A cure for NVidia drivers in Ubuntu

Over the weekend I finally upgraded my main machine. This was not just an upgrade but also a migration to another distro. After about ten years with Red Hat/Fedora I finally jumped over to Ubuntu. There's a reason: NVidia.

I figured that jumping from Fedora Core 6 to Fedora 8 would be a simple migration. It would have been but for my on-board NVidia graphics cards. Because of this card, Fedora 8 wouldn't give me the resolution that I wanted. And I remember well having to jump through the joyous hoops with the livna repositories in FC 6. Every time I updated the kernel, I also had to update the NVidia drivers (and a few other pieces of that puzzle) in order to get the NVidia card playing well with the OS. And on top of that, every time I had to hand-edit my xorg.conf file and re-add the "Option" "HWCursor" "off" line. EVERY-STINKIN-TIME!

Sure, I could have compiled the driver myself and not got caught up in the livna nightmare - but there were so many other rpms from livna that I needed. So it was always a catch-22.

But then, in my scouring of the Web, I came across a little tool called Envy. This tool promised to be my salvation from the nightmare often brought about by NVidia cards. Only problem - it wasn't available for Fedora. In order to take advantage of this "salvation" I was going to have to migrate over to Ubuntu.

And so I did. And as soon as the installation was complete, I clicked on the Get Envy Legacy button (on the main page of the site) and let the GDebi Package Installer install the software. There were a few questions to answer but the installation went smooth.

Once the package was installed, I ran the software, chose to install the NVidia driver, and let Envy do it's thing. When the set up was done, I restarted X and, to my sheer relief, E17 looked gorgeous!!!!

So - here's something I wonder - if someone can create a nice python script to do this, why is it the packagers of the distros can't add this to their default installations? NVidia graphics cards are pretty prevalent - especially with on-board cards! Maybe it's something they should think about in the future.

In the mean time, if you have an NVidia graphics card, and you're wondering which distro will support it, don't worry about it...just install Ubuntu (or Debian) and use Envy. You won't regret the results.

Oh - and over the weekend (after getting this over and done), I did a nice gallery of E17 for everyone. It will be in the Geekend blog soon enough (so check back now and then to see E17 in all its glory.)

About Jack Wallen

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website jackwallen.com.

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