nvidia-legacy-304xx driver for Debian 10 (Buster)

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nvidia-legacy-304xx driver for Debian 10 (Buster)

Postby Len E. » 2019-11-13 23:55

I'm hoping to move to Debian 10 on my main PC, and on my primary test
PC, both which have the NVIDIA GeForce 6150 SE Graphics card, which
requires a working subject driver for reliable graphics performance.

On Debian 10.1, I tried to install the Sid subject driver by temporarily
adding the following line to the sources.list file,
deb http://ftp.ca.debian.org/debian/ sid main contrib non-free,
and reloading the package lists in synaptic, and searching for
the driver.

The driver would not install because one important dependency,
xserver-xorg-video-nvidia-legacy-304xx would not install.
This dependency would not install because it needs
xserver-xorg-core (<<2:1.19.99).

Buster, Bullseye and Sid all use xserver-xorg-core (2:1.20.4-1).
Unless this xserver-xorg-core dependency is revised, it is clear that
the subject driver will never work for Debian 10 and beyond.

Will this revision be made ?????
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Re: nvidia-legacy-304xx driver for Debian 10 (Buster)

Postby stevepusser » 2019-11-14 04:11

The 304xx driver is not compatible with Buster's xorg, and Nvidia shows no interest in fixing that situation. Take a look at the date of the driver in Sid! It's old.
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nvidia-legacy-304xx driver for Debian 10 (Buster)

Postby Len E. » 2019-11-14 14:49

Nvidia has discontinued any development of this driver beyond
linux kernel 4.13.
The sid version development is entirely in the hands of the Debian
community, for kernels 4.15 and beyond.
It's not clear if this development will continue.
I am hopeful that it will.

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Re: nvidia-legacy-304xx driver for Debian 10 (Buster)

Postby dilberts_left_nut » 2019-11-14 20:00

It's closed source - only nvidia CAN do anything with it.
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Re: nvidia-legacy-304xx driver for Debian 10 (Buster)

Postby stevepusser » 2019-11-14 20:44

From Nvidia:

The Linux 304.* legacy driver series is the last to support the NV4x and G7x GPUs and motherboard chipsets based on them. Support for new Linux kernels and X servers, as well as fixes for critical bugs, will be included in 304.* legacy releases through the end of 2017.


It died at the end of 2017. Buster has 2019-vintage xorg packages. Nvidia 304xx does not work with those. It's quite simple, and Debian can't fix code they don't have. It does build and work with quite recent kernels on Stretch with patches of the open part of the code--that's not the reason it's not in Buster.
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nvidia-legacy-304xx driver for Debian 10 (Buster)

Postby Len E. » 2019-11-14 21:59

To dilberts_left-nut and stevepusser:

Thank you for the clarification.

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Re: nvidia-legacy-304xx driver for Debian 10 (Buster)

Postby kedaha » 2019-11-14 23:28

I'm not promising anything but there may be a solution.
I've got an old nvidia card so I'll see if I can test if it works this weekend.
To be continued...
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Re: nvidia-legacy-304xx driver for Debian 10 (Buster)

Postby kedaha » 2019-11-16 12:06

It turned out that my old nvidia card uses the nvidia-legacy-340xx driver (not your 304xx one), so I didn't try and find a workaround; just as well since I see from the bugreport that the nvidia-legacy-304xx driver for Buster is clearly no dice.
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nvidia-legacy-304xx driver for Debian 10 (Buster)

Postby Len E. » 2019-11-18 06:27

To stevenpusser:

I came across your comments on xorg upgrades or downgrades in a post
from the MXlinux forum: specifically in
https://forum.mxlinux.org/viewtopic.php?t=45522.

Given your expertise in xorg upgrades and downgrades,
is it practical to downgrade the Buster xorg version to
the Stretch xorg version, such that the buster
xserver-xorg-core version 2.1.20-4-1 is in fact
repaced by the stretch xserver-xorg-core version
2.1.19.2-1, thereby solving my problem ??

If this approach is feasible, could you specify the
steps required to make it happen ??

Please advise.
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Re: nvidia-legacy-304xx driver for Debian 10 (Buster)

Postby stevepusser » 2019-11-18 19:05

I really doubt it, and have only done Mesa upgrades for MX, leaving the xorg foundation part unchanged. Maybe it's possible, though, and somebody has done it for Ubuntu, since they have the same issue--happy web searching!
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Re: nvidia-legacy-304xx driver for Debian 10 (Buster)

Postby kedaha » 2019-11-18 20:21

Well, here's a suggestion but first I'll just mention that in Buster, building xserver-xorg-core from stretch source (a sort of "frontport") failed, but I was able to build, i.e., backport xserver-xorg-video-nvidia-legacy-304xx from sid (304.137-7), which would be much better than adding the sid repository to buster and installing it directly:

Caveat: I don't know if the following idea would work (in fact it might be a waste of time and there might also be a less complicated way of doing it) because I've never tried anything similar.

1. Install stretch
2. During installation, select only [*] standard system utilities.
3. Edit /etc/apt/sources.list to include stretch backports
4. Upgrade to the backported 4.19.37-5+deb10u2~bpo9+1 kernel (which equates with the Buster kernel)
5. Upgrade to Buster but retain, i.e., hold
a) the xserver-xorg-core
b) xserver-xorg-video-nvidia-legacy-304xx packages (also upgraded to stretch backport: xserver-xorg-video-nvidia-legacy-304xx (304.137-5~bpo9+1) [non-free]
c) and all their dependences and
d) the backported kernel.
Perhaps it would only be necessary to hold the the stretch backports kernel, xserver-xorg-core & dependences because it might be better to build the xserver-xorg-video-nvidia-legacy-304xx from source.
Once the basic system is upgraded to buster, then one could proceed to install the desktop packages. I think it would be necessary to avoid metapackages and simulate so as not to remove any of the aforementioned essential packages & their dependencies.
Preferably using aptitude -s install package
-s, --simulate
In command-line mode, print the actions that would normally be performed, but don't actually perform them. This does not require root privileges. In the visual interface,
always open the cache in read-only mode regardless of whether you are root.

This corresponds to the configuration option Aptitude::Simulate.
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Re: nvidia-legacy-304xx driver for Debian 10 (Buster)

Postby cfb » 2019-11-19 08:59

Can't you simply use the default "nouveau" driver?
I have used "nouveau" on several different computers with Nvidia cards and have never had a reason to install a closed-source driver.
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nvidia-legacy-304xx driver for Debian 10 (Buster)

Postby Len E. » 2019-11-19 14:46

To cfb:

As described in my older post (Debian-9.9.0-LXDE Graphics problem,
2019-05-10), I've found the nouveau driver to be unreliable with
my Nvidia Graphics card.

It could be that nouveau drivers work better with newer Nvidia cards,
but not with the oldest 304-series cards.

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nvidia-legacy-304xx driver for Debian 10 (Buster)

Postby Len E. » 2019-11-21 20:45

Some interesting details have emerged with my last 2 failures to
install a functioning subject driver, which I hope will elicit further
suggestions on how to achieve a successful conclusion.

On Debian 10.1, I did overcome the xserver-xorg-core version problem
by forcefully installing the following 10 stretch packages:
xserver-xorg-core_1.19.2-1+deb9u5_i386.deb
xserver-xorg-video-amdgpu_1.2.0-1+b1_i386.deb
xserver-xorg-video-ati_7.8.0-1+b1_i386.deb
xserver-xorg-video-fbdev_0.4.4-1+b5_i386.deb
xserver-xorg-video-intel_2.99.917+git20161206-1_i386.deb
xserver-xorg-video-nouveau_1.0.13-3_i386.deb
xserver-xorg-video-qxl_0.1.4+20161126git4d7160c-1_i386.deb
xserver-xorg-video-radeon_7.8.0-1+b1_i386.deb
xserver-xorg-video-vesa_2.3.4-1+b2_i386.deb
xserver-xorg-video-vmware_13.2.1-1+b1_i386.deb

After installation with dpkg, synaptic showed there were no
broken packages as result. Everything continued to work normally after reboot.
****************************************************************************************************
I then proceeded with my initial approach, using the nvidia packages from sid.
They installed fine, but the tell-tale sign that it did not go well was in
/etc/modprobe.d.
There were only 3 packages in that directory, dkms.conf, qemu-blacklist.conf,
and nvidia-kernel-common.conf. From my experience on Debian 9, there should
have been at least 2 more files, nvidia-blacklist-nouveau.conf and nvidia.conf.
After creating 2 blacklist files with the statement blacklist nouveau , named
blacklist.conf and blacklist, and rebooting, sudo lshw -C video showed that the
nouveau drive was still in effect.
*******************************************************************************************************
(For a fresh start, I installed debian-live -10.2.0-i386-LXDE, recently downloaded, in place of
Debian 10.1)
Based on kedaha's latest comments, I tried my same approach, using the modules from
stretch-backports rather than sid. After installation of the 10 xserver-xorg-core packages,
there were some complications with the stretch-backports modules, because not all relevant
packages are in that repository.

Four relevant packages are in the stretch repository only, not in stretch-backports:
nvidia-installer-cleanup, nvidia-settings-legacy-304xx, nvidia-support, nvidia-kernel-common.
They were downloaded, and installed in that order with gdebi, with the stretch-backports
repository enabled to provide dependencies. The rest of the required packages then installed
normally from synaptic, specifying nvidia-legacy-304xx-kernel-dkms, which then included
15 more dependencies. Unfortunately, the results were the same as with the sid modules.
*****************************************************************************************************************
Before making an attempt to follow kedaha's latest comments in detail, I'm interested in
any further hints that may be helpful.

Len E.
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nvidia-legacy-304xx driver for Debian 10 (Buster)

Postby Len E. » 2019-11-23 18:32

The subject driver has been successfully installed ........................... on Antix 19
The newly-released Antix 19 is based on Debian 10 but uses an older kernel,
4.9.173.
I tried the same approach as with the stretch-backports modules on Debian 10.2.
It proceeded much the same, but with some differences.
(Note that the gdebi package is an important tool for manipulating packages:
whereas on Debian 10, the gdebi.desktop file resides in /usr/share/applications,
with the execute statement, exec=gdebi-gtk %f, on Antix 19 it needs to
reside in /usr/share/applications/antix with the execute statement
exec=gksu gdebi-gtk %f.)
*******************************************************************************************************
For the initial install of xserver-xorg-core, there were 22 other modules to replace:
an Antix package named virtualbox-guest-X11, the 9 video modules as with Debian 10,
and 12 additional video modules, for cirrus, glide, mach64, mga, neomagic, openchrome,
r128, savage, siliconmotion, sisusb, tdfx, and trident.

On my Antix 17 installation, I was unable to obtain a stretch-based copy of virualbox-guest-x11,
so I simply deleted the latest package, and installed the rest of the modules with dpkg.
*******************************************************************************************************************
With the stretch-backports repository added to the file /etc/apt/sources.list.d/debian.list,
I proceeded to try to install the 4 stretch modules with gdebi.
-nvidia-installer-cleanup installed fine, but with nvidia-settings-legacy-304xx there were
dependency problems, unlike with Debian 10 where its 5 dependencies were resolved
right away, and the installation completed.
-it was necessary with gdebi to install nvidia-settings-legacy-304xx and each dependency
individually in the following order:
update-glx, glx-alternative-mesa, glx-diversions, glx-alternative-nvidia, nvidia-legacy-304xx,
nvidia-legacy-alternative, and lastly nvidia-settings-legacy-304xx which included one more
dependency, pkg-config.
********************************************************************************************************************
The remaining 2 stretch modules, nvidia-support and nvidia-kernel-common, installed without
incident.
From synaptic, nvidia-legacy-304xx-driver was installed with 11 additional dependencies, including
the dkms package. Messages from synaptic indicated some kernel restructuring was occurring.
After adding the blacklist.conf and blacklist files to /etc/modprobe.d, and rebooting,
both sudo lshw -C video and sudo inxi -Gxx indicated that the nvidia driver was in effect.
*************************************************************************************************************************
The Debian documentation for the nvidia-legacy-304xx-driver indicates that the sid version has
been tested up to kernel 4.20, and the stretch-backports version to kernel 4.15, with the patches
that stevenpusser mentioned, being applied to the open part of the code.
Based on the proof-of-concept installation just completed, it's not clear why the sid modules
would not install properly on Debian 10.

Also, with the latest kernels, at the 4.19 level, being available for Debian Stretch,
as mentioned by kedaha, it's not clear if the kernel patches will be applied to the
stretch-backports version to make it work with the latest kernels.

The answers to these questions could be very useful going forward.

Len E.
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