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SDB:NVIDIA the hard way

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Installing NVIDIA's proprietary driver using their installer (.run) is desired.

This is called "the hard way" because installing via zypp is easier.


Create a system snapshot to rollback to if needed.

# snapper create

Install the minimum requirements

The following patterns contain the minimum requirements:

# zypper in -t pattern devel_C_C++ devel_kernel

The kernel-source package (548M) in devel_kernel is needed according to chapter 4 of the official installation guide; however, you might investigate --add-this-kernel (in that same chapter).

Uninstall conflicts

On Leap 42.3 you need to uninstall the drm-kmp-default package.

# zypper rm drm-kmp-default

Get the hardware information

In a terminal:

# lspci | grep VGA
# lscpu | grep Arch


# hwinfo --gfxcard | grep Model
# hwinfo --arch

There is also YaST2 -> Hardware Information.

Download the driver installer

These all seem to be official sources:

Direct links can be found at:

Changes in the kernel, Mesa, and Xorg can break driver compatibility, i.e. download the lastest driver before an upgrade.

Boot without nouveau

Reboot and press E at GRUB2, then add nomodeset and 3 to the group "splash=silent quiet showopts". For example: "splash=silent quiet nomodeset 3 showopts"

nomodeset ensures the nouveau driver won't be loaded.

3 ensures that the system boots to a virtual console (runlevel 3) instead of to a display manager / X session.

These options will not be saved for the next boot (see YaST2 -> Boot Loader -> Kernel Parameters or /etc/default/grub).

Alternatively, you could try booting in IGFX (integrated graphics) mode from BIOS. For desktops this requires connection of a monitor to a motherboard video output port.

Blacklist nouveau

The proprietary driver installer will blacklist nouveau; therefore, you can usually skip this section.

The installer creates the file /etc/modprobe.d/nvidia.conf that contains:

blacklist nouveau

Other versions might also add:

options nouveau.modeset=0

Install the driver

First, log in as root (the superuser).

To view a list of all options:

# sh /home/<username>/Downloads/<NVIDIA*.run> -A

Normal installation:

# sh /home/<username>/Downloads/<NVIDIA*.run>

When the installer indicates nouveau might have just been blacklisted, you can continue without rebooting (if you booted as suggested).

Allowing the installer to configure /etc/X11/xorg.conf creates a copy (/etc/X11/xorg.conf.nvidia-xconfig-original) of the current version, which it will restore on uninstallation.

Once the installation is complete, you might need to run:

# mkinitrd

That will add /etc/modprobe.d/nvidia.conf to the initial ramdisk. To verify, run:

# lsinitrd | grep nvidia

Restart the computer:

# shutdown -r now

To check the driver's status:

 # hwinfo --gfxcard
 Driver Info #0:
   Driver Status: nouveau is not active
   Driver Activation Cmd: "modprobe nouveau"
 Driver Info #1:
   Driver Status: nvidia_drm is active
   Driver Activation Cmd: "modprobe nvidia_drm"
 Driver Info #2:
   Driver Status: nvidia is active
   Driver Activation Cmd: "modprobe nvidia"
# lsmod | grep nvidia
nvidia_drm             49152  1 
nvidia_modeset       1097728  4 nvidia_drm
nvidia              14344192  223 nvidia_modeset
ipmi_msghandler        53248  1 nvidia
drm_kms_helper        155648  2 i915,nvidia_drm
drm                   397312  6 i915,drm_kms_helper,nvidia_drm

Expert mode

Alternatively, there is an "expert" installation mode with more questions:

# sh /home/<username>/Downloads/<NVIDIA*.run> -e

Kernel updates and driver compatibility

Please note: you will have to repeat these steps whenever you update the kernel. This is necessary because, unlike with the NVIDIA driver from the NVIDIA's openSUSE repos, this driver isn't copied to directories for KMPs which remains valid across kernel updates.


The installer provides two command line utilities:

# man nvidia-settings
# man nvidia-xconfig

nvidia-settings run without arguments will open a graphical user interface.

Multiple monitors

Multiple monitors might work without configuration. If not, then see chapters 12-14 of the official documentation.


One solution for persistent tearing is:

nvidia-settings -> x server display configuration -> advanced -> force composition pipeline

Warning: Saving this to /etc/X11/xorg.conf via the nvidia-settings GUI might adversely affect loading your desktop.

Alternatively, a simple script can be used to turn it on from the command line. For example:

Create /home/<username>/bin/fcp

nvidia-settings --assign CurrentMetaMode="nvidia-auto-select +0+0 { ForceCompositionPipeline = $1 }"

Make it executable:

chmod +x /home/<username>/bin/fcp

Turn it on:

fcp 1

Turn it off:

fcp 0

xrefresh can be installed via zypper. It might be needed to avoid a blank screen.

Ctrl+Alt+F1 then Ctrl+Alt+F7 can also help in that situation.

GRUB2 and virtual terminal resolution

Unlike with nouveau, virtual terminals will be low resolution.

One way to fix this is with a GRUB2 setting, which will also increase GRUB2's resolution.

yast2 > Boot Loader > Kernel Parameters > Console resolution

Alternatively, to manually achieve the same thing:

From GRUB2 you can press C, and then check the supported resolutions with: vbeinfo

After booting you can edit /etc/default/grub





Using a resolution you found with vbeinfo. (more on gfxmode)

Then run:

# grub2-mkconfig -o /boot/grub2/grub.cfg


Plymouth, the loading screen between GRUB2 and the display manager, might not show.

To see the boot messages instead, uninstall plymouth (or add plymouth.enable=0 to the kernel parameters) and remove the kernel parameters:

splash=silent quiet

For fewer messages, set the log level:


Uninstall and use modesetting or nouveau DDX

Boot with "nomodeset" and "3", like for installation.

The installer is also used to uninstall:

# sh <NVIDIA*.run> --uninstall

/etc/modprobe.d/nvidia.conf will be deleted.

/etc/X11/xorg.conf will be replaced with /etc/X11/xorg.conf.nvidia-xconfig-original (a pre-installation copy).

You might need to run mkinitrd after uninstalling (more).

The default DDX modesetting has been provided by the server package since version 1.17.0 in 2015. When package xf86-video-nouveau is installed, the nouveau DDX should be utilized automagically instead.

See also

Related articles

External links