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Monday, April 12, 2010

Installing and running nvidia inside Ubuntu Lucid

Recent Ubuntu Lucid uses nouveau driver for nvidia cards. The driver is a reverse engineered graphics driver and it still has some bugs (like making the screen freeze with a display corruption, after which nothing except reboot works)

This is how I started Ubuntu in vesa mode and installed nvidia proprietary driver

1. Boot in vesa mode instead of nouveau

To start Ubuntu in vesa mode instead of nouveau, add the following to boot menu

nouveau.blacklist=true xvesa

If the above combination did not work try

nouveau.blacklist=true rdblacklist=nouveau

even if the above two failed and you want to give another try, use the following boot param

nouveau.blacklist=true rdblacklist=nouveau xvesa

You can also try nomodeset along with any of  the above combinations if nouveau is arrogant and loading to irk you. It may work

2a. Easy Way to enable nvidia drivers in Ubuntu

2a.1 Install nvidia proprietary drivers from Ubuntu repositories

Enable universe and multiverse repository inside synaptic. Then reload and close synaptic

Goto System --> Administration --> Hardware drivers --> Choose the recommended nvidia proprietary driver and enable it

If this did not work properly, go the following command line way

2b. Command Line Way to nvidia drivers

2b.1 Command line way to install nvidia proprietary drivers

Now from command line

sudo apt-get install nvidia-current nvidia-settings nvidia-common nvidia-current-modaliases

3a Easy Way to restart X server to enable nvidia

3a.1 Enable Ctrl + Alt + Backspace and restart X server

Goto System --> Preferences --> Keyboard --> Layouts --> Options --> Expand Key sequence to kill X server --> Check Ctrl + Alt + Backspace

And restart X by pressing Control, Alt and Backspace simultaneously

Give your login credentials and your nvidia card driver should be in full swing when you login back

If this does not work for you, try the command line way below

3b Command Line Way to restart X server to enable nvidia

3b.1 Stop GDM

Press Ctrl + Alt + F1 and stop gdm by using sudo service gdm stop

3b.2 Insert nvidia kernel module

Ubuntu has changed the module name from nvidia to nvidia-current, due to which I struggled for half an hour, until I went into dkms directory to figure out the actual name of the module. From the command line in virtual console 1 use the following command to insert nvidia driver into kernel

sudo modprobe nvidia-current

Please use nvidia kernel driver instead of nvidia-current as Ubuntu Lucid release changed it back to nvidia from nvidia-current

sudo modprobe nvidia

3b.3 Configure X server using nvidia-xconfig

I tried again and without calling nvidia-xconfig, nvidia drivers are not working! {May work for you though :) }

sudo nvidia-xconfig

3b.4 Start GDM

From the command line in virtual console 1

sudo service gdm start

and you should be inside gdm with nvidia driver in full swing. If you followed this guide and running with nvidia driver, then a Congrats to you

Here are two screenshots showing nvidia-settings

glxgears is away until after installing mesa-utils


  1. I've done the first bit (after 6 hours and messing up the MBR) with Kubuntu RC.

    Looks like a beautiful environment... will report back when I've tackled the nvidia drivers...

    Thanks :)

  2. I have Ubuntu Lucid RC 64 bit in my desktop and Ubuntu Lucid Netbook Remix in my netbook. Out of it, netbook remix is very good and very fast. I am planning to download both 32 bit KDE and Gnome versions of Ubuntu and will run them inside virtual box