Blank screen with intel video cards in Salix 13.1

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If you have an intel video card and the screen goes completely blank after the lilo boot screen and after a few lines of messages have appeared, then sadly your card is not well supported for kernel which comes with Slackware/Salix 13.1. Specifically Kernel Mode Setting (KMS) is not working properly. KMS is enabled by default and the intel driver that comes with 13.1 (version 2.11.0) requires KMS to be enabled in order for it to work.

There are two ways to fix this problem, one is disabling KMS and using an older version of the intel driver and the second one is upgrading your kernel

Use an older version of the intel driver

At the lilo boot prompt hit the TAB key on your keyboard and type:

linux 3 nomodeset

That will start your system in init 3 (no graphics) and will temporarily disable KMS for this session. So, the screen shouldn't get blanked this time.

If you're not comfortable with continuing from the command line and want to have a graphical environment, remove the already existing intel driver (as root):

removepkg xf86-video-intel

and then you'll be able to start Xorg using the generic vesa driver with:


Edit the /etc/lilo.conf file and change the append line at the top, adding nomodeset in the options:

append="quiet splash vt.default_utf8=1 nomodeset "

Save and run lilo to apply the changes:

lilo -v

That will make the disabling of KMS permanent.

Now, run:

slapt-get --search xf86-video-intel

to see which versions of the intel driver are available. You'll see that apart from the 2.11.0 version, there is also version 2.9.1 available. You can install that by specifying the complete package name, for example for the 32bit architecture that would be:

slapt-get -i xf86-video-intel-2.9.1-i486-1gv

If you restart your system, you should no longer get a blank screen and Xorg will load using the intel driver.

You might want to disable updates for the xf86-video-intel package, or else it will be upgraded to version 2.11.0 on the next upgrade you do with slapt-get/gslapt. You can do that by editing the /etc/slapt-get/slapt-getrc file and adding xf86-video-intel at the end of the comma separated list in the EXCLUDE line, or by adding it using the relevant window in the gslapt preferences.

Use a newer kernel

Support for KMS has been fixed in kernel version 2.6.34 (and probably newer), so you could have KMS enabled and you could keep using the 2.11.0 version of the intel driver if you compiled and installed kernel 2.6.34 yourself.