Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Xorg drivers for VIA Unichrome Pro P4M890

After an entire day with my monitor refusing to refresh at > 60hz, this is somewhere between a rant and a howto - if you're in the same situation, you'll understand! Anyway, the background is that I bought (for a site) the cheapest Foxconn motherboard Sahara sells, which comes with onboard graphics in the form of the VIA P4M890 integrated graphics chipset. Install Ubuntu 6.10, boot, and discover that everything works... except my screen resolution settings. Even when the screen resolution graphical config tool says it's running at 85hz, the way my brain squirms every time I look at the screen tells me it isn't. After establishing that the problem isn't the cheap Sahara monitor (the smallest 17" I've ever seen) or an xorg.conf setting, it's off to the Ubuntu forums, where I find a foretaste of things to come in the form of one user's comment
'Oh, that's a LOVELY piece of hardware *rolls eyes*'
To cut a long and horribly flickering story short, VIA does in fact provide linux drivers for the P4M890 chipset - they're just in the basement, in a locked cabinet hidden in a disused lavatory behind a door with a sign reading "beware of leopard". In fact, they can be found at the Via Arena site, and there's a recent howto here.

Useful things to note, or, avoid making the mistakes I made:
  • There are xorg and XFree86 drivers here - read the fine print carefully. if you find the install script looking for Xfree86-specific things, don't try to change it, you've downloaded the wrong driver package.
  • There is also an installation guide, written by someone who does not speak much english. This is ironic, because all their PR material is written by a gushing woman name Fiona Gatt, who speaks perfect english.
  • The installation guide is supplemented (and also contradicted at times) by the files Installation.txt and src/release.txt inside the source tarball. None of these make much sense alone.
  • Don't try the OpenChrome drivers, because although in general they seem to be a better idea than the VIA-provided drivers, they don't yet support this chipset (although other Unichrome Pro chipsets apparently are fine)
Lastly, the VIA arena site is almost calculated to instill rage in anyone looking there for graphics drivers. I AM HERE BECAUSE MY REFRESH RATE IS 60HZ, I DO NOT WANT TO BUY YOUR STUFF. OR CLICK ADSENSE ADS. OR GET UNREAL TOURNAMENT MAPS. I JUST WANT MY SCREEN TO STOP FLICKERING. Everything is white. You cannot find xorg drivers unless you know the direct URL. The latest packaged graphics drivers are for Fedora Core 4. aargh.

5 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi,

I have been trying to install these drivers for almost 2 months. Were you successful in installing these drivers and could you please post your instructions here. When i tried running the script vinstall_2D i get the error message:

c$ ./vinstall_2D
-------- install start --------
cp: cannot stat `XServer/via_drv.o': No such file or directory
cp: cannot stat `XServer/libddmpeg.so': No such file or directory
ldconfig: Can't create temporary cache file /etc/ld.so.cache~: Permission denied
Now start to install VIA/S3G display utility...

Warning, system cannot find the /usr/X11R6/lib/libXv.so.1.0 file.
You can find the package in the installation CD.

Abort, the utility is not installed.

5:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi,

I have been trying to install these drivers for almost 2 months. Were you successful in installing these drivers and could you please post your instructions here. When i tried running the script vinstall_2D i get the error message:

c$ ./vinstall_2D
-------- install start --------
cp: cannot stat `XServer/via_drv.o': No such file or directory
cp: cannot stat `XServer/libddmpeg.so': No such file or directory
ldconfig: Can't create temporary cache file /etc/ld.so.cache~: Permission denied
Now start to install VIA/S3G display utility...

Warning, system cannot find the /usr/X11R6/lib/libXv.so.1.0 file.
You can find the package in the installation CD.

Abort, the utility is not installed.

5:32 PM  
Blogger melissa said...

Hi, I did manage to get them installed using the instructions at http://www.hombrepac.com.ar/software-libre/linux/how-to-via-k8m890-chrome-9-igp-and-linuxs-xorg-ubuntu-edgy-610/

Depending on your kernel version, you may need to edit the makedriver and vinstall_2D scripts - for some reason, the kernel version is hardcoded.

What I can see from your post is that you are trying to run vinstall_2D without makedriver having completed successfully, so watch the output carefully.

6:27 PM  
Anonymous johnm said...

Using SuSE Linux 10.1. I also have the same Sahara problem. Screen is fixed at 640 x 480. SaX2, Xfine cannot change the configuration. HW scan gives the correct screen ettings. The Foxconn package comes as P4M800P7MA. Can I assume that the listed P4M800/CE/Pro UniChrome Pro integrated graphics driver will do the job?

1:40 AM  
Blogger Marcio Miranda said...

Melissa Hi, I am with that problem (Warning, the system can not find / usr/X11R6/lib/libXv.so.1.0 file) I am using OpenSuSE 10.3 and 11 = (
Can you help me? Jã gave back in the world but can not solve this problem.

5:23 PM  

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