Sunday, May 08, 2016

problems with X crashes on newer Ubuntu

My Ubuntu install has had problems with random freezes after an upgrade to 12.04. Finally, when starting to do some serious simulation work, I decided to do something about it.

The first thought was that firefox was causing the crashes, since the freezes would start most often while starting firefox. But then, found the crashes happening when starting other apps as well. Suspected X, or the display driver, and wanted to use vesa instead. Many of the methods listed, like blacklisting nouveau, did not work with 16.04  - even after reboots, nouveau driver was being listed as used by lsmod.

Final solution was to create a /etc/X11/xorg.conf - which does not exist by default. As mentioned at many places, the procedure to do this was:
Switch to a console. Ctrl+Shift+F2, for example.
Kill the display manager with sudo service lightdm stop (or whichever dm is running)
Generate a new xorg.conf with sudo X -configure
Edit the created in current directory, replacing all instances of nouveau with vesa
Move it with a rename to /etc/X11 with sudo mv /etc/X11/xorg.conf
Restart X with sudo service lightdm start

Unfortunately with Vesa, the screen refreshes are very laggy, even with Lubuntu. But no crashes. 

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