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> Installing 3d Video Drivers On Nforce2 Boards, Also specific info for ATI cards
post Mar 19 2004, 09:23 AM
Post #1

Its GNU/

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Thanks to Robert83 for finding the XFREE DRM issue for ATI cards....
All commands are in bold ... and should be typed in a terminal windows as the root user....I wil make these instructions as generic as possible, and keep them able to work in console mode.

I would recommend every linux user find a console editor they can use (some suggestions are vim, nano, pico, joe) if you are in GUI mode, you can use gedit or kedit to edit the files instead of vim, nano, joe, or pico. I am only going to say edit the file xxxxx in my instructions ... you need to know which editor you want to use for your configuration...
For Nforce2 boards, to use open GL (3D graphics) you have to have a kernel patch installed. If you are using a kernel later than 2.4.21 it should already be installed. You can tell if you have the patch by looking in the config file for your kernel. First you need to know your kernel version ... use this command:

uname -r

Most distros include a config file in their /boot directory for their precompiled kernel ... and it is usually named config-kernel_version where the version is the output from our uname -r command above.

Go to the /boot directory and find your config filename with these commands:

cd /boot
ls | grep config

Once you know the config file name, you can see if the patch is installed with this command:

cat /boot/config-file-name | grep CONFIG_AGP_NVIDIA

If the result is:


You have the kernel patch installed (and it is enabled) ... you should be able to use 3D drivers from NVIDIA right now ... if you have ATI, to use their 3D drivers, you have to check one other thing in the config file ...

The option for Direct Rendering Manager must be turned off to use the 3D drivers from ATI. To see if it is off or on, use this command:

cat /boot/config-file-name | grep CONFIG_DRM=

If the result is:


You will need to recompile your kernel to be able to install the ATI 3D Drivers.

The first thing to do is modify the config file (back it up first, so if something goes wrong you can remake the original kernel .... at this time also backup the original kernel and the

cp config_filename config_filename.bak
cp kernel_filename kernel_filename.bak
cp System_map_filename System_map_filename.bak

edit the config file and make the following changes:


remark out all the other CONFIG_DRM_xxxxxx entries (put a # in front of them) and change =x to is not set. Here is an example from my Whitebox Linux /boot/config-2.4.21-9.0.1.ELsmp config file:

# CONFIG_DRM_OLD is not set
# CONFIG_DRM_I810_XFREE_41 is not set
# CONFIG_DRM41_SIS is not set

# CONFIG_DRM_OLD is not set
# CONFIG_DRM_NEW is not set
# CONFIG_DRM_TDFX is not set
# CONFIG_DRM_GAMMA is not set
# CONFIG_DRM_R128 is not set
# CONFIG_DRM_I810 is not set
# CONFIG_DRM_I810_XFREE_41 is not set
# CONFIG_DRM_I830 is not set
# CONFIG_DRM_MGA is not set
# CONFIG_DRM_RADEON is not set
# CONFIG_DRM_SIS is not set
# CONFIG_DRM41_SIS is not set

If you have to make the above changes, you will need to install the kernel-source for your disto. Each distro has it's own way of doing that ... if you don't know how to do that for your distro, please look in our Technical Support Forum ... if you can't find the answer, please ask and someone will help you.

Once kernel-source is installed, we need to go to the /usr/src/linux-kernel-version directory.

Once in the directory, we want to make sure everything is clean, so we would issue the command (if you know what you are doing and why, you can skip this step):

make mrproper

then copy the modified config file down to .config in this directory ... like this:

cp /boot/config-kernel-version .config[/b]

Now we want to do the command:

make oldconfig

If you want to make other changes to the kernel and you know what you are doing, use this command (not required):

make menuconfig
(you could also use make config or make xconfig)
Now, some distros (for example debian and gentoo) can do kernels differently here ... these instructions work for all distros, but if you want to use the a distro specific method, do that instead. Otherwise, continue:

some dstros (redhat, mandrake, fedora, whitebox, probably more) add a custom to the Makefile in the EXTRAVERSION line at the top of the file. For example, mine said this for WhiteBox Linux:

EXTRAVERSION = -9.0.1.ELsmpcustom

Edit the Makefile and remove custom, so my EXTRAVERSION line becomes:


Now we are read to start recompiling the kenel ... for 2.4.x issue this command:

make dep

Now we are going to make the new kernel:

make bzImage

Now we are going to make the modules for the new kernel:

make modules

Only proceed if there were no errors above in the makes for bzImage and modules ... Now we are going to install the new kernel modules :

make modules_install

Copy the new kernel over the old one (make sure you backed up your kernel file before ... if not, do so now...before this step) like this:

cp arch/i386/boot/bzImage /boot/kernel-name

copy the new over the old one (make sure you backed up your kernel file before ... if not, do so now...before this step) like this:

cp /boot/System.mapkernel-version

Now reboot with your new kernel and you should be able to install the ATI drivers per the instructions they give.
Disclaimer .... this worked for me on 4 systems ... it worked for 2 other people (robert83 and termina) on the forums. Compiling your kernel is NOT a simple evolution and CAN mess up your system. Weigh the need for 3D graphics with risk BEFORE you try this on a system....

Johnny Hughes
Enterprise Alternatives: CentOS, WhiteBoxEL
Favorite Workstation Distros (in order): CentOS, Gentoo, Debian Sarge, Ubuntu, Mandrake, FedoraCore, Slackware, SUSE
Favorite Server Distros (in order): CentOS, WhiteBoxEL, Debian Sarge, Slackware, Mandrake, FedoraCore, Gentoo, SUSE
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