Nouveau video driver for GForce 7300 card in OpenSUSE 11.4 w/KDE

I would like to use Nouveau rather than NVidia proprietary drivers. I am very experienced with Linux but a bit clueless with monitors. I got rather close to a working setup, but just can’t get the resolution and maybe H/V sync frequency of my monitor correct.

My system:
OpenSUSE 11.4 32-bit
Gforce 7300
KDE desktop
Acer 21" LCD monitor, non-wide screen, it can do 1600x1200

X configuration:
No file, and only one modified file in xorg.conf.d, namely to specify the driver “nouveau” (by the way, is that even needed??)

According to lsmod, nouveau loads perfectly.

However, KDE starts-up in an odd, non-useful screen resolution. 3d works, slowly, which is OK.

I specifically want 1024x768 resolution, but am not able to specify a different resolution in the Display configuration section of the KDE control center (I understand that is perhaps normal). I tried inserting text into the xorg.conf.d/50-monitor, not really knowing what to add or where :open_mouth: and eventually got 1024x768 but the display was unstable, blinking off and on every so-often, and the screen edges were off.

I am pretty sure I simply need to put information about my monitor and desired resolution into some file(s) in xorg.conf.d/ or maybe build a dreaded xorg.conf file. I know of the “cvt” utility, and I have a hunch this is part of the solution. Thanks.

  • GNUMattX

Open a terminal and type


to display your display device name(s) and available display modes.

Create/edit a minimal xorg.conf with an editor like this for KDE:

kdesu kwrite /etc/X11/xorg.conf

For Gnome Use:

gnomesu gedit /etc/X11/xorg.conf

Create/adjust the monitor section like this for example:

Section "Monitor"
   Identifier "LVDS"
   Option "Preferred Mode" "1280x800"

You can see I’ve used my laptop display name LVDS. (You’ll need to use the
display name as per your xrandr output). When done, save the file, and restart
the X-server. Now your desktop should start up in your preferred display mode.

Thank You,

Thanks for your help, however this resulted in the monitor blinking off and on (perhaps it was resetting) every 20-30 seconds, although the resolution was correct and “nouveau” loaded and worked properly (e.g., desktop effects worked). I noticed the blinking monitor began as KDE was loading.

But I might have a hint as to the problem. Upon further examination, the KDE display control revealed the frequency at 1024x768 was 60Hz, and I believe my monitor wants 75Hz. Let me show you the “monitor” section of xorg.conf generated by SaX for OpenSUSE 11.2:

Section “Monitor”
Option “CalcAlgorithm” “XServerPool”
DisplaySize 375 301
HorizSync 30-80
Identifier “Monitor[0]”
ModelName “ACER V193”
Option “DPMS”
Option “PreferredMode” “1280x960”
VendorName “ACR”
VertRefresh 43-75
UseModes “Modes[0]”

Yes, I see it says 1280x960, but somehow I had it stepped-down to 1024x768 either using SaX or the KDE Display control.

So, it sounds like you are suggesting using a xorg.conf file after all, and the objective is to build one containing only a description of the monitor. I am also reading about a tool “cvt”. Between the above xorg.conf file that worked in 11.2 and maybe the “cvt” tool, how could I build a xorg.conf file for 11.4?

Thanks. Wow, so much has changed with video configuration in the past 18 months, I was really surprised when X failed to start after the installation of 11.4. I read the SDB on Graphic Card Practical Theory, and even that didn’t help.

I don’t have a specific solution, but some miscellaneous back ground information to put things in context, especially wrt the massive changes that have taken place in X in openSUSE since around openSUSE-11.1.

Currently starting with openSUSE-11.3 and carrying on in openSUSE-11.4, it is no longer necessary to have an /etc/X11/xorg.conf file (although one will be used if present).

In essence, with no xorg.conf file, the default setup is for openSUSE to install with an xorg.conf.install file, and then after installation is complete, X is supposed to automatically configure using kernel mode setting (also known as kms). If kms fails, it is possible via a boot code to disable kms such that X attempts its own automatic configuration using information which I believe is gathered from udev.

Next, information in a series of files under /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/ (such as 10-evdev.conf, 11-mouse.conf, 50-device.conf, 50-monitor.conf, 50-screen.conf, 50-synaptics.conf, 50-vmmouse.conf, 50-wacom.conf, 90-keytable.conf) are used to configure X. One can configure X more precisely by populating those files appropriately/accordingly. If information is missing from any of those, X will make its ‘best guess’ as to what it should use. There can also be OTHER files in the /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/ directory in addition to those I mentioned. So do NOT keep backups starting with xx-somename (where xx is a number) in that /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/ directory as the backups could be treated as real configuration files. Keep your backups elsewhere.

Now if there is an /etc/X11/xorg.conf file, any information in it will take precidence over the information in the files under /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/ . And of course if any information is missing, X will attempt to automatically configure.

When it comes to figuring out what has happened with X during a boot attempt, often the best information is kept under /var/log/Xorg.0.log or /var/log/Xorg.0.log.old.

I hope that helps a bit to understand the changes.

Good luck !!

Thanks to both of you who replied. I learned a lot. I ended up having to use the nv driver with the nomodeset kernel boot option. I am well enough experienced with Linux and OpenSUSE to be certain this is the only solution at present. Unfortunately, I lost 3D graphics as a result. My intention is to explore alternate video cards that are better supported by free opensource operating systems, performance is not a priority. I am open to suggestions, and if there isn’t already a discussion on the topic, I might start a new thread.

FYI, here is a summary, some of this is new information.

  • Nouveau will adjust screen resolutions, but not adjust the sync frequency as needed, even if encouraged to do so using a legacy xorg.conf that works with nv and Nvidia proprietary. I am wondering if this is a bug in Nouveau, or if KMS hardware detection is failing to validate that the 75Hz frequency is available and thus it falls back to a default 60Hz. Of course my monitor is partially to blame since 60Hz is supposed to be commonplace. I noticed another post from March mentioning the same periodic screen blank behavior, very likely the same thing.

  • Nvidia proprietary driver, which I used in 11.3, starts KDE to a point, and clearly is able to get the sync frequency correct. However, this does not work presently due to a well-known nasty bug with 11.4 32-bit KDE (I reproduced this on another system). I am sure this would work if the bug was resolved, though I’d prefer to use free opensource drivers even if slower, that’s just me I guess.

Many thanks. I hope new users are not scared away from free opensource operating systems if X fails to launch after installation – it seems this is happening more often since KMS, reliance on auto-detection, elimination of SaX, etc. not a painless transition. :frowning:

So I wish you luck with your setup. I use only nVIDIA video cards and load their proprietary video driver into 64 bit systems. This setup works really well for me. If you have any option to go 64 bit, this is the setup I would recommend to you.

Thank You,

Thank you, it sounds like the 64-bit OS would be very likely to work, given that the nVidia / KDE problem is not present in that architecture, so you probably solved the problem. I will eventually make this upgrade, I’ve just been putting it off. Have a good day!

You can still use your 11.2 xorg file in 11.4. If you have saved the sax generated file from 11.2, try it in 11.4.
The chances are it will work.

Hi and thanks for chiming in. Yes, old SaX generated xorg.conf file works perfectly with “nv” driver using the “nomodeset” option – all of my available resolutions show up in the KDE Display control. The problem was using other drivers with 3D support: nVidia has a nasty bug in the 32-bit OS and Nouveau appears to be still a work in progress (though working well for most users).

But as long as you mentioned the SaX generated xorg.conf file, this is an interesting topic on its own. SaX worked perfectly, but now it is gone. If I did not have the xorg.conf file from two releases ago, a new OpenSUSE installation would detect only one available screen resolution, and attempting to introduce a preferred mode by itself (as suggested above) does not work correctly. In fact on another system we have, this one with a new OpenSUSE install and different hardware, again the monitor is stuck on one resolution. She would have preferred a different resolution but learned to live with the default. Wow, you know, in every other respect OPENsuse keeps getting better and better (I go back to 9.1, and used every released except I skipped over the one that introduced KDE 4).

BTW, I heard “nv” is going away soon. Well, I would not be running right now if that wasn’t around.

Tough issues hanging over us right now. Thanks.

There was a lot of discussion about the sax2 removal. In a nutshell, some openSUSE versions back SuSE-GmbH noted they could no longer maintain the Sax2 code (and there were MANY bugs on it as it did not work for many users anymore) and so SuSE-GmbH asked for technical volunteers from the openSUSE community to step forward and maintain it. Unfortunately that did not happen, so SuSE-GmbH had to drop it with no one taking over.

There was a strong push from the openSUSE community for a replacement, and its possible there will be a sax3 (possibly not as capable as sax2) where there is a summer program and a sax3 is being coded for openSUSE as I type. But a sax3 is a tall order, and we all have our fingers crossed and hope sax3 works out.

The nouveau driver has been improving all the time, although as you point out, it does NOT work for everyone. A year ago, the nouveau driver would fail miserably on my nVidia FX5200 graphic card, and the ‘nv’ driver would work better. Well now the ‘nouveau’ driver works MUCH better than the ‘nv’ driver, so gradually various hardware is being picked up for support by the nouveau.

X is more automated than it was in the past, with udev and kernel mode setting. It still does not work for all, as you (and myself and others) have noted, but there is ongoing development going on there across all distributions.

The graphic issues here are IMHO GNU/Linux wide and not openSUSE specific.

Hence while there are tough issues, there is also good work taking place, and so my view is its more of the same as in the past, where cutting edge graphic hardware won’t work well with GNU/Linux, moderately aged graphic hardware will work reasonably (albeit GNU/Linux graphic drivers will continue to be NOT be as good as those of the MS-Windows OS), and old graphic hardware will gradually find its support stopped (and this is true for MS-Windows as much as GNU/Linux).

Use cvt to generate the required modes for you:
cvt 1399x768
Use this output with xrandr to generate the modelines you need and then add them to the xorg.conf settings.
Gentoo has a reference or use this one (it’s for mac but the principle is the same):
Setting Xorg.conf manually with xrandr | Linux on your Apple Mac | iLinux

You may also be able to get around it by adding the modes to the /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/50-monitors.conf (I think that’s the filename).
Also, look at the xorg error log file in /var/log for clues.