I finally got off my lazy butt and moved my main Windows XP hard drive to one of the SATA removable drive bays I had so that I could cold swap operating systems and avoid having to dual boot. The major impetus for this was to try out the new Mandriva Live CD, but ran into serious problems with my video card. Now I know that there is a way to boot the live CD up identifying that I want to use the vesa drivers, but it just wasn’t happening, and I wanted to get a working OS up today. Knowing that the problem was most likely my nVidia 6800GS video card, I chose to try Ubuntu because it’s easy to install (usually) and there was already a great guide for getting the nVidia drivers. installed.Here’s what I did, as the live CD was not working for me either. I took the alternate install iso (it came on a DVD from Linux Format) and burned it to disk. I then did a regular install across 7 partitions:

512 MB – /boot (Primary)
4 GB – /swap (I have 2 GB ram)
4 GB – / (Primary)
4 GB – /tmp (logical)
60 GB – /usr (logical)
4 GB – /var (logical)
~150 GB – /home (logical)
I left out the /opt and /srv partitions because Ubuntu doesn’t put Gnome/KDE in /opt and the servers are under /var. After the install and initial reboot the machine tried to get into the GUI but failed (with pixellated chunks everywhere). I hit CNTL-ALT-F1 to get to a command line and then typed

sudo vi /etc/X11/xorg.conf

I found the entry for nv and changed that to vesa. I then rebooted and I had a GUI. It was slow as molasses, but I was then able to get into Synaptic and choose to install nvidia-glx. Just choosing this in synaptic automatically chooses the dependent packages and kernel headers. I installed it, rebooted and saw the nVidia splash screen right before Gnome (oh joy!). Much faster response and all seems well! I will try to get the 3D working tomorrow.

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