed up mess this machine is making of the plymouth boot splash. I wouldn't be resorting to scripting if I hadn't tried every other alternative. I did resolve the mysterious Deb 8 grub menu splash to a nice gray now.

TC
sorry for the long question   
Last Edit: September 01, 2017, 01:46:59 PM by trinidad
"You can't depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus."
 


Re: old ati question
« Reply #1 on: August 24, 2017, 11:35:38 PM »
 

Jerry

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If you're still showing some Deb stuff, I would zero out the drive and install LL fresh.
I haven't tried removing plymouth-themes. You'll need to fire up an expendable VM and try.
You'll also need to tell us what model the ATI card is.

Start there.
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Re: old ati question
« Reply #2 on: August 25, 2017, 12:00:44 PM »
 

trinidad

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Deb was never on the drive. Deb 9 was on a drive that I physically removed, and replaced with an old Windows 7 drive. The live LL ISO was downloaded and burned on Windows 10. The grub menu showed a Deb 8 splash after I edited /etc/default/grub and commented out the hidden entries and enabled the gfxmode to 640x480. Deb never touched this drive. I also followed the plymouth read me file and from root and was only offered 3 alternatives -liteboot auto, liteboot manual, and spinfinity. I also attempted to load the alternative black text splash with the animated three boxes and it would not load. Was not present after after update-alternatives and update-initramfs. The graphics from lightdm on to the system up and running, and viewing online video work perfectly. There are Ubuntu and Deb graphics scattered throughout the /plymouth/themes package in LL. The fact that the splash at gfxmode 640x480 is Deb 8 means that it is lingering somewhere in the code and the grub version itself is Deb 8. Deb 9 displays a Deb 9 splash in gfxmode at 640x480. Plymouth manager is deprecated, though it did partially work in some Deb 8 based distros, but because this is not my own system I will not attempt use it. In any case it is a clean updated install with no added software beyond the LL base on a drive that was never touched by Deb 8 or 9. I'll post the hardware info when I get downstairs to the shop, and I have another system I can try removing plymouth-themes on, but in truth I have gone through all the card alternatives with this particular radeon card in Deb 9 and it always behaves this way regardless of firmware or no. The solution that works is to change the plymouth theme to the old text style, which seems to be fairly complicated to accomplish in LL, but other than that it's working the best it ever has right now in LL. It has occurred to me that the code may need a longer timeout for graphics to set properly during boot on this card as they display lightdm perfectly, and when I can enable the the black three box text splash (like I did in Deb 9) I can see it change resolutions while it is displayed. As I said before the splash behaves the same in LL and Ubuntu on a live dvd. I can't attest to Deb because I've never had a live Deb dvd. I've had the same problem with live dvds on a few other older laptops however the liteboot splash worked fine on them after installation. Thanks for replying. 

TC         
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Re: old ati question
« Reply #3 on: August 25, 2017, 02:41:51 PM »
 

trinidad

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Okay. This particular card ATI RC410 200m will not run at 1280x1024 in Linux until the operating system is up. (an old bug only repairable through the BIOS for which there are no longer any updates available) The card runs fast and well in 64 bit once the system is running but I have only been able to get real grub vbe to run at 640x480 and the system will not display graphics at any other resolution until it is running. The support for this card in that sense has always been incomplete. The simplest solution which I have yet to decipher is to modify the liteboot display to 640x480 or install an old black screen plymouth theme with a loading bar or box display but because plymouth is modified in LL I cannot use some commands that I am familiar with. I'm going to work on that now. Will post later with code I use to solve if I can. Sorry for the delay. Service call interruption.

Okay. Tested gfxmode 640x480 in grub and indeed on another LL 3.4 system the Deb 8 grub menu splash is default. Also tested removing plymouth-themes package. No effect whatsoever on the system. Still working.

Update: There are several issues at play here. Grub version Deb 8, relocation of directory for theme files in Ubuntu themes will not work without root activated directory change, firmware muddies the process with this card (so do not install) cannot mode set anyway on this card conventionally, vga is deprecated, initramfs-tools is not complete in Ubuntu, splash will show clearer adding FRAMEBUFFER=y but is not worth doing because still has graphical display error, simply cannot set gfx resolution other than 640x480 even though real grub vbe lists other options, have begun working on alternate fallback liteboot splash 640x480. If it works should consider adding it, there are other old cards running gallium drivers that have the same issue. also* (to find the Deb 8 grub menu splash comment out linux_lite_background,png in /etc/default/grub and then uncomment GFXMode 640x480)

TC 
Last Edit: August 26, 2017, 12:44:44 PM by trinidad
"You can't depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus."
 

Re: old ati question
« Reply #4 on: August 30, 2017, 12:26:41 PM »
 

trinidad

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Update: Cropped and resized one of the new material style wallpapers to 640x480. Took out the logo file from the liteboot script. Boots splash fine now with the new splash screen and grub at 640x480. Working on cleaning up the script today and adding theme fallback option to plymouth. Will post script when successful. Have also replaced the grub background splash with the same for continuity. As I suspected it does solve the issue. Will try to weed out the default 640x480 Debian 8 screen from grub permanently and replace with the new LL default I've made.

TC
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Re: old ati question
« Reply #5 on: September 01, 2017, 12:41:51 PM »
 

trinidad

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       When I began this project my purpose was to eliminate the annoying splash screen problem that occurs with some older intermarried ATI cards and CPUs in a way that could be addressed from the user GUI of an installed Linux system. Along the way I experimented with proprietary blobs to be certain that indeed my card had no recourse there to any installable missing code. That proved to be true, and further more proved to be true in Debian 9 as well as Ubuntu 16.04 LTS even though Debian configures the card using a different piping convention. Both system configurations yielded the same performance: i/e - in pre-boot state the inability to select a default resolution. Checking vbe in real grub reveals several acceptable resolutions but the card cannot be switched to select a default prior to booting the operating system as the chip actually contains no binary to do so and runs in the same way in Windows for which an XP/Vista pre-boot configuration exists dating back to the CRT era and 640x480 boot resolutions. I also tested the card adding FRAMEBUFFER=yes to grub but the results, though producing a 1280x1024 splash, were still unacceptable with some minor tearing and incomplete rendering of the LL feather. Thus began my journey into plymouth itself which in my opinion beyond its fundamental purpose of assuring pre-boot console rendering is a rather ugly configuration in Linux systems other than Debian of unnecessary software often muddied by developers with permission issues. That said what follows here is simple method of creating a plain wallpaper 640x480 plymouth splash that eliminates the rendering problems for some older ATI cards running Linux Lite.
 
       Happily, at the outset, one of things that’s on our side here is that Linux Lite is an XFCE DE distro free of the yet incomplete annoying changeover from gksudo to pkexec that exists in the Unity desktop of Ubuntu LTS itself and forces one or the other to be used with nautilus and gedit, and will not allow both to be used in the same session. As always this has to do with applications and lingering dependencies, and an Ubuntu session must be started with one or the other and will often surprise you if you are using multiple applications at once as I often do. Of course you can use gnome commander but when working with graphics I like the Nautilus thumbnail previews. Anyway I settled on gksudo to accomplish this in Ubuntu LTS but in Linux Lite this was unnecessary because Thunar is already conveniently configured to allow loading as administrator. As far as the scripts, I kept them as simple as possible and even if you make a mistake with them you can always use Thunar and leafpad to correct them afterwards.

 
      Okay. Our new plymouth boot splash must be 640x480. Choose a graphical background that you like. If it is a jpg you must convert it to png as plymouth will not display jpgs. You do not have to use gimp to do this but go ahead if you are familiar with it. For those of you not familiar with gimp just use  image viewer to open the file, maximize image viewer and take a screenshot using the select an area option. The saved screenshot will be a png. You can use the crop and resize functions in gimp or gthumb to get the image to 640x480. Rename the new image and save it. I used the darker of the new Linux Lite material wallpapers to make my image. Darker is generally better with 640x480. If you want to add text to the splash use LibreOffice draw and take a screenshot once you a satisfied with the result again sizing it to 640x480 afterwards with gimp or gthumb. Now we have our graphic and are ready to start.

 
       As you follow these instructions make sure to get the commands correct. A I mentioned earlier you can get the scripts wrong but the commands must be correct. The best thing to do is to copy this post from the forum to a LibreOffice writer file and then you can copy and paste the commands from your desktop. This configuration has several steps and if you are a new user it is probably best to go about this that way.

 
1) Okay. Open the lxterminal in Linux Lite and type sudo su. Enter your password and you will be logged in as root. From root type the command below. You can substitute any name for mynewtheme at the end of the command but leave the 1 after.

 
mkdir /usr/share/plymouth/themes/mynewtheme1

 
2) Open Thunar as an administrator and find your 640x480 png file and copy and paste it to /usr/share/plymouth/themes/mynewtheme1 Afterwards go back one level in Thunar.

 
3) Next still in the root terminal type the command below.

 
leafpad /usr/share/plymouth/themes/mynewtheme1/mynewtheme1.plymouth

 
4) Type the script below into leafpad.

 
[Plymouth Theme]
Name=mynewtheme1
Description=Wallpaper only
ModuleName=script
[script]
ImageDir=/usr/share/plymouth/themes/mynewtheme1
ScriptFile=/usr/share/plymouth/themes/mynewtheme1/mynewtheme1.script

 
5) Click file in the upper menubar of leafpad and from the dropdown menu select save. Leafpad will close and the script will be saved where it belongs.

 
6) Next still in the root terminal type the command below.

 
leafpad /usr/share/plymouth/themes/mynewtheme1/mynewtheme1.script

 
7) Type the script below into leafpad. Substitute the name of your 640x480 graphic file for graphicfile in the script.

 
wallpaper_image = Image(“graphicfile.png”);
screen_width = Window.GetWidth();
screen_height = Window.GetHeight();
resized_wallpaper_image = wallpaper_image.Scale(screen_width,screen_height);
wallpaper_sprite = Sprite(resized_wallpaper_image);
wallpaper_sprite = sprite.SetZ(-100);

 
 8) Click file in the upper menu bar of leafpad and from the dropdown menu select save. Leafpad will close and the script will be saved where it belongs.

 
9) Next still in the root terminal type the command below.

 
update-alternatives --install /usr/share/plymouth/themes/default.plymouth default.plymouth /usr/share/plymouth/themes/mynewtheme1/mynewtheme1.plymouth 100

 
10) Next still in the root terminal type the command below.

 
update-alternatives --config default.plymouth

 
11) A list of alternatives will appear in your terminal. Select the number corresponding to “mynewtheme1” and hit enter.

 
12) Still in the root terminal type the command below.

 
update-initramfs -u

 
13) When the terminal prompt returns exit root, and then exit the terminal. Open /usr/share/plymouth/themes/mynewtheme1 in Thunar. The following files should be there. Your 640x480 png graphic file, a mynewtheme1.plymouth script file, and a mynewtheme1.script script file.

 
14) If you have not already done so and you want to see the grub menu at boot up, open up the lxterminal again and type the command below:

 
sudo nano /etc/default/grub

 
15) When the file opens in the terminal comment out (add a # in front) of the two grub hidden entries. Comment out (add a # in front) of the grub_linux_lite.png entry. Uncomment (remove the # in front) of the GFX 640x480 entry. Hit control+x, then type y and hit enter. Then enter the command below.

 
sudo update-grub

 
15) Exit the terminal, close Thunar, and reboot your computer. Your 640x480 grub menu will appear and your 640x480 plymouth splash will appear during boot up.

 
TC

*Tried this again on another LL box and it does not display. Works perfectly for Ubuntu LTS. Will figure out the problem and post again.
Last Edit: September 05, 2017, 03:22:37 PM by trinidad
"You can't depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus."
 


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