I need to upgrade one of my systems from Ubuntu 8.04 to 8.10 and thence
to 9.04 (and maybe 9.10).
The native upgrade tool warned me that 8.10 and later didn't support my
crappy old nVidia Geforce4 card, only the much later ones, but the
change docs said it would use the old nv driver (the one installed with
8.04, and working fine)...which is all I wanted.
They lied. It went right ahead and installed the new driver, and
promptly hangs the moment you get to the login screen, requiring a cold
boot. Unsurprisingly, the Ubuntu 9.04 Live CD also refuses to run, for
the identical reason.
I've done the usual digging, but almost the only docs I can turn up are
for people with newer nVidia cards wanting to upgrade. I want the
reverse. One or two pages have suggestions about reverting, but they all
assume that you have a (possibly suboptimal) working system to start with.
All I can do right now is a single-user boot, and of course there is no
network connection in single-user mode, so I can't apt-get the required
tools to follow the instructions. To make it worse, Ubuntu makes no
distinction between runlevels 2/3/4/5, so I can't boot a console-mode
system with a net connection.
I did download the updated nVidia driver package from nvidia.com, but it
won't execute in single-user mode because some of the system daemons
won't execute in that mode. In any case, I don't really want them: I
want the existing (OSS) nv driver, which I already know works.
I did manage to purge aptitude of all packages containing .*nvidia.*
(and their dependencies) so I believe I am now untainted, but before I
try to locate and manually install the linux-headers, build-essential,
etc .debs, has anyone any bright suggestions about how to coerce the
system into loading the nv driver? The problem is that I don't know what
it's called, or where it lives, or what to put in /etc/modload.d to make
it load at boot time.
I did download the Fedora 11 Live CD, which loads and runs perfectly
(presumably it has better graphics-card handling than Ubuntu), so I
guess I could switch to that. I originally ditched Fedora and the 6/7/8
level because the packages it used were hopelessly out of date, and
because rpm didn't handle dependencies properly. Has this changed any?
Is it worth making the switch or will I be going backwards?
In other news, how about some beer some evening? :-)
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