Nvidia’n’Linux

There are some activities you fear of in advance. I was quite afraid of the Linux drivers for NVidia video card. Since yesterday the new 4k stack drivers were released an attempt was needed.I have to say that the installation was quite painless and the outcome good indeed. Nonetheless there are a number of subtleties that can misguide the less experiences linux user (by definition there is such a thing like a unexperienced Linux user 🙂 ).
First the right file should be downloaded. I headed for the AMD-Athlon version of the drivers (NVIDIA-Linux-x86_64-1.0-6106-pkg2.run), only to discover that Fedora Core 2 installs a x86 kernel on AMD and therefore I need the other drivers file (NVIDIA-Linux-x86-1.0-6106-pkg1.run).
Next I switched to a text console (Ctrl+Alt+F2) and then logged in as root. Since the installation should be performed without the X system running I changed the runlevel with init 3. This command actually prints some informations but leave your user logged in.
The I issued the command ./NVIDIA-Linux-x86-1.0-6106-pkg1.run. This action brings in the NVidia installer, which warned me of a previous installation (yes, there was one, but it was disabled), and then asked me for accessing NVidia ftp server to look for a new version of the drivers. At this time the application hung. I guess that this problem has something to do with my ADSL router/firewall not always happy with DNS resolution. Anyway I killed the application and restarted it.
This time everything went fine and I was left at the root prompt with some brief instruction about completing the installation. It is better to have handy the README, so I opened another console (Ctrl+Alt+F3) and used it for displaying the README.
The remaining operations are very straightforward, but I wonder why they haven’t coded the in the installer. Basically you have to edit the X configuration file (please note that by default on Fedora Core 2, this file is /etc/X11/xorg.conf) and:

  • change line Driver “nv” to Driver “nvidia”;
  • remove lines Load “dri” and Load “GLcore”;
  • add the line Load “glx” (if not already present) in the same section the other ‘Load’ directives are listed.

Back to the prompt I changed the runlevel to 5 with init 5. Et voilà the X server started (with a while of suspance), displaying the NVidia logo.
Rushing to test with TuxRacer and Chromium proved me that the hardware acceleration was there for real.

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