Dr. Roy Schestowitz Latest posts | Real-time contact
Short bio: Software Engineer, interdisciplinary researcher, and an advocate of fair competition (read more)
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Why does openSUSE make it so difficult to install and use NVidia's video drivers?
While I can understand and appreciate the philosophy of using entirely open source drivers for all of Linux, NVidia's drivers still eat the open source Nouveau video drivers for lunch. I do hope the Nouveau drivers gain performance and stability parity with NVidia's, and, yes, the Nouveau drivers are making very good progress. But until they do achieve parity, I WANT AN EASY TO INSTALL AND CONFIGURE CHOICE in a distribution. Five of my 6 computers at home have NVidia video chipsets.
From what I can see, right now, installing and configuring NVidia's video drivers on the just released openSUSE 11.4 is major surgery. So, all this publicity hoopla regarding the 11.4 release is just falling on deaf ears, in my case.
Well, I guess it depends on perspective, but I thought it was a non-issue. Unlike in Debian, the kernel sources were easy to find and install thru software manager (but may have not been needed cause headers were already installed). Logged out and ran the installer. Rebooted to disable Nouveau, and ran installer again. The installer writes the Nouveau disable file. It also writes a basic xorg.conf file that'd probably work for most folks.
Ok, I cheated a bit, but copied my xorg.conf for dual monitors from Sabayon (that was copied from another install, that was copied from... well, see). But I originally got that xorg.conf from running nvidia-settings and editing a bit. Not the headache it was years ago when I had to do all by hand and trying to startx to test.
Now some distros do provide the drivers automagically, through their software manager, or "hardware drivers" utility. Of course that's much easier, but many don't.
What was unusual about openSUSE for you?
1. Download NVidia driver
2. Install kernel sources
3. Log out (and get back to init level 3?) and run the Nvidia install
4. A reboot disables the Nouveau stuff.
5. Then you install Nvidia again.
6. Copy a working xorg.conf file from another machine.
7. Reboot, and you have a working Nvidia install??
Well, this is a simpler procedure than I read about at some other sites for getting the NVidia drivers working with openSUSE, and while it may be better than it was a few years ago, I still think it's not acceptable. A Distro this comprehensive should have this all scripted with a few mouse clicks.
If PCLOS & Texstar or Sabayon with their small development staff can do it, then surely openSUSE could.
And, yes, I too remember pounding away the hours in the old days to get video drivers working. I'm 61 now, and life is getting shorter.
I don't have a lot of experience with openSUSE, so I don't know if I have other issues with it.
The major criticism I've read over the last year or two is that it is sluggish. But, I guess they fixed that one--reports indicate that the 11.4 release is very responsive, and the reviews are largely very favorable.
The depth of the openSUSE repositories is certainly appealing.
I'm glad to see OpenSUSE getting some press after their release. Every time I see an article about Wayland I throw up a little in my mouth.
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