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3D-Accelerated Videocard Drivers
There’s a lot of controversy surrounding the use of closed-source drivers for graphics hardware, but they’re the only real option for 3D acceleration in Linux right now. The procedure for Nvidia and ATI hardware is a little different.
Install Nvidia GPU Drivers
Installing Nvidia’s closed-source 3D-accelerated drivers is easy with Gutsy Gibbon. Go to System > Administration > Restricted Drivers Manager. Right-click the selection and select “Mark for installation.” You’ll be prompted with a list of dependencies, which you’ll need to approve for the application to work. Click Apply to download and install the app. Then open a new terminal (Applications > Accessories > Terminal) and run this command: sudo nvidia-xconfig –add-argb-glx-visuals; follow the prompts and reboot.
Install ATI GPU Drivers
Installing ATI drivers is a little more complex. First, you’ll need to disable the Composite option in your xorg.conf. Open a terminal and type sudo gedit /etc/X11/xorg.conf. In the gedit window, scroll to the section labeled Extensions and change the Option “Composite” line from “Enabled” to “Disabled”. Then in your already opened terminal window, type the following six commands:
You’ll need to reboot your system to enable the driver.
ATI has recently released updated drivers to the open source community, but at press time these drivers are largely experimental on Ubuntu, and we don’t recommend them for use on productions machines yet.
Even in Ubuntu Feisty Fawn, getting your monitor do display its native resolution was frequently frustrating and cumbersome. But with Gutsy Gibbon comes improved support for LCD displays, including the latest and greatest GeForce 8800 cards from Nvidia. So in most cases, your system should boot into its native resolution right away. But if you’re using newer ATI card, you may still have to tweak the resolution manually.
To set the resolution manually, you’ll need to edit the X configuration file at /etc/X11/xorg.conf. The easiest way to launch and edit it is to open up a terminal window by clicking Applications > Accessories > Terminal and type sudo gedit /etc/X11/xorg.conf at the prompt. You’ll be prompted for your password, and then the editor will open.
Look for a line labeled Section “Screen” or Section “Monitor” and find the line labeled Modes. It should include a few screen resolutions. If your display’s native resolution isn’t listed, add it to the end of each Modes line in the section in this format: “1920x1200” (including quotes).
Install Restricted Software
This one’s pretty simple: All you have to do is open the Applications menu, click Add/Remove, then change the Show: dropdown to read “All available applications.” Search for “Restricted” and check the box next to the package called “Ubuntu restricted extras.” This will install support for Flash, Java, some closed audio and video codecs, and TrueType fonts. On older versions of Linux, installing this stuff was an absolute nightmare that could take several hours, and you weren’t guaranteed success even after you spent that time!