Compiling Nvidia driver 96.43.09 on Intrepid 2.6.27-7

Edit: Unfortunately, the images originally included in this post are gone, because of hosting problems in late 2009. My apologies.

Edited, Nov. 12, 2008: The updated modaliases package for 8.10 allows me to move from the default nv driver to the restricted driver without compiling anything; it’s possible that by updating your system and installing that package you can avoid the steps below. I still have to add the “UseDisplayDevice” option to xorg.conf, but that’s not Ubuntu’s fault, and as far as I know it’s only specific to laptops that use the 440 or 420 cards. Have fun! 😀

All right. I appreciate that there are great minds at work on these things — the Nvidia drivers and the Ubuntu distribution — but to leave me stranded in no-accelerated-graphics land was downright cold. That’s not neighborly. 😦

So, with a little creativity, a beta driver and a borrowed post from a long time ago, I can tell you fellow 96xx-ers how to build the proprietary driver for your beloved video card, and avoid waiting a long six months for the next round of software releases. And avoid buying a new graphics card, which I would not condone under any circumstances.

First, drop out of any X environment you might be running, and stop that doggone GDM too. Press CTRL+ALT+F2, then

sudo /etc/init.d/gdm stop

Next, uninstall anything you might have tried thus far. That means the old nvidia-glx-96 driver or anything related, as well as the restricted modules for your system.

sudo aptitude remove --purge linux-restricted-modules-generic nvidia-glx-96

You might be prompted to remove linux-generic or something like that too; it’s okay, take it out. Now install the toolchain, the generic headers, pkgconfig and the development files for xserver-xorg-dev.

sudo aptitude install -y --without-recommends build-essential linux-headers-generic pkg-config xserver-xorg-dev

Now download the full driver — the larger of the available files — from the Nvidia web site. Save and make executable with this command.

chmod +x

Finally, tell it to build, and not to annoy.

sudo ./ -aqsN

If you get errors, rerun it in the interactive mode so you can troubleshoot it. Now in case you don’t have an xorg.conf file,

sudo touch /etc/X11/xorg.conf

You might already; I had one but it was a 0kb file. Here’s the magic.

sudo nvidia-xconfig --add-argb-glx-visuals --allow-glx-with-composite --composite -d 24 --no-logo --render-accel

That’s for my 440 Go and probably for the 420 too; others should adjust that as required. (My 440 still needs the “UseDisplayDevice” “DFP” option added though.) Finally, reboot, and you should get …

Ta-da. And an obligatory tip of the hat to both camps — the Nvidia driver authors and the crew behind Ubuntu — just for making it all work, even if some assembly is required.

My display automatically snapped to the accelerated desktop as soon as I rebooted. And remember that you’ll probably have to repeat this process with kernel updates, but it’s a small price to pay for the spinning cube on an 8-year-old computer. 😈


14 thoughts on “Compiling Nvidia driver 96.43.09 on Intrepid 2.6.27-7

  1. josvazg


    It worked for my GeForce MX 440. (I added the option “UseDisplayDevice” “DFP” directly, so I don’t know if it causes any problem NOT to have it.)

    Thanks a lot!


  2. ian

    Is this something you do once you have upgraded to 8.10 or when you are still on 8.04.
    trying to upgrade from 8.04 to 8.10 gives me the message
    This computer is currently using the NVIDIA ‘nvidia’ graphics driver. No version of this driver is available that works with your video card in Ubuntu 8.10.

    card is NV25 [GeForce4 Ti 4600] from back in 2003/4!

  3. K.Mandla Post author

    This was done on a clean install of 8.10; I believe 8.04’s drivers worked for me but it’s been a while since I used nvidia-glx in 8.04, so don’t hold me to that.

    I think if you rip out the restricted modules as well as any versions of nvidia-glx you had installed in 8.04, you should be able to build this driver in an upgraded system.

  4. migsvill

    Hi Sir,

    I just started using Ubuntu 8.10, Linux in general and I am having problems with the nvidia for my geforce2 mx 400. Actually, I was able to install the nvidia 96 driver and managed to play Warcraft III. However, whenever I select Extra in the Visual Effects, the title bar and the control buttons of the windows/applications and the bottom panel bar disappear. Can you email me or post here a step-by-step installation process from? I really need your help on this.

    Thanks in advance!

  5. Ian

    Just what to you mean by …
    “I think if you rip out the restricted modules as well as any versions of nvidia-glx you had installed in 8.04”
    any chance you could try on an upgraded version?
    Ubuntu formum is full of people who have this problem on upgrade and it just turns most “off” Ubuntu

  6. K.Mandla Post author

    migsvill: If I recall correctly, the loss of the titlebars and handles means the window manager has stopped working, in which case you should restart Compiz. It’s also possible though that the high-end effects are too much at once for your graphics card. There’s an advanced effects manager that you could use to slowly bump up your graphic effects from the mid-range setting; aside from that I don’t have a lot of suggestions. I don’t generally work with Compiz et al. 😉

    Ian: I should have time this weekend to make a Gutsy-Hardy jump, but I have a feeling that the new modaliases package for the nvidia drivers is going to kick in on upgrade, which will probably nullify anything I might be able to help with. I just did another clean install from 8.10 and it went from the base nv driver to the restricted driver without a hitch. If you can, try updating and seeing if that helps.

  7. ian

    ok thanks
    I’ll have a bash this weekend as I’m back home
    I suppose I need to d/l the driver 1st then try the upgrade and ignore the message about drivers with 8.10 will not work

  8. Lion

    How do I get this working for a NVIDIA GeForce FX 5600. I’m having the same problem(s). If you konw of a link to a fix, I would appreciate it just as much.

    The computer does not have internet access either and cannot be made to.

  9. ian

    Did you have a go at the 8.04 to 8.1 jump with nvidia ?
    I’m holding off the upgrade as I keep reading horror stories re lack of full support for Nvidia older (2004) cards and 3D

  10. Pingback: Upgrading Nvidia 96xx from Ubuntu 8.04 to 8.10 « Motho ke motho ka botho

  11. Skipdh

    Many thanks. Worked for ubuntu 8.10. I had to the adjust the xorg.conf file to suit my monitor, vert and hort refresh and screen resolution. Then it worked perfectly. Thank you !!!

  12. Nek

    Thanks from me too, after a raft of research, the final addition was to get the spec of the refresh rates of the lcd monitor and update xorg.conf. cheers.

    If anyone would like to see what it looks like now, using an old Geforce4 mx440 Inno3D card with LG M228WD at 1280 x 1024 (63 Hz), Ubuntu 8.10……..

    # nvidia-xconfig: X configuration file generated by nvidia-xconfig
    # nvidia-xconfig: version 1.0 (buildmeister@builder57) Mon Oct 27 14:37:20 PST 2008

    Section “ServerLayout”
    Identifier “Layout0”
    Screen 0 “Screen0”
    InputDevice “Keyboard0” “CoreKeyboard”
    InputDevice “Mouse0” “CorePointer”

    Section “Files”

    Section “Module”
    Load “dbe”
    Load “extmod”
    Load “type1”
    Load “freetype”
    Load “glx”

    Section “InputDevice”
    # generated from default
    Identifier “Mouse0”
    Driver “mouse”
    Option “Protocol” “auto”
    Option “Device” “/dev/psaux”
    Option “Emulate3Buttons” “no”
    Option “ZAxisMapping” “4 5”

    Section “InputDevice”
    # generated from default
    Identifier “Keyboard0”
    Driver “kbd”

    Section “Monitor”
    Identifier “Monitor0”
    VendorName “Unknown”
    ModelName “Unknown”
    HorizSync 30.0 – 83.0
    VertRefresh 56.0 – 75.0
    Option “DPMS”

    Section “Device”
    Identifier “Device0”
    Driver “nvidia”
    VendorName “NVIDIA Corporation”

    Section “Screen”
    Identifier “Screen0”
    Device “Device0”
    Monitor “Monitor0”
    DefaultDepth 24
    Option “NoLogo” “True”
    Option “RenderAccel” “True”
    Option “AllowGLXWithComposite” “True”
    Option “AddARGBGLXVisuals” “True”
    SubSection “Display”
    Depth 24
    Modes “1280×1024” “1024×768” “1680×1050”

    Section “Extensions”
    Option “Composite” “Enable”

  13. alexbard

    Many thanks for this article, but… As I tried to do as you described, I got no errors during process and after reboot… Ooops. Black screen of death… No responce to keyboard and I even can not switch to console via Alt+Ctrl+F2…
    So I had to use Ubuntu native nv driver without 2d and 3d acceleration at all…
    My video card is Nvidia GeForce2 MX400 with 32 MB RAM.
    Can you help to manage this issue?


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