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Display corruption

October 14, 2010 — BarryK
Today I have started to get horizontal white or black lines appearing across the display. Across part of the display anyway, except got it once on the background image -- it is actually in the /usr/share/backgrounds/default.jpg file, a white line in the image right across.

So, maybe RAM failure?

Not so good, as this is my work computer. It's an Acer laptop with Intel graphics, purchased 2006 if I recall rightly.

I went to download Memtest86 live-CD, but as per usual my Internet connection has gone downhill, can't download anything. It is now 6pm. Downloading was ok at 5pm, I noticed trouble at 5.30pm. This happens everyday.

So I will wait until late tonight.

I'm thinking though, considering the importance of doing my Puppy development on a sound machine, perhaps I should buy a new laptop. Four years is considered a good lifetime for computers!

Of course the current laptop can still be used for testing. Anyway, need to test that RAM...


Video problems
Username: Sage
Check connections/connectors? and cables? Does the BIOS screen look normal? Run an old DOS utility from a FD if HW is suspect. Video cards/chips do go down, as does their own onboard memory. Remember, a PC is a modular device - everything is replaceable/repairable. If onboard graphics is suspect, I stick in an old Cirrus Logic PCI card - lost count of the number of times I've used that ploy. How many do you need... Buying laptops is beginning to show up in reviews as the monumental fraud it always was. Thoroughly bad idea - too much proprietary kit, impossible to fix or obtain spares, very short currency, etc. Folks are migrating to netbooks and smart phones for portability plus a brick-in-the-corner PC as the (somewhat more dependable?) backstop. New is not necessarily good - fix is better and more sustainable in every respect. More shelving in the dunny for stacking spares?! Try an old scsi HD for ultimate long service?!

Tablet puppy on horizon?
Username: gjuhasz
"Barry, Could Puppy be the best hound for tablet PCs? Why not? Give (something like) this a chance:

Ask for a rebate
Username: zygo
"memtest86+-4.10.iso.gz is 68kB This page was 24kB before my contribution. So your ISP will allow all the parts of several pages but not the one continuous file download. If only there was a way to request the .gz in small bits each on separate http connections. Ask for a rebate. Is the 3G isp (you may be force to use) on pay as you go or do you commit to spending hundreds of dollars over a year or 2?

wl driver
Username: kirk
"Barry, Have you tried compiling Broadcom's wl module against It fails for me, it did build with Usually minor kernel updates don't break things. Maybe it's me.

CPU frequency scaling
Username: Iguleder
"Barry, I wrote a simple replacement for the CPU frequency scaling thingy, which is limited to two CPUs and isn't very friendly. I haven't tested it really, but it seems to work on both my Core 2 Duo E6230 and Atom N450.

wl driver
Username: kirk
"Never mind, Arch has a combined patch for it. Here: That's against the unpatched source.

Memtest ok
Username: BarryK
"I downloaded the Memtest86 CD, ran it for awhile, no errors in RAM. My laptop seems to be ok now. Hmmm, power-line spikes? The only thing that I'm running the power through is one of those little surge suppressors that plugs directly into the power point.

wl driver?
Username: BarryK
"I don't know anything about the wl driver. I see from this page that it covers many chips that b43 doesn't: Does it need firmware? I have just compiled the kernel. I guess it looks like a good thing to add this wl driver to it.

STA driver?
Username: BarryK
"One that I do know about is the STA driver:

wl - STA driver
Username: kirk
"Yes, that's it. The module it builds is called wl.ko. If you compile it use the patch above and none of the patches from Broadcom's site. It's a huge module, about 2.5Mb.

Re Display Corruption
Username: FeodorF
"Have you checked the battery-pack yet? If they are pulling too much current, then the display getís messed up to duo to low voltage for the graphic chips . Regards, FeodorF

A Number of Laptops / Netbooks use Broadcom Wifi
Username: John Biles
"The lack of B43 / Wl not being in a Distro by default has put my father off Linux. His HP Netbook needs above. His Acer Laptop Needs above. The more Drivers (Not just Wifi) a Distro has the more usable it becomes. I wouldn't be a Puppy user if it hadn't detected my dial Up Modem letting me get on line with Linux. None of the so called big boys of Linux did that and still don't. As for your screen problem that's just an Acer thing. My fathers laptop screen died after 3 days. (replaced under warranty) Screen now goes white every so often. On board Ethernet chip died so only Wifi works. Keyboard buttons stick the list goes on. I saw a US study and Acer was on the bottom of the list for reliability.

Known bug
Username: ottod
"See here: I have a perfectly working desktop under XP and Ubuntu Hardy, but very unstable respect to video in Ubuntu Lucid. It is a very old bug regarding Kernel Mode Setting in xorg for some Intel i8xx, i9xx integrated video chipsets. I was unable to make it work with any of the recommended solutions in the above link. In Hardy I even get Compiz effects, and in Lucid it breaks after minutes from booting.

Power & wifi
Username: cthisbear
"Maybe if it's the battery... turn off the laptop remove the battery remove the mains power press the >> Power button >> 30 seconds whilst all the above are unplugged. Put it all back >> see how you go. """"""""""" John Biles...Fluppy 006 works great on the Acer eMachines eM350-21G16i picked up my hidden network WPA2-PSK (Wi-Fi Protected Access 2 with Pre-Shared Key) However Fluppy failed on wifi for a 8.9 inch Asus EeePC laptop. Funny thing is my daughters Acer laptop is identical to Barrys....3 years old?? Mu and Muppy was the first to pick up my older Netgear DG834G >> but it wasn't hidden. Chris. Chris.

Gentle slap maybe...
Username: capoverde
"You've probably done it already: sometimes the good ole slap-on-the-table, gentle but not too much, sets things straight again. Some years ago a friend of mine got a "rotten" laptop for free, as it was totally dead. He put it in his motorbike's trunk and went home: there, lo and behold, it booted and worked regularly again - thanks to the bike's vibrations! The "Second Manual" for Atari ST computers (independent of Atari Corp) stated that the "firm slap" is the first operation every knowledgeable service technician carries out on defective machines, as soon as the owner gets out of the shop...

Tags: general