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 Forum index » Advanced Topics » Hardware » Video
Explanation - Video Setup/Operation in all Puppy distros
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gcmartin


Joined: 14 Oct 2005
Posts: 4447
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PostPosted: Wed 30 Mar 2011, 18:14    Post subject:  Explanation - Video Setup/Operation in all Puppy distros
Subject description: Why do they plague us all too often
 

To begin this thread, I want to credit BigPUP with his excellent contribution to the understanding of Video in Puppy Linux. He inspired this thread thru his assistance elsewhere on video.

If anyone knows of additional forum or non-forum items for the steps to adding, installing, setup, use and testing of video drivers for any particular card not covered here, please post in this thread, and I will drag that URL to this page. Also, any corrections of any information seen here please post so that this post can reflect correct information for users. And, of course, any other information need be posted as well, please add to this thread so all can benefit.


This thread is structured as follows:
  1. what are the components that come to play in a Puppy PC?
  2. what are the steps we must follow to get video "properly" set on a PUP desktiop?
This thread is ONLY about Puppy LInux: No other LInux discussion is appropriate here; ONLY Puppy Linux. It is a "matter of fact" discussion of Video Cards requirements in PUPs. Its mission is to provide an understanding of our responsibility as users of PUPs.

BigPUP's posting, here, is an excellent explanation and eye opener for us. I summarize that, to me, it appears there are 2 times that PUPs address video and it is done from 2 COMPLETELY DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVES (components)..

The components are
  1. 1st, at boot time when PUPs need to put text on the screen so that we can visually see the booting process. This "driver", per se, attempts to use something considered to be a "standard" for Linux boots. There are, though, some parameters that can be entered to control text sizing, depending on your distro.
  2. 2nd, PUPs will either walk you thru or make educated guesses for you to get you to a Puppy desktop screen. Here, your PUP will do this in 1 of 2 ways that I am aware of (there may be others, though).
    1. Walking you thru, the PUP distro maker is stepping back and asking you to decide. So you must be estute enough to know how to use the xorgwizard tool so as to select the appropriate path to get a PUP desktop.
    2. In the educated guesses way, some distro owners help the user along with some preselection that is done to get to a PUP desktop. Here, at desktop startup, the user can change some things for his PUP system, 1 of which is his video and its driver.
    The video selection is on the shoulders of ALL users either directly or implicitly to get proper video on the PUP desktop.

    Remember, ALL USERS has a resposibility for the performance and the behavior of your video card on your PC when using Puppy, by design.
So, in summaery, the ssytem boots with a text based video component, then pauses while it loads a WYSIWYG, all-points addressible driver component into the system, then continue on to a Puppy desktop with icons.

Now, the fun begins (at least for me) on where to go to get the best video experience that one can from his video card. This again, is a user's responsibility. To do this, the user MUST determine his video card, he must manually choose, how to get that video card's driver (PET) onto his system by downloading and installing it. Next, he must choose the correct path for setting up the driver in the system as each individual driver is installed and setup DIFFERENTLY for the Puppy that the user is using..

Steps for video changes
To address the effort that the above paragraph touches on, this thread now turns its attention by pointing us to some proven steps for installing video drivers for your PC
History
Even though I mentioned earlier that this discussion is confined to Puppy Linux, I think it my duty to indicate to ALL WINDOWS USERS that 99% of all Windows PCs were set up by the PC manufacturers before your PC hit the store shelves. This particular issue was addressed, by them, so that you, the user, would NOT have to address this item with your Windows PC.

In Puppy Linux, we do not have the luxury to have either inherited or purchased a PC with Puppy already "fixed" for us. So, we, the users, must do it, individually ourselves. That is why this thread is created. To help us understand "Why" we must take on the responsibility in this area, individually, ourselves..

in the future, should Linux gets so popular with the PC manufacturers that they pre-build Linux PCs for us, then, this video (audio too) need on our part will disappear.

Important to note:
Of all the PUPs in existence, today, there is only 2 PUPs that provide a tool that can be used to give a user a "baseline" (a baseline is a "starting point") for the video performance on their PC. The tool that comes with these 2 PUPs is GLXGEARS. The current 2 PUPs are; namely, WARY and Multi-WARY ("Quickset Wary-5.1.1q") by Barry-Shinobar. WARY uses the "walk you thru" boot approach while Multi-WARY uses the educated guesses approach to get users to the Puppy desktop. Using either of these 2 PUPs, you can immediately establish a baseline to compare this video starting performance with the changes you make as you attempt to inprove your video performance on your PC.

The way I use this is to run GLXGEARS as soon as I get to Puppy desktop. This give me a baseline. And everytime I make any changes to my system's video, I rerun GLXGEARS to see whether the change has a positive or a negative video impact on the running system. I save these GLXGEARS reports so that I can compare them by understanding what works and what is not good for the PC. All recommended changes may/may-not be helpful in your PC. An example is here.

This intends to be interactive. Hope this helps.

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Last edited by gcmartin on Thu 14 Apr 2011, 12:30; edited 5 times in total
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gcmartin


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PostPosted: Wed 30 Mar 2011, 18:17    Post subject: Title  

I think this title needs changing. I welcome suggestions so that this can serve the widest possible Puppy audience
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tazoc


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PostPosted: Thu 07 Apr 2011, 22:55    Post subject: Video tips for Puppy and derivatives  

Lighthouse Pup also includes the command line tool glxgears, as does FatDog64 and Fluppy. Many Pups have report-video, a script designed to report the current driver and video chipset identification, and should work from CL even if X won't start.

When typing xorgwizard from the CL doesn't seem to help, I usually open the Xorg configuration with a text editor to override Xorg settings:
Code:
mp /etc/X11/xorg.conf
(If X is running, just navigate to /etc/X11 in ROX-Filer and right-click on xorg.conf | Open As Text.) For example, when a specific driver fails, often replacing it with the generic vesa will at least start X so you can more easily find a solution. vesa is often the only driver that will work in VirtualBox. I might change the Driver line (toward the end in the Section "Device") from
Code:
Driver "nvidia" #card0driver
to
Code:
Driver "vesa" #card0driver

Then in mp save the file with Ctrl + S and quit mp with Ctrl + Q. Start X with
Code:
xwin
Once you've got vesa working, you can use the same method to try a more specific Xorg driver:
video card - Xorg Driver
NVIDIA - nv
ATI - radeon
Intel - intel

When X is running, type xrandr in a terminal to obtain the available resolutions and xrandrshell to switch.

The log /var/log/Xorg.0.log is helpful but often very long. So from CL or in a terminal, screen the log for errors by typing
Code:
grep EE /var/log/X (then hit the [Tab] key to complete, then Enter)
or just the end of the log,
Code:
tail /var/log/X [Tab]
For the entire log,
Code:
mp /var/log/X [Tab]

Lighthouse Pup feedback suggests that most Intel cards work well with KMS, so recent LHPs and most recent Woof-based Pups don't need i915.modeset=1 specified on the kernel line. This is because they have a kernel config file in /etc/modprobe.d, in this case /etc/modprobe.d/i915.conf which contains
Code:
options i915 modeset=1
to enable KMS for i915 compatible display adapters.

See also http://puppylinux.org/wikka/video
-TazOC
glxgears.jpg
 Description   glxgears example (fglrx: ATI Catalyst Driver installed)
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glxgears.jpg


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gcmartin


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PostPosted: Thu 14 Apr 2011, 12:47    Post subject: Measuring Video Performance  

I have found that in order to get the best video performance from Puppies, there are several pieces of information that is important to alll of us trying to "tune" our PC for "video operation".

Here's a list which is useful. AND, I follow this with a request!
    There are 4 things needed for anyone to be able to clip together your system's video performance so that you can tune it.
  • Know the video card reported to the OS. This is reported by "report-video" terminal command.
  • Know the video driver in current use in the OS. This is reported by "report-video" terminal command.
  • Know the video resolution in current use in the OS. This is reported by "Hardinfo > Display" terminal command.
  • Know the video performance for that resolution. This is reported by "glxgears" terminal command.
Incidentally, I seemed to have discovered that screen resolution will affect the performance report from glxgears. So for those of us who are searching for 'BEST" performance, we must insure that the screen depth and resoltuion remain the same throughout testing when trying different drivers("apples to apples" comparison).

This information is very valuable when reporting on the forum changes/improvements/requests for assistance.

The REQUEST!
Does anyone know of a single tool which will give card, current driver, and current resolution in a single screen?
Edited: @TazOC's Tool ===> "report-video-glx"See next post's directions
Does anyone know the link to "report-video" or the Puppy author of report-video?
Does anyone know th link to glxgears or the Puppy author of glxgears?

Does anyone have any recommendations that they see as a need for understanding, use, or measurement of Video performance in PUPs?

Thanks in advance

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Last edited by gcmartin on Sat 16 Apr 2011, 11:26; edited 4 times in total
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tazoc


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PostPosted: Sat 16 Apr 2011, 02:03    Post subject: Re: Measuring Video Performance  

gcmartin wrote:
Does anyone know of a single tool which will give card, current driver, and current resolution in a single screen?
How about
Code:
xrandr | grep '*'; report-video
[Update:] Or try report-video-glx. It also shows OpenGL status when X is running and CPU MHz.
Quote:
Does anyone know the link to "report-video" or the Puppy author of report-video?
I think BarryK is the author http://murga-linux.com/puppy/viewtopic.php?p=406477#406477
Quote:
Does anyone know th link to glxgears or the Puppy author of glxgears?
glxgears is one of the xdemos in the Mesa 3D Graphics Library
The source code in MesaDemos-7.8.2 (glxgears.c) has
Quote:
* This is a port of the infamous "gears" demo to straight GLX (i.e. no GLUT)
* Port by Brian Paul 23 March 2001
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brian_Paul
Quote:
Does anyone have any recommendations that they see as a need for understanding, use, or measurement of Video performance in PUPs?
See http://www.free3d.org/#hardware_benchmarks. I think the full Mesa 3D adds 40-45 MiB above and beyond Xorg itself, so it may be relegated to a Pet or SFS, specific to the Xorg and kernel of the associated Pup. Proprietary drivers like ATI Catalyst and NVIDIA may offer enhanced 3D performance but only specific cards are supported.
-TazOC

Update: get the latest report-video-glx here:
http://www.murga-linux.com/puppy/viewtopic.php?p=538263#538263
report-video-glx-0.3.pet
Description  Old version--see link above for updates.
* GUI if X is running. If not, type 'report-video-glx' in the console.
pet

 Download 
Filename  report-video-glx-0.3.pet 
Filesize  11.83 KB 
Downloaded  1054 Time(s) 

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Last edited by tazoc on Sun 26 Jun 2011, 21:49; edited 2 times in total
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tazoc


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PostPosted: Mon 18 Apr 2011, 14:35    Post subject: Re: Measuring Video Performance  

Updated report-video-glx in last post. Now a Pet with GUI.
* Removed colrm from script and improved detection of Xorg driver.
* GUI if X is running. If not, type 'report-video-glx' in the console.
-TazOC

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gcmartin


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PostPosted: Mon 18 Apr 2011, 14:43    Post subject: Re: Measuring Video Performance  

tazoc wrote:
Updated report-video-glx in last post. Now a Pet with GUI.
* Removed colrm from script and improved detection of Xorg driver.
* GUI if X is running. If not, type 'report-video-glx' in the console.
-TazOC
Your summary screen in LightHouse is "Fabulous!" (Menu>System>Configuration and Status>Lighthouse Report-Video)

Your PET is a excellent Video Information page. Should assist everyone, when needed.

Thanks for this addition!

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bigpup


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PostPosted: Sun 22 May 2011, 01:24    Post subject: monitor auto adjust button
Subject description: What is it for?
 

On a computer monitor, what is auto adjust button for?
The auto adjust button is there to let you fine tune the monitor, to the signal it is receiving. No two operating systems or video drivers match output 100%.
Any change in computer graphics output, may require use of this button.
Use as much as needed.

The long answer,
There are presets in the monitor, for each resolution setting it can handle. When one of those resolution signals is received, it uses the preset data to display that resolution.
The problem is, the data coming from the computer may or may not match exactly those presets. Thus you get a screen off center.
Auto adjust button, looks at data coming from computer and adjusts for difference of preset and input data.
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PostPosted: Sun 22 May 2011, 01:49    Post subject: monitors native resolution setting
Subject description: Why there is no option for my monitors native resolution?
 

Selecting monitor resolution.

What is monitor native resolution?
The resolution that will provide best graphics image and performance.
The resolution setting, the monitor was designed around, based on components used to build monitor.

Typical problem:
Your monitors native resolution is 1280x960. It can go even higher.
Available settings, in Puppy, seem to stop at 1024x768.

The graphics driver, you are using, is controlling what resolution options you have in Puppy.
Installing a driver, specific for you brand of video card, should give you more options.
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tazoc


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PostPosted: Sun 26 Jun 2011, 21:42    Post subject: report-video-glx updated  

report-video-glx updated see:

http://www.murga-linux.com/puppy/viewtopic.php?p=538263#538263

-TazOC

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gcmartin


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PostPosted: Wed 06 Jul 2011, 16:24    Post subject: Unified Memory Architecture  

There are various items to consider when running any PC and its OS.

One issues that recurs constantly in any OS surronds the ability to interact with the chipsets and adapters directly attached to system's bus.

For Video, there are some specific considerations that affect the behavior of the OS for the user benefit
    Video Adapter
    PC BIOS
    RAM
    Chipset
Video Adapter
Is the adapter resident on the system board or is it connected to the system bus somehow?

PC BIOS
Did you Shadow memory in the BIOS
Did you have system set aside some portion of memory for video use
If so, how much was set aside

RAM
Some OSes do a very good job of using system BIOS & RAM for video outputting via specific MB video (Intel/AMD comes to mind, here).

Chipset
Here, depending of which chipset and which firmware level, the OS may need assistance or changes in order to correctly take advantage of any video assist that may be present.

For those of us who have PCs with video provided to the display via the motherboard, I draw attention to this Linux manual's item (see below). (Also found here) From it, one can consider options it alludes to for affecting our video's performance.

In most cases, drivers from the MB or video manufacturers are used. But, several Open Source efforts also exist to enrich our use in Linux.

In this community the PUP distro developers and many others work hard in their efforts to make the video portion as painless as it appears to be in Microsoft. In 2010-2011 we have seen additional advances in Puppyland making start-up use painless. I applaud, again, their work in achieving this for all of us.

Questions
  • Does anyone know or can offer a guideline on what BIOS optios would work best with Puppy Linux when VGA/DVI is provided via the MB?
  • HDMI is becoming very popular and I have references of using it to connect to TVs in an effort to use the TVs video AND audio capability. When this is delivered from the system's motherboard, is there BIOS options that should be attended to here?
    When HDMI is used from your non-MB adapter, are there BIOS/Puppy setting
  • Further, which of the BIOS options would most certainly restrict performance when enabled?
  • Are there other items that any/every user should pay attention or review when they begin their experience in Puppy (or even with specific PUP distros)?
Lastly, should HDMI be discussed as a separate item from normal video threads or is a normal thread appropriate?

Thanks in advance
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