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Matrox G550 + mga driver hangs system

I'm trying an experimental upgrade from stable to testing on an
elderly system with a Matrox Millenium G550 graphics adaptor plugged
directly into the motherboard, using the mga driver, and have run into
a brick wall with the xserver. When started, eg with startx, the
system immediately freezes and the only escape seems to be reboot. In
particular ctrl-alt-Fn has no effect in this state, which makes
diagnosis tricky. Any help or suggestions would be appreciated.

[Mandatory declaration, having read the rubrics: I am not subscribed
to this list (for fear of drowning). I just read the web archive. I
post this with some trepidation...]

I feel reasonably confident that the problem lies in the mga driver,
not least because the vesa driver works ok, to my great relief, but
conceivably a bug elsewhere is being triggered by mga. I am using
xserver-xorg-legacy. I note the earlier thread "Matrox G550 - MGA X
server fails", but whether this is part of the same story I am unsure.

Backtracking to relic versions of xserver-xorg-video-mga, which just
happen to be lying around in the apt cache, suggests that the trouble
started somewhere around version 1.4-1 or 1.4-2, but the dependencies
on other bits of xorg make such backtracking a clumsy and difficult
process and I can't be more precise about it, though I've tried. I
have a partition reserved for such adventures so that when "testing"
graduates to "stable" it's not too much of a shock, but mostly I fly
with stable and I'm no expert in this area.

A severely trimmed version of /var/log/Xorg.0.log follows. The whole
affair is 616 lines, which seems excessive for an initial posting.
This is with the fully up-to-date testing distribution, in particular
with xserver-xorg-video-mga version 1:1.6.5-1.

X.Org X Server 1.19.2
Release Date: 2017-03-02
[  3311.142] Current Operating System: Linux tresco 4.9.0-2-686-pae #1 SMP Debian 4.9.13-1 (2017-02-27) i686
[  3311.142] Kernel command line: BOOT_IMAGE=/boot/vmlinuz-4.9.0-2-686-pae root=UUID=920046b5-b826-4c18-85a7-c986f9c15dfd ro quiet
[  3311.146] (**) |   |-->Device "Matrox Graphics, Inc. MGA G550 AGP"
[  3311.149] (++) using VT number 2

[  3311.157] (II) systemd-logind: took control of session /org/freedesktop/login1/session/_36
[  3311.159] (--) PCI:*(0:1:0:0) 102b:2527:102b:0f84 rev 1, Mem @ 0xe4000000/33554432, 0xe6000000/16384, 0xe7000000/8388608, BIOS @ 0x????????/131072
[  3311.159] (II) "glx" will be loaded. This was enabled by default and also specified in the config file.
[  3311.159] (II) LoadModule: "ddc"
[  3311.159] (II) Module "ddc" already built-in
[  3311.159] (II) LoadModule: "dri"
[  3311.159] (II) Module "dri" already built-in
[  3311.159] (II) LoadModule: "extmod"
[  3311.159] (II) Module "extmod" already built-in
[  3311.159] (II) LoadModule: "glx"
[  3311.160] (II) Loading /usr/lib/xorg/modules/extensions/libglx.so
[  3311.249] (II) Module glx: vendor="X.Org Foundation"
[  3311.249] 	compiled for 1.19.2, module version = 1.0.0
[  3311.249] 	ABI class: X.Org Server Extension, version 10.0
[  3311.249] (II) LoadModule: "int10"
[  3311.249] (II) Loading /usr/lib/xorg/modules/libint10.so
[  3311.258] (II) Module int10: vendor="X.Org Foundation"
[  3311.258] 	compiled for 1.19.2, module version = 1.0.0
[  3311.258] 	ABI class: X.Org Video Driver, version 23.0
[  3311.258] (II) LoadModule: "vbe"
[  3311.258] (II) Loading /usr/lib/xorg/modules/libvbe.so
[  3311.272] (II) Module vbe: vendor="X.Org Foundation"
[  3311.272] 	compiled for 1.19.2, module version = 1.1.0
[  3311.272] 	ABI class: X.Org Video Driver, version 23.0
[  3311.272] (II) LoadModule: "mga"
[  3311.272] (II) Loading /usr/lib/xorg/modules/drivers/mga_drv.so
[  3311.302] (II) Module mga: vendor="X.Org Foundation"
[  3311.302] 	compiled for 1.19.1, module version = 1.6.5
[  3311.302] 	Module class: X.Org Video Driver
[  3311.302] 	ABI class: X.Org Video Driver, version 23.0
[  3311.302] 	ABI class: X.Org Video Driver, version 23.0
[  3311.315] (II) MGA: driver for Matrox chipsets: ... mgag550
  lots of stuff that looks perfectly normal until -
[  3316.209] (II) xfree86: Adding drm device (/dev/dri/card0)
[  3316.211] (II) systemd-logind: got fd for /dev/dri/card0 226:0 fd 26 paused 1
[  3316.211] (EE) Error systemd-logind returned paused fd for drm node
[  3316.211] (II) systemd-logind: releasing fd for 226:0
[  3316.213] (II) config/udev: Adding input device AT Translated Set 2 keyboard (/dev/input/event0)
  lots more stuff, file ending with -
[  3316.234] (EE) 
[  3316.234] (EE) Backtrace:

Perhaps there was more that never got flushed to disk, but who knows.
More of the elided material available on request of course, together
with any other info.