Kasperian Moving Parts

kinda like Batman, but with a wife and 3 kids

OpenSUSE 11.1 and nVidia?


So, first off, OpenSUSE 11.1 has to be the sweetest, best put together distro, like ever. Really amazing, quality stuff.  The new installer has some excellent improvements, and package management has never felt zippier (zyppier??) However, there are a few problems that I’ve hit that I’m still trying to figure out after 2 days of fun and frolic.

First off, I have a laptop (meaning I cant change the video card) with an nVidia chipset (meaning I’d like to change the video card). So while OpenSUSE 11.1 works really nicely with the open source “nv” video driver, it can’t do any compositing, 3d, OpenGL, etc., etc. (meaning no wobbley windows or cube goodness or translucency or… you get the idea…).  So I followed these nice little 1-click instructions and installed the latest stable nVidia drivers, rebooted, and up came X with nVidia’s drivers quite nicely. So far so good. And then I clicked “logout”. And that’s where things started to fall apart. It looks like what’s happening is that nVidia’s X driver gets killed when logging out and trying to log back in again. I poked around a bit and saw in a log somewhere that kdm was timing out waiting for X and ended up giving up. So I bumped up some values in /usr/share/kde4/config/kdm/kdmrc in the “X-:*-Core” section (Core config for local displays). I changed ServerAttempts to 5 and ServerTimeout to 45, and it seems to help. Mind you, the underlying problem is still there, and X takes a LOOOOONG time to restart with the nVidia drivers, but at least this keeps kdm from failing altogether and me from getting stuck without an X session and an unusable console display (when this happens, and I’ve booted with the default vga= line, the console is totally unusable).

Secondly, one of the main reasons for my sticking with OpenSUSE is its exceptional support for KDE 4.2/trunk packages. So I installed a bunch of stuff from the KDE:KDE4:UNSTABLE:Desktop repository and discovered that X crashes far too randomly and regularly. This, combined with the above problem of X being unable to restart, using the nVidia drivers, made for a lot of ugliness. I reinstalled once already and am a little leery of bringing in the unstable 4.2/trunk packages. And yes, I’m aware that I’m trying to use something labelled quite clearly as “UNSTABLE”, but I’ve been using OpenSUSE’s excellent “UNSTABLE” KDE 4.2/trunk packages for 6+ months now without any problems whatsoever. And it’s been with the same version of the nVidia driver as I am now using. So… it must be something in the new versions of the kernel or xorg packages that’s causing problems? Is anyone else seeing this other than this guy (who never got his questions answered)?

Anyway, I’m going to spend another few days trying to iron things out. If anyone “out there” has any helpful hints or suggestions, I’d really appreciate them via comment. And, yeah, once I figure out what’s going wrong, I’ll look into filing bugs for this stuff…

Author: Jason 'vanRijn' Kasper

My name is Jason 'vanRijn' Kasper. I am the ring leader of the amazing Kasper family. I am unashamedly a Christian Nerd. These are our stories....


  1. That is strange. I also have an nvidia graphics card (not a laptop one though) and everything is working just fine in opensuse 11.1. I’ve even compiled KDE 4.2 from svn and it works almost very well. I haven’t used the precomplied packages though.

  2. I’ve been using Rex Dieter’s 4.1.85 packages for a week or so in Fedora 10 now and it’s been great. It’s not trunk; however, I was running trunk as it headed to 4.2 during early 4.1 (compiled and run as a separate user) just fine then. I’ve had little need/use for it in the past months, so it’s been deleted, but it wasn’t too hard to set up/get running.

    Weird that your card won’t do compositing with nv though. I’m running KWin DE just fine with it (no wobbly windows, but those annoy me anyway). I have translucency, darken, wall, present windows, basic appearance effects, and a few other niceties enabled and nv with XRender handles it wonderfully (better than 4.1 at least). So yes, no 3D/OpenGL, but there are effects that work without the blob.

  3. What happens if you use the unstable drivers?

  4. You shouldn’t by any chance have a thinkpad? I have a t61, and I’m experiencing the same problems you do, albeit on k/ubuntu 8.10. I can say that I didn’t have the same problem on 8.04, which leads me to believe it’s not entirely opensuse/ubuntu’s fault.

    certainly not much help, but know that you’re not alone 😉

  5. …and like the guy above here said – you can always run desktop effects with the xrender option in kde’s desktop effects. Won’t give you as much bling, but certainly a whole lot more than just nothing 😉

  6. You could try to change some stuff in xorg.conf. I had these random crashes with nvidia for the last 2 weeks or so, thought it was a KWin or plasma thing (icewm & kde apps worked fine). Finally got fed up with icewm and fiddled around in xorg.conf – disabling all the stuff that, according to the kde wiki, is supposed to make compositing faster – no crashes anymore, and good enough performance. I disabled these:

    # Option “UseEvents” “false”
    # Option “TripleBuffer” “1”
    # Option “DamageEvents” “1”
    # Option “BackingStore” “1”
    # Option “PixmapCacheSize” “1000000”
    # Option “AllowSHMPixmaps” “0”

    I haven’t figured out which one was the real reason for the issues and which ones could be left enabled – I’ll try and test it when I have time (like, somewhere in 2020)… 😉

    Maybe it helps.

  7. How you call opensuse the best if youre having so many problems.

    Forgt all distro’s. Use Arch linux.

  8. Re Ubuntu 8.10 I experienced the same thing and believe it was the installer script that “forgot” to activate the driver after installing it and changing Xorg.

    I’ve been using OpenSuse 11 /11.1 Rc and 11.1 Final with Nvidia propietary drivers without difficulties with my ThinkPad T61 with Nvidia NVS 140. The Beta 180.06/08 were fine, but the 180.11/11.2 and 16 are producing some funny effects. Therefore I’ll stick to the driver available in the Nvidia Repo – that one is quite ok.

    The problem vanRijn suffered I would presume is a result of the propietary driver being installed, Xorg modified – but the driver has not been activated. Therefore when Xorg restarts it looks for the wrong driver (I think).

    The new drivers from Nvidia include config tool and the driver can also be activated by using Sax2.

    After installing run “nvidia-xconfig” or “sax2 -r -m 0=nvidia”
    When compiling drivers I leave gui by terminal
    init 3
    login as root
    move to the directory containing the Nvidia installer
    then running it with the -q parameter
    sh NVIDIA-Linux-x86-180.xx-pkg1.run -Q
    then (not really needed)
    sax2 -r -m 0=nvidia
    (as far as I know those parameters are obsolete but makes no harm)
    Then test your settings in SAX and exit
    init 5

  9. @jospoortvliet those options shouldn’t be necessary with the latest nVIDIA drivers.

    Omaha assumes you are downloading the installer script, not using the repository – if that’s not what you’re doing you could try it. Drivers found here (including the betas:


    Be sure to uninstall the driver with the package manager first or at least stop it updating.

    Hopefully that should set up the xorg.conf to use the nvidia drivers – but it may mess up your screen res and/or turn off compositing.

    Also be sure to keep the intaller ’cause you’ll need to run it again to recompile the kernel modules if you update your kernel.

  10. maninalift: I’m using those drivers, but still cannot restart X without great pains, if at all – unless I reboot.

  11. Things are working fine here on Arch Linux (my own config of kernel, http://rafb.net/p/2ifw6a18.html incase it helps ) , nvidia driver version 177.82

  12. I’m experiencing something similar in my T61p with Nvidia Quadro FX570 with KDE 4.1.3 and Nvidia driver 177.82(from Nvidia website). Kde is working like a charm but as soon as I log out the session X won’t come back and I am left with a black screen. I look at the X logs and I see something like this:
    [mi] EQ overflowing. The server is probably stuck in an infinite loop.
    [mi] mieqEnequeue: out-of-order valuator event; dropping.
    Repeated many times. When I googled this it seems like an Xorg problem but found no solutions.

  13. Wow, awesome, thanks everyone for commenting! =:)

    @Ben Boeckel: Yeah, actually, I was thinking about giving Fedora 10 a try if I can’t get things working with 11.1, but I didn’t see any 4.2/trunk packages available. This is good information! And I think 4.1.85 _is_ trunk… at least, that’s the version that OpenSUSE is using to distinguish trunk from stable (stable is 4.1.3). And to be honest, I didn’t try using the nv driver with compositing recently. If all else fails, I may try that.

    @alex: Since I posted this, I’ve upgraded the nVidia drivers to 180.16 and X still takes forever to restart which leads to kdm timing out and failing miserably. This definitely does _not_ happen with the standard nv driver, btw.

    @Daniel Andre: YES, I do have a Thinkpad T61. =:( And yeah, I guess I could try using nv + Xrender, but it’s really irritating because I did _not_ have these problems with OpenSUSE 11.0.

    @jospoortvliet: Hm. I’ll keep this in mind. Although right now, I’m just running with the bare minimum xorg.conf that OpenSUSE generated for me… I’m not using my tweaked xorg.conf from 11.0 yet. I’m trying to take things slow this time and isolate what’s causing the crashes. I’ll keep this in mind though, thanks. =:)

    @Omaha: yeah, I’m pretty familiar with getting nvidia’s proprietary drivers working with a variety of distros by now. I’m sure things are properly installed and I’m using the right kernel and X drivers. And this crashing thing happens whether I use the stable nVidia driver, the unstable (180.16), the sax-generated xorg.conf, or my xorg.conf that worked perfectly fine in OpenSUSE 11.0… which leads me to think it’s either a kernel or xorg package change that’s killing me.

    @Daniel Andre: You might try taking off the “vga=…” parameter from the kernel boot string when you reboot next time. Unless I do that, when this X/kdm freeze/hang happens, I can’t see anything in the console. But after I did that, I found out that the console just gets totally messed up in that vga mode and not in standard mode. Also, you might try bumping up the timout/retry values in kdmrc that I mentioned to see if that allows things to smooth out a bit.

    @G2g591: Okay, well that’s good to know. I think that’s the same kernel version that I’m using, just about ( What version of xorg are you using? I believe OpenSUSE 11.1 ships with xorg 7.4. And are you using a Thinkpad T61?

    @Ricky: Yeah, sounds like that’s what is happening here too. Try changing kdmrc to increase the timeout/retry values. I think what’s happening is that X is taking SO long to restart with the nVidia drivers that kdm gives up and hoses itself. Also, the screen is only black when you boot with the “vga=…” kernel parameter. Try taking that off (from the grub boot menu manually and later make it permanent by editing /boot/grub/menu.lst) and you’ll be able to see your console again.

    Thanks again everyone! =:)

  14. My apologies

    I misread the initial posting and associated with a bad Ubuntuexperience quite some time ago ;o)

  15. The 4.1.85 packages are in the kde-redhat repository . The kde-testing repo has them (kde-unstable has koffice2 if you wish, but AFAIK, it’s to be avoided for now). Rex has live CD spins to kick start installation. There’s a torrent for it here: if you decide to jump. Enjoy 🙂

  16. Pingback: OpenSUSE 11.1 and nVidia == AWESOME!! - Kasperian Moving Parts

  17. I am having the same issue, on Ubuntu 8.10 with gdm, on a Thinkpad R61, Quadro NVS. I try not to logout…

    I was thinking about installing openSuSE 11.1 (I was kinda hoping that this issue would just go away, guess that wouldn’t be the case) Has anyone figured out exactly what the issue was?

    xorg 7.4, linux 2.6.27-9-generic(ubuntu), nvidia driver 177.80

  18. Hi James! If you’re talking about the slow X restart stuff, no, I’ve not. But with my adjustments I blogged about, at least nothing dies.

  19. Hey Jason! Tried posting here a couple of times, but the site’s spambot keeps blocking me. I’d like to talk about the opensuse/nvidia issue (amongst other things!). Any way we can communicate?

    sebt 🙂

  20. Hi, a little behind the active thread, I just wanted to drop a note that problems still persist. I use Thinkpad R61, Quadro NVS 140M, updated OpenSUSE 11.1 64bit, NVIDIA official driver 180.29, KDE 4.1/4.2 and I experience the “complete freeze after logout off KDE” too. Also sometimes during logging to KDE funny images appear and disappear (Google mumbles something about graphics cache not flushed and showing the cache – sometimes I can see an image of desktop from previous session for a while, nice eh? :). Furthermore, Compiz crashes after a while (not instantly) when turned on.

    Aftera a few attempts to fix things and googling I installed suse 11.0 wtih kde 3.5 as it works with Nvidia drivers 177.x/173.x series.

    I must say KDE 4.2 looks nice. OpenSUSE too – I used Debian stable (yes, the stable branch 🙂 for several years, now I’m trying to live with OpenSUSE.

  21. Ghaan: That is the same problem I had – you should try turning up the ServerTimeout setting in /etc/kde4/kdm/kdmrc – I changed mine to 45, from default 15. Works a charm.

    there’s always a few bits and pieces with nvidia that doesn’t work well, but with the latest series of drivers it’s gotten a lot better 🙂

  22. @zegenie: Yeah, I found that solution on Google but I haven’t tried it. I’ll wait a little bit more until they fix Nvidia and KDE 4.2 gets even more stable 🙂 I use 11.0 also at work (that was the reason to install openSUSE on my laptop instead of Debian) and now it suits my needs. Another minor annoyances with 11.1 were the crashing Compiz and Bluetooth turning on during boot (even when bluetooth daemons were disabled and autostart disabled in sysconfig). But sure I’ll move to 11.1 (I guess that will be in the time 11.2 is out)

    PS: Heeeeey, I’m ex-Debianist, we’re always kinda behind! 🙂

  23. Hi everyone,
    I’m installing openSUSE on the newest IMac 24″ (among others). It has a Nvidia Gt 120, (in fact GeForce 9600 S). The driver from the Nvidia repository didn’t find that graphic card, so Sax only picked VESA with the maximum res 1600×1200, below the native res – 1920×1200. I downloaded the latest driver from Nvidia site and compiled it. I finally got the correct resolution after editing xorg.conf since Sax still couldn’t identify the chipset. The problem now is that I’m unable to switch to the console or log out from X (booting from runlevel 3) without getting a black screen. It seems to be an issue with the nvidia driver (and the nv driver as well), which conflicts with the Vesa framebuffer. However booting in normal vga didn’t solve the problem. Specifying the monitor type (Option “ConnectedMonitor” “DFP”) didn’t help either.
    Not a big deal, I will probably boot in runlevel 5 and ignore the console (it’s an IMac after all), but still annoying because I don’t know the solution (if there is any).

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