In this earlier posting, I had written about the fact that the project was risky, to switch from the open-source ‘Nouveau’ graphics drivers, which are provided by a set of packages under Debian / Linux that contain the word ‘Mesa’, to the proprietary ‘nVidia’ drivers. So risky, that for a long time I faltered at doing this.
Well just this evening I made the switch. Under Debian / Stretch – aka Debian 9, this switch is relatively straightforward to accomplish. What we do is to switch to a text-session, using <Ctrl>+<Alt>+F1, and then kill the X-server. From there, we essentially just need to give the command (as root):
apt-get install nvidia-driver nvidia-settings nvidia-xconfig
Giving this command essentially allows the Debian package-managers to perform all the post-install steps, such as black-listing the Nouveau drivers. One should expect that this command has much work as its side-effects, as it pulls in quite a few dependencies.
(Edit 04/30/2018 :
In addition, the user must have up-to-date kernel / Linux -headers installed, because to install the graphics driver, also requires to build DKMS kernel modules. But, it’s always my assumption that I’d have kernel headers installed myself. )
When I gave this command the first time, apt-get suggested additional packages to me, which I wrote down on a sheet of paper. And then I answered ‘No’ to the question of whether or not to proceed (without those), so that I could add all the suggested packages onto a new command-line.
(Update 05/05/2018 :
The additional, suggested packages which I mentioned above, offer the ‘GLVND’ version of GLX. With nVidia, there are actually two ways to deliver GLX, one of which is an nVidia-centered way, and the other of which is a generic way. ‘GLVND’ provides the generic way. It’s also potentially more-useful, if later-on, we might want to install the 32-bit versions as well.
However, if we fail to add any other packages to the command-line, then, the graphics-driver will load, but we won’t have any OpenGL capabilities at all. Some version of GLX must also be installed, and my package manager just happened to suggest the ‘GLVND’ packages.
Without OpenGL at all, the reader will be very disappointed, especially since even his desktop-compositing will not be running – at first.
The all-nVidia packages, which are not the ‘GLVND’ packages, offer certain primitive inputs from user-space applications, which ‘GLVND’ does not implement, because those instructions are not generically a part of OpenGL. Yet, certain applications do exist, which require the non-‘GLVND’ versions of GLX to be installed, and I leave it up to the reader to find out which packages do that – if the reader needs them – and to write their names on a sheet of paper, prior to switching drivers.
It should be noted, that once we’ve decided to switch to either ‘GLVND’- or the other- version of GLX, trying to change our minds, and to switch to the other version, is yet another nightmare, which I have not even contemplated so far. I’m content with the ‘GLVND’- GLX version. )
(Edited 04/30/2018 :
There is one aspect to installing up-to-date nVidia drivers which I should mention. The GeForce GTX460 graphics card does not support 3rd-party frame-buffers. These 3rd-party frame-buffer drivers would normally allow, <Ctrl>+<Alt>+F1, to show us not only a text-session, but one with decent resolution. Well, with the older, legacy graphics-chips, what I’d normally do is to use the ‘uvesafb’ frame-buffer drivers, just to obtain that. With modern nVidia hardware and drivers, this frame-buffer driver is incompatible. It even causes crashes, because with it, essentially, two drivers are trying to control the same hardware.
Just this evening, I tried to get ‘uvesafb’ working one more time, to no avail, just as it does work on the computer I name ‘Phoenix’. )
So the way it looks now for me, the text-sessions are available, but only in very low resolution. They only exist for emergencies now.
But this is the net result I obtained, after I had disabled the ‘uvesafb’ kernel module again:
dirk@Plato:~$ infobash -v
Host/Kernel/OS "Plato" running Linux 4.9.0-6-amd64 x86_64 [ Kanotix steelfire-nightly Steelfire64 171013a LXDE ]
CPU Info 8x Intel Core i7 950 @ clocked at Min:1600.000Mhz Max:2667.000Mhz
Videocard NVIDIA GF104 [GeForce GTX 460] X.Org 1.19.2 [ 1920x1080 ]
Processes 262 | Uptime 1:16 | Memory 3003.9/12009.6MB | HDD Size 2000GB (6%used) | GLX Renderer GeForce GTX 460/PCIe/SSE2 | GLX Version 4.5.0 NVIDIA 375.82 | Client Shell | Infobash v2.67.2
dirk@Plato:~$ clinfo | grep units
Max compute units 7
dirk@Plato:~$ clinfo | grep multiple
Preferred work group size multiple 32
dirk@Plato:~$ clinfo | grep Warp
Warp size (NV) 32
So what this means in practice, is that
I have OpenGL 4.5 on the computer named ‘Plato’ now, as well as having a fully-functional install of ‘OpenCL‘ and ‘CUDA‘, contrarily to what I had according to this earlier posting.
Therefore, GPU-computing will not just exist in theory for me now, but also in practice.
And this displays, that the graphics card on that machine ‘only’ possesses 224 cores after all, not the 7×48 which I had expected earlier, according to a Windows-based tool – no longer installed.
(Updated 04/29/2018 … )
Continue reading I’ve finally installed the proprietary nVidia graphics drivers.