What a lousy day
Update: (the next day)
So bloody typical. The new ATI driver “doesn't support” the chipset I have in this laptop. But yes, I knew that already—I was adding a custom ChipId in xorg.conf that tricked the driver to think it was supported. For some reason this failed after a while yesterday, though it worked perfectly well some time ago and yesterday morning!
So at some point, I got something similar to this. I was especially concerned about the “ext3”-related messages, since I thought I might have a problem with my hard drive.
Anyway, today, after some more hacking and googling, I found the solution. A patch that just adds my chipset ID to the list of “known” chipsets, so that the driver won't fail. But wait, I applied that patch since yesterday and it still failed to work; today I was more careful reading that thread and realized that I also need to download an older /etc/ati/control file (from a driver that used to work with my hardware).
Wonders! It works perfectly well!
It's the second time this crap driver gives me headaches claiming not to support something when in fact it perfectly does! The first time it was thinking that it doesn't support my Xorg version, so I needed to apply a binary patch!
What kind of crap programmers could do that? I mean, if you fucking support something, how the heck can you add code to turn it off?! That's amazing. On top of it, here's what lsmod | grep fglrx outputs now on my machine:
fglrx 1488492 9
1.4 MB? Are you nuts? Have you wrote a whole fucking operating system in that driver?!
Anyway... Suspend/resume works now (I needed to set POST_VIDEO=false in /etc/default/acpi-support). I'll stick with the pathetic driver for now, but I keep hoping that a decent open-source alternative will exist at some point. I'm very very upset on ATI so please excuse the language—it's just that I wasted way too much time to make this card work the way it should....
[ Lousy yesterday; feel free not to read this ]
Initially I wanted to write about ATI, but then you'd say “come on dude, again?!”. Yeah I fucked up my day trying to install, for the zillionth time, this lousy driver. All day.
But then I figured out that it's not about ATI. I probably should just try again tomorrow (but if I don't succeed, I'll count one more wasted day, which I can't afford). So yes their driver doesn't work. What shocked me is that it worked in the morning, and not in the afternoon. In the morning it worked pretty well (I had amazing speeds with blender, which is a pretty cool tool that I try to learn; you really don't get anywhere with it using a VESA driver). But suspend doesn't work with the ATI driver (you know about this already).
Because I badly want 3D and suspend, I prepared myself to spend some time making it work. After all, some people say they got it so why shouldn't I?
So I started messing around with my kernel (recompiling to remove the VESA framebuffer which was built-in), uninstalling “hibernate” and making all suggested modifications to /etc/default/acpi-support.
I don't know how I ended up this way, but finally the worst piece of software I ever had the misfortune to see, fails to work at all. I end up with a blank screen. I can't change to a console. After some unnecessary reboots, I thought I'd try logging in to my laptop from another machine via SSH. Turns out, my laptop is OK—it's only the display who isn't. I edit /etc/X11/xorg.conf and put “vesa” instead of “fglrx” and then try to start X as root, and it works. WTF?! Let's put “fglrx” again, start X—screen dead. However, as I was logged in from another machine I could see this time what was on the output. It spit a ton of errors (“Fail to initialize ASIC in kernel” among them). And also a segmentation fault message and some kernel backtrace.
[ BTW, that's hilarious, after a few times rebooting this way I found another way to regain control of the machine: suspend/resume gave me an working console! How fun is that? When I got the crap driver to work, suspend crashed. Now that the crap driver doesn't work, suspend works flawless. Fucking ATI morons... ]
Nice goin' ATI—I've always said you can't write any matters of software, and turns out I was right. I'm not happy though. I own this laptop for one year and a half and this crap video card is the single most annoying part of it, every day.
So back to VESA, and since the whole fucking day was lost, I said, at least, let's watch a movie I recently got... trying to write a DVD, turns out, fails as well. I only had some DVD/RW-s lying around and K3B (which I always admired) spits an error that it can't format the DVD. Uhm, that's bad. Let's go back to ATI.
People say they've got it working with UBUNTU. I tried Ubuntu a few times (I actually have it on some machines at my home). It's excellent, but I wouldn't trade Debian for it. But, WTF, let's try it. If it gives me BOTH suspend and 3D, then bye bye Debian.
Waited half an hour to download Ubuntu then I went to my shelves looking for a blank CD. Guess what, I'm off blank CDs.
How fucked up is that? I couldn't get 3D, I can't see a movie, and I can't try Ubuntu. So... again... I can't blame it on ATI this time, though I really wish I could... I guess I'm just having a bad day. :(
Update: damn, in fact, I did write about ATI... I'm starting to think that every time I try their driver, I'll have a bad day.