A problem I’ve had with the X Window System in Slackware

Linux comes in many flavors. Some, like Ubuntu, are idiot-proof. They provide easy-to-use tools like the Synaptic Package Manager, GParted, etc. to accommodate those who are afraid of typing. Many Linux distros are set up so you can use them without ever having to touch the command line. Slackware is not one of these distros. And that’s why I like it.

Slackware is not graphical by default. It boots into the Bourne shell and gives you a prompt, with no indication of how to activate the GUI. You can of course activate the X Window System by using the startx command. I wanted to have some graphics on my system so that I could play with different desktop environments (I’ve seen some screenshots of Fluxbox and it looks amazing).

My Slackware installation has a problem, however. When I type startx, I get an error message saying that no screens were found and telling me to look at the log file /var/log/Xorg.0.log. Allow me to give you a visual of the log file in question:

Log_file_troubleshooting_Slackware

It looks like I’m missing a couple of drivers.  One is fbdev, a loadable kernel module, and the other is the module corresponding to the device file /dev/dri/card0.  As is usually the case, I have no idea what these drivers do, so I proceeded to do some research on Google.  I didn’t find much in the way of documentation, just a lot of Linux forum threads started by people who had the same problem I did.

I don’t know what to do now.  I mean, I have a vague notion of what to do, but I don’t know where I can find these drivers.  Since my Slackware installation can’t access the network, I will have to get a specific URL (which I’ve inquired about on linuxquestions.com), then download the packages through Mac OS X, wrap them in an ISO file which I will then import into the Slackware VM, then use pkgtool to install the packages from a local directory.

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