Goal: Use fglrx driver under Mint 14 w/Xen (as Dom0). Why? Because I live in a warm climate and I don't like how warm my video cards run with the opensource driver. Joking aside I have learned there is a way to get the open source driver to do dynaPM (dynamic power management) but it has graphic defects and is restricted to one monitor.
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ASRock 970 Extreme 4
16 Gb Ram
Radeon 7870 (for vga passthrough w/Xen)
Radeon 7750 (for use on Dom0)
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Mint 14 64bit
Xen 4.1.3 (ubuntu package)
I have two kernels -
Stock Mint 14 3.5.0-17-generic
Custom 3.5.5-domz. Compiled from Ubuntu-Quantal git repo branch 18.104.22.168.28. Added backend Xen kernel options.
What works -
1) Booting into Mint 14 baremetal (w/o Xen). Both kernels. Open/Ubuntu/Official AMD drivers.
2) Booting into Mint 14 w/Xen recovery mode and dropping to terminal. Both kernels. Open/Ubuntu/Official AMD drivers. However, startx locks up the system on proprietary driver.
3) Booting into Mint 14 w/Xen. Both kernels. Opensource AMD driver. Result - Cinnamon doesn't load. No panel. However I can load into a gnome classic session.
What doesn't -
1) Booting into Mint 14 w/Xen. Both kernels. Ubuntu/Official AMD driver. Result - Black screen after Mint splash. No login screen.
From this I think it's safe to say Xen has a problem with cinnamon and fglrx. I've already gone through my logs and addressed three errors I was getting in Xen mode but sadly they weren't the source of my Xorg woes (missing packages and blacklisting some troublesome modules). I might post about this elsewhere but I figure the response will be that Xen and custom kernels is asking for trouble, k-thx-bye.
The good news is that I got my kernel built the way I wanted and pciback works great from the grub kernel options.
I'm thinking my only hope at this point is using the open source driver. Unfortunately that means poor support for my cards. Actually, now that I think about it, that's probably why cinnamon doesn't work right (guess I might need to try a different desktop manager). 3D support for the 7750+ is spotty and there is no support for HDMI audio. So I'll have to throw this ancient Sound Blaster Live I found gathering dust in the corner of my closet into my machine.
*edit* Ohhh.. someone just mentioned to me that there is a session option to run cinnamon in 2D mode at the login screen. Guess I'll try reinstalling the open source driver and logging in that way.
*edit2* While in hind sight my reasoning may have been sleep depraved nonsense (clearly it's not 3D support if it works outside Xen) it did lead me to a temporary solution for cinnamon. Simply bypass it by running a classic gnome session. So I have my X in Dom0 and I'll just have to see how the power management / video decoding goes later. In the mean time I have Win7 happily installing in the background. In a few minutes I'll be able to see if VGA passthrough works on this hardware.
*edit3* VGA passthrough is working.
AMD driver installed. CCC installed after reboot. I still have a few things to work on, but at least I can confirm the effort was worth it. There is light at the end of the tunnel per say. I've seriously had more problems with Dom0 than DomU.