Accelerated Nvidia graphics driver

  • johne53
Posted: Sat, 05/23/2009 - 07:05
Forgive me, I'm sure I asked this question a month or two ago but I can't find the original thread any more... :-( My laptop has an onboard GeForce4 440 graphics adapter by Nvidia. Currently I'm using whatever driver came with 64studio. When I last enquired about this, it turned out that the standard (open source) driver doesn't support hardware acceleration. With some graphically intensive apps (notably Ardour) my laptop is now struggling and I need to try the official (closed source) Nvidia driver which I believe supports hardware acceleration. Does anyone know where I can obtain the hardware accelerated driver and is it easy to install?

Finally, I bit the bullet

  • johne53
  • 10/07/07
  • Fri, 05/29/2009 - 12:06
Finally, I bit the bullet and restored my previous backup. In fact, it turned out that I'd already had the correct kernel installed all along so this potentially made the upgrade a bit easier. I re-installed the Nvidia driver, being careful to avoid any mistakes that I'd made last time. Sadly however, I'm still getting no desktop at boot up (I still get the blank white screen problem) but it's improved slightly. Up until yesterday I simply couldn't log in as myself at all (any attempt to log in as me resulted in a blank white screen, instead of my familiar desktop). But I discovered that 'root' could log in - and if I created a new user, he could log in too!! Anyway, after the re-installation this has changed slightly. I still get the blank white screen at boot up and nothing seems to be able to improve that. However, if I press CTRL+ALT+F1, I can now log in as any registered user - BUT ONLY if I've previously logged in as root!! The gnome desktop simply doesn't play ball until I've logged in as root, at least once. So I'm baffled. This must either be a permissions problem - or maybe there's just a bug in the driver that's preventing it from initialising properly with my particular hardware. But if it doesn't turn out to be a problem with permissions, I think I'll have to conclude that the problem just isn't solvable.... :-(

nVidia install method

  • skullnotions
  • 09/29/07
  • Thu, 05/28/2009 - 18:02
$ nano /var/log/Xorg.0.log Is a good place to look for error messages regarding xorg.conf I can't really say about the install method in your last post because I've never used it. I've always found the binary install method (see link in earlier post) easy and only takes 5-10 minutes to complete, just make sure you have the correct headers & source installed, and all old nvidia files removed before you begin. It works on all my linux installs, not just Debian & Ubuntu. The same goes for using the apt-get method from the FAQ page, it's never given me any problems in the past on 2.1. I think your having problems because of old nvidia files laying around from your first nvidia install attempts. Cheers! Dave.

Hi Dave. Rather than clean

  • johne53
  • 10/07/07
  • Thu, 05/28/2009 - 14:55
Hi Dave. Rather than clean up, I might just delete my 64studio partition and restore the one that I backed up immediately prior to this upgrade. Then I'll just try it all again. Just out of interest - are you on the ardour-users mailing list? I thought I'd ask for some advice there because, although this isn't tecnically an Ardour problem, I've always found ardour-users to be helpful and it tends to be a bit busier than this forum. I'll keep posting here though, if you're not a member of ardour-users. [Edit...] A guy on the Ardour list pointed me in the direction of this how-to:- I get the impression that whoever wrote that article has put some thought into anticipating the likely problems and it might be worth my while to follow his procedure. The only drawback is that technically it's for Debian, not 64studio. But do you think it's worth a go? I've still got my original backup so I can always revert if things go drastically wrong.

$ sudo nano /var/log/Xorg.0.log

  • skullnotions
  • 09/29/07
  • Mon, 05/25/2009 - 11:02
[ctrl] + [alt] + [f1] should drop you to a console and you should be able to edit your xorg.conf back to "nv" or copy your xorg.conf-backup back to xorg.conf. Once you get to your desktop clean up and remove all the packages you've installed. If you use synaptic, install deborphan or $ sudo apt-get install deborphan You have to set up deborphan in synaptic but *Don't* just remove everything it suggests, always double check what it suggests you remove. Deborphan is a great tool but you have to be careful as always. You could then retry the apt-get nvidia method from the FAQ page, or if this still fails again, install the binary driver following the instructions from the Post: nVidia FastWrite and Side Band Address from this thread. Testing alphabetas rc's & daily-builds: If you do decide to go for the binary method. Post back here first because you have to remove all nvidia packages before you run the binary install. Backup your menu.list & xorg.conf Cheers! Dave.

Thanks Dave. I had

  • johne53
  • 10/07/07
  • Mon, 05/25/2009 - 10:19
Thanks Dave. I had absolutely no idea that all those options were referring to different kernel versions but spotting that has made something else make sense.... I now realise that I get the Xorg log errors if I try to boot using any kernel other than 2.6.21-1-multimedia-486. Unfortunately, though, using 2.6.21-1-multimedia-486 doesn't get me a whole lot further. Booting up with that one results in a blank white screen with no desktop or mouse cursor or anything. Can you think of a way I could find out why the desktop doesn't appear? e.g. is there another log file I could paste that might track the problem down? Or is there a way I can exit from the blank desktop and bring up a terminal window?

2.6.21-1-multimedia-486

  • skullnotions
  • 09/29/07
  • Mon, 05/25/2009 - 09:12
My old notes all say the same, running 2.6.21-1-multimedia-486 follow the instructions above. There are no references to the install not working. Googled: 64studio 2.1 install report nvidia-glx Finds one of my old install reports. Describes *Synaptic* & *apt-get* nvidia install methods. It's a long time since I used this apt-get method. I use the nvidia binary download today. I don't understand why your running *2.6.18-6-486* and not 2.6.21-1-multimedia-486? You need 2.6.21-1-multimedia-486 running for this apt-get method to work. I could be missing something obvious here, I'm not sure. Your menu list shows quite a few kernels. I'd be tempted to clean up and start the nvidia install procedure again. Failing this I'd install the binary driver. Cheers! Dave.

Ah, I didn't understand the

  • johne53
  • 10/07/07
  • Sun, 05/24/2009 - 16:33
Ah, I didn't understand the procedure. Here's the URL:- http://paste.ubuntu.com/179593/ and here's the output from uname -r 2.6.18-6-486 Reading your instructions I realise I made a small mistake. I installed kernel module 2.6.17-2, instead of 2.6.21-1. The one you specified though seems to have the wrong version number for my chip. According to what I read a few days ago, the version needs to be 1.0.96xx whereas your recommendation is number 1.0.9755-1. After installing 2.6.21-1 with the (supposedly) correct version number, X seems to be starting. However, I don't get my desktop any more at start-up - just a blank white screen. At least it's progress!! I'll try installing 1.0.9755-1 and see if that helps. [UPDATE...] I installed the modules numbered 1.0.9755-1 which returned me to the problem of failing to start X. This time, the error log tells me that I need the modules that I originally installed (1.0.96xx). Just going back to them now but I must admit, I'm slowly losing the will to live.... :-( [UPDATE...2] I went back to the older (i.e. correct) modules and I'm now back to the Xorg log errors. However, I might have found something significant.... the description for "nvidia-kernel-legacy-96xx-2.6.21-1-multimedia-486" says "NVIDIA binary kernel module for Linux 2.6.21-1-multimedia-486". So far, so good. The problem is that Synaptic offers no such corresponding driver. The closest equivalent is:- "nvidia-glx-legacy-96xx" (without the word "multimedia"). I guess I'm clutching at straws now but might that explain the problems??

kernel & menu list

  • skullnotions
  • 09/29/07
  • Sun, 05/24/2009 - 11:48
Can you post the link from paste.ubuntu for your menu list, I can't access it? Also the result of the kernel you were running when you installed the nvidia driver. $ uname -r Cheers! Dave. **Update** From old notes: Using apt to install nvidia, \# apt-get update \# apt-cache search nvidia \# uname -a \# apt-get install nvidia-kernel-2.6.21-1-multimedia-486 nvidia-glx which also adds nvidia-kernel-common \# nano /etc/X11/xorg.conf comment out # Load "dri" Change "nv" to "nvidia"

Hi Dave,In case it's of

  • johne53
  • 10/07/07
  • Sun, 05/24/2009 - 11:46
Hi Dave, In case it's of any help, the entry in Xorg.0.log says:- FATAL: module NVIDIA not found (EE) NVIDIA(0): Failed to load the NVIDIA kernel module! (EE) NVIDIA(0): *** Aborting *** (EE) Screen(s) found, but none of them have a usable configuraation Fatal server error: I noticed that the folder "/usr/lib/xorg/modules/drivers* contains a shared object called nv_drv.so (the old driver?) and another one callse nvidia_drv.so (the new driver?) So presumably I've installed the wrong kernel module. Is there a way to tell which kernel module goes with which driver? I assumed that picking one with the same version number would be sufficient but it doesn't seem to be that simple... :-( Luckily, before I embarked on all this, I had the good sense to back up my entire partition, so I can easily get back to my previous setup if I've done something stupid.

I must admit, I'm a bit

  • johne53
  • 10/07/07
  • Sat, 05/23/2009 - 16:44
I must admit, I'm a bit baffled too. This definitely happened immediately after I installed the Nvidia 486 kernel module (using Synaptic). I pasted menu.lst for you to look at (I pasted it with the name johne53). Getting back to xorg.conf, changing "nv" to "nvidia" prevented X from starting (driver couldn't be found). Here's the relevant section from xorg.conf:- Section "Device" Identifier "nVidia Corporation NV17 [GeForce4 440 Go] Driver "nvidia" BusID "PCI:1:0:0" EndSection [Edit...] I don't know why it's coming out with that strange appearance.... :-(

Driver "nv"

  • skullnotions
  • 09/29/07
  • Sat, 05/23/2009 - 13:22
Once you have the correct driver installed for your card\kernel you need to backup and edit xorg.conf and change "nv" to "nvidia" I'm a bit confused as to your grub configuration, could you post back your menu list entry using paste.ubuntu. Cheers! Dave.

I just realised that

  • johne53
  • 10/07/07
  • Sat, 05/23/2009 - 12:06
I just realised that Synaptic offers a whole range of Nvidia drivers and after some searching, it turned out that version 1.0.9631-3 is the correct one for my GeForce4 440. I installed it this morning but it didn't seem to improve anything. After a bit more searching I then discovered that it isn't simply a case of installing the driver. There are some other stages too (why is this kind of thing so difficult under Linux, when other OS's manage the same task so simply??) One thing that was apparently needed was to install the correct kernel module for my CPU. My CPU is a Pentium 4 mobile, so I installed the 486 module rather than the 686 kernel module which I believe is for the Pentium Pro. This has caused some minor havoc for grub and I now have about 8 new boot-up options including Default mode, 486 mode, real-time mode and multimedia mode!! Nevertheless, typing "less /etc/X11/xorg.conf|grep Driver" into a terminal, still produces this output:- Driver "nv" which I'm led to believe is the open source (i.e. non-accelerated) driver. And this seems to be confirmed visually because screen redraws don't seem to be any faster than before. Have I missed something out? Are there other stages still to complete??