December 28, 2007
by: jovial_cynic

image: Ubunto Logo ™ Ubuntu

Nvidia Video Card

After spending a few days trying to get Ubuntu 7.10 (Gutsy) to play nicely with my Nvidia GeForce4 Ti 4200 video card, I hunted around on various forums and found that my older video card and Ubuntu 7.10 have a couple of unresolved compatibility problems. According to Nvidia, my card falls under the "legacy" driver, but the current release of Ubuntu lumps the card together with not-quite-so-legacy driver. This creates some display problems. The actual solution requires quite a few steps:

If you wish to install the NVIDIA Linux graphics driver on a Debian GNU/Linux or Ubuntu system that ships with Xorg 7.x, please ensure that your system meets the following requirements:

* development tools like make and gcc are installed
* the linux-headers package matching the installed Linux kernel is installed
* the pkg-config and xserver-xorg-dev packages are installed
* the nvidia-glx package has been uninstalled with the --purge option and the files /etc/init.d/nvidia-glx and /etc/init.d/nvidia-kernel do not exist

If you use Ubuntu, please also ensure that the linux-restricted-modules or linux-restricted-modules-common packages have been uninstalled. Alternatively, you can edit the /etc/default/linux-restricted-modules or /etc/default/linux-restricted-modules-common configuration file and disable the NVIDIA linux-restricted kernel modules (nvidia, nvidia_legacy) via:

DISABLED_MODULES="nv nvidia_new"
Additionally, delete the following file if it exists:

After doing that, you have to manually install the latest legacy driver (96.43), and then in the xorg.conf file, you have to insert the following under the device section:

option "NvAGP" "0"

And even then, the nvidia driver and Ubuntu still have a few glitches, which causes some crashes in 3D games I've tried to play. It also causes X to lock up. The only way to completely avoid the problem is to set the driver to "nv" instead of "nvidia," but then I don't have access to any 3D acceleration.

It's been a little frustrating. I don't think I'll spend too much more time trying to get the 3D acceleration working, as the next release of Ubuntu might have some of the capatibility issues figured out.


Adobe updated their Flash player for linux, but the new player file is throwing a failed checksum error when trying to auto-install. I had to manually download the Flash file and install it from the command line.

The workaround is easy enough, but it's another thing that makes Ubuntu a difficult sell. It's a great operating system, and it's mostly turn-key, but requiring the user to work from the command line prevents a lot of people from adopting Linux.

Update: The check-sum issue has since been resolved.
np category: personal


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