NVIDIA drivers in Ubuntu 8.10 (Intrepid Ibex)

I upgraded from Kubuntu 7.10 to Ubuntu 8.10 this morning.

This was via a fresh installation into a new partition.

Getting it running went fairly smoothly but trying to get the NVIDIA drivers working was a world of pain.

It seemed that no matter what I tried I always got the following error:

Failed to load the NVIDIA kernel module

Every tip and bit of advice I found online didn’t work.

It turns out that the linux kernel headers aren’t installed by default but are required by the nvidia drivers (I only wasted two hours finding this out!).

It’ll never work unless you install the linux headers first.

These commands fixed it for me (exact version numbers may vary according to current Linux kernel version and your particular video card).

apt-get install linux-headers-2.6.27-7-generic

apt-get install nvidia-glx-177

Hope this helps someone.

Missing desktop icons in Ubuntu/Gnome

Ever since I installed Ubuntu I’ve not been able to right-click my desktop – as in, I right-clicked and no menu appeared.

Also, I never had any icons on my desktop.

I could view my ~/Desktop folder in Nautilus and place files there, but they never actually appeared on my desktop.

Compared to all the other things I was setting up this was just a minor annoyance – but today I was able to give it my full attention and thereby allow it to become a major annoyance.

The important thing to note here is that I always keep my home directory between installs – so clearly I had some strange setting from way back hidden in a config file somewhere (and Gnome gives you a lot of config files).

Anyway, suffice to say, after much hacking and googling I found a page advising me how to fix the problem.

Following the instrucions to restore the Trash Can at SystemTools – Configurator Editor – Nautilus… I disable and enable the Preferences – show_desktop option and now I have my lost icons again.

The “show_desktop” option – if only they were all that simple.

Ubuntu installation notes

Some things I had to do when I first installed Ubuntu.

As I plan to install it again at home these notes will come in handy (maybe only for me).

First off; I installed it on a new partition, keeping my old Slackware install on another partition.

The first thing to do is to set it up so that I can still boot back into Slackware – just in case.

Dual boot

Mount the old Slackware partition, I normally mount it on /mnt/old as I often need to refer to old config files etc.

Copy the slackware kernel image from /mnt/old/boot to /boot on Ubuntu.

Edit /boot/grub/menu.lst and add an entry for the old kernel.

Edit the entry so that it boots off the correct partition (note: grub partitions count from zero).


The next thing was to install the NVidia drivers so that I could run it at 1600X1200.

Luckily there’s a HOWTO for that – (I followed method 1).


After installation I edited /etc/X11/xorg.conf to add 1600X1200 as a resolution for the 24 bit colour depth line.

keyboard shortcuts

I’m very big on keyboard shortcuts and multiple workspaces so I then did the following:

Increase number of workspaces to 6

Right click panel; Preferences.

Map keyboard shortcut to each workspace (Alt-1, Alt-2 etc)

Run gconf-editor /apps/metacity

Edit Global keybindings.

Map keyboard shortcuts to arbitrary commands

Run gconf-editor /apps/metacity

Add command to “keybinding_commands”

Map key to “run_command_n” in “global_keybindings”


I then installed qmail by following http://www.lifewithqmail.org/lwq.html#installation.


A friend (the one who gave me the Ubuntu CD) told me to look at Automatix.

It sets up lots of stuff for you with a nice installer tool.


Stuff I installed

I also installed a whole bunch of stuff using the Synaptic package manager.

I got this list from the history feature in Synaptic.
















That’s about it.

I still have a few things to sort out – mutt is playing up – so I’m having a play with Evolution.

xmms is skipping when playing music streams from home – not sure yet why that is.

But so much other stuff works better than it did in Slackware so overall I’m happy.


I’ve spent yesterday and today installing Ubuntu.

This is a big deal for me, I’ve been running Slackware as my main OS at home and work since around 2000.

My main reason for switching was that the latest release of Slackware no longer comes with Gnome. I don’t run the Gnome desktop environment, but I like my apps to be compiled against Gnome as I prefer its look and feel to GTK.

A few weeks ago one of the chaps at work handed me an Ubuntu live CD to try out, I figured it wouldn’t hurt to try it out so I gave it a whirl.

I liked it, so eventually I took the plunge and installed it properly.

I set it up to dual boot so I can still go back to Slackware if I need to.

So far though, I like it.

Not sure about all these GUI apps though, I’m used to running Slackware – when I want to do something I hack on text files using vi.

Now I’m supposed to run some fancy-schmancy GUI tool instead. That’s not what Linux is all about surely! 🙂