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I've lovingly installed Fedora 28 (actually 27, then upgraded into 28 -- but this occurred at the start of the 27 install), onto my Dell Inspiron 1545.

PROBLEM STATEMENT: I have to use NOMODESET to even receive a useable GUI. Without that switch present in the cmdline, I receive a GUI on F1 console as described below - just a mouse pointer. I can actually hit END (I think) and receive a GUI popup that asks for english/other languages, but that closes after I click something, and I'm back to the pretty desktop picture, mouse pointer, and nothing else.

BACKGROUND:

Attempted a USB-based install to my Inspiron 1545 (4GB RAM, 128GB SSD), and the only way I could proceed with the GUI installation was to provide NOMODESET on the cmdline (e, to edit) for the install process. It was decidedly low-res (due to having to use NOMODESET to install), but I figured a driver sort-out was in order after install and it would give me full resolution. No joy.

COMPLAINT: I'm now stuck in 1024x768. No amount of fiddling, troubleshooting has gotten me joy.

And NOMODESET is hardcoded in the cmdline (understandably, as that's what I started the installation with, so it kept it, I believe) -- which is the only way I can boot to a GUI and use LXDE (which is the default desktop options I picked). This gui is 1024x768, and nothing with XRANDR or anything else will change it.

DETAILS:

(1) The laptop itself is somewhat a monster - the LCD screen was physically REMOVED from the laptop - the whole thing, so it's only the laptop bottom. It's ugly, but still works.

In fact ^^ it worked with Windows, no issues, displaying on the external Sanyo LCD monitor at the full resolution (1360x768) with no problem.

Also, LXDE works with NOMODESET, but only at 1024x768.

(2) When I REMOVE 'nomodeset' from the cmdline, it will boot just fine - but I am presented with the greeter background (the fiber optic blue graphic), a mouse pointer, and nothing else. The other terminals (ALT-F[2-8]) provide a normal text console login, which works fine. The ALT-F1 (primary console), again, shows the Fedora background greeter, a mouse pointer (which moves), and nothing else.

(3) Here are some (hopefully) relevant diagnostics I've performed both WITH and WITHOUT the NOMODESET parameter in the cmdline (grub boot line):

First, lspci to ensure we have a valid supported graphics chipset:

**[root@Towel ~]# lspci -nnk | grep -A3 VGA**
00:02.0 VGA compatible controller [0300]: Intel Corporation Mobile 4 Series Chipset Integrated Graphics Controller [8086:2a42] (rev 07)
    Subsystem: Dell Device [1028:02aa]
    Kernel modules: i915
00:02.1 Display controller [0380]: Intel Corporation Mobile 4 Series Chipset Integrated Graphics Controller [8086:2a43] (rev 07)

What does inxi say with NOMODESET present in the cmdline:

**[root@Towel ~]# inxi -SMCGx** 
System:
  Host: Towel Kernel: 4.19.14-200.fc28.x86_64 x86_64 bits: 64 compiler: gcc 
  v: 8.2.1 Desktop: LXDE 0.9.3 Distro: Fedora release 28 (Twenty Eight) 
Machine:
  Type: Portable System: Dell product: Inspiron 1545 v: N/A serial: 5DQG7H1 
  Mobo: Dell model: 0G848F serial: .5DQG7H1.CN701668CR02E3. BIOS: Dell 
  v: A14 date: 12/07/2009 
CPU:
  Topology: Dual Core model: Intel Pentium Dual T3400 bits: 64 type: MCP 
  arch: Core Merom rev: D L2 cache: 1024 KiB 
  flags: lm nx pae sse sse2 sse3 ssse3 bogomips: 8645 
  Speed: 998 MHz min/max: 1000/2167 MHz Core speeds (MHz): 1: 998 2: 998 
Graphics:
  Device-1: Intel Mobile 4 Series Integrated Graphics vendor: Dell 
  driver: N/A bus ID: 00:02.0 
  Display: server: Fedora Project X.org 1.19.6 driver: vesa 
  unloaded: fbdev,modesetting resolution: 1024x768~N/A 
  OpenGL: renderer: llvmpipe (LLVM 6.0 128 bits) v: 3.3 Mesa 18.0.5 
  direct render: Yes

Now, without NOMODESET in the cmdline:

**[root@Towel ~]# inxi -SMCGx** 
System:    Host: Towel Kernel: 4.19.13-200.fc28.x86_64 x86_64 bits: 64 compiler: gcc v: 8.2.1 Console: tty 2 
           Distro: Fedora release 28 (Twenty Eight) 
Machine:   Type: Portable System: Dell product: Inspiron 1545 v: N/A serial: 5DQG7H1 
           Mobo: Dell model: 0G848F serial: .5DQG7H1.CN701668CR02E3. BIOS: Dell v: A14 date: 12/07/2009 
CPU:       Topology: Dual Core model: Intel Pentium Dual T3400 bits: 64 type: MCP arch: Core Merom rev: D L2 cache: 1024 KiB 
           flags: lm nx pae sse sse2 sse3 ssse3 bogomips: 8645 
           Speed: 998 MHz min/max: 1000/2167 MHz Core speeds (MHz): 1: 998 2: 998 
Graphics:  Device-1: Intel Mobile 4 Series Integrated Graphics vendor: Dell driver: i915 v: kernel bus ID: 00:02.0 
           Display: server: X.org 1.19.6 driver: modesetting unloaded: fbdev,vesa tty: 170x48 
           Message: Advanced graphics data unavailable in console for root.

How about Xorg.0.log with NOMODESET present in the cmdline:

**[root@Towel ~]# cat /var/log/Xorg.0.log | grep driver**
[    18.877]    X.Org XInput driver : 24.1
[    18.945] (==) Matched modesetting as autoconfigured driver 0
[    18.945] (==) Matched fbdev as autoconfigured driver 1
[    18.945] (==) Matched vesa as autoconfigured driver 2
[    18.945] (==) Assigned the driver to the xf86ConfigLayout
[    18.945] (II) Loading /usr/lib64/xorg/modules/drivers/modesetting_drv.so
[    18.951] (II) Loading /usr/lib64/xorg/modules/drivers/fbdev_drv.so
[    18.952] (II) Loading /usr/lib64/xorg/modules/drivers/vesa_drv.so
[    18.954] (II) FBDEV: driver for framebuffer: fbdev
[    18.954] (II) VESA: driver for VESA chipsets: vesa
[    20.419]    ABI class: X.Org XInput driver, version 24.1
[    20.419] (II) Using input driver 'libinput' for 'Power Button'
[    20.427] (II) No input driver specified, ignoring this device.
[    20.429] (II) Using input driver 'libinput' for 'Sleep Button'
[    20.437] (II) No input driver specified, ignoring this device.
[    20.437] (II) No input driver specified, ignoring this device.
[    20.440] (II) Using input driver 'libinput' for 'Logitech USB Receiver'
[    20.447] (II) Using input driver 'libinput' for 'Logitech USB Receiver Mouse'
[    20.460] (II) No input driver specified, ignoring this device.
[    20.464] (II) Using input driver 'libinput' for 'Logitech USB Receiver Consumer Control'
[    20.474] (II) Using input driver 'libinput' for 'Logitech USB Receiver System Control'
[    20.486] (II) Using input driver 'libinput' for 'Dell WMI hotkeys'
[    20.501] (II) Using input driver 'libinput' for 'AT Translated Set 2 keyboard'
[    20.509] (II) Using input driver 'libinput' for 'AlpsPS/2 ALPS GlidePoint'
[    20.525] (II) No input driver specified, ignoring this device.
[    20.545] (II) Using input driver 'libinput' for 'Logitech USB Receiver Consumer Control'
[    20.545] (**) Option "_source" "_driver/libinput"

And Xorg.0.log with NOMODESET removed/absent:

**[root@Towel ~]# cat /var/log/Xorg.0.log | grep driver** 
[    18.506]    X.Org XInput driver : 24.1
[    18.620] (==) Matched modesetting as autoconfigured driver 0
[    18.620] (==) Matched fbdev as autoconfigured driver 1
[    18.620] (==) Matched vesa as autoconfigured driver 2
[    18.620] (==) Assigned the driver to the xf86ConfigLayout
[    18.621] (II) Loading /usr/lib64/xorg/modules/drivers/modesetting_drv.so
[    18.631] (II) Loading /usr/lib64/xorg/modules/drivers/fbdev_drv.so
[    18.633] (II) Loading /usr/lib64/xorg/modules/drivers/vesa_drv.so
[    18.635] (II) FBDEV: driver for framebuffer: fbdev
[    18.635] (II) VESA: driver for VESA chipsets: vesa
[    18.669] (II) glamor: OpenGL accelerated X.org driver based.
[    19.354] (II) modeset(0): [DRI2]   DRI driver: i965
[    19.354] (II) modeset(0): [DRI2]   VDPAU driver: va_gl
[    19.648]    ABI class: X.Org XInput driver, version 24.1
[    19.648] (II) Using input driver 'libinput' for 'Video Bus'
[    19.673] (II) Using input driver 'libinput' for 'Power Button'
[    19.684] (II) No input driver specified, ignoring this device.
[    19.686] (II) Using input driver 'libinput' for 'Sleep Button'
[    19.702] (II) No input driver specified, ignoring this device.
[    19.703] (II) No input driver specified, ignoring this device.
[    19.705] (II) Using input driver 'libinput' for 'Logitech USB Receiver'
[    19.714] (II) Using input driver 'libinput' for 'Logitech USB Receiver Mouse'
[    19.731] (II) No input driver specified, ignoring this device.
[    19.733] (II) Using input driver 'libinput' for 'Logitech USB Receiver Consumer Control'
[    19.743] (II) Using input driver 'libinput' for 'Logitech USB Receiver System Control'
[    19.756] (II) Using input driver 'libinput' for 'Dell WMI hotkeys'
[    19.771] (II) Using input driver 'libinput' for 'AT Translated Set 2 keyboard'
[    19.781] (II) Using input driver 'libinput' for 'AlpsPS/2 ALPS GlidePoint'
[    19.793] (II) No input driver specified, ignoring this device.
[    19.843] (II) Using input driver 'libinput' for 'Logitech USB Receiver Consumer Control'
[    19.843] (**) Option "_source" "_driver/libinput"

What about dmesg without NOMODESET in the cmdline?

<snip>
[    9.632354] [Firmware Bug]: Duplicate ACPI video bus devices for the same VGA controller, please try module parameter "video.allow_duplicates=1"if the current driver doesn't work.
<snip>

And finally, to wrap up a new set of commands I learned recently, I also played with xrandr, and asked it to tell me what IT thought the displays, etc., were:

[root@Towel ~]# xrandr --verbose
xrandr: Failed to get size of gamma for output default
Screen 0: minimum 640 x 480, current 1024 x 768, maximum 1024 x 768
default connected 1024x768+0+0 (0x2ae) normal (normal) 0mm x 0mm
    Identifier: 0x2ad
    Timestamp:  19525
    Subpixel:   no subpixels
    Clones:    
    CRTC:       0
    CRTCs:      0
    Transform:  1.000000 0.000000 0.000000
                0.000000 1.000000 0.000000
                0.000000 0.000000 1.000000
               filter: 
  1024x768 (0x2ae)  0.000MHz *current
        h: width  1024 start    0 end    0 total 1024 skew    0 clock   0.00KHz
        v: height  768 start    0 end    0 total  768           clock   0.00Hz
  800x600 (0x2af)  0.000MHz
        h: width   800 start    0 end    0 total  800 skew    0 clock   0.00KHz
        v: height  600 start    0 end    0 total  600           clock   0.00Hz
  640x480 (0x2b0)  0.000MHz
        h: width   640 start    0 end    0 total  640 skew    0 clock   0.00KHz
        v: height  480 start    0 end    0 total  480           clock   0.00Hz

Notice the 'default' as the name for the only display? This is probably due to the system seeing the attached LCD - disattached/gone -- and the VGA connected to the external display (e.g., 'default').

And some hwinfo goodness:

[root@Towel ~]# hwinfo --monitor
28: None 00.0: 10000 Monitor                                    
  [Created at monitor.97]
  Unique ID: rdCR.dwn9oRFeFS2
  Hardware Class: monitor
  Model: "LCD TV"
  Vendor: SAN 
  Device: eisa 0x0000 "LCD TV"
  Resolution: 640x480@60Hz
  Resolution: 800x600@60Hz
  Resolution: 1024x768@60Hz
  Resolution: 1280x720@60Hz
  Resolution: 1360x768@60Hz
  Year of Manufacture: 2015
  Week of Manufacture: 0
  Detailed Timings #0:
     Resolution: 1360x768
     Horizontal: 1360 1424 1536 1792 (+64 +176 +432) +hsync
       Vertical:  768  771  777  795 (+3 +9 +27) +vsync
    Frequencies: 85.50 MHz, 47.71 kHz, 60.02 Hz
  Driver Info #0:
    Max. Resolution: 1360x768
    Vert. Sync Range: 23-63 Hz
    Hor. Sync Range: 15-69 kHz
    Bandwidth: 85 MHz
  Config Status: cfg=new, avail=yes, need=no, active=unknown

...

So, in summary:

(1) Installed Centos 27 with NOMODESET (as no other options worked) (2) Stuck with NOMODESET in command line (but I have removed it to test) (3) Workable gui with NOMODESET parameter passed, but stuck at 1024x768 (4) i915 driver seems to load with NOMODESET absent/removed, but no workable gui (maybe due to laptop screen being physically absent)

P.S. I have tried as well putting video.allow_duplicates=1 into the cmdline, but this yields absolutely no difference that I was aware of.

P.P.S. I have heard that since my laptop lid with the LCD actually triggers a reed switch in the base of the unit, the laptop may be expecting the circuit to be closed (via the reed switch being activated, through the action of closing the lid) before the laptop would become unconfused and offer any sort of useability to the i915 configuration. Willing to try that this weekend, if I can figure out how to do this.

-- Updated with Xorg.0.log w/ and w/o Modeset --

-> With Modeset: https://pastebin.com/muYey8SJ

-> Without Modeset: https://pastebin.com/JrSbSs7N

  • 1
    I have the same graphics chipset (Intel device 2a42 rev 7) in an old Acer Aspire 5735. For me, almost exactly the same problem started with the Centos 7.5 kernel. Red Hat backports new graphics drivers to their old kernels, so I suspect this is the same problem. It booted up to a blank screen with the backlight off after updating to 7.5, but I discovered Ctrl-Alt-F2 followed by Ctrl-Alt-F1 brought it to life. With Centos 7.6 I get the same blue screen with a mouse pointer that you get, but again a console switch fixes it. – Chuck E Jan 17 at 5:35
  • 1
    Absolutely on point with your note about switching consoles. Initially console F1 (#1?) is black, but by going to any other consoles, F1 magically lights up with a good graphics image, albeit, without the greeter login. smh – Jeffrey Carlson Jan 17 at 13:10
  • This is going to need the complete Xorg.0.log, not just the tiny excerpts you have posted. – Michael Hampton Jan 18 at 1:14
  • I've been having some similar display issues with i915, which I described in this question. The behavior with CTRL-F(1-7) sounds familiar - on mine, changing virtual consoles seems to briefly revive the display, but it goes black again if anything causes a major screen refresh. I haven't tried the NOMODESET option, but I will. – Time4Tea Jan 18 at 1:58
  • Thanks to all so far. Nothing new to report, sadly. It's basically fully functional with NOMODESET, albeit it's not using ANY graphics acceleration, no KMS, and is STUCK at 1024x768. I guess this is as good as it's gonna get with this laptop, this configuration, and this person at the keyboard (e.g., me!) – Jeffrey Carlson Jan 24 at 23:31

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