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Monday, June 25, 2007

Living with Linux on the Laptop: Nvidia drivers and Ubuntu Feisty Fawn

I got Ubuntu installed and all appeared to be well until I decided to try enabling desktop effects. Ubuntu prompted me to install the included nVidia driver and X stopped working. I decided to start from scratch since I wasn’t very far along and download the nVidia Linux drivers from the nVidia website. Problem was that they required me to run in a CLI which Ubuntu doesn’t like. I finally tried running in recovery mode, but got an error saying it needed the libc development libaries. Ran “apt-get install build-essential” to install libc. Got libc installed with no problem, but the video is still not working.

Here’s what’s going through my head: What I’m trying to do (run in essentially a dual-monitor config) is a little out of the main stream, but not far. There are plenty of people who need to do this and, if I’m struggling with it, it would be absolutely maddening to a regular user. It’s entirely possible, perhaps likely, that this same experiment done on a different laptop would work perfectly well. Ubuntu is designed to be incredibly easy to use and all indications are that it is, but it didn’t work for me in this one particular area. Unfortunately, this area is a dealbreaker. If I can’t see video on both my laptop display and on the projection screen, I can’t do my job (at least not as well as I’d like). I can’t spend any more time on this issue right now. I will have some time next week to mess around with it some more. I’m thinking I’ll try a different distro…perhaps Gentoo.

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