Just a pile of Old Computer Junk "Its life Jim, but not as we know it"

Debian Squeeze and Linux Kernel 3

A couple of months ago I splashed out and upgraded my motherboard to an ASUS Sabretooth 990FX, in theory to complement my quad core Athlon II 640 with faster RAM and SATA 3, more PCI-E slots etc. (but the camoflauge colour scheme and mil-spec capacitors didn’t hurt either… :-) )

However it wasn’t all smooth sailing, and my system just hasn’t been as stable as it was with my previous board, a Gigabyte GA-MA78S2H. With my new setup, I have had issues with television (DVB-T) no longer working after waking from sleep, surround sound not working properly, USB devices not working properly after wake-up, and random non-fatal kernel stack dumps.

Over the Christmas break I started to try and sort it all out.

So to start with I figured I’d try a newer kernel - I was currently running a 2.6.39 series from the Debian archive.

It turned out that I was able to install a kernel from the development repository (aka ‘wheezy’) without it wanting to pull in a heap of dependencies. This is good because I like to try and track stable as much as possible, because I keep DVD images locally to avoid reduce bandwidth usage when installing new packages. But all is not as it seems… (see update below)

Reboot, OK so far so good. But first hurdle was when GDM would have started, the display remained stuck on a black screen with a fast flashing text cursor. Rebooting into single user mode, I confirmed that X was failing to start.

Of course, after some brief checks it was because I was using binary NVIDIA drivers and they had not recompiled for my new kernel, in spite of my DKMS setup.

To get moving I switched X to use the nouveau driver. To do this I edited /etc/modules and added the nouveau module, and moved /etc/X11/xorg.conf out of the way. This at least got the system going again.


It turns out the DKMS driver rebuild failed because I had not installed the kernel headers. And upon attempting to do so, of course aptitude wanted to pull in gcc-4.6 and many other dependencies from wheezy, which I do not want to deal with yet. So revert back to 2.6.39 for the time being…

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