Chapter 2. Minimum Software Requirements

Software Element Supported versions Check With...
Linux kernel 2.4.22 and newer cat /proc/version
XFree86* 4.0.1 and newer XFree86 -version
X.Org* 1.0, 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.4, 1.5, 1.6, 1.7, 1.8, 1.9, 1.10, 1.11, 1.12, 1.13 Xorg -version
Kernel modutils 2.1.121 and newer insmod --version
glibc 2.0 ls /lib/* > 6

* It is only required that you have one of XFree86 or X.Org, not both.

Please see “How do I interpret X server version numbers?” for a note about X server version numbers.

If you need to build the NVIDIA kernel module:

Software Element Min Requirement Check With...
binutils 2.9.5 size --version
GNU make 3.77 make --version
gcc 2.91.66 gcc --version

All official stable kernel releases from 2.4.22 and up are supported; "prerelease" versions such as "2.6.23-rc1" are not supported, nor are development series kernels such as 2.3.x or 2.5.x. The Linux kernel can be downloaded from or one of its mirrors.

binutils and gcc can be retrieved from or one of its mirrors.

If you are using XFree86, but do not have a file /var/log/XFree86.0.log, then you probably have a 3.x version of XFree86 and must upgrade.

Sometimes very recent X server versions are not supported immediately following release, but we aim to support all new versions as soon as possible. Support is not added for new X server versions until after the video driver ABI is frozen, which usually happens at the release candidate stage. Prerelease versions that are not release candidates, such as "", are not supported.

If you are setting up the X Window System for the first time, it is often easier to begin with one of the open source drivers that ships with XFree86 and X.Org (either "nv", "vga" or "vesa"). Once your system is operating properly with the open source driver, you may then switch to the NVIDIA driver.

Note that newer NVIDIA GPUs may not work with older versions of the "nv" driver shipped with X.Org and XFree86. For example, the "nv" driver that shipped with X.Org's X11R7.2 release did not recognize the GeForce 8 family and the Quadro 4600/5600 GPUs. This was fixed in the X11R7.3 release. X.Org releases (and individual packages) can be retrieved from

These software packages may also be available through your Linux distributor.