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Old 02-04-2009, 11:45 AM   #1
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Question nvidia drivers and linux headers

Machine Specs:

AMD Athlon XP 1800+ CPU (32 bit)
GeForce 4 Ti 4200 videa card
EV910 Gateway monitor
Debian Etch 4.0r6

I am contemplating installing the proprietary drivers from the nvidia site on my machine but had a concern about what kernal image and header I needed to have installed. From what I have seen, there are two different ways to install the nvidia drivers (proprietary drivers from nvidia and the Debian Way).The draw back from using the proprietary drivers is that every time the kernel changes I have to recompile the nvidia drivers from what I understand. The down side from using the drivers in the debian package is that is has limited support (Ex) Can't use DRI if I understand correctly.

nvidia drivers link:

nvidia the Debain Way:

When installing Debian Etch 4.0r6 I took the default install and ended up with the stock kernel linux-image-2.6.18-6-486.

If I have a AMD Athlon XP 1800+ CPU, do I need to install the linux-image-2.6.18-6-k7 along with the linux-headers-2.6.18-6-k7 or can I keep the stock kernel and just install the stock headers?

Old 02-04-2009, 12:15 PM   #2
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You should use the stock headers. I find the Debian way better because it rebuilds the modules for me using module-assistant. I have yet to run into problems with any graphics intensive games or programs, though I must admit I don't do much of that kind of stuff...

The other thing to consider is if the card is supported by the Debian nvidia driver. It's a bit outdated. So if you're using the latest and greatest (though it doesn't look like it), you may have problems.

Last edited by pljvaldez; 02-04-2009 at 12:17 PM.
Old 02-05-2009, 04:13 AM   #3
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From mmemory but pretty sure of it, proprietory drivers only need headers. My AMD64 wont work full stop without the proprietary drivers.
Old 02-05-2009, 08:46 AM   #4
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I use smxi for all my Debian upgrade needs on Sidux and Debian Testing. I think it would work equally well with Etch. This script makes it very easy to install and update the nVidia drivers on Debian and close derivatives (ie, not Ubuntu).

Last edited by eerok; 02-05-2009 at 04:51 PM.
Old 02-05-2009, 10:58 AM   #5
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I tried using the stock headers last night and installed the drivers from Debian....yikes !!!! Glad I backed up the xorg.conf file. Once I put everything into place and ran the module-assistant and rebooted and changed the xorg.conf file to use the nvidia drivers instead of the 'nv' drivers, my web pages went South and all text was so scrambled and small --- It looked terrible. The text looked relatively good before I put the new drivers in but I thought it would improve it a little and make it sharper if I installed the nvidia drivers. That was not the case.

I think this little piece in the Debian Way is what caused the problem for me with the free debian drivers.

[B]"The 71xx version is the only one to support RIVA TNT, RIVA TNT2/TNT2 Pro, RIVA TNT2 Ultra, Vanta/Vanta LT, RIVA TNT2 Model 64/Model 64 Pro, Aladdin TNT2, GeForce 256, GeForce DDR, Quadro, GeForce2 GTS/GeForce2 Pro, GeForce2 Ti, GeForce2 Ultra and Quadro2 Pro. The current version - which is ulterior to the latest version available in Etch - does not support GeForce2 and GeForce4 card."

Being that my card is a GeForce sounds like its not supported with those drivers.

I will give the proprietary drivers a go this weekend and let everyone know how that works.
Old 02-05-2009, 03:46 PM   #6
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My suggestion would be to use smxi as well. It has never failed to work properly on any of my Debian systems.


drivers, nvidia

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