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OK, I built my own 2.6.20 kernel for Slackware 11. Took a few weeks but eventually figured out what options I needed to make it work. The only difficulty I have is as follows: I have installed both the original 2.4.33 and the new 2.6.20 kernels in the LILO boot file, so I have the choice which to fire up. (Still cautious with my hand-made 2.6 version...). Both will boot happily into a text console, but which I try and start an X session after I have asked LILO to switch to a different kernel from the one I used last time I booted, X server moans that it cannot open an X session. I then have to re-install the NVIDIA driver (which in the course of installation finds the previous installation and warns me that it needs to uninstall this) - after which X works fine. If I then re-boot and chose the other kernel version again - same problem. OK if I stick to one kernel, but not OK if I swap between them.
The way I understand it the NVIDIA support in the kernel is compiled as a module (the NVIDIA installation programme specifically says it is compiling a module) and the modules for the different kernel versions sit in different directories (/lib/modules/x.y.z), so why this problem? Does the NVIDIA driver module not get written to the version-specific directory? Any way around it?
I've had great success compiling my own kernels to work with an NVIDIA card. Here's basic scoop:
-turn off ALL the graphics support options. None, not even modules. Nothing. You've got to turn the whole thing over to the NVIDIA drivers. The consequences of this are that you have a non-free driver running a core part of your system and you don't get any penguin logos or small text on start up. Frankly, I don't care, but others might.
-after each kernel compile, you have to reinstall the NVIDIA driver. If you boot straight into runlevel 4 and use KDM, watch out. Whenever I compile a new kernel, I edit /etc/inittab to boot into runlevel 3 so that I can reinstall the NVIDIA drivers before I try to start X. It's a bit of a pain, but I just keep a copy of the NVIDIA driver and my xorg.conf in a separate partition (/home) and it's not that big of a deal.
I spent weeks, on this, too, so get in touch if you'd like more help.
If you boot straight into runlevel 4 and use KDM, watch out. Whenever I compile a new kernel, I edit /etc/inittab to boot into runlevel 3 so that I can reinstall the NVIDIA drivers before I try to start X. It's a bit of a pain, but I just keep a copy of the NVIDIA driver and my xorg.conf in a separate partition (/home) and it's not that big of a deal.
Instead of editing your inittab you can just say "kernel_name 3" at the boot prompt to override the default run level and boot into run level 3 when you need to.