I've got an intel GMA 500. My distro (archlinux) ships with xserver 1.7. The psb driver doesn't work on it. I've patched it heavily (if anyone is interested, please ping me), but since Xpsb is compiled for xserver 1.6, it doesn't load correctly. That's the reason I'm using vesa with 855resolution to get the correct resolution.
Of course, i could downgrade xserver...
A friend of mine has an old Notebook with this graphics chip: "ATI Technilogies Inc Radeon IGP 330M/340M/350M".
He has some real trouble getting that to work with the open source stack. The "xf86-video-radeon" is supposed to support it but he never really got to get it working.
That's why he is still using Vesa with ATI hardware.
Wider variety than you think
Methinks it's underestimated just the range of hardware that's out there, along with overestimation of how good hardware detection is.
The laptop I'm using is a fairly old one that doesn't even have a battery, but still works and works quite well. By default, Ubuntu uses the VESA driver, and I have to edit xorg to get it to use the right one (the hardware is a Twister K or whatever), but even then it isn't much of a step up in performance.
I guess vesa users have their reasons they use it, they most likely wouldn't complete the survey if they didn't know howto change it.
So why not leave them happy, instead of telling them what to do?
Like the advise to buy an new graphic card...
To test oss support you can buy the cheapest card too as it will never unleash the full potential. Even onboard would be enought to try.
Binary nVidia blob is not very stable, even if it supported my FX5900 card, it paniced at least every 1-2 days, using xf86-vesa / xf86-nv (both had same results in gtkperf benchmark, so I do not know why everybody mention this 2D accelration) allowed me for 60+ uptimes (lack of power, this was not a server room box).
Now I just use Intel GMAs and using only xf86-intel and everything works ok.
If you use ubuntu which runs compiz the whole day it will lead certainly to instablity when something is wrong with the card. Maybe it just got too hot.
At my job we have a Dell 4590T (I think, it looks exactly the same as one, though off my head I can't be sure 100% about the model) with a P4, intel integrated graphics. We use vesa on it because the intel driver DOES NOT WORK on it. It can't detect a usable output. I think it has Intel 845-series graphics. The situation is that it has a DVI out, but the driver only sees a VGA out that's unconnected so it's impossible to use the intel driver. Has been this way for every intel linux driver release I know of. I sort of suspect that this particular piece of hardware may have been customized in a nonstandard way by dell, so maybe the VGA port is converted to a DVI port that the intel driver can't detect, but it's mostly speculation. I think somebody filed a bug about it once, but never bothered to obtain all the detailed garbage the devs wanted that would have taken a day or so to collect when it works fine for how it's used with vesa and so the bug got closed or depreciated or whatever the term is for lack of info.
In any case, since the intel driver doesn't work on this intel hardware, it's basically vesa or bust. Incidentally, because this is an old business all-in-one machine with no upgrade space, you can't add in a card or do other upgrades. So a video card is a no go.
Other than instance, vesa is just used on my machines as a fallback or emergency xserver. I have a home server type system I mostly use through remote ssh, but it has vesa and and xserver installed for the rare instance that I really need to change anything with it (hardware changes, major config changes that offline the network, etc). I think if I were to install an updated OS on it, maybe I could use noveau, as the system is an old desktop with integrated nvidia graphics, maybe 6100 series, but on a home server-router that usually doesn't even have x running, I've never seen a reason to update. I figure I'll finally update it to either arch or the next ubuntu LTS this next spring, and at that point if I still want an emergency xserver, maybe it won't be vesa.
Last edited by sloggerKhan; 12-06-2009 at 02:17 PM.
when running x11 with a kernel other than linux, you usually also don' t have the luxury to choose a binary driver.
the oss stack has seen some turmoil in recent months, so it might just have been easier to use vesa then.