Thursday, January 25, 2007

VTBook Video card on a Linux Laptop - FC4

So now that I have my fancy 24" monitor running with the laptop I decided if 2 screens are good 3 screens must be better! Right?

Well maybe...

I ordered a VTBook card from Villagetronic. Heck for $249 you can't go wrong.

Well it does seem to work but it's not for the faint of heart. I'm usually pretty reluctant to jump in a recompile the kernel anymore. Mainly because I use several packages from 3rd party repos that depend on a particular kernel. So what I did was download the kernel source rpm and then rebuild the package with the same naming id. This way I could add the changes necessary for the card while still keeping compatibility with the other modules I use.

OK, so the good news I have it working.... on a Fedora Core 4 laptop! So far I haven't been successful getting it to work on a Fedora Core 6 laptop. I've opened up a support request with the folks at Villagetronics but so far all I've gotten back was an automated email and a followup email saying they'd have someone contact me ASAP! Still waiting...

In the mean time, I've put my xorg.conf and the kernel.spec file up on a server so others can enjoy this as well. I rebuilt the kernel using the kernel-2.6.17-1.2142_FC4.src.rpm package. So you just have to download it and then copy my spec file into /usr/src/redhat/SPECS. Then it's just a little time spent waiting on
rpmbuild --target i686 -bp kernel-2.6.spec.vtbook

Ok so maybe it's a lot of time. Once I get more bandwidth I'll make the RPMs available for download.

I also had to change settings in /etc/grub.conf and remove the "rghb" option from the kernel options. Otherwise it would try to use the X server while booting and that would cause problems as the card wasn't ready yet.

As the instructions mention you need to add a line to /etc/init.d/pcmcia for the setpci command. Otherwise you'll have problems when your X windows does start up.

I've noticed that when you are shutting down the laptop the monitor connected to the VT card will sort of go crazy and flicker as if it's trying to get a signal. It might be wise to turn off the monitor when you start to shutdown the laptop. I notice the same problem when I switch to one of the console screens also. When I switch back I have to power cycle the screen to get my extra desktop back.

1 comment:

Laptop Video Cards said...

You seem to be quite into computers. Hopefully you will write something about repairing laptop video cards as well.