Gentoo Install - part 3 - The nVidia strikes back

Tags: Gentoo, Linux, Nvidia,, driver

Damn Gentoo!

Ok, my Gentoo system appears to work. X can startup (using the plain NV driver), I do have Opera (why Opera depends on OpenMotif? huh? plugin interface? ok), screen, fluxbox, vim, mirrorselect…

Of course I wanted to enable nVidia drivers. I have a GeForce FX 5500 videocard, with two monitors, so I need nvidia drivers to enable dual-display, as well as 3D acceleration.

Ok, I’ve once had saw one computer where the latest “stable” ebuild for nvidia drivers did not work. Then, before anything else, I unmasked any nvidia ~testing ebuild at /etc/portage/package.keywords. Go emerge it! nvidia-glx-1.0.7676-r1 and nvidia-kernel-1.0.7676-r1 merged. Run modprobe, run some other things… Now startx!

(II) LoadModule: "nvidia"
(WW) Warning, couldn't open module nvidia
(II) UnloadModule: "nvidia"
(EE) Failed to load module "nvidia" (module does not exist, 0)
(EE) No drivers available.

Ok, ask about this at #nvidia channel. Hum… The problem is with nvidia-glx package, and not with nvidia-kernel. Hum… This package installed the nvidia driver at /usr/lib/xorg/modules/drivers, however all other drivers are at /usr/X11R6/lib/modules/drivers. This explains why can’t find the nvidia driver.

Let me try adding “ModulePath” to /etc/X11/xorg.conf… Adding two entries, one for “old” (default) path, and another for nvidia-only path. Trying to startx… Monitor blinks… And X is aborted “caught signal 11”.

Ok, unmerge all of these nvidia-related things… Just remember to return opengl to xorg-x11 and unload nvidia kernel module.

Now, let me try with the latest stable version: nvidia-kernel-1.0.6629-r4 and nvidia-glx-1.0.6629-r6 Emerge, wait download, compile, install… startx

It works!!! I can have my fluxbox desktop! Very nice!

And I was almost happy when, some hours after, X freezes. Mouse still moves, but the image is frozen. Background music still runs, so system is alive, only display is crashed. Ok, Alt+SysRq+K (this is a kernel shortcut to kill all processes running on current terminal, very useful to have these shortcuts enabled in kernel). Apparently nothing happened. Then I press Ctrl+Alt+Del. I wait some time and the system cleany reboots. Linux rocks! Even frozen it still works. :P

Ok, let me use X and Opera some more time. Let me read one more page… oops? Frozen again? Oh no! Alt+SysRq+K, Ctrl+Alt+Del, reboot, wait, wait…

I know what is the cause of these crashes. This nVidia driver version does not work well with my videocard. On my Slackware system, I got the same problem. On my Slackware system, however, I could solve it by updating the drivers. If I will be able to update the drivers on Gentoo, the problem will be solved.

For the second time today (in fact, it all happened yesterday), unmerge all nvidia-related packages.

So I take a look at ebuilds at /usr/portage/media-video/nvidia-glx/. With the help of fgrep, I can see which packages install drivers at /usr/lib/xorg, instead of default path. I notice 7167-r2 is the latest version that installs it at “correct” place.

Edit /etc/portage/package.keywords, unmask this specific version of these ebuilds. Once again, emerge nvidia-glx and nvidia-kernel.

Emerge finished, now I must test if the system will continue as stable as my Slack.

To be continued…

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