Ubuntu 8.10 NVidia Driver Trickery

I was up early last Sunday. just couldn’t sleep anymore. So i decided to do a fresh OS install on my main workstation. One or two weeks ago i updated my Ubuntu 8.04 to the latest 8.10 Interpid. This went without real big problems. And the system was running stable. Besides at the office i did some clean installs of Ubuntu 8.10. And there were no real problems to name.

So i thought what the hell. Let’s do a clean install here at home also. I created a backup of my important files. and downloaded the new .iso image (couldn’t find the previous downloaded one). And started of the install. It was nice weather and i thought if i finish this fast. I can go and enjoy a nice Sunday.

The install went without problems. And after rebooting it booted up fine. First thing i did was run an update through synaptic. Installed the new kernel and a whole lot of other packages. Did a reboot. And everything was still fine and dandy. Now it was time to install the Nvidia driver. I used the Restricted Hardware manager in Ubuntu to select the NVidia 177 driver. Which did the job before the install. And rebooted the machine after the install was complete.

When it booted backup. I was surprised to see a tty screen. and not the GDM i expected :). The error message on the screen stated no screens found. So i logged in and checked the xorg.conf file. Which had a pretty default setup. So i thought running nvidia-xconfig would solve the problem. This generated the same xorg.conf. After rebooting a few times and trying to change the xorg.conf file. I was getting a bit frustrated.

In my hurry i by accident removed my backup partition. So i was getting more frustrated every minute. I do have to say i have a dual Head system. With two PCI-e video cards. And for some strange reason nvidia-xconfig didn’t find the correct hardware. And running nvidia-settings from command line is not possible. So i was stuck. Removing the nvidia-glx driver and the rest of the nvidia-177 files. Got me back in X. Running a very low resolution.

Googling revealed i was not the only one with this problem. But there were no real solutions. At least none that worked on my system. So i decided to reinstall Ubuntu 8.04. Updated the whole damn system. Installed the nvidia-glx-new driver. And got everything to work. After this i did a distupdate to 8.10. And everything kept working. This was weird. I was happy the system is up and running again. But i wasn’t satisfied.

I made a backup of my xorg.conf file. And again did a complete new install of Ubuntu 8.10. After the install i updated to the new kernel. And after a reboot installed the nvidia-177 driver. But this time before i rebooted i copied my old xorg.conf file over the one generated by nvidia-xconfig. Rebooted the machine. Everything worked.

Conclusion. nvidia-xconfig doesn’t create a correct xorg.conf file. I got two different errors from the nvidia driver at boot up. One saying “no screens found’ The other one saying “Device is not PCI” or something like that.

I’ll add my xorg.conf file here. Maybe it’s of any use

# nvidia-settings: X configuration file generated by nvidia-settings
# nvidia-settings:  version 1.0  (buildd@vernadsky)  Thu Jun  5 09:26:53 UTC 2008

# xorg.conf (X.Org X Window System server configuration file)
#
# This file was generated by dexconf, the Debian X Configuration tool, using
# values from the debconf database.
#
# Edit this file with caution, and see the xorg.conf manual page.
# (Type "man xorg.conf" at the shell prompt.)
#
# This file is automatically updated on xserver-xorg package upgrades *only*
# if it has not been modified since the last upgrade of the xserver-xorg
# package.
#
# If you have edited this file but would like it to be automatically updated
# again, run the following command:
#   sudo dpkg-reconfigure -phigh xserver-xorg

Section "ServerLayout"
    Identifier     "Default Layout"
    Screen      0  "Screen0" 0 0
EndSection

Section "Module"
    Load           "glx"
EndSection

Section "ServerFlags"
    Option         "Xinerama" "0"
EndSection

# commented out by update-manager, HAL is now used
#Section "InputDevice"
#    Identifier     "Generic Keyboard"
#    Driver         "kbd"
#    Option         "XkbRules" "xorg"
#    Option         "XkbModel" "pc105"
#    Option         "XkbLayout" "us"
#EndSection

# commented out by update-manager, HAL is now used
#Section "InputDevice"
#    Identifier     "Configured Mouse"
#    Driver         "mouse"
#    Option         "CorePointer"
#EndSection

Section "Monitor"
    Identifier     "Configured Monitor"
EndSection

Section "Monitor"
    Identifier     "Monitor0"
    VendorName     "Unknown"
    ModelName      "Iiyama PL2201W"
    HorizSync       30.0 - 80.0
    VertRefresh     55.0 - 75.0
EndSection

Section "Device"
    Identifier     "Configured Video Device"
    Driver         "nvidia"
    Option         "NoLogo" "True"
EndSection

Section "Device"
    Identifier     "Videocard0"
    Driver         "nvidia"
    VendorName     "NVIDIA Corporation"
    BoardName      "GeForce 8600 GT"
    BusID          "PCI:1:0:0"
EndSection

Section "Screen"
    Identifier     "Default Screen"
    Device         "Configured Video Device"
    Monitor        "Configured Monitor"
    DefaultDepth    24
EndSection

Section "Screen"
    Identifier     "Screen0"
    Device         "Videocard0"
    Monitor        "Monitor0"
    DefaultDepth    24
    Option         "TwinView" "1"
    Option         "TwinViewXineramaInfoOrder" "DFP-0"
    Option         "metamodes" "DFP-0: nvidia-auto-select +0+0, DFP-1: nvidia-auto-select +1680+0"
EndSection 
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