Background: I have an ailing MacBook Pro 1,1 that I am trying to breathe a second life into using Linux to do some C++ development work. Eclipse is my IDE of choice (mainly so I can be consistent with other computers I have around the house), so I kind of need X/a-GUI-of-some-sort. I've completed a plain Jane install of Debian (Jessie) using the i686 build, and the system is pretty damn solid. However, the system freezes with this error message on boot:
fb: switching to radeondrmfb from EFI VGA
The fix found at Think Different was to add
nomodeset as a boot option. This gets me into the system, and it is passably usable, but can be better, I'm sure. Some information on the setup:
- Debian (Jessie) build
- I have tried recompiling a 3.x kernel to see if it was something in the newer 4.x kernel, but the problem persists
- Using the latest rEFInd to boot into the system
VGA compatible controller : Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. [AMD/ATI] RV530/M56-P [Mobility Radeon X1600] [1002:71c5]for my graphics card
The issue sounds similar to this one, which also does not have an answer. It has been almost a full decade (if not more) since I've played with Linux (think 2.2.x series kernels when PowerPC was cutting edge), so some of this stuff is very very new to me. So some high level questions.
- What the heck is nomodeset, and what does it do? The closest answer I've found is that nomodeset tells the (newer) Linux kernels not to do any of the heavy lifting with the video card -- presumably this is because video drivers were moved into the kernel? I'm not sure how accurate that is.
- Are there other kernel options I may be able to try? I could not find an exhaustive list of options - some are specific to distros, some to boot loaders, etc.
- If I can boot into the system using nomodeset as a kernel prompt, is there a way to load the Radeon driver after the fact?
- Barring that, can I not configure X in some way to use hardware video rendering vs. software video rendering? I envision booting into text-only mode, and then updating some config option in X, then launching X.