nVidia Drivers with Compositing on Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx

nVidia LogoOk.  I will admit it.  I love compositing (Compiz) in Linux.  I absolutely adore it.  Clearly, this can be a bit of a problem as compositing on NVidia cards (more specifically using the Linux proprietary drivers) in Linux can be a bit of a challenge (understatement) at times.

Post-Lucid-upgrade has proven to be one of these times.  After having a smooth dist-upgrade and eventually a full, fresh install on my Eee 1000HE, I decided to forge forward with installing Lucid (x86 – reasons for we can debate elsewhere)from scratch on my custom built desktop recently.  As was the case with my netbook, Lucid installed largely without a hitch (See previous Grub post).

Once up and running, I of course wanted to get nVidia up and running.  For some reason on my SLI enabled (dual 8500GTs) desktop, I have never been able to get the repo nVidia drivers to work without issue.  Unfortunately after some trial and error, I was unable to get the nVidia supplied drivers up and running – after reading through some Lucid docs, I found out that the newest nVidia driver is currently incompatible with some of the system changes made with Lucid.

Fortunately, this time, the ‘nvidia-current’ from the repos did work for me!  Here is what I did to get it up and running in case you encounter the same ‘black screen errors that I did when installing from within Gnome.  I can’t say why it didn’t work in the GUI for me, but it didnt…

First, I had to get into a working shell by booting into “recovery mode” from grub – its a menu option below your normal boot item.  Once prompted, I selected netroot, which provides network access from the shell.  To get things installed properly, I had to get to init level 3:
$ initlevel 3

Then log in using your normal user login.

Get needed files:
$ sudo apt-get install build-essential linux-headers-`uname -r’

Blacklist nouveau by adding ‘blacklist nouveau’ to your blacklist.conf:
$ sudo nano /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist.conf

Install latest stabled nVidia repo drivers:
$ sudo apt-get install nvidia-current

Finally, generate the nVidia xorg.conf:
$ sudo nvidia-xconfig

After completing the above, I was able to reboot (“$ sudo reboot now“) into my nVidia backed Gnome desktop and finish completing my nVidia setup (ALT+F2, “gksu nvidia-settings“).  Then finally, I was able to get my Compiz back up and running – which came with its own problems and will be covered in another post!

Hope this helps!
-Matt

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