Installing Nvidia driver in Debian Lenny

If you’re running Debian testing (aka “Lenny”) which brings no Nvidia driver packages – only the legacy ones – or like to install the latest drivers by Nvidia for Etch, you’ll be running into a problem: the Nvdia installer won’t find everything necessary for compiling the kernel module. So, here’s a small HOWTO:

First, download the latest Nvidia driver (by the time of writing it’s version 100.14.11) corresponding to your architecture (i386 or amd64) from the Nvidia ftp site (just look here). Then, make sure the following packages are installed:

  • build-essential
  • linux-headers-2.6 (corresponding to your kernel)
  • pkg-config
  • xserver-xorg-dev

If everything is set, stop X by typing as root:

/etc/init.d/gdm stop (Gnome)


/etc/init.d/kdm stop (KDE)

Login as root and start the downloaded Nvidia installer (one line):

/path/to/ --x-module-path=/usr/lib/xorg/modules/

The installer will ask whether to compile the kernel module. Choose “yes” here. Again say “yes” to invoke the “nvidia-xconfig” script. Now reboot and X should then start showing the Nvidia logo!