With the current move of X.Org to unstable, a few tips might help xserver-xorg-video-intel’s users.

Current issues involve screen turning to black from time to time, including while typing, or after a few seconds of inactivity, or after a few minutes. Depending on the applied tips, it’s sometimes possible to switch back to a console, trigger a suspend to RAM, and then get back to an un-black screen. (The funny think being that using s2ram may break the Intel wireless driver, which can be fixed by then using s2disk…)

Restarting the X server is usually insufficient. Logs (be it X.Org’s or kernel’s) don’t show anything. Given those issues showed up with the previous X.Org stack too, with recent kernels, it might just be a bug there.

Various stuff that can be tried:

  • Disable powersaving by passing i915.powersave=0 on the kernel command-line. grub2 users can add it to GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX in /etc/default/grub, and run update-grub2. Once the system is started, it can be checked by checking the contents of the /sys/module/i915/parameters/powersave file.

  • Disable DPMS in /etc/X11/xorg.conf: Specify Option "DPMS" "False" in the Monitor section. DPMS enabled or so should vanish from /var/log/Xorg.0.log.

With that setup (apparently, the first tip is particularly interesting, the second didn’t seem to help much), turning to black seems to only happen when using MPlayer or VLC, while it was previously happening while e.g. reading a few lines of IRC backlog… Passing various -vo flags to MPlayer, like -vo x11, doesn’t seem to help.

Have to try with some 2.6.33-rcX before reporting this bug, just wanted to let others know about current findings…