Dell installation problem with Nvidia drivers

Help with issues regarding installation of Debian

Dell installation problem with Nvidia drivers

Postby dormant » 2020-12-24 19:00

I'm having problems installing Debian 10 Buster on a Dell Precision 7920 Rack server. This is accessed using a Dell (Wyse) KVM. I'd previously installed lInux successfully on several desktops and laptops without much hassle, but seem to be way out of my depth here.

My first installation seemed to go well but, after GRUB, left me at a blank screen, with just a blinking cursor.

My second installation, when I excluded Gnome, worked and I can log in at the text prompt

I then installed nvidia-driver, seemingly successfully. The installation of nvidia-driver told me it was incompatible with nouveau and this needed a reboot.

I then installed task-gnome-desktop. When I rebooted, I was back at the blank screen and blinking cursor. However, I could ssh into the computer.

I've been searching the web, but none of the suggestions I found seem to work, and I've got to the stage where I really don't know what I'm doing.

Here are some diagnostics. It appears, to me, that gdm crashes and that nouveau is still installed.

Code: Select all
$ nvidia-detect
Detected NVIDIA GPUs:
65:00.0 VGA compatible controller [0300]: NVIDIA Corporation TU104GL [Quadro RTX 4000] [10de:1eb1] (rev a1)

Checking card:  NVIDIA Corporation TU104GL [Quadro RTX 4000] (rev a1)
Your card is supported by the default drivers.
It is recommended to install the
    nvidia-driver
package.

$ inxi -G
Graphics:  Device-1: NVIDIA TU104GL [Quadro RTX 4000] driver: N/A
           Display: tty server: X.org 1.20.4 driver: nouveau,vesa unloaded: fbdev,modesetting tty: 238x72
           Message: Advanced graphics data unavailable in console for root.

$ systemctl status gdm
● gdm.service - GNOME Display Manager
   Loaded: loaded (/lib/systemd/system/gdm.service; static; vendor preset: enabled)
   Active: active (running) since Thu 2020-12-24 15:36:51 AST; 2min 15s ago
  Process: 845 ExecStartPre=/usr/share/gdm/generate-config (code=exited, status=0/SUCCESS)
 Main PID: 852 (gdm3)
    Tasks: 3 (limit: 4915)
   Memory: 7.4M
   CGroup: /system.slice/gdm.service
           └─852 /usr/sbin/gdm3

Dec 24 15:36:51 opsproc3 systemd[1]: Starting GNOME Display Manager...
Dec 24 15:36:51 opsproc3 systemd[1]: Started GNOME Display Manager.
Dec 24 15:36:51 opsproc3 gdm-launch-environment][861]: pam_unix(gdm-launch-environment:session): session opened for user Debian-gdm by (uid=0)
Dec 24 15:36:52 opsproc3 gdm-launch-environment][861]: pam_unix(gdm-launch-environment:session): session closed for user Debian-gdm
Dec 24 15:36:52 opsproc3 gdm3[852]: GdmDisplay: display lasted 0.766969 seconds
Dec 24 15:36:52 opsproc3 gdm3[852]: Child process -884 was already dead.
Dec 24 15:36:52 opsproc3 gdm3[852]: Child process -884 was already dead.
Dec 24 15:36:52 opsproc3 gdm-launch-environment][982]: pam_unix(gdm-launch-environment:session): session opened for user Debian-gdm by (uid=0)
Dec 24 15:36:52 opsproc3 gdm-launch-environment][982]: pam_unix(gdm-launch-environment:session): session closed for user Debian-gdm
Dec 24 15:36:52 opsproc3 gdm3[852]: Child process -985 was already dead.


Any suggestions would be very welcome.
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Re: Dell installation problem with Nvidia drivers

Postby Head_on_a_Stick » 2020-12-24 19:08

The nouveau driver might need some non-free firmware: viewtopic.php?f=16&t=142974

dormant wrote:I then installed nvidia-driver, seemingly successfully

Did you install the kernel headers? Did the NVIDIA kernel module build successfully after you installed the nvidia-driver package?

If you really want to use the blobby driver then boot to a TTY (see my [FAQ] link for the method), login as root and run
Code: Select all
apt install module-assistant
m-a prepare
dpkg-reconfigure nvidia-driver
echo $?

If the output of the echo command is non-zero then the NVIDIA driver didn't build successfully.

EDIT: that hardware looks far too new for Debian buster, the package versions were frozen almost two years ago.
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Re: Dell installation problem with Nvidia drivers

Postby dormant » 2020-12-29 13:03

Did you install the kernel headers? Did the NVIDIA kernel module build successfully after you installed the nvidia-driver package?

No, I just installed from apt. I've never installed kernel headers. so I'll read up more.

If you really want to use the blobby driver ...

Sorry, but what's a "blobby" driver? I just want to install what's best.

EDIT: that hardware looks far too new for Debian buster, the package versions were frozen almost two years ago.

So should I try and install something else? I'm only using Debian because the people that use these workstations are used to Debian.
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Re: Dell installation problem with Nvidia drivers

Postby dormant » 2020-12-29 19:11

So I did what you said
apt install module-assistant
m-a prepare
dpkg-reconfigure nvidia-driver
echo $?

After a reboot, I'm still stuck at the blank screen with cursor.

Not sure what to try next. Sorry if I'm missing the obvious, but I'm not familiar with this aspect of Linux.
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Re: Dell installation problem with Nvidia drivers

Postby stevepusser » 2020-12-30 01:54

You get no output at all in the terminal from

dkpkg-reconfigure nvidia-driver ?

A successful build will inform you that the nouveau driver conflicts with Nvidia, it is being blacklisted by the installer to solve the issue, and a reboot is the simplest way to get this done.

nvidia-detect looks at your card's PCI ID number, and it said it's supported by the standard 418 driver. You're running 64-bit, correct?
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Re: Dell installation problem with Nvidia drivers

Postby Head_on_a_Stick » 2020-12-30 18:29

dormant wrote:I did what you said

What was the output of the echo command? Did the NVIDIA module build?

dormant wrote:So should I try and install something else?

It might be worth trying Debian bullseye. The soft freeze starts next week so it shouldn't change too much between then and the release of Debian 11. It might be buggy though.
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Re: Dell installation problem with Nvidia drivers

Postby dormant » 2020-12-31 20:01

What was the output of the echo command? Did the NVIDIA module build?

The output was 0 - meaning it built OK, I think.

It might be worth trying Debian bullseye.

I am installing that right now.

If that doesn't work, I'm going to try and install Debian as a VM on Windows 10. This means eating much humble pie in front of our admin guy.
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Re: Dell installation problem with Nvidia drivers

Postby dormant » 2021-01-01 11:43

It works!!

I installed Debian Testing and the Nvidia drivers and it works.

Many, many thanks.
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Re: Dell installation problem with Nvidia drivers

Postby dormant » 2021-01-01 13:15

On further checking, it seems to be still using the nouveau driver.

I don't have any choices for display resolution, fixed at 1920x1200. My 30 inch monitor should go to 2560 x 1600.
Last edited by dormant on 2021-01-01 13:33, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Dell installation problem with Nvidia drivers

Postby Head_on_a_Stick » 2021-01-01 13:27

Either install the firmware-misc-nonfree package (which may be required by the nouveau drivers for more resolutions) or install the proprietary NVIDIA drivers.
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Re: Dell installation problem with Nvidia drivers

Postby dormant » 2021-01-01 13:34

Either install the firmware-misc-nonfree package (which may be required by the nouveau drivers for more resolutions) or install the proprietary NVIDIA drivers.

I already installed firmware-misc-nonfree, so I'll try nvidia-driver again.
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