XFREE-UPGRADING 3.3.3 to 3.3.5

From mikea@norfolk.nf
revised: 9th Jan 00

Tested on COL (OLX) 2.2N

Late break:

IN GENERAL, it is NOT necessary to load specific drivers such as S3, 3Dfx S3V. They are already contained inside SVGA

Caldera 2.2 /2.3 comes shipped with Xfree version 3.3.3(.1). While good, it does not account for the newer releases of video cards such as:

S3 many

This is nobody's fault. As new video cards come on the market, somewhere, somehow, you need the driver to run them.

IN GENERAL, it is possible to simply download *the* latest release of a server-driver (such as Xfree_S3V.x.x.x) and voila! Your card is accounted for. These steps take you through the process of installing a *complete* 3.3.5 revision rather than 'just' a driver.

Be Warned

These steps can be deadly. One typo, and you can render your desktop unusable.

It is not this StepByStep that is at fault, it is simply the fact thay you are about to 'play' with the eyes of your system. ANY procedure, ANY rpm, ANY change, affecting X11R6 can render you blind. Be warned.

If you are not yet 'versatile' in running in console mode, flicking between ALTF8 and CTL-ALT-F1 you are advised to back out of this page and become more familiar with the underlying console mode. These steps have been tested, they work. When they don't!, it is a comparatively simple matter to bring your gui back to life and restore the desktop, but you must be comfortable in working 'blind' inside a standard tty virtual screen because you wont have your familair gui doing things for you.


From your desktop, hit CTL-ALT-F2
Login as root.
When you've finished looking about in the unfamiliar world of the console, hit ALT-F8 this will bring you back to the gui desktop.

NOTE, these two links below no longer 'work

When something goes bang, you may need to edit a file or two. Kedit / Kwrite wont help you. Check you have a terminal editor you can use. VI is a last resort for most, Caldera doesn't supply 'joe', you are advised to install it, or something similar.
joe-2.8-13mdk RPM for i586

Also, you can do with a good 'xtree like', console based, file browser-manager. The best in it's class has always been Midnight Commander.
mc-4.5.41-2mdk RPM for i586

There are many definitions of a 'power user'. You are about to leave the safe world of playing solitaire, and truly hack your system. Be prepared to use the power tools, not power toys, listed above.

There are three ways you can upgrade to 3.3.5

1) Obtain source and compile it all  ( www.xfree.org )
2) Obtain an rpm (almost) suitable for your system (XFree86-3.3.5-9mdk.i586.rpm)
3) Obtain tarballed binaries and install them.

This Step uses #3).


login as root (not much will work elsewise)

"mkdir /wherever/whatever"

You are about to download a mass of tarballs. They are not going to be moved from this directory and you don't want them in ANY directory with any other files. After installation, the directory can be deleted. Remember the full path, you are going to need it typed, in it's entirety.

TWO: Obtaining Xfree 3.3.5 binary tarballs.

Find a mirror! http://www.xfree.org

half way down the page, click on  mirror sites (<or here)

the linux kernel (2.2.x) on Caldera distributions use glibc

You are interested in in the pub ftp directory:


Download the following to /whatever/wherever

preinst.sh      Pre-installation script   (see step 5)
postinst.sh     Post-installation script  (see step 5)
extract         XFree86 extraction utility
Xbin.tgz        Clients, run-time libs, and app-defaults files
Xdoc.tgz        Documentation
Xlib.tgz        Data files required at run-time
Xman.tgz        Manual pages
Xset.tgz        XF86Setup utility

DO NOT download Xcfg.tgz unless you enjoy coffee by the bucketfull, cigarettes, and are not yet bald.

You can also download Xfnts.tgz for minor updates to 75dpi if you want to.  From the 'servers' directory download the following to /whatever/wherever

XVG16.tgz       16 colour VGA server (XF86Setup needs this server)
XSVGA.tgz       SVGA server

The above are your base servers. They operate for 90% of cards and are mandatory.

The following list is for YOUR unique card. Select one or none of the following if you have something extra.

X3DL.tgz        3Dlabs server (voodoo eg)
X8514.tgz       8514/A server
XAGX.tgz        AGX server
XI128.tgz       I128 server
XMa32.tgz       Mach 32 server
XMa64.tgz       Mach 64 server
XMa8.tgz        Mach 8 server
XP9K.tgz        P9000 server
XS3.tgz         S3 server
XW32.tgz        ET4000/W32, ET6000 server

Here's something you may not know. You can download all of them if you want to. Each one is a single binary file. When you run XF86Config, it will pick the most appropriate driver for you, if available. Startx knows only about a server called 'X', it has no idea about ANY specific server. A symbolic link ("X") points to one of these files.

Only one will ever be used in your system and 90% of the time it is the SVGA.  Here's something else you may not know. Unlike windoze, a single server, called SVGA contains multiple drivers. Startx dynamically checks what card is being used when it fires up. SVGA contains the drivers for SIS, S3 and many others. In principle, you are supposed to be able to change video cards with no further alterations. Nice principle!

The above list of alternatives are an 'all else fails' approach. It is likely, the specialised Voodoo driver will ultimately end up in SVGA at some later revision.




The directory you are interested in here is /usr/X11R6 and *all* it's derivates, the easiest method is "cp -ra /usr/X11R6 /usr/X11R6.old"

For whatever reason, my ftp of install.sh and preinst.sh were dos text (crlf). Consequently they would not run.
Simply type in:

cd /wherever/whatever
kwrite install.sh
kwrite preinst.sh

make a simple change (like a #comment) and save them. This 'converts' them to Linux.


in a terminal (as root)

cd /wherever/whatever
chmod 755 *.sh
chmod 755 extract
cd /usr/X11R6
sh /wherever/whatever/preinst.sh
/wherever/whatever/extract /wherever/whatever/X*.tgz

Make sure you understand what's happening here. You are in the all important /usr/X11R6 directory, and you are firing commands out of /wherever/whatever.  During the postinst.sh execution you are asked two questions. Reply yes to both.


You can use the three fingered salute (ctl-alt-del) and reboot, or, you can simply restart the desktop by logging out of kde and restarting the server.

This step is not possible for SIS video cards.  Use the separate SxS for this crappy chipset or better yet, throw it out.  You can setup your new or existing card as follows:

From a root console enter
"XF86Setup -sync"

-sync is critical to success.

when it asks you whether to use existing, or a new config, answer new DO NOT USE THE OLD CONFIG

TEN: When it goes bang

at the Lilo prompt type in "linux 3"

The word linux *might* be different according to how you recompiled your lilo.conf
you will end up in console mode. Fear not.

"cp -rfa /usr/X11R6.old /usr/X11R6"
(check "man cp" for this one, I *may* have the options wrong)

finally, type in


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