Just a few short weeks ago we all got the ability to install nVIDIA the "Debian way" again as it hasn't worked for a while during testing. Way to go team, hooo-RAH! From a fresh installation of Debian GNU/Linux 5.0 - Lenny, it's easy to get the nVIDIA drivers installed if you've got that kind of card on your box. My laptop has an 8400 something, something and playing games like Nexuiz is a joy on it. GoogleEarth and Celestia are pretty cool, too.
Preparing and installing
Installing drivers for your hardware is a chore that you must do with any operating system. Debian makes it easy and you'll never worry about that missing driver disc again. The overview of what we'll do follows:
- stop X
- enable repositories
- install the appropriate software
- set the system
- load the module
- start X
Before we install the driver make sure you install the appropriate one. Check here to determine if you need legacy support. If so then make sure to use the appropriate install command below
We're doing everything in a nice easy terminal and we'll be finished before you know it. Let's get started...
In your Terminal
Fire-up your favorite terminal, if you don't know, hit the alt+F2 keys and type in xterm, then hit enter.
You'll need to become root in order to accomplish installing the drivers. Linux clearly seperates operational duties and liberties and that's a good thing. Becoming root is simple, in your terminal, 1issue: su , hit enter, input the password, enter again.
The first thing we do is to stop our graphical shell which is what the graphics drivers we are about to install would affect. This is easily accomplished by issuing the following command:
Check your repositories, adjust as necessary making sure to include contrib non-free, issue:
deb http://ftp.us.debian.org/debian/ lenny main contrib non-free
deb-src http://ftp.us.debian.org/debian/ lenny main contrib non-free
deb http://security.debian.org/ lenny/updates main contrib non-free
deb-src http://security.debian.org/ lenny/updates main contrib non-free
If you're in the USA you can copy my entries, but if no, use mirrors closer to you. Save and close the file: ctrl+x, y, enter.
Issue the following commands: One at a time, in the order listed
#aptitude install module-assistant
#m-a a-i nvidia --OR-- #m-a a-i nvidia-legacy
#aptitude install nvidia-xconfig
Installation of the nVIDIA drivers is now complete. To get back to your desktop simply restart X by starting GDM.
# /etc/init.d/gdm start
Now you can log in as you and enjoy your 3d acceleration. Don't forget, you're still logged in as root in tty1 and you should log out of there. Simple, do the following:
Hit the ctrl+alt+F1 keys at the same time, you know, like ctrl+alt+del in Windows. This will put you back into tty1 and you can type exit to log root out. If tty1 is not where root is logged in, hold the alt key down and cycle through the F2-F6 keys to find where root is still logged in. After logging root out, to get back to your login hit the alt+F7 keys.
EDIT: 27feb09 to reflect the fact that there are still a butt-load of older cards out there. All apologies for my insensitivity ;)
1 Issue: I mean to issue a command, to type the commands into your terminal. You always hit enter after issuing a command in your terminal ;)