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August 29, 2020

Installing proprietary graphics drivers on the Debian Buster

Tutorial to installation proprietary graphics drivers on the Debian Buster.

Installing proprietary graphics drivers on the Debian Buster

Debian Buster use by default open source graphics drivers, for example nouveau driver for NVIDIA graphic adapters. For some graphics intensive applications may be good idea to use proprietary drivers provided by graphics adapters producers. Within Debian Buster you can use proprietary drivers for NVIDIA and AMD/ATI graphics adapters.

This post is designed for a beginners. If you will have some problems or special requirements, then you may need to see to documentation. Links you find in this post.

Now, lets go to installation. First, we will find which graphics adapter we have in our computer. Open a terminal and execute commands:

lspci -nn | egrep -i "3d|display|vga"

If you will see in terminal this listing or similar, then you have graphics adapter NIDIA. In this case it is graphic adapter GeForce 8800 GTS:

01:00.0 VGA compatible controller [0300]: NVIDIA Corporation G80 [GeForce 8800 GTS] [10de:0193] (rev a2)

If you will see in terminal this listing or similar, then you have graphics adapter ATI/AMD. In this case it is graphic adapter Radeon HD 6850:

01:00.0 VGA compatible controller [0300]: Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. [AMD/ATI] Barts PRO [Radeon HD 6850] [1002:6739]

Now, we will find which we neeed graphics driver and then install it. Before installing we check if we have in the file /etc/apt/sources.list allowed use non-free software by declarations „contrib“ and „non-free“, for example as this:

deb http://deb.debian.org/debian buster main contrib non-free

Graphics adapters NVIDIA

In stable version of the Debian Buster is driver version 418.152. For older graphics adapters are available drivers version 390.132 and 340.108. Now, we find which driver supports our graphics adapter:

List of supported graphics adapters for driver version 418.152 is at http://us.download.nvidia.com/XFree86/Linux-x86_64/418.113/README/supportedchips.html. If you don’t find here your graphics adapter because you have older model, then you check list of supported graphics adapters for driver version 390.132 at http://us.download.nvidia.com/XFree86/Linux-x86/390.132/README/supportedchips.html and for driver version 340.108 at http://us.download.nvidia.com/XFree86/Linux-x86/340.108/README/supportedchips.html. In our case we need for our GeForce 8800 GTS graphics adapter driver version 340.108. If you don’t find your graphics adapter in the lists, then you will need check documentation at https://wiki.debian.org/NvidiaGraphicsDrivers.

Now, we know, which driver we need and we can make installation. First, we update repositories and installed packages:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade

NVIDIA drivers are installed as kernel modules and therefore we need to install the apropriate headers. For driver version 418.152 we use commands:

sudo apt-get install linux-headers-$(uname -r|sed 's,[^-]*-[^-]*-,,') nvidia-driver

Driver version 390.132:

sudo apt-get install linux-headers-$(uname -r|sed 's,[^-]*-[^-]*-,,') nvidia-legacy-390xx-driver

Driver version 340.108:

sudo apt-get install linux-headers-$(uname -r|sed 's,[^-]*-[^-]*-,,') nvidia-legacy-340xx-driver

Now, we create driver configuration file. Graphics adapter can be work without this file but I personally recommend create it. First, we create folder for this file:

sudo mkdir /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d

And we create configuration file. In this case we use text editor nano but you can use another editor. Now, we run the nano editor:

sudo nano /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/20-nvidia.conf

Paste to nano editor this text and save file:

Section "Device"
  Identifier "My GPU"
  Driver "nvidia"
  Option "UseEdidDpi" "False"
  Option "DPI" "96 x 96"
EndSection

Finally, we restart computer for apply changes. If you will have problems, then check documentation at https://wiki.debian.org/NvidiaGraphicsDrivers.

Graphics adapters ATI/AMD

Installing proprietary drivers ATI/AMD is easy because we need to install only relevant packages. Installation documentation is at https://wiki.debian.org/AtiHowTo. First, we update repositories and installed packages:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade

And we continue by installing relevant packages:

sudo apt-get install firmware-linux-nonfree libgl1-mesa-dri libglx-mesa0 mesa-vulkan-drivers xserver-xorg-video-all

Finally, we restart computer for apply changes. If you will have problems, then check documentation at https://wiki.debian.org/AtiHowTo.

Installable USB Sticker with Debian Buster
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