Re: nVidia Releases Linux drivers (May 3)

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From: Koen Holtman (
Date: Thu May 11 2000 - 10:08:28 PDT

And they released these drivers just in time too! I spent last saturday
installing a new linux box at work. The thing has an nVidia/GeForce based
graphics card. I spent 3 hours trying all kinds of different drivers and
settings, searching the web, etc, until I finally found that a new
compatible X server was posted on the Dell support site 1 day before.

On a historical note, first time I installed X on a linux box, some 7+
years ago, I had to use more drastic measures to get my (then) driverless
SVGA card to work:

1) have the initial DOS-compatible part of the linux boot sequence
   switch the card into 640x480 (?) graphics mode. Makes the textmode
   boot look funny but ignore that.

2) hack the X server to remove any card initialisation code, so that
   the 640x480 card mode initialisation is preserved.

3) to make the X server capable of addressing the >64K card graphics

 3.1) reverse engineer the video memory banking system that the card
   uses by writing a small dos program that changes a pixel in graphics
   mode, then use a single step machine language debugger to follow the
   execution all the way into the graphics bios of the card, take

 3.2) code the correct memory banking driver into the X server

Took me some 3 days I recall. In the end I only had to write some 20
lines of code to make it all work. Of course, back then I had more time,
and less money to buy compatible video cards.


On Wed, 10 May 2000 wrote:

> Well, it's kind of hard to catch up when you don't have the specs. People
> blamed Linux for not having adaptec for so long, but it was because the
> proprietary guys wouldn't let the driver writers get their hands on the
> specs. Same with the NeoMagic stuff.
> C
> On Wed, 10 May 2000, Gregory Alan Bolcer wrote:
> > Finally, some decent drivers for Linux with major acceleration happening.
> > It's about time that Linux caught up to the hardware.
> >
> >
> > Linux driver download
> >
> > These XFree86 4.0 binary drivers are the result of a collaborative partnership between NVIDIA, SGI and VA
> > Linux.
> > In this initial beta release, they provide optimized hardware acceleration of OpenGL applications via a
> > direct-rendering
> > X Server and support the TNT, TNT2, TNT Ultra, GeForce, and Quadro chipsets. AGP and flat panel displays are
> > also supported.
> > --
> > Greg Bolcer
> > email:
> > web:
> > work: 949.833.2800
> > cell: 714.928.5476
> > fax: 603.994.0516
> >

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