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As a side project, I thought I'd try to throw Debian (squeeze) on an old G5 PowerMac. It installed just fine, but after the bootloader and kernel boot-up output, the screen goes blank. Looks like a video mode problem or something, but I can't find where to change it. X isn't installed, so it should be booting to a login prompt.

Any ideas?

Edit: I'm having the same exact issue and what I've been doing after it going blank has been to look into /var/log/messages from the rescue64 system on the installation CD. And indeed it turns out that the lines I see briefly before the screen flickers and goes blank went into the log. They are (I had to type it, because I didn't manage to get this off the machine from the rescue system):

[drm] Initialized drm 1.1.0 20060810
[drm] nouveau 0000:f0:10.0: Detected an NV30 generation card (0x034100b1)
[drm] nouveau 0000:f0:10.0: OF bios successfully copied (2403 bytes)
[drm] nouveau 0000:f0:10.0: Attempting to load BIOS image from PROM
[drm] nouveau 0000:f0:10.0: ... BIOS checksum invalid
[drm] nouveau 0000:f0:10.0: Attempting to load BIOS image from PRAMIN
[drm] nouveau 0000:f0:10.0: ... BIOS checksum invalid
[drm] nouveau 0000:f0:10.0: Attempting to load BIOS image from PCIROM
[drm] nouveau 0000:f0:10.0: ... BIOS signature not found
[drm] nouveau 0000:f0:10.0: Using BIOS image from PRAMIN
[drm] nouveau 0000:f0:10.0: BMP BIOS found
[drm] nouveau 0000:f0:10.0: BMP version 5.39
[drm] nouveau 0000:f0:10.0: Bios version 04.34.20.19
[drm] nouveau 0000:f0:10.0: Found Display COnfiguration Block version 2.2
[drm] nouveau 0000:f0:10.0: Raw DCB entry 0: 01100102 00000000
[drm] nouveau 0000:f0:10.0: Raw DCB entry 1: 01000100 000088b8
[drm] nouveau 0000:f0:10.0: Raw DCB entry 2: 02110212 11b00000
[drm] nouveau 0000:f0:10.0: Raw DCB entry 3: 02010210 11b088b8
[drm] nouveau 0000:f0:10.0: Raw DCB entry 4: 02010211 11b00003
[drm] nouveau 0000:f0:10.0: Parsing VBIOS init table 0 at offset 0x020A
[drm] nouveau 0000:f0:10.0: Parsing VBIOS init table 1 at offset 0x0457
[drm] nouveau 0000:f0:10.0: Parsing VBIOS init table 2 at offset 0x059D
[drm] nouveau 0000:f0:10.0: Parsing VBIOS init table 3 at offset 0x0723
[drm] nouveau 0000:f0:10.0: Parsing VBIOS init table 4 at offset 0x0740
[drm] nouveau 0000:f0:10.0: Parsing VBIOS init table 5 at offset 0x075D
[drm] nouveau 0000:f0:10.0: Parsing VBIOS init table 6 at offset 0x08E2
[TTM] ZOne  kernel: Available graphics memory: 609784 kiB.
[drm] nouveau 0000:f0:10.0: 64 BiB VRAM
[drm] nouveau 0000:f0:10.0: 64 MiB GART (aperture)
[drm] nouveau 0000:f0:10.0: Allocating FIFO number 0
[drm] nouveau 0000:f0:10.0: nouveau_channel_alloc: initialised FIFO 0
[drm] nouveau 0000:f0:10.0: Initial CRTC_OWNER is 0
[drm] nouveau 0000:f0:10.0: Detected a DVI-I connector
[drm] nouveau 0000:f0:10.0: Detected a DVI-I connector
[drm] nouveau 0000:f0:10.0: Detected a TV connector
[drm] nouveau 0000:f0:10.0: Setting dpms mode 3 on tmds encoder (output 0)
[drm] nouveau 0000:f0:10.0: Setting dpms mode 3 on vga encoder (output 1)
[drm] nouveau 0000:f0:10.0: Setting dpms mode 3 on tmds encoder (output 2)
[drm] nouveau 0000:f0:10.0: Setting dpms mode 3 on vga encoder (output 3)
[drm] nouveau 0000:f0:10.0: Setting dpms mode 3 on TV encoder (output 4)
composite sync not supported
windfarm: SMU failed new fan command falling back to old method
[drm] nouveau 0000:f0:10.0: Load detected on output B
[drm] nouveau 0000:f0:10.0: allocated 720x576 fb: 0x49000, bo c00000004945e000
Console: switching to colour dummy device 80x25
Trying to free nonexistent resource <0000000098004000-000000009807bfff>
Console: switching to colour frame buffer device 90x36
[drm] nouveau 0000:f0:10.0: Setting dpmc mode 0 on TV encoder (output 4)
[drm] nouveau 0000:f0:10.0: Output TV-1 is running on CRTC 1 using output B
fb0: nouveaufb frame buffer device
registered panic notifier
[drm] Initialized nouveau 0.0.15 20090420 for 0000:f0:10.0 on minor 0

Please note: nosplash video=ofonly fb=false has been appended to the kernel command line and that does not help. Also, these parameters were added by default (the installer did that).

Also note: changing it to nosplash fb=false doesn't change a thing.

One more thing: the the rescue64 environment from the installer CD works perfectly fine. It also seems to switch resolutions (or perhaps just the fonts?) but doesn't end up with a blank screen ...

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migrated from serverfault.com Aug 30 '11 at 6:48

This question came from our site for professional system and network administrators.

    
Any solution as of yet? –  0xC0000022L Jan 14 '12 at 0:13

3 Answers 3

Just taking a shot in the dark, but try using the advanced setup on the CD and choosing targeted initrd, maybe also choose lilo as your boot loader (older computer maybe an older boot loader would help). Worst case scenario is you learn how use the advanced setup :P

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1  
Since its a PPC mac, lilo won't work; I think I'm stuck with yaboot. I'll give the advanced setup a shot, though. –  Steve Dispensa Sep 4 '11 at 1:32
    
Ah, forgot about that. Also make sure your using ext3 (should be the default) I don't think ext4 works. –  Mike Sep 4 '11 at 2:17
    
@Mike ext4 is fine on ppc (at least at the time of writing, which is quite a bit later than your comment) –  David Gardner Jan 8 '13 at 10:42

Alright, to answer my (see the edits above) own question.

My instinct was apparently right, or in part right. The nouveau module mentioned in the logs (see the edited question above) was the culprit.

  1. Install Debian 6 as you would normally do
  2. Reboot after installation
  3. Choose to boot from CD again, this time enter rescue64 at the boot prompt of the CD
  4. Answer the questions about locale and keyboard setup and machine name, then execute a shell in your root partition
  5. (optional) mount any missing partitions into the folders inside /target (such as a potential /boot mount point) - remember that you can use the other TTYs that have been created (Alt+F1 through Alt+F4 in my case)
  6. Now go and edit /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist.local.conf (from what I saw, only nano(1) is available. In case you don't remember: it's modeless and you simply navigate the cursor to the location you want, then insert whatever characters and then save this with Ctrl+O or F3 and exit with Ctrl+X.
  7. Append a line blacklist nouveau under the last blacklist line in the file you opened in the previous step
  8. Run update-initramfs -u -k all to make sure your changes will take effect
  9. Reboot into your Debian. This time you should see the login prompt (likely after some fsck run)

For lazy people don't reboot after installation (step 2) but instead switch to TTY2 or so and run chroot /target /bin/bash and follow the steps from step 6 onwards above.

I merely did the first version to record what I had done to get this to work. I.e. investigating the problem and then solving it.

In case one of you did changes to /etc/yaboot.conf like I had done in between, undo your changes and run ybin -v (as super-user) to have your drive blessed with "Holy Penguin Pee":

$ sudo ybin -v
ybin: Finding OpenFirmware device path to `/dev/sda2'...
ybin: Installing first stage bootstrap /usr/lib/yaboot/ofboot onto /dev/sda2...
ybin: Installing primary bootstrap /usr/lib/yaboot/yaboot onto /dev/sda2...
ybin: Installing /etc/yaboot.conf onto /dev/sda2...
ybin: Setting attributes on ofboot...
ybin: Setting attributes on yaboot...
ybin: Setting attributes on yaboot.conf...
ybin: Blessing /dev/sda2 with Holy Penguin Pee...
ybin: Updating OpenFirmware boot-device variable in nvram...

Find below the verbatim log contents which I had typed in before manually:

May 15 01:01:10 freyja kernel: [    9.589577] [drm] Initialized drm 1.1.0 20060810
May 15 01:01:10 freyja kernel: [   10.151602] [drm] nouveau 0000:f0:10.0: Detected an NV30 generation card (0x034100b1)
May 15 01:01:10 freyja kernel: [   10.175308] [drm] nouveau 0000:f0:10.0: OF bios successfully copied (2403 bytes)
May 15 01:01:10 freyja kernel: [   10.184505] [drm] nouveau 0000:f0:10.0: Attempting to load BIOS image from PROM
May 15 01:01:10 freyja kernel: [   10.334022] [drm] nouveau 0000:f0:10.0: ... BIOS checksum invalid
May 15 01:01:10 freyja kernel: [   10.338877] [drm] nouveau 0000:f0:10.0: Attempting to load BIOS image from PRAMIN
May 15 01:01:10 freyja kernel: [   10.392373] [drm] nouveau 0000:f0:10.0: ... BIOS checksum invalid
May 15 01:01:10 freyja kernel: [   10.397270] [drm] nouveau 0000:f0:10.0: Attempting to load BIOS image from PCIROM
May 15 01:01:10 freyja kernel: [   10.412406] [drm] nouveau 0000:f0:10.0: ... BIOS signature not found
May 15 01:01:10 freyja kernel: [   10.417552] [drm] nouveau 0000:f0:10.0: Using BIOS image from PRAMIN
May 15 01:01:10 freyja kernel: [   10.466924] [drm] nouveau 0000:f0:10.0: BMP BIOS found
May 15 01:01:10 freyja kernel: [   10.471646] [drm] nouveau 0000:f0:10.0: BMP version 5.39
May 15 01:01:10 freyja kernel: [   10.476408] [drm] nouveau 0000:f0:10.0: Bios version 04.34.20.19
May 15 01:01:10 freyja kernel: [   10.481141] [drm] nouveau 0000:f0:10.0: Found Display Configuration Block version 2.2
May 15 01:01:10 freyja kernel: [   10.490332] [drm] nouveau 0000:f0:10.0: Raw DCB entry 0: 01100102 00000000
May 15 01:01:10 freyja kernel: [   10.495056] [drm] nouveau 0000:f0:10.0: Raw DCB entry 1: 01000100 000088b8
May 15 01:01:10 freyja kernel: [   10.499659] [drm] nouveau 0000:f0:10.0: Raw DCB entry 2: 02110212 11b00000
May 15 01:01:10 freyja kernel: [   10.504234] [drm] nouveau 0000:f0:10.0: Raw DCB entry 3: 02010210 11b088b8
May 15 01:01:10 freyja kernel: [   10.508838] [drm] nouveau 0000:f0:10.0: Raw DCB entry 4: 02010211 11b00003
May 15 01:01:10 freyja kernel: [   10.513706] [drm] nouveau 0000:f0:10.0: Parsing VBIOS init table 0 at offset 0x020A
May 15 01:01:10 freyja kernel: [   10.547388] [drm] nouveau 0000:f0:10.0: Parsing VBIOS init table 1 at offset 0x0457
May 15 01:01:10 freyja kernel: [   10.556131] [drm] nouveau 0000:f0:10.0: Parsing VBIOS init table 2 at offset 0x059D
May 15 01:01:10 freyja kernel: [   10.564761] [drm] nouveau 0000:f0:10.0: Parsing VBIOS init table 3 at offset 0x0723
May 15 01:01:10 freyja kernel: [   10.573488] [drm] nouveau 0000:f0:10.0: Parsing VBIOS init table 4 at offset 0x0740
May 15 01:01:10 freyja kernel: [   10.582329] [drm] nouveau 0000:f0:10.0: Parsing VBIOS init table 5 at offset 0x075D
May 15 01:01:10 freyja kernel: [   10.599427] [drm] nouveau 0000:f0:10.0: Parsing VBIOS init table 6 at offset 0x08E2
May 15 01:01:10 freyja kernel: [   10.635233] [TTM] Zone  kernel: Available graphics memory: 609784 kiB.
May 15 01:01:10 freyja kernel: [   10.640736] [drm] nouveau 0000:f0:10.0: 64 MiB VRAM
May 15 01:01:10 freyja kernel: [   10.657097] [drm] nouveau 0000:f0:10.0: 64 MiB GART (aperture)
May 15 01:01:10 freyja kernel: [   10.662541] [drm] nouveau 0000:f0:10.0: Allocating FIFO number 0
May 15 01:01:10 freyja kernel: [   10.668951] [drm] nouveau 0000:f0:10.0: nouveau_channel_alloc: initialised FIFO 0
May 15 01:01:10 freyja kernel: [   10.678762] [drm] nouveau 0000:f0:10.0: Initial CRTC_OWNER is 0
May 15 01:01:10 freyja kernel: [   10.684222] [drm] nouveau 0000:f0:10.0: Detected a DVI-I connector
May 15 01:01:10 freyja kernel: [   10.689702] [drm] nouveau 0000:f0:10.0: Detected a DVI-I connector
May 15 01:01:10 freyja kernel: [   10.695849] [drm] nouveau 0000:f0:10.0: Detected a TV connector
May 15 01:01:10 freyja kernel: [   10.703132] [drm] nouveau 0000:f0:10.0: Setting dpms mode 3 on tmds encoder (output 0)
May 15 01:01:10 freyja kernel: [   10.713152] [drm] nouveau 0000:f0:10.0: Setting dpms mode 3 on vga encoder (output 1)
May 15 01:01:10 freyja kernel: [   10.723157] [drm] nouveau 0000:f0:10.0: Setting dpms mode 3 on tmds encoder (output 2)
May 15 01:01:10 freyja kernel: [   10.735303] [drm] nouveau 0000:f0:10.0: Setting dpms mode 3 on vga encoder (output 3)
May 15 01:01:10 freyja kernel: [   10.745292] [drm] nouveau 0000:f0:10.0: Setting dpms mode 3 on TV encoder (output 4)
May 15 01:01:10 freyja kernel: [   10.931817] composite sync not supported
May 15 01:01:10 freyja kernel: [   10.963409] [drm] nouveau 0000:f0:10.0: Load detected on output B
May 15 01:01:10 freyja kernel: [   10.968590] [drm] nouveau 0000:f0:10.0: allocated 720x576 fb: 0x49000, bo c000000049f1fa00
May 15 01:01:10 freyja kernel: [   10.988557] Console: switching to colour dummy device 80x25
May 15 01:01:10 freyja kernel: [   10.991886] Trying to free nonexistent resource <0000000098004000-000000009807bfff>
May 15 01:01:10 freyja kernel: [   10.992864] Console: switching to colour frame buffer device 90x36
May 15 01:01:10 freyja kernel: [   11.003430] [drm] nouveau 0000:f0:10.0: Setting dpms mode 0 on TV encoder (output 4)
May 15 01:01:10 freyja kernel: [   11.003440] [drm] nouveau 0000:f0:10.0: Output TV-1 is running on CRTC 1 using output B
May 15 01:01:10 freyja kernel: [   11.004528] fb0: nouveaufb frame buffer device
May 15 01:01:10 freyja kernel: [   11.004540] registered panic notifier
May 15 01:01:10 freyja kernel: [   11.004560] [drm] Initialized nouveau 0.0.15 20090420 for 0000:f0:10.0 on minor 0

(the times are skewed because of the machine time, I didn't time-travel)

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IF the PPC Mac is accessible over the network there is also another way without the need of an install CD:

  • Just boot it and connect to it over SSH
  • Edit the
    /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist.local.conf
  • Run
    update-initramfs -u -k all
  • init 6

Thats it!

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