Mandrake Linux tips for free
Because the best things in life are free

Home Switch with success Acquisition Installation Configuration Learning to use Linux Links About Contact

Search: Mandrake Linux Tips for Free WWW

Installing the Nvidia drivers

To install the NVIDIA drivers, in most cases you have to install the kernel source of the kernel you're using:
urpmi kernel-source
It may be that you have to specify the exact name, especially in the case you are not running the stock kernel but some other version from Mandrake. Of course you can use the graphical installer. If you have compiled your own kernel, the sources are there; but I doubt that you would be reading this page in that case..

Download the Nvidia driver source from the Nvidia website. Just take the latest version. When you download the driver file (ending in .run), remember the path you download it to. You are going to have to find that path later on, in non-graphical mode.
(In case the Nvidia driver pack includes a precompiled driver that matches your kernel, it is not necessary to install the kernel source; this is usually not the case for driverpacks that came out before the kernel of your system.)

Next, it is required to go to non-graphical mode. I have made this page on purpose without any necessary images, so you will be able to read it on a console webbrowser such as lynx or links.
Hit ctrl-alt-F2 to go to the console and log on as root with suenter
Give your password to log on, and issue the following command:
cd path/to/nvidia/driver/pack
If you don't remember you can still switch back to your graphical mode with alt-F7, until the following command
telinit 3
which switches off the graphics mode. Before giving this command you may want to end your graphical session ("logout [user]" and then select 'log in as different user' which takes you to the login screen) if you are logged in in a graphical session.
You can just type the first characters of NVIDIA and hit the tab key -- this will autocomplete the whole word. Naturally, substitute the pkg-name with the correct one.

The installer first displays the license that comes with the Nvidia closed source drivers. You can use the arrow buttons or page-up/page-down keys to go up and down, and the tab-key to select between the choice that are offered to you.

NVIDIA Accelerated Graphics Driver for Linux-x86 (1.0-4496)
Please read the following LICENSE and then select either "Accept" to accept the license and continue with the installation, or select "Do Not Accept" to abort the installation.
Accept Do Not Accept
License For Customer Use of NVIDIA Software
IMPORTANT NOTICE -- READ CAREFULLY: This License For Customer Use of NVIDIA Software ("LICENSE") is the agreement which governs use of the software of NVIDIA Corporation and its subsidiaries ("NVIDIA") downloadable herefrom, including computer software and associated printed materials ("SOFTWARE"). By downloading, installing, copying, or otherwise using the SOFTWARE, you agree to be bound by the terms of this LICENSE. If you do not agree to the terms of this LICENSE, do not download the SOFTWARE.

NVIDIA Software License Top

You have to accept the license to continue. Highlight "yes" (use the tab-key and hit enter).

Next the driver checks if you have a driver already installed; in my case I had one (I needed to reinstall since I had changed my kernel).

NVIDIA Accelerated Graphics Driver for Linux-x86 (1.0-4496)
There appears to already be a driver installed on your system (version: 1.0-4496). As part of installing this driver (version: 1.0-4496), the existing driver will be uninstalled. Are you sure you want to continue? ('no' will abort installation)
Yes No
NVIDIA Software Installer for Unix/Linux

Naturally I wanted to continue, since the driver compiled against the kernel source of the previous kernel didn't run.

Next, installer checks if it has a complete binary compiled against the kernel source of the kernel you are running. For the most popular distributions this is sometimes the case. Since the latest driver pack came out before Mandrake 9.2 this is of course not possible. Then there is the possibility that in the meantime a precompiled driver has been made available on the web. The installer asks if it may try to download that.

NVIDIA Accelerated Graphics Driver for Linux-x86 (1.0-4496)
No precompiled kernel interface was found to match your kernel; would you like the installer to attempt to download a kernel interface for your kernel from the NVIDIA ftp site (
Yes No
NVIDIA Software Installer for Unix/Linux

I let the installer try to get a precompiled driver from the web, but it didn't get anything. In that case the installer has to compile the driver.

NVIDIA Accelerated Graphics Driver for Linux-x86 (1.0-4496)
No precompiled kernel interface was found to match your kernel; this means that the installer will need to compile a new kernel interface.
NVIDIA Software Installer for Unix/Linux

The progress is nicely shown, this can take a minute or so (depending on the speed of your system).

NVIDIA Accelerated Graphics Driver for Linux-x86 (1.0-4496)
Installing 'NVIDIA Accelerated Graphics Driver for Linux-x86' (1.0-4496):
Executing: `/sbin/depmod -aq` (this may take a moment...)
NVIDIA Software Installer for Unix/Linux

If everything goes well, the installer will finish with the following screen:

NVIDIA Accelerated Graphics Driver for Linux-x86 (1.0-4496)
Installation of the NVIDIA Accelerated Graphics Driver for Linux-x86 (version: 1.0-4496) is now complete. Please update your XF86Config file as appropriate; see the file /usr/share/doc/NVIDIA_GLX-1.0/README for details.
NVIDIA Software Installer for Unix/Linux

Now you have to make sure that your XF86Config file is adapted in the correct way to use the new driver:
cp /etc/X11/XF86Config-4 /etc/X11/XF86Config-4.bk
(Make a backup so you can go back easily -- not completely necessary but often a good idea.)
vi /etc/X11/XF86Config-4
(or use the editor of your choice; for some quick info on vi, which you really really need to be able to use it, check this) and change the part that says
Driver "nv"
Driver "nvidia"
Also, you have to add
Load "glx"
in the same Section that contains:
Load "dbe"
Additionally, if that section contains:
Load "dri"
Load "GLcore"
you have to remove them.

Now you can restart your graphical environment (look ma, no reboot), by typing:
telinit 5

In the future, you can do, as root:
nvidia-installer --update
to check if a newer version is available, and if so, install it.

Valid HTML 4.0!
Page first created: November 30th 2003. Page last updated: Nov 30 2003

Pages tested with but not specifically made for: lynx, konqueror, galeon, Opera, Mozilla, Firefox using, Bluefish and the Gimp on Mandrakelinux by aRTee
All contents © copyright 2003 and 2004, unless mentioned otherwise, published under the GNU Free Documentation License (FDL) by aRTee. Artwork and CSS don't fall under the FDL, standard copyright applies. Tux image from Larry Ewing. You may use anything published under the FDL on this site freely, as long as you include a reference to the main address of this site:

Site-counter Mandrake Linux Get counted! Get native linux games here! Get Firefox!