The 3.7 kernel nouveau driver provides a corrupted display when booting to a PC
with an older nvidia FX5200 graphic card. This was tested with:
* openSUSE-12.3 32-bit beta1 KDE liveCD and 3.7.1 kernel
* openSUSE-12.3 32-bit RC1 KDE liveCD and 3.7.6-1.2 kernel
* openSUSE-12.2 with the 32-bit Tumbleweed 3.7.2-18 kernel (on an LXDE desktop)
* Porteus-1.2 (release candidate version) which has the 3.7.5 kernel (and is slackware based).
* Bodhi-2.2.0-32 which has the 3.7.0-7 kernel (and is Ubuntu based)
I rolled back the openSUSE-12.2 with the 32-bit Tumbleweed 3.7.2-18 kernel (which I noted had the graphics corruption) to a 3.4.6 kernel (with nouveau) and it works fine on this same PC with both a KDE and an LXDE desktop. I tested a Knoppix-7.0.5 with its 3.6.11 kernel which booted fine to superb graphics with the nouveau driver, to a nice 1680x1050 resolution on this old FX5200 (NV34) hardware (with special desktop effects working nicely).
Ergo I believe the 3.7 kernel is at fault.
I have raised a bug report on openSUSE here: https://bugzilla.novell.com/show_bug.cgi?id=800686 but I believe the problem to be upstream with the nouveau driver.
The graphics look like this: http://www.imagebam.com/image/aaa1db233074551 and that is pretty much the same appearance across all GNU/Linux distribution versions that I have tested with the 3.7.x kernel and the nouveau driver.
dmesg of openSUSE-12.3 B1 w/3.7.1 kernel : https://bugzilla.novell.com/attachment.cgi?id=522124
xorg.0.log of openSUSE-12.3 B1 w/3.7.1 kernel: https://bugzilla.novell.com/attachment.cgi?id=522125
/var/log/messages of openSUSE-12.3 B1 w/3.7.1 kernel: https://bugzilla.novell.com/attachment.cgi?id=522126
xsesson errors of openSUSE-12.3 B1 w/3.7.1 kernel: https://bugzilla.novell.com/attachment.cgi?id=522127
I looked at the image of the corruption (with the 3.7 kernel) on NVIDIA GeForce 8400M G graphics card in this bug report https://bugs.freedesktop.org/show_bug.cgi?id=58378 and it looks difference, hence I believe that 'may' be a different problem.
I note a bug report on Red Hat bugzilla (kernel-PAE-3.7.3-101.fc17.i686) which could be the same: https://bugzilla.redhat.com/show_bug.cgi?id=905631 (and also 3.8.0-0.rc5.git0.2.fc19.i686.PAE in same bug report has possible same problem)
This bug here may be the same: https://bugs.freedesktop.org/show_bug.cgi?id=58261
This "corrupted display on boot" issue manifests itself with Fuduntu 2013.1 and the 3.7.6-1 kernel as well. The screen looks similar to the screenshot linked in the comment of 2013-02-08 20:50, though in the case of my laptop, the screen starts out mostly black.
Several small colored vertical lines populat3 and then spread to cover the entire screen, gradually getting lighter in color as they do so.
My video card information is below:
01:00.0 VGA compatible controller: nVidia Corporation NV31 [Quadro FX Go700] (rev a1) (prog-if 00 [VGA controller])
Subsystem: Dell Device 019b
Flags: bus master, VGA palette snoop, 66MHz, medium devsel, latency 32, IRQ 11
Memory at fc000000 (32-bit, non-prefetchable) [size=16M]
Memory at d0000000 (32-bit, prefetchable) [size=256M]
Expansion ROM at fd000000 [disabled] [size=128K]
Capabilities:  Power Management version 2
Capabilities:  AGP version 3.0
Kernel driver in use: nouveau
Fixed by f6853faa85793bf23b46787e4039824d275453c2 in 3.9-rc2.
This comment is just a confirmation of the fix ( - drm/nouveau: Fix typo in init_idx_addr_latched() ).
On my 32-bit openSUSE-12.3 setup (with the FX5200 graphic card) I updated the kernel to the latest SuSE-GmbH built 3.7.10-1.4 kernel (where that kernel has the noted 'typo fix' ) and the nouveau graphic driver works well with it.
Thank you all for the fix.