nvidia driver installs on Fedora Core 4

Earlier this week I had the unpleasant task of trying to fix/update the NVidia drivers on my Fedora workstation. Video was working fine. What was giving me problems was the hardware 3D support, which is needed by the uber expensive visualization app I use for data analysis.

I’ve never had a pleasant, much less easy, time upgrading the video drivers on this machine. It started with the RedHat Enterprise Linux distribution – better known as “Always at least two full versions behind current,” or, “This software base is at least two years behind other distributions.” Dell suggests you use their “custom” NVidia drivers. NVidia says to use theirs. Neither worked very well, though Dell’s seemed to be more problematic than it was worth.

Fast forward to Fedora.
This Link, though it’s probably the best option, didn’t help – the instructions didn’t work because Yum couldn’t resolve some pretty idiotic dependency issues with my kernel. Next option: the actual NVidia installer. To be honest, it didn’t work the first time around, which is why I tried the Yum installer, but I thought I’d give it another shot.

  • Download the Linux NVidia driver install script.
  • Change your /etc/inittab to run level 3 (from 5 in the first line of executable code), reboot (or just log-out, hit control-alt-F1 and as root run telinit 3).
  • As root run the script. At this point, if I recall correctly, you’d actually be able to telinit 5 and use full 3D capabilities (maybe modprobe nvidia would be required first). I ran into a problem that the NVidia ftp site was down/not responding, so it couldn’t download a pre-compiled profile for the video drivers. Just answer “Yes” when it asks if you want it to compile it for you.

The problem: if you reboot (run level 5), no more nvidia driver. You’ll see an error that the .ko file can’t be found at boot. So something is happening between the install and the boot process. glxgears won’t work – nothing – which is as expected.

  • To make a long story short – look in your kernel’s drivers directory. The script doesn’t put the .ko files in the correct places – at least not initially. What you need to do is make sure that the nvidia.ko file can be found, in one way or another in the …/kernel/drivers/ and the …/kernel/drivers/video/ directories… yes, that’s both of them.
  • open, as root, the /etc/inittab and change the run level back to 5. save. close.
  • reboot.

Here’s another link that ultimately wasn’t too useful to me, but gave me some ideas:Here.

Hopefully somebody will find these instructions even slightly useful

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