[lug] debian

Hugh Brown hugh at math.byu.edu
Thu Sep 18 15:12:31 MDT 2003

On Thu, 2003-09-18 at 16:32, David Morris wrote:
> On Thu, Sep 18, 2003 at 03:40:18PM -0400, Hugh Brown wrote:
> > I'm beginning to play with debian and haven't had a whole lot of luck.
> > 
> > I did a net install with the floppies and got woody installed. 
> > Unfortunately, it doesn't know what to do with my video card (Nvidia Ge
> > Force 2 Go) nor my wireless card.  
> The problem with the video card is that NVidia cards need a
> special driver.  Drop by http://www.nvidia.com...download
> the linux driver, and install as per the included
> instructions.

As of redhat 9, it doesn't "need" the driver.  The display just looks
nicer with it.  I tire of using the driver, because everytime there is a
kernel update, I have to redo the driver install.   With redhat 8.0 I
had to use the NVIDIA driver to get it to work at all.

> In the 2.4 kernel, I think there is a generic 'nv' driver
> now, but it doesn't work nearly as well. (or is that in
> XFree86 4.x?  been too long since used anything but the
> NVidia driver).  Either way, you'll probably have to add the
> module to /etc/modules (for testing, use insmod).

The nv driver under rh 8 with whatever version of XFree had issues with
my video card.  With redhat 9 it works fine though the blue curve
background looks like a little grainy.

> I would guess you simply don't have the correct driver for
> the wireless card.  You should be able to do a search on the
> web (try http://www.google.com/linux) to find the
> driver...you'll probably have to add the driver to
> '/etc/modules'.

The wireless card works fine under redhat and I told debian to use the
same driver as redhat.  With redhat, hot-plug and the pcmcia subsystem
take care of loading the correct driver.  I edited (under debian)
/etc/pcmcia/config and added the same definition I have under redhat.

> > I tried dselect'ing a 2.4 kernel but every time I boot into it, the
> > system won't respond to keyboard input.
> Can you post more information on any error message(s) and
> the actual laptop model?

I don't get an error message.  I don't see anything out of the ordinary
in /var/log/messages.  There's a complaint in /var/log/dmesg about not
having a journal on the root partition, but /etc/fstab has it listed as
being of type ext2.

The "error" is that it won't respond to any keyboard input.  It is a
Dell Inspiron 8100

> > I added testing to my sources.list and did a dist-upgrade.  Booting into
> > the 2.4 kernel still got my to a system that wouldn't respond to
> > keyboard input.
> > 
> > So, my question is this:  what's the best way to get Debian installed
> > with a 2.4 kernel and a recent version of Xfree86 (the laptop is working
> > fine with Redhat 9 w/o the NVIDIA drivers).
> > I've gone lightly over some of the debian documentation but haven't had
> > much luck with it.  What should I be reading to get myself more familiar
> > with Debian?
> One note is that RedHat, like Sun, took the route of
> tweaking everything slightly....this means many things they
> do is slightly off-norm compared to most *nix variants.
> This has benefits for people who only use RedHat, but makes
> it harder to go between distributions.
> Redhat, for instance, likes to install as much as possible
> by default (both in terms of kernel modules and software
> packages).  Myself, I hate this as it leads to a messy
> and slow system.  It is, though, why RH9 runs the video card
> without extra work...the extra functionality for NVidia
> cards is already loaded.

I'm a bit incredulous about the NVidia card working because of  having
extra stuff from redhat (though me being incredulous doesn't mean I'm
not horribly wrong).  I agree that Redhat does install a kernel with
everything under the sun built as a module and they add a lot of
unnecessary packages.  I suspect that the nvidia card works because the
XFree team has improved support in the nv driver (XFree86-4.3.0-2 is the
rpm package name under redhat).


More information about the LUG mailing list