You can now try the "Nouveau" free software nVidia video drivers from Debian experimental.

If you would like to try them:

  • Ensure you are using Debian sid.
  • Add experimental sources to your /etc/apt/sources.list.
  • Run:
    • sudo apt-get update
    • sudo m-a update
    • sudo m-a a-i drm
    • sudo apt-get install xserver-xorg-video-nouveau
  • Edit your /etc/X11/xorg.conf and specify the nouveau driver in the Device section.
  • Restart X. You will need to remove the binary nvidia kernel module.

Editing your xorg.conf may be as simple as the replacing nvidia or nv with nouveau; nouveau won't be chosen automatically over nv yet. If your xorg.conf has collected a lot of cruft over the years, see this wiki page for some pointers on what you can remove.

For the status of the drivers with your particular card, please see upstream's compatibility matrix. My experience has been positive; I have been using them for about two months on my dual-head 8600GT (NV50) setup with only a few small issues and a generally superior Gnometris experience.

Some notes:

  • If you find bugs (unrelated to the packaging), please report the problem upstream and not in the Debian bug tracker.
  • At the request of upstream, we are not providing 3D support. Please do not ask for it, as a wontfix tag often offends.
  • Bonus points are awarded for removing the non-free nVidia driver; although installation of xserver-xorg-video-nouveau will remove nvidia-glx, purging nvidia-kernel-common and nvidia-kernel-source should remove all the module-assistant generated kernel modules. rms would be proud.

Many thanks to:

  • Matthew Johnson (mjj29) for uploading.
  • Julien Cristau (jcristau) for advice.
  • Christopher Halse Rogers (ROAF) for his Ubuntu packages.
  • The rest of the XStrikeForce, who do rather a lot of work you don't really notice.