(Please note that I am breaking this out as a separate question from this one I asked earlier: How exactly do the Linux display device files work?)

I have a Linux From Scratch system that I've built (including the kernel) and installed on an Apple Macbook 2,1 (just a basic text console, no X server). The system was working fine until about a month ago, when I started experiencing problems with the display. Now, when I boot the system, the GRUB menu shows up and at that point, the display seems absolutely fine - no flicker, nothing. Perfect. However, when I go to boot LFS (in debug mode), I see a load of boot messages fly past and then the screen goes blank. I know the system is booting up, as I can login and execute commands 'blind'.

I suspected the problem may lie with the i915 GPU driver (which I've heard is notoriously buggy), so I've rebuilt the kernel to exclude the modules for i915 and drm. Basically, I just want to use the framebuffer (i.e. efifb or vesafb) and bypass the GPU entirely. However, the black screen problem keeps happening and won't go away. I've tried a lot of things and I have been digging through the logs and init files and it seems to be happening once udev loads up and starts handling uevents. I've been tinkering with the udev rules files, but can't seem to identify the particular rule that is causing the problem.

Does anyone have any idea what might be causing this? The frustrating thing is that the display seems to work perfectly when the GRUB menu comes up - it seems like if I could just get Linux to leave the display setup alone when it boots, there wouldn't be any issue.

(I should also mention that I have Libreboot installed on this Macbook, which is a version of coreboot that only includes free firmware)

  • Recently my sis-in-law had a similar issue when she dropped her Macbook. Boot fine, no graphics upon boot. It was repaired... – Rui F Ribeiro Jan 14 '19 at 17:20
  • @RuiFRibeiro ok, that's interesting. Do you know what they did to repair it? – Time4Tea Jan 14 '19 at 17:44
  • It is quite possible that there may be a hardware issue, perhaps with the graphics chip. The booting behavior seems inconsistent and, as I mentioned, this issue seems to have developed suddenly, by itself. However, if that were the case, it seems strange that during boot, the graphics are absolutely fine, but only once Linux starts to load up that I see the problems. – Time4Tea Jan 14 '19 at 17:48
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    @Time4Tea In your case I would use the other distro to mount and chroot into your problematic one. There you can install sshd and play with it remotely. Also I have a macbook 2,1 , it has 3 OSes, but... it was a good lesson to put Apple next to m$ on my boycott list. – peterh - Reinstate Monica Jan 14 '19 at 19:57
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    @Time4Tea You can also use some virtualization to boot the working distro, start the problematic one in a VM and play with it realtime. – peterh - Reinstate Monica Jan 14 '19 at 20:00

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