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G400 Max + RRG - capabilities under Linux

Discussion in 'Matrox' started by James Anderson, Jun 15, 2004.

  1. I am new to Linux. I just built myself a machine with a G400 Max and
    Rainbow Runner G series I found on ebay.

    So far, I have got dri working with XFree86 4.3 and have the mga_hal
    binary also.

    I am now trying to figure out how to use the Rainbow Runner card. I'd
    like to be able to watch TV and also capture it and store it on a hard
    disk. More generally, I'm keen to make the most of my hardware - what
    should I be doing for fun/productivity to get the best out of my

    My problem is that I'm very confused by the various different drivers
    out there and how they interact. Moreover, while it seems that
    framebuffers are the preferred (only?) way to watch TV with a G400, it
    seems that for serious work framebuffers are widely frowned upon as
    unstable and flakey.

    How do matroxfb, directfb, the drivers available on
    http://sourceforge.net/projects/marvel, XVideo, DGA, the unified Zoran
    driver, BT848, Video for Linux 1, Video for Linux 2, mga.o from XFree
    all relate to each other?!

    And what are my options for applications to run on top of them? Xawtv
    seems to be used a lot. What about tvtime, mythtv, videolan, mplayer,
    xine? With the exception of xawtv and Mplayer, there seem to be issues
    with these apps and a G400+RRG.

    I have seen advice that suggests building a separate kernel for
    watching TV because of problems getting framebuffers to cooperate with
    X Windows. But then I would have to reboot to switch between X Windows
    and watching TV, which seems a pity. Any hope of being able to run a
    stable system with everything available just a couple of key presses

    I am currently running Debian Sarge on a custom-built 2.4.25 kernel on
    an Abit NF7-S Rev 2 with 512MB RAM, Samsung 160GB IDE. My TV is not
    currently within range of my PC so I can at least ignore TV-out issues
    for a while longer.

    I would love to see
    1. Any explanation of how framebuffers interact/conflict with X
    Windows. Can I run KDE and watch TV on the same machine without
    2. An enumeration of options for watching TV with the G400/RRG under
    3. An explanation of why certain TV viewing or capture applications do
    not work with the G400/RRG while others do. e.g. tvtime does not work
    because it cannot run in "overlay mode" - what is that?

    Hmmm, just came across this link
    , which actually explains quite a lot. Oh well, I'll post anyway and
    don't be afraid to offer advice.
    James Anderson, Jun 15, 2004
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