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March 7, 2009

Using nouveau on Exherbo

Filed under: Exherbo — ingmarv @ 12:33 pm

I’ve been using nouveau 2D on my laptop for ages, and given how we don’t package the blob, maybe it’s time I write down how to install the nouveau driver.

Note that while nouveau works wonderfully on all but one of the cards I’ve tried it on, it’s still considered experimental.
Also keep in mind that the Gallium 3D work is completely unsupported, so do not bug the nouveau devs about it.

You can install everything except the nouveau kernel module using paludis, from exhereses, since we don’t have any kernel handling in Exherbo yet. There was some discussion of requirements a while ago, but nothing has materialized so far.

First install x11-dri/libdrm with video_drivers: nouveau enabled.

Second, install the kernel module:

# Ensure that CONFIG_DRM is disabled in your kernel
# Grab the libdrm sources:
git clone git://
cd drm/linux-core
# Adjust LINUXDIR to the path to the kernel that you’re installing the nouveau module for
make LINUXDIR=/usr/src/linux nouveau.o
# Or use importare, for bonus points…
sudo make LINUXDIR=/usr/src/linux install

Third, install the 2D driver, x11-drivers/xf86-video-nouveau.

Fourth, load the drm & nouveau modules automatically, and ensure that the binary nvidia module isn’t loaded.

Enable the driver in xorg.conf.

If you want to try 3D, build x11-dri/mesa with video_drivers: nouveau enabled.

If you did everything right, glxinfo will show the following (and much more…):

OpenGL vendor string: Tungsten Graphics, Inc. and nouveau
OpenGL renderer string: Gallium 0.2 on NV4B
OpenGL version string: 1.5 Mesa 7.5-devel

Or, you can just enable the XRender backend in KWin, and wait for the Gallium 3D API to stabilize…


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