My problems aren't due to Xfce (I don't actually seem to have any Xfce-related issues, lol). But I thought I would ask about them here, regardless, since I do use and enjoy Xfce.
Background: My best friend recently decided to purchase his very first computer (a Samsung brand intel core i5 3210M laptop with 6 gigs of RAM ) and asked me to "put that linux thing that you use on it." I decided to install the newest version of the distro that I was using and then upgrade my laptop to that same version; that way when he called me with issues/questions, i could refer to my computer to figure out what he was talking about. After setting up his computer, i was then unable to install the same distro on mine, basically because it is failing and has problems (fan isn't working correctly and sounds/vibrates like a bicycle chain in a blender and I think the hard drive is on the way out as well). In a panic - because I had gotten to the step in the install where you format your partitions, lol, and thus had no linux OS any more - I started trying all the distros that I happened to have on hand. The first one that I managed to install was Mint 14 Xfce. Honestly, I expected it to be a temporary measure at the time - until I started using it and realized that the combination of Mint + Xfce turned out to be an awesome combination. So... The next time my friend called with a problem, I had him bring his laptop over and I installed Mint 14 Xfce on it, too. We're both pretty happy about it, lol.
But then my laptop went from "starting to fail" to "I can still use it for email and basic web forum browsing - IF I take it outside where it's still 30°F or colder." And that's a RPitA, especially since my health isn't all that great (and I'm currently sick with the flu). Which saddens me, because after installing Mint 14 Xfce, for the first time ever with the laptop, I was able to do things such as view fullscreen streaming videos without issues and even play a game (okay, SuperTuxKart doesn't exactly require a Cray II supercomputer - but I could not play it before).
So I installed Mint 14 Xfce on my even older desktop. I couldn't - still can't - figure out how to correctly set up the graphics on it. A friend loaned me a laptop which they were thinking about selling. It's as old or older than my desktop and, you guessed it, I cannot figure out how to correctly set up the graphics on it, either.
Issue #1: The loaner laptop is an OLD HP ze5200 with a Pentium 4 (possibly Pentium 4-D? Not sure) 2.53gHz CPU, 768 megs of RAM (shared with the graphics), and ATI IGP340M or IGP345M ("RS200," I think it is referred to) shared-memory graphics. The newer ATI drivers do not support this graphics setup. I have read that the older ones aren't supported by the rest of the OS. When I go to the "Additional Drivers" tab of Software Sources in my Update Manager, where one is supposed to choose their graphics driver on newer Mint distros, there isn't even a graphics driver listed. I installed everything I could think of from Synaptic Package Manager, which did not increase the graphics performance. I then added the Xorg PPA, ran my Update Manager, and that did not improve things. I even added the Xorg "edgers"(?) PPA, and that didn't help. I restarted the laptop between each change to ensure that everything would take effect, BtW. What really bothers (and confuses) me is that someone brought a Windows XP disc (the laptop has an XP product key sticker on the bottom) and, while everything else about XP is abysmal on the laptop - installation time, boot time, performance whilst trying to do even simple tasks such as browse low-resource web pages in Firefox, et cetera - the graphics performance is faster - I was even able to play Homeworld when I dug my disc out of the attic! Everything that I have experienced tells me that things should be better in linux than in an old Microsoft OS and, judging by how that actually went, I am thinking that it is software-related.
Is there anyone familiar enough with the old ATI IGP340(?)M/RS200 laptop graphics setups - or just super smart, lol - who wouldn't mind helping me figure this out? I really don't wish to be stuck in Microsoft Windows XP.
Issue #2: My desktop is an OLD CyberPowerPC with an Athlon XP 2200+ (1792mHz) CPU, 1280 (I think) megs of RAM, and nVidia FX5200 128meg AGP graphics card. I am pretty sure that the most recent nVidia driver that supports this card is the "173" series. This driver does not appear to work on newer linux distros(!). This is really odd because I tried installing the 173.14.36 version of it and that one lists in its release notes "Added support for xserver ABI 13 (xorg-server 1.13)" (and I read that the problem with the 173 driver is that it only works with xorg 1.10 and below, while Mint 14 Xfce uses a newer one (1.13, I believe?). IOW, the newest 173 driver - released October 4th, 2012 - should work... but I cannot figure it out.
I am willing to type anything into a terminal that you require me to and post the results. I am willing to reinstall Mint 14 Xfce in order to ensure that none of my screw-ups will cause problems (and on the loaner laptop, I have to anyway because Windows XP was tried on it). I am willing to try installing whatever I need to.
I am even willing, as a last resort (if nothing else helps), to try installing Mint 13 Xfce (older, but a "LTS") or LMDE (Linux Mint Debian Edition), although I would really rather stick with Mint 14 Xfce for various reasons. I do not wish to install an OLD version of linux, because I learned that support gets dropped for old distros.
Again, I realize that these are not "Xfce problems." But I find that I enjoy your fine DE enough - especially along with Mint 14 - that I wish to continue using the combination. And from reading some of the threads here, I see that you are both helpful and intelligent, so I thought I would ask for help with my graphics issues here. I hope that this thread does not break any rules. And I'd like to say...
Thanks (much) in advance,