Running Nvidia display drivers with X.Org 7.3

This morning, hardworking Debian developers pushed the remaining pieces of the brand new X.Org 7.3 to Debian sid (unstable) distribution. And it must be said, a well done job!

ii  x11-apps            7.3+1      X applications
ii  x11-common          1:7.3+2    X Window System (X.Org)
ii  x11-session-utils   7.3+1      X session utilities
ii  x11-utils           7.3+1      X11 utilities
ii  x11-xfs-utils       7.3+1      X font server utilities
ii  x11-xkb-utils       7.3+1      X11 XKB utilities
ii  x11-xserver-utils   7.3+1      X server utilities
ii  xbase-clients       1:7.3+2    miscellaneous X clients - metapackage
ii  xorg                1:7.3+2    X.Org X Window System
ii  xorg-dev            1:7.3+2    the X.Org X Window System development
ii  xserver-xorg        1:7.3+2    the X.Org X server
ii  xutils              1:7.3+2    X Window System utility programs

I'm pretty convinced that X.Org 7.3 will work well for people, unless you're using proprietary display drivers, that is. I feel forced to use Nvidia drivers, because open source ones are quite slow (nv) or not yet ready for general usage (nouveau). Even though 100.14.11 is the latest published version of Nvidia drivers, it is not ABI compatible with X.Org 7.3. So, until Nvidia officially supports X.Org 7.3 (which should happen soon), here's what you can do to get them running together in the meantime. Edit your /etc/gdm/gdm.conf and add this small chunk of configuration just below [servers] section at the bottom of the file:

name=Standard Server
command=/usr/bin/X -audit 0 -ignoreABI

Even with this workaround, if you peek into server log file (/var/log/Xorg.0.log) you'll find some verbose errors/warnings, but from what I can tell (after few hours of working on this setup) everything's working just fine.

(EE) NVIDIA(0): ============= WARNING WARNING WARNING WARNING =============
(EE) NVIDIA(0): This server has a video driver ABI version of 2.0 but this
(EE) NVIDIA(0):     driver is designed to work with versions before 2.0. 
(EE) NVIDIA(0):     Please check for driver updates or
(EE) NVIDIA(0):     downgrade to an X server with a supported driver ABI.
(EE) NVIDIA(0): ===========================================================

(EE) NVIDIA(0): This video driver ABI is not supported.
(WW) NVIDIA(0): The driver will continue to load, but may behave strangely.
(WW) NVIDIA(0): This server has an unsupported input driver ABI version (have
(WW) NVIDIA(0):     2.0, need < 2.0).  The driver will continue to load, but
(WW) NVIDIA(0):     may behave strangely.

Let me just add that I don't use any 3D compositing manager (compiz-fusion or similar) at this time, so your mileage may vary if you have more modern setup. I just got tired with lots of bugs in compiz-fusion 0.5.2, so I decided to wait a little bit for things to stabilize, before I give it another chance.


Thanks for the info in your post, I ran into this issue this morning after an upgrade last night. It seems you can do the similar thing for KDM running KDE by changing the line in /etc/kde3/kdm/kdmrc from:
ServerCmd=/usr/bin/X -br
ServerCmd=/usr/bin/X -br -ignoreABI

Thank you for providing useful info for KDE users, too!

what is the -br for?
unfortunately, it keeps crashing with nvidia 7400 go in etch...
after 3 or 4 logins, it remains running until I try some command that requires gl, then crashes.

New version of Nvidia Linux drivers 100.14.19 is now out!

Hopefully, that will render these workarounds obsolete for most of you.

That's great. But I am forced to use the legacy support 96xx series everywhere and I don't see it being "fixed" anytime soon. This is pain in the rear end, if the OS drivers could do the multi head that I need I'd be happy to use them.