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Old 08-02-04, 12:44 AM   #1
eisi-b
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Question Driver installation for Debian

Hi!
Does anybody know how to install the nvidia driver on debian?
Thanks!
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Old 08-02-04, 02:22 AM   #2
cleverhandle
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Default Re: Driver installation for Debian

There's a debian package for the nvidia drivers, probably in the non-free or contrib repositories. For some kernels, there is a prebuilt binary, but a lot of the time you'll need to build your own.

For example, in Sarge at the moment, there are only binaries for the 2.4.26 kernels - the nvidia-kernel-2.4.26-1-$ARCH packages. If you're using the official 2.4.26 kernel, just apt-get install the one that goes with your kernel (i386, k7, whatever...). Then apt-get install nvidia-glx. Read the docs in /usr/share/doc, edit your /etc/X11/XF86Config, restart X (or reboot), and you're set.

If there's no binary available, then you use the nvidia-kernel-source package. This presupposes that you've already built your own kernel using make-kpkg. The nvidia source package will leave you a tarball in /usr/src - unpack that. Then cd to your kernel source directory (not the dir you just unpacked) and do a make-kpkg modules-image. Install the resulting package, install nvidia-glx, edit XF86Config, and restart.

The above process is a lot easier than it sounds once you've done it a couple of times. It only gets a little fugly if you're using an "official" Debian kernel that doesn't have a prebuilt nvidia binary - like any of the 2.6.x kernels. The nvidia source package won't build without the kernel source, but the kernel-source version won't match the official one, so your resulting module will get dumped into the wrong directory. Bleh. There may be a clever way to get around this, but I would just get the kernel-source package, copy /boot/config-2.6.x-1-$ARCH to .config in the kernel directory, then build that kernel - essentially just rebuilding the official kernel to keep the packaging tools happy. Then you can use the nvidia source package as designed.

If all of the above sounds like utter gibberish, then you should probably start by figuring out how to use Debian's tools to build your own kernel and leave aside the nvidia stuff for the moment. The make-kpkg system is really a lot better than any other distro out there for this, but it takes a little getting used to.
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Old 08-02-04, 11:26 AM   #3
ecool
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Question Re: Driver installation for Debian

This package contains the nforce drivers?
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Old 08-02-04, 06:13 PM   #4
Leech
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Default Re: Driver installation for Debian

Actually all I did to get it to install, was have the kernel-headers package for your kernel. (i.e. my kernel package was 'kernel-image-2.6.7-1-686' and then you'll want 'kernel-headers-2.6.7-1-686') Then just run the nvidia driver installation and you'll be good to go. Of course, since I went from a Matrox card to the 6800 GT, I had to modify my XF86Config-4...

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Old 08-02-04, 07:16 PM   #5
cleverhandle
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Default Re: Driver installation for Debian

Quote:
Originally Posted by Leech
Then just run the nvidia driver installation and you'll be good to go.
Except for overwritten files and dangling symlinks when you upgrade other packages on the system. The point of the whole make-kpkg routine is to make the package manager aware of the nvidia files so that no conflicts occur. This is a good thing.
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Old 08-03-04, 07:11 PM   #6
Leech
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Default Re: Driver installation for Debian

Normally, I'd agree with you, but I haven't had any problems with dangling symlinks. It simply overwrote what I already had in place for my Parhelia. At least as far as I know. At least it's working, without having X crash everytime I log out, and that's the main reason I went with an nVidia card. Because I know their linux drivers are top notch.

And actually, if you use the kernel-headers package, you should be able to get the module to compile proplerly for the debian built kernels if you use the nvidia-kernel-source package, right? It's much faster than doing it the Gentoo route and compiling your kernel each time you install/upgrade.

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