Nouveau nVidia drivers now available in Debian experimental

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.

Comments (4)

David Nusinow

Congratulations on finally getting it in! I can't tell you how happy this makes me. I tried for years to get someone to work on these drivers, and I'm so glad you stepped up and put in all the work (and I know it's a ton) to make it happen.

July 16, 2008, 2:37 p.m. #

sounds great, had to try it at once. But i suspect i'm doing something wrong:
sudo modprobe drm
FATAL: Error inserting drm (/lib/modules/ Invalid argument
(the second line also appears in the Xorg-log)
can't find anything on the nouveau-webiste or google that helps... any ideas? :)
thx Martin

July 19, 2008, 11:56 a.m. #

I have trouble getting working nouveau. I can modprobe drm, but when I try to modprobe nouveau I get :
FATAL: Error inserting nouveau (/lib/modules/2.6.28-0.slh.2-sidux-686/char/drm/nouveau.ko): Unknown symbol in module, or unknown parameter (see dmesg)

Dec. 28, 2008, 12:10 p.m. #
This is not a suitable place to request support.

@martin & @Jonas

Look at the first requirement: "Ensure you are using Debian sid."
Your kernel version is too old to use nouveau. You need the 2.6.32 kernel form sid which de facto has drm form 2.6.33 kernel backported. So update to sid in order to try nouveau.

July 5, 2010, 10:49 a.m. #