Thursday, October 13, 2005

Ubuntu 5.10 & nVIDIA Drivers

Just a couple of quick notes. My initial impression? This distro rocks! I enjoyed the previous version and this is definitely a step in the right direction. (In fact, let me start bittorrent seeding for the amd64 installation .iso while I am thinking about it.)

You may or may not know this but you DO NOT have to manually install the nVIDIA drivers for your video card (assuming you have an nVIDIA card of course). They are available via apt & Synaptic. Here's what you will want to do:
  1. Open System --> Administration --> Synaptic Package Manager
  2. Click Reload in the Synaptic toolbar
  3. Click Search
  4. I chose to replace the generic kernel with the amd64-k8, so I entered Search = Linux & Look in = Name in the Find box.
    1. Scrolled through the results and selected:
      1. linux-headers-amd64-k8
      2. linux-image-amd64-k8
      3. linux-kernel-headers
      4. linux-restricted-modules-amd64-k8 (Note: No matter which kernel you are using, you NEED to load the linux-restricted-modules for the kernel of your choice. Otherwise, no nVIDIA drivers.)
  5. Next Click Search again and in the Find box enter Search = nvidia & Look in = Description and Name
    1. Scroll through the results and select:
      1. nvidia-glx
      2. nvidia-kernel-common
      3. nvidia-settings
  6. Click Apply
  7. Open Applications --> Accessories --> Terminal
  8. Enter the command sudo nano /etc/X11/xorg.conf
  9. Enter your password at the prompt
  10. Make the following changes to xorg.conf
    1. In Section "Module" comment out the following with the hash symbol:
      1. # Load "dri"
      2. # Load "GLcore"
    2. Add Load "glx" in this section if it is not present
  11. Scroll down to Section "Device" where you will find the entry for your video card. Change Driver "nv" to Driver "nvidia"
  12. Scroll down to Section "Monitor" and verify the HorizSync & VertRefresh settings for your monitor. If you are not sure what they should be, look them up from the MANUFACTURERS website. Setting these values incorrectly could permanently damage your monitor!
  13. Finished? Press Ctrl+X and enter Y to save the changes
  14. Close your open windows
  15. Reboot the PC and if all is well you should see the nVIDIA splash screen and then the gdm login screen
Trying to install the drivers from the nVIDIA site manually just wouldn't work for me. The above steps did. The response time with the nvidia driver versus the nv driver is pretty dramatic.

Enjoy! And, by the way. I am writing all this up on my shiny new Ubuntu 5.10 system. :-)

Disclaimer: Remember, you use these instructions at your own risk. No guarantees, warranty, liability or accuracy regarding the above information is expressed or implied. If you blow something up on your system, it's your business, not mine.

[Updated 18 October 2005: Clarified that you MUST install a
linux-restricted-modules package for the kernel you are running in order to obtain the nvidia kernel module.]

[Updated 31 October 2005: More of a comment than an update... Site Meter indicates that this is the most popular entry in my blog. I hope you find it useful. If you have questions or comments about the procedure above, please let me know.]


Anonymous said...

Instead of rebooting, what about /etc/init.d/gdm restart as root

chronicon said...

Instead of rebooting, what about /etc/init.d/gdm restart as root

That would be fine if you are not installing an alternate kernel as I did in my example.

If you are sticking with the stock kernel and simply adding the restricted modules that should work I believe...