Hard lesson from NVIDIA

Last week I’ve managed to accidentally break my Linux installation. Probably, the first time for the last ten years where Linux behaved truly “unstable”.

I am a happy Manjaro/KDE user for almost three years. It’s a rolling release distro and it really lasted this timespan without any installations. Once I had a problem with it after partially applying the upgrade, but it was easy to fix. I’ve never had any issues with hardware, drivers, displays and finding software. I am neither a gamer, nor a cryptopunk or scientist. So I never interested in my GPU. I even didn’t know what model do I have except that it is NVIDIA.

Till last Monday.

I wanted to play with a software that needs OpenGL 3.3. It’s an eight years old OpenGL, so what could possibly go wrong? I run glxinfo | grep "OpenGL version" and got the result: OpenGL version string: 3.0 Mesa 18.1.6.

Damn, I need to install GPU drivers!

I decided to go with proprietary version for no reason. It’s the official driver version, right? It should work!

So, I’ve downloaded one from their site, matching my GPU and installed it. Last step was to use it for X.Org config (yeah, I’m still not on Wayland):

sudo nvidia-xconfig


Screen not found!

That command totally ruined my X.Org config and, just like a spit in my face, it created an empty “backup” that I was not able to use for repair.

Then I found this comment on “Super User” and a lot of threads across the Internet that warn people of using nvidia-xconfig.

I had to do a reinstall.

After the reinstall I just tried the second path: using Bumblbee. There is also an awesome article on Arch Wiki that lead me to success. Even better, now I can use GPU just when I really need it, thus saving the battery, by uswing optirun.

Always read the docs first and have a retreat plan.

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