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Re: Installing nVidia drivers [WAS: Using apt to install only one package]

Damon L. Chesser wrote:
On Monday 14 July 2008 04:10:57 pm andy wrote:
Stackpole, Chris wrote:

Well I can't guarantee that it will all be smooth sailing when using Sid
packages. It should work, but obviously mileage varies. You do not want
to do an apt-get upgrade or anything like that but just a simple
'apt-get install package' may work for you. I do not foresee a reason
why you would need to change your kernel or to change anything but the
dependencies required by the package being upgraded by apt-get.

I wish you the best.

Have fun!
Chris Stackpole
Chris - no worries about a guarantee! I can fully appreciate that and
have, over a number of years of using GNU/Linux now, come to expect that
if something can go wrong, it probably will! The result inevitably has
been that I get dragged kicking and screaming into Computer-World with
all its arcane incantations and nuanced temperaments :-) until I can
figure out a fix that works and stays working and almost certainly due
to the help of many people along the way.

So, learning from past experiences, I now need to change my question
from one about controlling apt-get to the methodology of installing a
nVidia driver (and associated libraries, etc.) so that whenever the
kernel headers are upgraded, it doesn't deep-six my xorg, which is what
happened today!

Therefore ...

What is the "correct"/"best"/least error-prone method for installing an
nVidia driver from the Debian repositories, on a Lenny machine, so that
whenever the kernel headers are upgraded, the xorg continues to work?

I have done some searching on this, and to be honest some of the docs
seem quite out of date, and some even contradict each other. But so far
I have established that I do the following (I think!):

1. identify the kernel I am running (uname -r)
2. change my apt/sources.list to enable the latest drivers from Sid
3. download nVidia-driver and nVidia-glx and nVidia-settings (?) from
the Sid repos
4. download module-assistant
5. run m-a prepare && m-a a-i nvidia
6. check it's okay: grep -q ^nvidia /etc/modules || echo nvidia >>
7. install the additionals: apt-get install nvidia-glx/Sid
8. restart the *DM /etc/init.d/gdm restart

Do I have this correct? If not, an informed steer would be welcomed.
What are the gotchas and any tips for troubleshooting?


see this:  http://wiki.debian.org/NvidiaGraphicsDrivers  In short, if you 
change kernels, you will have issues.  Even if you use the Nvidia installer.  
You will have to re-install against your running kernel either through the 
Nvidia installer sh or through using modual assistant.

The "easy" answer is find the kernel you want and lock it in place (you can do 
that with synaptic), or compile your own kernel, then lock that in place so 
Debian will not update it.

The slightly harder answer is to update your kernel, make sure your headers 
are updated, make sure nvidia-glx, and nvidia-kernel have the same version 
numbers (if they do not, you will not be able to compile the new module), 
reboot into init 1 (single user mode) run the steps listed in 3. Methods 
above, exit into init 5.

Or:  install the Nvidia installer, run the nvidia_installer.sh as root from 
the cli (remove all nvidia-packages first).  Make sure you have a dev 
environment (install kernel-package should work) or it will fail.  You 
will/might get warnings about your kernel not matching your gcc, I ignore it.  
When you update the kernel, make sure the headers are updated as well, reboot 
into init 1 and re-run the Nvidia_installer.sh.

In short, make sure you know you will have to re-install every kernel update.  
If all else fails, keep a copy of xorg.conf in /root and just replace nvidia 
with nv and it should start.



Thanks for the very detailed response and guide. For the digitally dubious such as myself, this looks about the bite (byte?) sized pieces I can handle. I have copied this into a text document to print off and to use as a guide for when I tackle this issue over the weekend.

I appreciate your comments and suggestions.




"If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don't have to worry about the answers." - Thomas Pynchon, "Gravity's Rainbow"

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