Saturday, April 30, 2005

Surviving Mandrake (and NVidia Drivers)

One of the most easiest thing to do on Mandrake is updates. Even kernel updates. But as my previous experience has shown kernel updates with Nvidia drivers are not to be taken lightly. So the first step is to plan.
Do not enter a room without knowing how to get out.

Or something like that.. DeNiro's character in the movie Ronin said at the beginning of the movie. I have to do something similar. In order to compile Nvidia drivers, you need the kernel source. So, if you update the kernel, you need the related kernel-source at the same time. Problem is, if you update with urpmi or Mandrake update, you lose the kernel source.
What we want to avoid.
We update the kernel and the kernel source. Then either we fail to complie the nvidia driver or the nvidia driver fails to work. Need to undo. Mandrake has kept the previous version of the kernel but not the source. If you failed to complie the nvidia driver, then the old one is probably there. But if the driver was a dud, you have to recompile. If you don't have the previous version of the kernel source, you are screwed because most sites don't keep older versions of the kernel source. Or you can use the non-Nvidia nvidia drivers (just change the XF86Config or equivalent file). Yep, drive your Ferrari only in the first gear.
Moral of story. Download the kernel-source rpm and then install it by hand after you have updated the kernel but before you recompile the Nvidia driver.
Before I get feedbacks on "how stupid it is for the need to recompile in this day and age" or "Run for the hills! Recompilin's here!", let me point out that the Nvidia driver recompile process is menu driven. Push button.
I am so anxious I haven't updated my kernel for so long. But I need to. Sigh. Wish me luck.

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