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Old 05-24-04, 11:19 PM   #1
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Default Complete Linux Newbie Question (long and boring, only the adventurous need apply)

First off, I'll start by saying I'm sorry... I am a complete newb to linux and have no idea what I am doing. If you want to attempt to answer my question, please keep this in mind... that I have no idea what I am doing yet on this platform. I've already reinstalled the whole system 3 times after screwing it up beyond repair. So now I'm trying to tread lightly, but I'm still learning. So, please bare with me. <<<

As a short intro... hi, my name is Mark... I've been an avid Mac user for about 18 years now. But hardware prices made me switch to an AMD64 system, with a 5900XT video card. My whole setup was a touch over 1 grand... the same power on Mac platform would have been over 3 grand. 'nuff said...

BUT, being a long time Mac user, I tried, but I just couldn't stand seeing that Window$ startup screen. Sorry... it's in my Mac blood. So, I thought I'd take a crack at Linux. Having an Athlon64, I figured what the heck, I got Suse Linux 9.1 Pro, a full 64bit flavor.

So, now the problem...
I got everything I want running so far... email, web, gimp... but whenever I try to run the 3D games that were installed (TuxRacer, etc.) it tells me I don't have 3D hardware set up. SO, I come here and download the driver...
And the instructions on the download page tell me to type "sh NVIDIA-Linux-x86-1.0-5332-pkg0.run" to install the driver, then edit your X86Config file as appropriate"

Okay, I'm a complete newb... I try this in the Run Command... first, but nothing. I then discover the Terminal Program. I try it there, and it again doesn't work, but I get the drift I'm closer... the error message just says it can't find the file, so I just gotta figure out how to tell it where the file is.

So, I start thinkin' I'm a genius, 'cus I right click on the window I downloaded the file to, and I notice under the Actions submenu there is a command Run Terminal Here...

God I'm good, I say to myself, but, DOH, same error message.

So, having so much trouble, I decide to read the more detailed instructions on the link on the download page...
Before beginning the driver installation, you should exit the X server.
In addition you should set your default run level so you will boot to a
vga console and not boot directly into X (please consult the documentation
that came with your Linux distribution if you are unsure how to do this;
this is normally done by modifying your /etc/inittab file). This will
make it easier to recover if there is a problem during the installation.
After installing the driver you must edit your XF86Config
exit the what as a what into the what and edit the what? Ummm, I'm in over my head. So the question is....
A) can someone easily tell me what I'm doing wrong, or
B) is there a Linux for complete idiots book I should get, or
C) should I just run screaming back to an easier OS

Thanks for your time.... I hope at the very least you got a chuckle seeing how computer illiterate some people are...
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Old 05-25-04, 12:32 AM   #2
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Default Re: Complete Linux Newbie Question (long and boring, only the adventurous need apply)

Ok, I'll try to help as much as I can. Don't give up yet on Linux. It's harder to learn, but once you do, it's more powerfull than Windows and Mac OS (in my experience).

First of all, make sure that you are never logged in as root. Use the other account that you created (if you need help there, just ask). User "root" has all privileges to write and delete, so you will screw something up really easy.

Regarding your question. Download the drivers and place them somewhere you can find them (e.g. /home/your_user_name)

Than, start a terminal program. First, type in:
and then enter root password. This will give you privileges to modify system files, that you need to do.

Then, type the following:
vi /etc/inittab

This will get you into an editor, and it will opet inittab file. You need to modify this file so that the next time you restart your computer, you get a console, not X (graphical environment that you use). You need to do this in order to install the drivers.

So, go down to line that says something like:

Then, press "insert" on your keybord (or press key 'r' that will allow you to replace text), and change that line so it says:
(the point is to change 5 to 3)

Then, press Escape on your keyboard, so you can exit the insert mode. Then press ':', than type in: wq (that stands for write and quit), and press enter. Voila you edited the file.

You don't have to use vi, you can use some other editors, like "pico", but this is the one that I know how to use.

When you are done editing, type exit to exit root mode.

Anyhow, now comes the tricky part:

Restart your computer. Now, instead of logging into graphical interface, you will only see console. Log in there with your username and password.

Once again, do:
and enter root's password.

Change to directory where the drivers are:
cd /home/your_user_name

you will get a listing of all the files in the directory. Now, do:
chmod 755 NVIDIA-Linux-ia64-1.0-5336-pkg1.run

Linux is case-sensitive!!

This will give the file the ability to be executed.
Now, to start the file (and this is what you didn't know), you need to enter:

This is the equivalent of running:

You need to specify the path of every executable in Linux, unless it's in a predetermined folder, like /usr/bin

So, go through installation.

Now, in the same manner that you changed /etc/inittab modify the following file:
/etc/X11/XF86Config This files takes care of most basic setup of your XFree86 (graphical environment.. I reffered to it as X.. it's a server.. complicated )

So, you type in:
vi /etc/X11/XF86Config

Oh yes, perhaps you will have to substitute it with

If you have that other file (with -4 at the end), make sure you use that one istead... Just ignore the first one.

than you press "insert" to edit the text, escape to exit the edit mode, and :wq to write and save. If you want to discard the changes, do :q!

You need to change line
Driver "nv"
Driver "nvidia"

also, you need to have Load "glx" and NOT have Load "dri" and Load "GLcore" .. Make sure you check all of that out in the readme file beforehand.

So, once you are done editing your file, you can exit root mode by typing in exit
Now, to test the new drivers:

If everything is OK, than exit X, and modify /etc/inittab to say:
(that it, change the runlevel back to 5, from 3)

Restart your computer, and have fun playing tux racer

If something goes wrong and X won't start properly, than go back to your
/etc/X11/XF86Config (-4) file and change Driver "nvidia" to Driver "nv". Then, do startx to check if everything works fine with the old drivers (just in case), and change inittab file to runlevel 5. Then come back and ask more questions.

Feel free to ask about details, we are here to help!
cabrilo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-25-04, 12:39 AM   #3
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Default Re: Complete Linux Newbie Question (long and boring, only the adventurous need apply)

Oh yes.. Two things:
  1. It seems complicated when you read it, but in essence, it's not...
  2. Feel free to contact me via private message or email if you need more help
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Old 05-25-04, 10:58 AM   #4
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Default Re: Complete Linux Newbie Question (long and boring, only the adventurous need apply)

yes, it does seem complicated. But I will print out the directions and try it when i get home tonight.

Thanks for the help!
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Old 05-25-04, 05:17 PM   #5
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Default Re: Complete Linux Newbie Question (long and boring, only the adventurous need apply)

If you haven't already done the other steps, install the update "Download Nvidia(R) Graphics Driver" from YaST Online Update (In KDE go to KMenu->System->YaST, enter your root password in the box, and click on "Online Update" from there.) This will allow you to circumvent installing the driver from the text installer and can be easier. You will still need to set the card to use the driver from the text mode. Switching to the console-only mode can be done more easily by following these instructions than by editing files with vi:
1.) Log out of KDE or Gnome.
2.) Hit CTRL-ALT-F1 (or F2, F3, F4, F5, or F6, it doesn't really matter)
3.) Log in there as "root" (use your root password), then type:

init 3

Doing so will close out the graphics system and get into the same mode as editing the file and restarting. Hit "Enter" when it tells you that "Runlevel 3 has been reached" to show the normal command prompt there. If you have already installed the driver from YaST Online Update, type:

sax2 -m 0=nvidia

to set up your graphics card to use the drivers. By following these steps you can use SuSE's easy utilities (these are not included with other distributions, so the other person to reply may not have had access to them). SuSE is one of the easiest distributions to configure (not that there aren't other good ones, or that SuSE is the best distribution for all people, or anything like that.) On the next restart, you will get into graphics mode as usual (because without editing the file the change in mode only takes effect until the next restart).

BTW, in order to try the other instructions you first need to install the package "kernel-source" from YaST. This is not necessary if you are using my instructions.

FYI, using YaST Online Update skips the manual installer, while using "sax2 -m 0=nvidia" skips manually editing the XF86Config file.
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Old 05-25-04, 05:27 PM   #6
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Default Re: Complete Linux Newbie Question (long and boring, only the adventurous need apply)

Thanks for the correction (or I guess, a different approach). I completely forgot about that nice SuSE's feature.
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