Last Thursday, I upgraded to Ubuntu’s latest release, 7.10 aka Gutsy Gibbon. Overall, the upgrade went smoothly and after a few hours of downloading (the servers were slammed on release day), I had successfully upgraded with one minor issue. I had tweaked my Ubuntu 7.04 install to coax dual monitor support with my ATI Radeon 9200 video card, when I upgraded, the configuration that I had used was no longer supported. Since I had always had problems with this card in Linux, I decided that it was time to spring for a newer card that has better driver support.
Friday morning, I headed out to MicroCenter and picked up a BFG Tech GeForce 7300 GT (thanks Jason for the recommendation). After installing the new card I was prompted to enable the restricted Nvidia driver (Nvidia provides only closed source drivers, so they are restricted by default). I enabled the driver and rebooted the machine, but the Nvidia module wouldn’t load and the X server would fall back to failsafe mode. I was getting the following error in my Xorg.0.log:
(EE) NVIDIA(0): Failed to initialize the NVIDIA kernel module! Please ensure
(EE) NVIDIA(0): that there is a supported NVIDIA GPU in this system, and
(EE) NVIDIA(0): that the NVIDIA device files have been created properly.
(EE) NVIDIA(0): Please consult the NVIDIA README for details.
(EE) NVIDIA(0): *** Aborting ***
I tried uninstalling the restricted driver from Ubuntu and installing the driver from Nvidia site, but I got the same results. I even tried Envy without any luck. I then checked in /usr/lib/xorg/modules and found two modules for libnvidia-wfb with libnvidia-wfb.so.1 linked to the newer one. I guessed this was the issue so I ran the uninstall scripts for the official Nvidia driver as well as the uninstall scripts in Envy. I then reinstalled the driver via Envy and found that libnvidia-wfb.so.1 was linked to the older one (libnvidia-wfb.so.100.14.19). I was able to load X with the nvidia driver, after which I enabled the Ubuntu supported restricted Nvidia driver which allowed me to use compiz. A few more tweaks to xorg.conf and I was able to get dual monitor support back with twinview.
The only issue left is that the current config treats the dual monitors as one big desktop vs. two screens so when you maximize, it does so across both. Xinerama is supposed to fix this but unfortunately it looks like it isn’t currenly supported when using compiz (desktop effects). Here is a copy of my current xorg.conf working with the nvidia driver and dual monitors under Gutsy.
Gutsy is slick and I am now running compiz for the first time, the desktop effects are cool and give Ubuntu a cleaner, more robust feel.