[SATLUG] Motherboard Issues with Fedora 9 and 10

Bruce Dubbs bruce.dubbs at gmail.com
Mon Jun 22 18:47:31 CDT 2009

Crandall, Sean wrote:
> This has happened to me many times, and you're right, it's always been a
> video driver issue.  I used to run Gentoo on a Dell Latitude, and I
> would run binary video drivers so I could get hardware acceleration.
> Every time the kernel updated, the video driver broke because it was
> compiled for kernel-2.6.xyzlongstringA, so it wouldn't load for
> kernel-2.6.xyzlongstringB.  (Incidentally, this kind of subtle
> incompatibility that would completely break things and sometimes end up
> with circular dependencies that couldn't be resolved drove me to finally
> abandon Gentoo.  The worst was when it would break gcc, so you couldn't
> go anywhere from there.  

Yes, you are right about that.  The way modules work is that they are loaded 
from the directory tree /lib/modules/<kernel version>/.

The reason for this is that kernel modules become a part of the operating system 
itself and are very dependent on exported names.  Each time the kernel changes, 
all the modules need to be updated too.  This includes proprietary modules.  I 
use both nvidia and vmware and have to go through that every time I upgrade the 
kernel.  There is also an internal check made when loading that ensures the 
module was built with the same version of gcc as the kernel.  Otherwise, there 
could be latent differences that could inadvertently hose your system.

For me, the process is build a new kernel, boot into level 3 (command line) like 
I always do, build the nvidia driver, and startx.  Then I can build the vmware 
module when needed.

All this is not really hard once yoou've done it a couple of times, but to 
someone who just loads a pre-compiled distro like SuSE, Fedora, or Ubuntu, it 
can cause problems that they don't know how to fix.

The optimal solution would be for makers of proprietary drivers to just open 
source the code into the kernel, but some are just unwilling to do that.

   -- Bruce

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