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Thread: Compiz with NVIDIA proprietary drivers or not?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
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    49

    Compiz with NVIDIA proprietary drivers or not?

    I have a Dell Precision M6400 and have gone through several installations of Lucid 64-bit workstation trying to get the setup just right.

    I am trying to decide whether to use the NVIDEA proprietary drivers or not. It seems like an obvious “Yes”, but no so much for me on this laptop.

    I currently am using the open source drivers for video. The reason? I use this laptop for work and am very frequently hooking it up to external projectors or displays with low resolutions and of obscure origin. I would also like to be able to use the “Suspend” function a few times a day, especially when running on battery as the M6400 has only about 45 minutes of battery life. In short, using the open source drivers allows my much easier use of a 2nd display or projector at any resolution. It also even allows me to suspend the laptop (after removing any USB or card storage. Blech...) The negative is that I don't get compositing via Compiz and thus can't use Docky and I can't get the cool “Eye Candy”.

    I formerly used the proprietary NVIDIA drivers and used Docky and Compiz wonderfully. Cool wobbly windows, transparent menus, etc. The problem? I couldn't connect to external displays running at less than 1680x1050 resolution which is basically all projectors. I also couldn't suspend my laptop. I would get the black screen of death and have to power off. Yuck. I did try Metacity Compositing and it did give me some desktop effects and let Docky work nicely, but my 2nd display had the left 2 inches of the monitor unusable. Weird.

    So I would love to use the proprietary NVIDIA drivers, but not at the expense of the ease at which I can switch to different 2nd monitors or projectors and certainly not being able to suspend my laptop. I also don't want to turn my quest for the perfect graphics configuration into a big xorg.conf manual editing project.

    I am hopeful that someone out there has gone through this process and has come up with a way to have their cake and eat it too by using the proprietary NVIDIA drivers AND having the ability to easily use low-res 2nd displays as needed AND be able to suspend.

    Sorry for the memory dump here, but any thoughts you might have would be appreciated.

    Thanks,

    Jim

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Newcastle, UK
    Beans
    Hidden!
    Distro
    Ubuntu 8.04 Hardy Heron

    Re: Compiz with NVIDIA proprietary drivers or not?

    Hi,

    Iread somewhere that the Nvidia drivers for some reason don't get loaded in correctly, giving problems, I found this guide that gets them loaded and running nicely, it could be for you:

    1) Download Newest Nvidia drivers from their website
    2) Open module blacklist as admin:

    sudo gedit /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist.conf
    3) Add these lines and save:

    blacklist vga16fb
    blacklist nouveau
    blacklist rivafb
    blacklist nvidiafb
    blacklist rivatv
    4) Uninstall any previously installed Nvidia drivers:

    sudo apt-get --purge remove nvidia-*
    5) Reboot your computer
    6) When an error message pops up saying that Ubuntu cannot load Nvidia drivers, choose Exit to terminal (Exit to console)
    7) Login and cd to the directory where you saved your file
    Install drivers

    sudo sh NVIDIA-Linux-x86_64-195.36.24-pkg2.run (or whichever package you have, be precise as errors will result in "no such file"
    8) Follow the onscreen guide from Nvidia and when done
    9) Start GDM

    sudo service gdm start

    Regards, Ellgor.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Beans
    49

    Re: Compiz with NVIDIA proprietary drivers or not?

    Hi Ellgor,

    Thanks for the advice. Since I didn't have NVIDIA installed to begin with, I had an issue with the fact that I did have Nouveau installed which messed up the installation of the NVIDIA sourced drivers. They kept detecting that I had the Nouveau drivers installed and wouldn't let me continue.

    Even though I did as you suggested and added nouveau to the blacklist, it didn't matter.

    I ended up having the driver try to disable Nouveau by adding a /etc/modprobe.d/nvidia-installer-disable-nouveau.conf file containing this:

    # generated by nvidia-installer
    blacklist nouveau
    options nouveau modeset=0

    After rebooting, I saw that I had a flashing Caps & Scroll Lock with a black screen. Ooops. I rebooted again and quickly logged in to the text login prompt. This got me to a command prompt where I could install the NVIDIA drivers I downloaded. This did work and I was able to proceed.

    Compiz is now enabled and I have been able to both change resolutions on my 2nd display to whatever I want successfully. I also was able to suspend successfully after un-mounting my USB & SD Card storage. I am on Lucid 64 bit on “2.6.32-24-generic
    ”, by the way.

    Thanks for your help. I hope this helps someone else.

    Regards,

    Jim

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Beans
    49

    Smile Compiz with NVIDIA proprietary drivers - Update

    Just an update for anyone out there following this.

    I am at a client site this morning in their board room using an Optoma projector plugged into my laptop's VGA port. I was able to successfully detect this display, enable it with TwinView, and set the resolution to 1024x768. After applying these settings, I was able to get the projector display working perfectly.

    I am very happy right now with the configuration and behavior of the NVIDIA proprietary drivers. This was a long battle in getting this working, so I hope no future updates mess with my non-Ubuntu sourced NVIDIA drivers. Is there a way to not have the system update process change, revert, or upgrade these drivers? I hope so.

    Jim

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Newcastle, UK
    Beans
    Hidden!
    Distro
    Ubuntu 8.04 Hardy Heron

    Re: Compiz with NVIDIA proprietary drivers - Update

    Hi,

    In a different post I found this tip on how to stop apt updating a particular app, I presume that by changing the name and numbers to those that you want to keep will work:

    To ensure that apt-get doesn't 'upgrade' these back you need to create a preferences file to 'pin' K3B at version 1.0.5 (the Jaunty release).

    Code:
    sudo gedit /etc/apt/preferences
    and enter

    Code:
    Package: k3b
    Pin: version 1.0.5*
    Pin-Priority: 1001

    Package: k3b-data
    Pin: version 1.0.5*
    Pin-Priority: 1001

    Hope this helps,

    Regards, Ellgor.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Beans
    49

    Quick reinstall of NVIDIA proprietary drivers

    As it happens, kernel updates will sometimes break the proprietary NVIDIA driver. Not that I notice until I need to connect an external display or projector. Projectors seem to be worse than external LCDs for some reason.

    Anyway, here is my very quick way to recompile these drivers. I am on 10.10 64 bit by the way.

    1. Boot Ubuntu into recovery mode on the latest kernel you are running.
    2. Select root prompt from the recovery mode menu.
    3. Enter 'telinit 3' at the command prompt (no quotes). Log in as yourself.
    4. Enter 'sudo sh NVIDIA-Linux-x86_64-256.53.run' from the command prompt (no quotes). Authentocate with your sudo password. Note that this driver name will change depending on which version you have and my driver is in my home directory.
    5. Install the driver.

    This seems to compile and re-install the driver with as little pain as possible. You do get prompted that the existing driver is the same and will be uninstalled, but this is kind of the point to begin with.

    Jim

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