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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

NVIDIA Geforce 9600 GT and Linux distributions

If you are coming here by googling, you can definitely find an answer to the question: is the NVIDIA Geforce 9600 GT supported by Linux? The short answer is yes.

As Christmas gift, I got a new NVIDIA Geforce 9600GT, 1GB.
I was quite worried on how to get it working under Linux. My standard Linux install (Mepis 6.0) was for sure unable to support it, since it is an old one (but a very stable one).

After partitioning a new 500Gb hard-disk into 10 pieces, I have decided to give a try to several distros, mainly on the Distrowatch top 50.

DreamLinux (v3.5):
The distro recognized immediately the Geforce, although the 3D effects were not automatically activated into the Live CD. However, a simple "sudo nvidia-install" outside X loaded the drivers and the 3D effects came into play. Additional details can be found here.

Sabayon (v.3.51):
The Sabayon liveCD recognized the Geforce as well as offered the possibility to activate the 3D effects. Well done, zero effort from my side.
However, since I installed Sabayon into the hard drive well before Christmas, I wasn't able to get it working in the Hard Disk installation. It took me few hours to address the issue: "sudo equo install nvidia-drivers" fix it and "fusion-icon" activates the 3D effects.
The upgrade to Sabayon 4.0 required around 30 hours, but the effort was pretty limited from a brain power perspective. Few glitches (artwork, compiz, xorg.conf) were still there, but it is pretty straightforward to fix them.

Mepis (v.7.92):
2D graphics are loaded

PCLinuxOS (v.):
3D graphics are loaded into the Live CD, a small changes is however necessary to make this happening (from the "PC menu", select System / Configuration / Configure your computer, then go into Hardware / Configure Graphics / Configure 3D effects and select Compiz Fusion)

LinuxMint (v. 6.0) & Ubuntu (v. 8.10):
2D graphics are loaded into the Live CD, the Ubuntu developers have not included as standard the NVIDIA proprietary drivers, a small changes is necessary to make this happening. (From the "Gnome menu", select Control Center / Hardware Drivers and the system automatically proposes a menu to download and install the NVIDIA 1.77 drivers)
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