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TearsInRain
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2018 12:42 pm    Post subject: Gentoo base/SysRescueCD black screen boot - Intel HD issue? Reply with quote

Hi,

At the moment, I have managed to successfully install a minimal Gentoo base on my laptop, which is booting up fine (using UEFI) to the command line. However, and this is where I am stuck now, I would like to continue with the full installation up to a desktop environment (X.org, intel and Nvidia drivers).

The issue I have come across is that the Gentoo install was performed with only the Nvidia GPU being selected / active from the laptop BIOS. If at any time I select the other option (Hybrid=intel vs Discrete=Nvidia), then, after I select the proper Grub option, my Gentoo installation boots to a black screen. Moreover, and this is what I struggle with, both the System Rescue CD (v5.3.1) and another USB stick with a different Linux distro (MX 17.1), both exhibit the same issue: Grub boot-up is fine, but immediately after issuing the command to load the kernel there is only a black screen being displayed. No cursor blinking, just a fully black screen or sometimes just one line to say Linux Kernel loading.

I tried the following, on both my simple Gentoo install, as well as the USB boot disks, with no different result (=black screen):
  • edit Grub option with different kernel parameters, such as nomodeset, i915.modeset=0, i915.invert_brightness=1, i915.preliminary_hw_support=1
  • compiled kernel multiple times for Gentoo base install, adding / removing several kernel parameters (e.g. simple framebuffer support, alpha support for i915);
  • on Gentoo base install, tried logging in blind and issuing command "shutdown -h now", to see if computer powers off;
  • on either Gentoo base or SysRescueCD, tried keyboard shortcuts (Fn+F2 enables / disables LCD screen, and there is a clear difference between screen on and black and screen off,
  • Fn+F1 works as well to put fans to max / normal, but unfortunately Fn+F7/F8 does not work to raise / lower screen brightness);
  • tried changing UEFI > BIOS, with the same Hybrid option (= intel), and the SysRescueCD boots up fine. If the laptop boots into UEFI / Hybrid then no go.
  • on System Rescue CD, selected boot into graphical environment, and pressed Enter once for keymap prompt, waited 3 - 5 mins, no activity. This is again very strange to me, as when the SysRescueCD boots correctly, the USB LED flashes almost constantly until the desktop environment is loaded. When the system does not boot, no LED flashes whatsoever after the Grub option is selected.

Using Discrete video BIOS option, I can boot up fine in my Gentoo base install, and get all the usual logs recording (dmesg). If I try to boot using Hybrid video BIOS option, it stalls after Grub option selection, and I have checked and there is nothing recorded in the logs, no mention of the system starting. Does that mean there is a problem with the kernel and it is not loaded properly? If that is the case, why is the SysRescueCD not booting up then?

My computer specs are as follows:
Clevo P650RP
Intel Core i7-6700HQ
BIOS version: 1.05.01TPCS
Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060
Intel HD Graphics 530
Samsung SSD

I can provide any logs or command outputs, as requested. Any ideas are greatly appreciated. Thank you!
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ali3nx
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2018 1:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've had similar issues with black screen boots using sysrescuecd and gentoo livecd's with one newer intel based pc build i own using an asus prime z370-a motherboard and Pentium Gold G5400 CPU.

Initially none of the livecd's tested would boot and display an efi framebuffer console. The method required to build an initial working install involved building an install in a chroot using the ssd destined for the system connected to another pc running gentoo and i initially ensured i compiled the i915 kernel module into the kernel binary which initially did fix the problem with black screen efi framebuffer boot issues. The ssd was then transplanted to the desired hardware and grub used to efi firmware to boot the ssd. I don't recall which livecd i used to accomplish the bootloader config but finding one that worked involved hours of testing many different livecd's.

The single major issue was sysrescuecd and gentoo livecd's not offering new enough linux kernel versions. Both livecd's only provide linux 4.14

Later i changed to using i915 as a kernel module but i was using Linux 4.19 or newer and ensured that linux firmware was installed.

I recently discovered DebEX Gnome which is a livecd providing a linux kernel newer than 4.14 i've not yet tested that also unfortunately appears to also not offer uefi boot capability which should be desired. Using pure uefi boot with fast boot and launch csm efi compat features disabled in the bios would be highly recommended. nvidia binary drivers does not play nice with uefi boot if fast boot and launch csm is enabled. nvidia drivers on every boot with fast boot and launch csm enabled always triggers a several line kernel log warning regarding vga console corruption because of legacy bios compatibility.

If it were easily possible to build a Gentoo livecd with a 4.19 linux kernel that supported uefi boot i suspect the black screen boot issues with i915 intel driver may be resolved.

I also did not have to disable modesetting and supporting modesetting with uefi should be preferred.

Here's the kernel config from that system. https://paste.pound-python.org/show/ywAi3mSytTLneZVpOgKa/ Just be aware this kernel config is not complete for a notebook and may need gpu switching support enabled for use with a notebook.

Due to it's purpose the install uses the intel gpu as the primary display device configured in the bios with igpu multi mode enabled to force the igpu to never disable itself and seven nvidia 1070's gpu's used for gpu computing.

I can confirm that using sddm login manager on boot does display the DM login so the i915 gpu is now as best as i'm able to determine fully functional and inteldrmfb displays a full color framebuffer before sddm starts.
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Last edited by ali3nx on Wed Nov 14, 2018 2:19 pm; edited 1 time in total
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TearsInRain
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2018 1:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi ali3nx and thank you for your reply.

You are right, the SysRescueCD kernel version is 4.14(.56?), my Gentoo base installed from gentoo-sources is 4.14.78 I think, and the MX Linux USB boot disk version is 4.15. I will try the DebEX Gnome livecd you mentioned or find some other livecd with a more recent kernel version and give that a shot.

As an aside, I have the i915 as a kernel built-in, and I have also emerged the latest linux-firmware for my Gentoo base, as per the Handbook.

I'll have a look on your kernel config and also post the one I used when I get home later on, and see if there are any significant differences in those.

Thanks again for your input!
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ali3nx
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2018 2:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

TearsInRain wrote:
I'll have a look on your kernel config


tdr from the #gentoo irc support channel on freenode also contributed to refining that kernel config. if you need another knowledgeable helper he is certainly capable.
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TearsInRain
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2018 9:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi ali3nx,

I could not find the DebEX livecd with kernel version 4.19, but I downloaded the ArchEX variant from around yesterday with kernel version 4.18. This seems to boot up properly with the Hybrid option enabled in the BIOS. So you are correct, it is the kernel version which was at fault here.

I will load up again SysRescueCD and try to emerge git-sources, which I think is version 4.20-rc1 at the moment, compile that and then try to boot from my base install and see how it goes from there.

Thank you for your suggestion, it was very helpful. Will I just mark the thread as Solved then?

All the best!
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ali3nx
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2018 10:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

TearsInRain wrote:
Hi ali3nx,

I could not find the DebEX livecd with kernel version 4.19, but I downloaded the ArchEX variant from around yesterday with kernel version 4.18. This seems to boot up properly with the Hybrid option enabled in the BIOS. So you are correct, it is the kernel version which was at fault here.

I will load up again SysRescueCD and try to emerge git-sources, which I think is version 4.20-rc1 at the moment, compile that and then try to boot from my base install and see how it goes from there.

Thank you for your suggestion, it was very helpful. Will I just mark the thread as Solved then?

All the best!


Git sources shouldn't be required. gentoo-sources 4.19.x should be capable. release candidate kernel versions are often best avoided.

Side note i really wish gentoo would produce an experimental usable install cd for uefi boot with a kernel version newer than 4.17. Just having a distro provided uefi boot capable admincd or minimal not being available at all is really just displays a lack of effort. legacy boot systems are obsolete.
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TearsInRain
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 17, 2018 7:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey,

Crap, I think I celebrated too early.

So, the ArchEx bootable USB works fine (kernel version 4.18.16, i915 module loaded, I get inteldrmfb is primary device in dmesg, so all OK).

On the other hand, I loaded SysRescueCD and installed vanilla-sources (4.19.1) for my Gentoo base, and also installed kernel version 4.18.7 on my other MX Linux distro on the same machine. Both of these show the same issue, as in the kernel does not load after grub selection. MX Linux has a grub background image, so it's not a black screen, however it still gets stuck after "Loading linux image..." message.

ali3nx, any other ideas I could try? :(

Just another quick question, in a previous post you said gentoo-sources can be version 4.19 as well, and I found this https://packages.gentoo.org/packages/sys-kernel/gentoo-sources. Could you please tell me how to emerge this particular version / or ebuild?

Cheers!
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ali3nx
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 18, 2018 12:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

TearsInRain wrote:
it still gets stuck after "Loading linux image..." message


This behavior can be a bit deceptive with the inteldrmfb black screen issues. I initally believed the system had hard locked or failed to boot until I attempt to login using ssh and discovered only the efi framebuffer doesn't work and the system had actually booted. You might try testing this as well.

After having used as many headless gentoo systems as I have having ssh access first is an absolute prerequisite.


TearsInRain wrote:
Just another quick question, in a previous post you said gentoo-sources can be version 4.19 as well, and I found this https://packages.gentoo.org/packages/sys-kernel/gentoo-sources. Could you please tell me how to emerge this particular version / or ebuild?

Cheers!


add the following keyword to /etc/portage/package.accept_keywords

Code:
=sys-kernel/gentoo-sources-4.19.2


This will unmask up to and only gentoo sources 4.19.2. Since 4.19.2 is the newest not release candidate kernel version available keywording 4.19.2 would be desirable given the circumstances. My z370-a system is running 4.19.1 but only because upgrading to a minor point release version has been unnecessary considering everything works with the exception of the efifb memory allocation bug.

Next time you want to upgrade manually alter or update the package version specific keyword to reflect the kernel version you want to use. This will also prevent every new kernel version from installing the source code when they are available.
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TearsInRain
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 21, 2018 9:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi ali3nx,

Sorry for late reply, work & life got in the way again :)

I will give it a go this weekend with ssh, however I am still of the impression that the computer is just hard locking / failing to boot, like you said, irrespective of the fact that there is a black screen or not.

The reason I am saying this, and correct me if I am wrong, is that I do not see any activity in any logs regarding any system / kernel activity. So taking my Gentoo base for example, if I keep Discrete Bios option enabled, the system will load, I get to the command line and I can check the logs for any info. Now, if I select Hybrid Bios option, and I get the black screen, let's assume the system would be in a somehow functional enough state for me to ssh into, would that not also mean that info is populated to dmesg, kern.log et al.? Well, I tried several times to login / boot when the black screen was on, and no such activity was ever detected / recorded in any logs. All logs contain only the last time the system booted up properly, and that was when the Discrete option was selected.

I have an older laptop as well, I will try to connect both to my home router and try to login using ssh when my affected laptop shows a black screen. I will post any results later this weekend.

Also thank you for the masking tip, I will give that a go and try with gentoo-sources 4.19.2 as well.

All the best!
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