A Mandriva Christmas present: latest NVIDIA and ATI drivers for Cooker, 2008 and 2007 Spring

Well, Anssi and I might not quite look like elves, but we act like them sometimes! Indeed, your Christmas present from Mandriva is the latest NVIDIA and ATI drivers packaged for all supported Mandriva distributions.

Updated for the latest drivers (February 2008) and better instructions to avoid the DKMS bug.

The latest drivers are ATI Catalyst 7.13 (a.k.a. 8.45.2 under the old versioning scheme) and NVIDIA 169.09. You can find reviews of these drivers on Phoronix: here’s ATI, here’s NVIDIA. The short version is they add support for new cards, fix bugs, and improve performance. The information for the new cards has been added to the hardware detection databases, so if you have a recent ATI or NVIDIA card that is not detected and supported correctly, this backport should help you out.

For those adventurous souls on Cooker, you’ll just get the update with your regular urpmi –auto-select. For those on 2008 and 2007 Spring, the procedure is similar to the one for previous backports.

First, ensure you have the /main/backports repository enabled. Then ensure you have the matching kernel -devel package for your running kernel installed. You can tell what kernel you’re using with ‘uname -r’. Ideally, just install the -latest and -devel-latest packages for whatever flavour of kernel you’re using, then you never have to worry about it again. This step is necessary as we don’t do static builds of the modules for all possible kernel flavours for backports, so you have to have the necessary kernel headers available so DKMS can do the rebuild for you.

Next – due to a bug in DKMS – you need to *remove* the prebuilt binary packages for the kernel module. For NVIDIA, remove all packages with names in this form: nvidia-current-kernel* . For ATI, remove all packages with names in this form: fglrx-kernel-*

Next, install the appropriate packages. You need the new version of ldetect-lst, 0.1.167.3-1mdv2007.1 (for 2007 Spring) or 0.1.205-1mdv2008.0 (for 2008). For ATI, install the new versions of x11-driver-video-fglrx and dkms-fglrx (on 2008) or ati and dkms-ati (on 2007 Spring). If you installed an earlier backport on 2008, you can also remove all fglrx-hd2000 packages at this point, although it shouldn’t be necessary.

For NVIDIA, the packages are nvidia97xx and dkms-nvidia97xx (on 2007 Spring) or x11-driver-video-nvidia-current and dkms-nvidia-current (on 2008).

Once the new packages are installed, if your system was already using the proprietary driver before, restart the system, and you should be using the new driver. If your system was not using the proprietary driver before, you will need to re-run the graphics card configuration utility, re-select the correct card group for your card (if your card group was not previously correctly automatically detected, it now should be), and it should offer you the option of using the proprietary driver. Agree, and the driver will be set up for you. Now you must once more remove the pre-built binary package for the kernel module, as the graphics card configuration utility will have reinstalled it. Again, for NVIDIA, remove all packages with names in this form: nvidia-current-kernel* . For ATI, remove all packages with names in this form: fglrx-kernel-* . Now restart the system.

Apart from the updated proprietary drivers, there’s some other fun. Anssi has also introduced the ‘nouveau’ free driver for NVIDIA cards to Cooker. It has no 3D support, but it improves over the old ‘nv’ driver’s 2D support in several ways. There’s more details in his post to the Cooker mailing list on how to test out nouveau.

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