Today was “get the Vortex86’s SiS 550 graphics card working in graphics mode” day.

In summary, I didn’t and it’s because the LCD is a DSTN one and the current Linux SiS drivers don’t support it yet…

The first job of the day was to build a new 2.4.31 kernel with support for the network card in the VMWare machine. I needed this so that I could easilly test my new kernel and get to the point where I was confortable configuring LILO with multiple boot options before moving on to doing it for real on the Vortex86. This all went like a breeze and I then added support for the SiS framebuffer drivers and rebuilt the kernel and put it on the Vortex86.

I booted into the new kernel on the Vortex86 and it recognised the graphics card. Unfortunately it didn’t display correctly in graphics mode.

After much reading of Dr. Thomas Winischhofer’s pages on the SiS drivers and much experimentation I’d managed to get graphics to display correctly on an external monitor but had no luck with the LCD panel. I’d fired off some questions to our board supplier and the manufacturer earlier in the day but had got not reply so I figured I’d done enough to be able to ask Dr. Winischhofer some questions about my problem.

Thomas responded pretty quickly and confirmed what I’d begun to fear. It was the graphics card and LCD panel combo that was the problem and at present there’s no support for this combo in the current Linux driver sources. Thomas is prepared to do the work if my client is prepared to pay him so I guess I’ll have to wait and see what happens.

My next posting about the Vortex86 could be related to installing Windows CE or XP embedded on it as the LCD is supposed to be supported under those OS’s…