Kubuntu KDE 4.1 video analysis

I have spent some time on this problem and here are the steps I took to resolve it. Before I start I will say that I have been involved in video development since the first monochrome character cards were developed and worked on VGA SVGA and implemented a ROM BIOS for the first VGA card. I later worked on VESA software and card design and implemented video designs with RISC and wrote device drivers for W$. I am familiar with ISA EISA PCI and grasp the configuration issues as I worked on motherboard chip sets.

I have also spent a great deal of time understanding the X server layout in Linux and have followed the development of Mesa3D for years. I have had problems with the video on many of my upgrades and installs. It mostly centers around bad information about ATI drivers and the instabilities of ATI drivers is an issue.

The problem is that my second monitor resets every 5 seconds and though this does not stop me from using my laptop, I would like to have full use of all the features that I had previously.

Step1: I switched monitors to be certain that a hardware problem had not developed in my CRT. The second monitor had the same problem. I decided to approach the problem by assembling all the options in one place. Here are the software tools:

  1. dmesg
  2. modprobe -l
  3. uname -a
  4. lspci
  5. xrandr -q
  6. xtrace
  7. IRC #ubuntu+1
  8. /etc/X11/xorg.conf
  9. /var/log/xorg.o.log

The point of this is not simply to solve the problem, but be able to quickly identify the source of any problem in the use of a specific video card with a particular system. I am setting up to be ready to debug my other systems and report back to the appropriate place that can make changes to the source for release. I think that I need to be more involved in the process of development so that I can head off these problems before they are released or even beta.

I will likely throw some Python script at the files that are generated by a diagnostic script I created which gathers all this information in a single file to be analyzed. I have gathered everything together and now I am going to let it sink in and then develop a sensible approach that takes into account all the variables and I may create a program that runs before the Xserver starts to diagnose how the video reacts to specific types of commands and methods. I have a complete OS that I wrote in X86 assembly language which uses the VESA interface for video and I have yet to find a video card that could not be driven that way from the VESA spec. Perhaps the best thing to do is make an automated script which modifies the configuration files and restarts the Xserver to test each change to see how the hardware reacts to each feature being enabled and disabled.

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