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Ubuntu and SiS 671 VGA chipset driver

The video on my mom’s laptop, A Fujitsu Siemens Esprimo Mobile V5535, had recently gone awry. At the time, the laptop was running Ubuntu 9.04 (I think). Reconfiguring the driver didn’t do much good, so I upgraded the machine to 10.04, hoping that that would fix it. It didn’t.

lspci|grep -i vga
01:00.0 VGA compatible controller: Silicon Integrated Systems [SiS] 771/671 PCIE VGA Display Adapter (rev 10)

I solved the problem by manually installing a replacement driver that I found through a blog post that I found through another blog post that I found through a forum post.

Or something like that. Who cares? The point is that I’m uploading the files I found here so that I don’t have to jump through MegaUpload hoops again (and sit through MedaAnnoying ads):

Installing the binary driver wasn’t too difficult. (I just always cringe when something happens outside of package management.) :-(

mkdir sis; cd sis
wget http://blog.bigsmoke.us/uploads/2011/01/xorg-driver-sis671-0.9.1-fixed-build.zip
unzip *zip
sudo cp sis671_drv.* /usr/lib/xorg/modules/drivers
 
#Edit /etc/X11/xorg.conf and set `Driver   "sis671"` on the "Device" Section
[ -z $EDITOR ] && EDITOR=/usr/bin/vim
$EDITOR /etc/x11/xorg.conf

Restarting the X server after that was a bit difficult, since the upgrade to 10.04 also fucked up the console (that damn framebuffer) and because Ctrl-Alt-Backspace is disabled by default. I had to reboot. (Ok, I hate to admit: it’s not that it’s difficult, it’s just wrong.)

Anyway, after the system restart, it worked just fine again. The X log agrees:

(II) SIS: driver for SiS chipsets: SIS5597/5598, SIS530/620,
        SIS6326/AGP/DVD, SIS300/305, SIS630/730, SIS540, SIS315, SIS315H,
        SIS315PRO/E, SIS550, SIS650/M650/651/740, SIS330(Xabre),
        SIS[M]661[F|M]X/[M]741[GX]/[M]760[GX]/[M]761[GX]/662, SIS340,
        [M]670/[M]770[GX], [M]671/[M]771[GX]
(II) SIS: driver for XGI chipsets: Volari Z7 (XG20),
        Volari V3XT/V5/V8/Duo (XG40/XG42)
(II) Primary Device is: PCI 01@00:00:0
(WW) Falling back to old probe method for sis671
(--) Assigning device section with no busID to primary device
(--) Chipset [M]671/[M]771[GX] found
(II) SIS(0): SiS driver (2006/10/17-1, compiled for X.org 1.7.4.0)
(II) SIS(0): Copyright (C) 2001-2005 Thomas Winischhofer  and others
(II) SIS(0): *** See http://www.winischhofer.at/linuxsisvga.shtml
(II) SIS(0): *** for documentation, updates and a Premium Version.
(II) SIS(0): RandR rotation support not available in this version.
(II) SIS(0): Dynamic modelist support not available in this version.
(II) SIS(0): Screen growing support not available in this version.
(II) SIS(0): Advanced Xv video blitter not available in this version.
(II) SIS(0): Advanced MergedFB support not available in this version.
(--) SIS(0): sisfb not found
(--) SIS(0): Relocated I/O registers at 0x9000

Then, to also fix the console:

grep vga16fb /etc/modprobe.d/* || sudo sh -c "echo blacklist vga16fb >> /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist-framebuffer.conf"
 
sudo update-initramfs -u
 
sudo reboot
 
# pray 

I had two other issues that popped up after the upgrade the 10.04. I was inclined to blame the first on the new video driver, but I solved it by disabling “Hardware Acceleration” in the Flash plugin preferences. [source]

Another problem that confused my mother was that the volume control icon had gone. [solution]


5 Comments ( Add comment / trackback )

  1. (permalink)
    Comment by Martin
    On April 3, 2012 at 13:22

    I am trying to follow your directions but since Ubuntu 11.10 the location of xorg.conf has somehow changed and I am unable to perform the necessary steps.

    I am stuck trying to edit an xorg.conf file that does not exist and I am unable to create one or locate any existing xorg.conf file.

    How do I find the xorg.conf file?
    Do I have to create a new .conf file?
    What should be in the new .conf file?

  2. (permalink)
    Comment by Rowan Rodrik
    On January 25, 2013 at 17:06

    Some handy numbers for when I run into problems in the future:

    Fujitsu Siemens Esprimo
    Esprimo Mobile V5635
    Esprimo Mobile V5535
    serienummer ykda540313
    
  3. (permalink)
    Comment by Rowan Rodrik
    On March 31, 2013 at 20:15

    My mother’s Ubuntu Lucid Lynx (10.04) installation was aging and I didn’t want to burden her with the transition to Unity. I myself transitioned from Ubuntu 10.10 with Gnome 2 to Mint 14 with MATE about a week before that and I thought this might be an appropriate distribution for her as well.

    It turned out that her Fujitsu Siemens machine was limited to VESA mode (putting the max. resolution at 1024×767) and installing the sis671 driver modules failed. The reason turned out to be that the Ubuntu 12.04.2 point release introduced a version of X.org that is not supported by any available SiS driver and Mint 14 (Nadia) is based on a later Ubuntu release: Ubuntu 12.10 (Quantal Quetzal).

    Luckily, the latest long term support (LTS) release of Mint (Maya, nr. 13), is based on Ubuntu 12.04 LTS (Precise Pangolin), from before the breakages occurring with 12.04.2. Her previous installation was still supported (until coming May) due to my decision to put Lucid on her laptop instead of some none-LTS release. I’ve always been very satisfied with this decision, so now the decision to try Maya seems logical, more so than my attempt with Nadia (Mint 14). Soon, the installation will finish and I’ll be able to report on my success or failure with the latest SiS drivers I could find.

  4. (permalink)
    Comment by Rowan Rodrik
    On March 31, 2013 at 20:28

    Indeed:

    cd ~/Downloads
    wget http://blog.bigsmoke.us/uploads/2011/01/sis-64-bit-ubuntu-12.04.tar.gz
    tar xvfz sis-64-bit-ubuntu-12.04.tar.gz
    sudo mv sis671_drv.* /usr/lib/xorg/modules/drivers
    sudo mv xorg.conf /etc/X11
    reboot
    

    And hooray!

  5. (permalink)
    Comment by halfgaar
    On April 1, 2013 at 12:33

    The days that Linux distributions was the choice for older hardware is over, it seems.

    BTW, it’s “1024x768 and” “non-LTS” :)

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