Not a very science-y post, but one of my hobbies is tinkering with my computers and in particular, playing with experimental operating systems. It’s just one of those things – I like seeing what’s new, trying things out, and learning how to fix them when they’re broken. And, for the last week, my computer has been pretty broken.
When I got back from AGBT, I ran a large batch update, which included the dreaded experimental Xorg version 1.10. Not that its bad code, but it’s completely incompatible with the Nvidia drivers that worked on 1.09 – and with new nvidia proprietary drivers unlikely to be released in the next couple of weeks, xorg 1.10 is likely to continue being thrashing people’s systems for a while to come. Had I read the post warning people, I probably would have held off on the update, but alas, I hadn’t.
However, after doing some research last week, I was able to get the “nouveau” driver working on my system. It isn’t a particularly difficult install, and mainly involves making sure you have the driver installed, then switching your xorg.conf file to say
I did have to switch to using “Twinview” for my dual monitor setup, but that could all be done through the settings in the control panel. (No messing with the xorg file required.)
However, the nouveau driver, by default, does not come with 3D support enabled. I’m led to believe it is still experimental, but if you’d like to run compiz, you do require 3D graphics.
Thankfully, after a week of 2D desktop usage, I found out that you can add on 3D acceleration quite easily, simply by installing one package:
sudo apt-get install libgl1-mesa-dri-experimental
Once installed, you simply need to restart X (or the computer, either one works) and 3D support will be there!
I tested out compiz first with the 2008 utility “compizcheck”, which will warn you that nouveau isn’t known to support compiz. (After all, in 2008, nouveau was a pretty lean package.) But, the waning can be suppressed, and if all else is good, will give you the green light.
At that point, if all looks good, you can give compiz a whirl with the command:
compiz --replace &
If everything is working, you’ll see a bunch of status lines showing things being initialized and updated, and no errors. If not, you can simply restart your previous window manager (in my case, it’s kwin) with the similar command:
kwin --replace &
Either way, I’m happy to report that everything is now working for me – I’ve got Ubuntu 11.04 (natty) running happily with Xorg 1.10 and the Nouveau drivers. I won’t say it’s perfect, as I’m still seeing artifacts during 3D animations (for instance, during the rotation of screens for the desktop cube, an extra copy of the desktop in a partially rotated position flashes for about 1/2 a second.) but for the most part, things are working pretty well.