Hack 28 Install Nvidia 3D Drivers

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figs/beginner.gif figs/hack28.gif

Get 3D acceleration under Knoppix for your Nvidia graphics card .

Linux has long had a bad reputation when it comes to 3D gaming. There are still many die-hard Linux users who dual-boot into Windows to play their favorite games . Some of this reputation has to do with poor 3D-driver support and performance from video card vendors . Other factors are to blame as well, including games that are programmed with 3D libraries and aren't easily ported to other platforms like Linux, and the fact that many Linux gamers buy Windows versions of games, even if a Linux alternative exists.

There is good news, however. Over the past few years , 3D-driver support in Linux has dramatically improved, particularly for Nvidia cards. Nvidia has released binary drivers that support their full TNT and Geforce line of video cards. In some benchmarks, games running under Linux even outperform their Windows counterparts. As the video support continues to improve, the application support improves as well, particularly in the first-person-shooter world. As an avid first-person-shooter fan myself , many of my favorite games, including the full Quake, Unreal Tournament, and Return to Castle Wolfenstein series, all have native Linux binaries.

You might not think of Knoppix as a 3D-gaming platform, and indeed there are only a few applications and games on the disk that take advantage of 3D acceleration. However, if you do want 3D acceleration for those programs and you have an Nvidia card, getting and using the Nvidia drivers is only a few mouse clicks away with the live installer [Hack #27] .

To install the Nvidia drivers, click K Menu KNOPPIX Utilities Install software. In the selection dialog that appears, click nvidia and then OK. Knoppix downloads and installs the files it needs, and prompts you to restart X. Close all running programs, and then click OK to tell the live installer to restart X.

After X restarts, open a console and test whether you have direct rendering enabled:

 knoppix@ttyp0[knoppix]$  glxinfo  grep direct  direct rendering: Yes 

You should see dramatic improvements in the performance of programs, such as glxgears , and 3D games, such as Chromium . If you have a fast Internet connection, you can even download the Quake 3 demo (45 MB) from ftp://ftp.idsoftware.com/idstuff/quake3/linux/, and install it locally (Figure 3-10), provided you have enough ramdisk space. Just tell the installer to install to /home/knoppix/ instead of /usr/local/games , and run the installer as normal. The installer even adds an entry to your K Menu that you can use to launch the game.

Figure 3-10. Quake3 demo

The Nvidia installer caches its files, so if you use a persistent home directory [Hack #21] , you can rerun the installer at the next boot, and you won't have to download the files again.

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Knoppix Hacks. 100 Tips and Tricks
Knoppix Hacks. 100 Tips and Tricks
Year: 2004
Pages: 166

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