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Installation (HP Elitebook 2740p -- Arrandale integrated graphics)

The HP 2740p does not have an internal CD-ROM, but can happily boot from the openSuSE 11.3 installation DVD in a DVD drive attached to the USB port (or presumably with the expansion bay DVD, which my 2740p did not come with). As usual, you may need to adjust the BIOS settings to allow booting from a CD/DVD drive attached to the USB port, and to make booting from the DVD a higher priority than booting from the internal hard-drive.

Everything goes well during the installation, but then the screen goes blank at the end! It is just the display which has gone black, it is possible to switch into console-mode (with Ctrl-Alt-F2), although the screen is still black, blindly login as root and shutdown the machine.

The problem seems to be a combination of power management and Intel video display drivers. During installation, openSuSE is just using a fbdev/VESA driver. Upon trying to re-start the X (/Xorg) display, I think openSuSE tries to use an Intel driver instead (the 2740p has an Intel Arrandale graphics processor), which then interacts with the power management by shutting down the screen! A google search for `opensuse arrandale black screen' shows multiple discussion results, not just with openSuSE but with other distributions such as Fedora and Ubuntu.

Incidentally, the problem occurred for me before openSuSE installed any updates.

It is still possible to use openSuSE by not using the Intel display driver. If the `normal' openSuSE boot is chosen from the GRUB bootloader, the screen will turn black before the appearance of the login screen. Either boot using the `safe' option, which also disables a lot of other advanced features, or add `nomodeset' to the normal boot option (this can be done from the GRUB bootloader screen).

Obviously, using the fbdev/VESA driver means there is no hardware graphics acceleration. Screen resolution is correctly identified, but a lack of desktop effects is annoying! There must be a better way, and there is...

I installed all the openSuSE standard updates (up to mid-December 2010), including a small kernel update, but that had no effect. However, some people say that the fault lies at least in part with the kernel by handling power management incorrectly. The other possible culprits are the xorg intel driver, and perhaps KDE 4.4. I upgraded KDE 4.4 to 4.5.4 release 9 and also thought I upgraded from openSuSE's standard Xorg to the special Xorg repository (using the repository http://download.opensuse.org/repositories/X11:/XOrg/openSUSE_11.3). However, although I thought let YaST package manager download a lot of Xorg packages, I still have Xorg version 7.5 (Intel driver module 2.12.0, `compiled for 1.8.0'). Currently, the Xorg repository containe version 7.6 packages. Nevertheless, the `black screen' no longer appears when KDE starts, so perhaps it is mainly a KDE problem. glxinfo shows that direct rendering is available. glxgears shows a rather anaemic 50-60 fps. KDE's `my computer' reports that an Intel driver is responsible for 2d, and `unknown classic 7.8.2' is responsible for 3d. At least one user reports that upgrading XOrg helps.. When I updated Xorg, YaST complained that Mesa-32bit 7.9 (in the XOrg repository) needed an updated 32-bit version of libtalloc. This isn't in the standard repositories, but is in the Samba repository. However, the new version I downloaded seems hopelessly unstable, so I reverted back to the standard repository.


next up previous Link to 'computer' page
Next: Internal hardware Up: openSuSE 11.3 Previous: openSuSE 11.3
David Fong 2011-01-25