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#1 2012-04-03 01:20:31

Registered: 2012-03-29
Posts: 42

[SOLVED] Kernel hangs at boot. i915 Invalid ROM contents.


I recently installed Arch Linux on my MacBook Pro (6,2 with grub2-efi) and whenever I boot (either the regular image or the fallback image) the kernel seems to hang and usually the outputted error message gets covered with artifacts (garbage).

I found the error in the dmesg.log:

[    5.988621] i915 0000:00:02.0: Invalid ROM contents
[    5.988659] [drm:intel_parse_bios] *ERROR* VBT signature missing
[    5.988694] [drm] failed to find VBIOS tables
[    5.988745] [drm:intel_dsm_pci_probe] *ERROR* failed to get supported _DSM functions
[    5.988819] [drm:intel_dsm_pci_probe] *ERROR* failed to get supported _DSM functions

This is the last thing I see before the screen becomes unreadable (covered in garbage). The full log is here:

The full log implies that there still seems to be something going on even after the screen becomes unreadable. But it always seems to stop at the same point, the swap thingy.

The closest thing I can find is this page on the Ubuntu docs: … fic_info-1
The first entry, distorted screen picture, sounds like what I have but it doesn't say whether the issue also results in an unusable system.

It mentions applying a patch but...where do I get it? and apply it to what?
Am I supposed to recompile the kernel?


PS: I have to leave now but when I come back I'm going to try using a different video driver because that seems to be the issue.

Last edited by Splooshie123 (2012-04-04 01:12:21)


#2 2012-04-03 02:52:37

Inspector Parrot
Registered: 2011-11-29
Posts: 29,342

Re: [SOLVED] Kernel hangs at boot. i915 Invalid ROM contents.

I suspect they're referring to this patch for the video driver - but since this was from a year ago I suspect it has already been applied upstream (<- complete assumption).

But either way, before you go tinkering with that, what is your video card?  I see in the logs there are references to i915 (which is xf86-video-intel I believe) and nouveau (which is xf86-video-nouveau).

"UNIX is simple and coherent..." - Dennis Ritchie, "GNU's Not UNIX" -  Richard Stallman


#3 2012-04-03 05:47:12

Registered: 2012-03-29
Posts: 42

Re: [SOLVED] Kernel hangs at boot. i915 Invalid ROM contents.

Ok, I'm back.

Trilby, the exact model of the mac is 6,2. It has 2 graphics cards: Intel HD Graphics and NVIDIA GeForce GT 330M.

According to this page: … 2.2B_-_EFI
the nouveau driver should work out of the box. It also mentions "dri should be installed from the mesa-git package".

I downloaded the mesa-git package from AUR and built it. That resulted in several packages with "dri" in the name. I only installed those that seemed relevant (nouveau-dri-git, intel-dri-git) but it didn't seem to make a difference. I'll try installing all of them. If that works, I'll remove them one by one until something breaks.

EDIT: I am such an idiot. I ran:

pacman -Ss nouveau

And it listed xf86-nouveau (or something similar) and nouveau-dri. Neither of them was installed. :facepalm:
I installed the nouveau driver and installed the nouveau-dri from the mesa-git package. I'm about to try it out. Will post the results.

Last edited by Splooshie123 (2012-04-03 06:14:46)


#4 2012-04-03 10:15:37

Registered: 2012-03-29
Posts: 42

Re: [SOLVED] Kernel hangs at boot. i915 Invalid ROM contents.

I fixed the following error:

failed to get i915 symbols, graphics turbo disabled

by adding "i915" to the MODULES line in mkinitcpio.conf.
So there's one mystery solved smile

I've also got a lead on the other errors. These errors all seem to be related to the intel drivers not liking EFI (just a guess. bear with me).
A thread at ubuntu forums (lost the link. Google drm:intel_parse_bios error vbt signature missing) suggests a solution.
One poster said that the kernel would hang right after grub loads it unless "noefi" was added to the kernel options in grub.cfg.

I'm using the EFI version of GRUB2 so maybe its not applicable. BUT, by looking for a list of kernel parameters...
TADAH! I found an option called "pci=[option]". 2 of the valid options are "off" (don't probe for the PCI bus) and "nobios" (disallow use of PCI BIOS).
I'm not too sure what "off" does (will try it if nobios fails) but "nobios" sounds like the opposite of "noefi".

I'll post when I get this PITA fixed.

PS: Good grief, I should become a writer. I take forever to get to the point (but it helps me think).
But if it enables me to solve my problems myself, why not?

Last edited by Splooshie123 (2012-04-03 10:19:25)


#5 2012-04-03 22:07:37

From: Cymru
Registered: 2011-11-27
Posts: 7,129

Re: [SOLVED] Kernel hangs at boot. i915 Invalid ROM contents.

My understanding is that EFI on Macs is not like EFI on other machines so perhaps it is a problem with Apple's EFI specifically in conjunction with the intel drivers?

(The intel drivers don't object to booting in EFI mode here.)

There are lots of reports of problems when two graphics cards are installed, though...

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#6 2012-04-04 00:53:27

Registered: 2012-03-29
Posts: 42

Re: [SOLVED] Kernel hangs at boot. i915 Invalid ROM contents.

It works now! It may seem counterintuitive, but adding "noefi" to the GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT variable in /boot/grub/grub.cfg solves the problem!

I tried "pci=nobios" and "pci=off" before "noefi" but nobios just made the errors appear a lot earlier and pci=off negated all my previous hacks. I ended up at a recovery console with all the old errors and a new one, too.

But now, a new problem has appeared (or maybe I only discovered it now because I've never gotten all the way to the login screen). The keyboard doesn't work. No keyboard functionality at all. I can't even switch virtual terminals.

Thanks, if not for directly helping me then for giving me a place to think.


Last edited by Splooshie123 (2012-04-04 01:11:49)


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