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Cinnamon and black windows

Posted: Thu Jan 09, 2014 7:41 pm
by Cris70
Hi all,
I have an old Thinkpad T40 on which I installed Linux Mint 13 LTS 32bit, since this PC does not support PAE.

I have downloaded and installed the Cinnamon edition, but I have always been using MATE since Cinnamon is completely unusable. The problem is that all windows are completely black. Icons also are black, and menus are completely transparent.

You can see some of the appearence in this screenshot: ... on_bug.png

I have read about people with similar problems in the forums, but it was due to either defective intel drivers or proprietary AMD drivers. This laptop has a Mobility Radeon 7500, but it is not supported by proprietary AMD drivers (I think because it is too old), and the intel driver problem clearly doesn't apply.

I'd like to use Cinnamon over MATE, but I have to solve the black window problem. Oh, almost forgot to say that I tried both the "normal" Cinnamon configuration and the "software rendering" configuration. Both have the same problem.

Please help.


Re: Cinnamon and black windows

Posted: Mon Mar 10, 2014 3:17 pm
by johnnyk
I am having somewhat the same issue. I am disheartened that no one replied with a solution to the original post but perhaps I will share my experience and hope someone has the answer.

I am trying to install Linux Mint 16 Cinnamon on a T41 IBM Thinkpad. I have used fake-PAE successfully many times to install Ubuntu based distributions on hardware like this. The problem is during the live-session any application or terminal windows I open appear as solid black rectangles. I also had this issue when I tried to install the latest LMDE Cinnamon RC. The Mate versions work fine and I currently have the latest XFCE edition running on it so I think this is an issue with Cinnamon. I know given the age of the hardware that trying to run Cinnamon on it might not be the best idea but I do prefer it over Mate and XFCE. Anyone here manage to solve this or have any ideas about what I could try?

Take care,

Johnny k

Re: Cinnamon and black windows

Posted: Wed Mar 12, 2014 6:19 pm
by Peter_G
Thanks for posting the image. I have the same story: T60 update from Mint 13 to 201403 Cinnamon 32-bit results in dark windows and desktop icons. Any ideas, anyone?


Re: Cinnamon and black windows

Posted: Tue Mar 18, 2014 7:57 am
by Cris70
I guess nobody really cares for our old hardware :(
That's a pity, because Linux is usually really a good way to squeeze more life from old HW, and I feel my T40 is still more than capable of doing useful work.


Re: Cinnamon and black windows

Posted: Sun Mar 23, 2014 5:05 pm
by Peter_G
MATE is based on GNOME 2 and Cinnamon is based on GNOME 3 (which apparently needs 3D accelleration). Would that be the cause?


Re: Cinnamon and black windows

Posted: Sat May 17, 2014 9:25 am
by canyon
Any update on this issue?

I've just successfully installed "Mint 17 Cinnamon 64-bit rc" on my modern PC (intel core i5, sandy bridge CPU) to see how it is.
Now I'm trying to run "Mint 17 Cinnamon 32-bit rc" live DVD on my Dell Inspiron 5100 to replace XP, and I get the same "Black Windows" issue as above.
I'll try the MATE version, but I'd like to run Cinnamon.

Re: Cinnamon and black windows

Posted: Sat May 17, 2014 1:10 pm
by Lobz
I have a very similar problem. I'm running Cinnamon 2.0.14 on Mint (uname -a gives me "Linux lobzmint 3.11-2-486 #1 Debian 3.11.8-1 (2013-11-13) i686 GNU/Linux").

Usually when I log in Cinnamon works fine, but after a while (maybe an hour) it starts showing problems. The open windows work fine, but any new windows are completely black, including pop-ups, although it seems they are working (I can click buttons if I know where they are, and the pop-ups usually disappear if I press Enter).

Along with that, I have a mplayer error going on, when I'm playing videos with mplayer sometimes when I start the video the screen is black and only the Audio works properly. The keyboard commands also work perfectly, it's as if just the images don't get through (so I can assume that it's just that the window is also black). I get the error "X11 Bad Alloc (Insufficient resources for operation)". I'm adding these because maybe it can give a hint on the problem?

Also if I change to another tty and switch back to graphic tty, then the screen is completely black.

My current way to deal with that is to restart mdm (> services mdm restart), which works for a while. I tried restarting cinnamon (>cinnamon --replace) but it crashes (log shows a segfault), and then I have to work in a fallback mode (which works fine).

Re: Cinnamon and black windows

Posted: Sun May 18, 2014 5:45 am
by phill1978
you do realise there is very little support on these forums if ANY?

they take $10,000 a month in donations but you dont get a response unless someone in the community helps you not a dev.

So, my answer would be to log the issue on GitHub under the Linux mint Cinnamon Section. And to be fair it does say this on the main forum thread list page..

Other than that, why not go for a different distro thats focused on supporting older hardware