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Re: SGI O2: working framebuffer/X11 modes?

To: Michael Joosten <>
Subject: Re: SGI O2: working framebuffer/X11 modes?
From: "Stephen P. Becker" <>
Date: Fri, 09 Dec 2005 16:23:15 -0500
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As just today another old O2 materialized on the trash heap around here, I actually might try my luck - but it's a R10K O2, IP32.

No luck there, as r10k ip32 still has the cache coherency problem, and won't run linux.

The sgivwfb driver uses by default 8MB at the highest end of phys memory, and increasing it to 16MB hasn't harmed yet.

The gbefb driver won't even let you choose more than 8mb, and I think 2mb is the default.

Well, I don't have a 1600sw, and there are some internal patches in the visws mailing list of Florian Boor who added a I2C self configuration to the driver, such that entereing the monitor type by kernel cmd line argument is not necessary anymore.

It would be nice to know if these help out on mips, and if so, they should probably be contributed to the linux-mips tree. I wish I had a 1600sw with which to tinker.

...different depths produce funny results. Haven't tried 8bit, but 24 is definitely broken. You can still see something, but barely. So, we can probably deduce that the other-than-15bit modes were never actually tested by the original author (some intern then a SGI?).

There was actually a patch for Xfree by the original author of the sgio2fb driver (Vivien, aka glaurung, wasn't it?) which allowed X to run properly in 16bpp. However, this patch was lost in a hard drive crash if I recall.

Recent info about the chances to get some hardware docs about the VisWS from SGI were simply turned down by the astonishing fact that they really dumped the whole product line: hardware, contracts, subcontractors (developed the gfx drivers for Win NT) and even documentation. Speak about a deed (x86 graphics workstations) so awful that nobody at SGI wanted be remembered about it ?

There are at least a couple of folks on this mailing list who I'm pretty sure know more about the specifics of this hardware. The only question is, are they allowed to talk to you about it?


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