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I am trying to revitalize an old Thinkpad R31 that has the Intel 82830 graphics and only 256 MB of RAM.

I have tried a Xubuntu 9.10 Live CD. After booting the screen blinks so much that it is practically unreadable.

I have searched for updated IBM Thinkpad drivers but I only found drivers for Windows on the Thinkpad support web site.

EDIT: I have changed the title and the description. It is not a problem of the drivers. It seems to be a problem with the kernel. See my own answer below.

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

I have collected more information, and I solved my problem.

Here is an exact description of the very same problem

And here is an explanation of a possible answer

essentially the problem is a conflict of the intel 830 driver and Kernel probing, which is enabled by default since Kernel 2.6.30-10.12 ( see this link )

So, the solution to the screen problem is disabling Kernel probing by setting the option i915.modeset=0 in the kernel boot command line.

But, this leads to another different problem.

As documented in some web sites, this fix is accomplished by adding the option in /boot/grub/menu.lst

But, there is no /boot/grub/menu.lst in my xubuntu 9.10 .

Looking further, I found /boot/grub/grub.cfg instead.

grub.cfg has a big warning in its header DO NOT EDIT THIS.

The grub.cfg header documents that the grub.cfg file is generated from /etc/default/grub.

So following this path, I came up with the solution

  1. I modified /etc/default/grub adding i915.modeset=0 to the default linux boot GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT

  2. Then I regenerated grub.cfg with update-grub

And .. it works.

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as no one has answered or commented my answer, I am accepting it. – PA. Jan 28 '10 at 10:20

This worked perfectly to eliminate the flashing external display problem on my ThinkPad R31 running Xubuntu 12.04.2

When changed, the actual line in grub was (note the quotes):

GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT="quiet splash i915.modeset=0"


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