Chapter 7. Common Problems

This section provides solutions to common problems associated with the NVIDIA SunOS x86 Driver.

My X server fails to start, and my X log file contains the error:

(EE) NVIDIA(0): The NVIDIA kernel module does not appear to
(EE) NVIDIA(0):      be receiving interrupts generated by the NVIDIA graphics
(EE) NVIDIA(0):      device PCI:x:x:x. Please see the COMMON PROBLEMS
(EE) NVIDIA(0):      section in the README for additional information.

This can be caused by a variety of problems, such as PCI IRQ routing errors, I/O APIC problems, conflicts with other devices sharing the IRQ (or their drivers), or MSI compatibility problems.

If possible, configure your system such that your graphics card does not share its IRQ with other devices (try moving the graphics card to another slot if applicable, unload/disable the driver(s) for the device(s) sharing the card's IRQ, or remove/disable the device(s)).

My X server fails to start, and my X log file contains the error:

(EE) NVIDIA(0): The interrupt for NVIDIA graphics device PCI:x:x:x
(EE) NVIDIA(0):      appears to be edge-triggered. Please see the COMMON
(EE) NVIDIA(0):      PROBLEMS section in the README for additional information.

An edge-triggered interrupt means that the kernel has programmed the interrupt as edge-triggered rather than level-triggered in the Advanced Programmable Interrupt Controller (APIC). Edge-triggered interrupts are not intended to be used for sharing an interrupt line between multiple devices; level-triggered interrupts are the intended trigger for such usage. When using edge-triggered interrupts, it is common for device drivers using that interrupt line to stop receiving interrupts. This would appear to the end user as those devices no longer working, and potentially as a full system hang. These problems tend to be more common when multiple devices are sharing that interrupt line.

X starts for me, but OpenGL applications terminate immediately.

If X starts but you have trouble with OpenGL, you most likely have a problem with other libraries in the way, or there are stale symlinks. See Chapter 4, Installed Components for details.

You should also check that the correct extensions are present;

    % xdpyinfo

should show the “GLX” and “NV-GLX” extensions present. If these two extensions are not present, then there is most likely a problem loading the glx module, or it is unable to implicitly load GLcore. Check your X config file and make sure that you are loading glx (see Chapter 5, Configuring X for the NVIDIA Driver). If your X config file is correct, then check the X log file for warnings/errors pertaining to GLX. Also check that all of the necessary symlinks are in place (refer to Chapter 4, Installed Components).

When Xinerama is enabled, my stereo glasses are shuttering only when the stereo application is displayed on one specific X screen. When the application is displayed on the other X screens, the stereo glasses stop shuttering.

This problem occurs with DDC and "blue line" stereo glasses, that get the stereo signal from one video port of the graphics card. When a X screen does not display any stereo drawable the stereo signal is disabled on the associated video port.

Forcing stereo flipping allows the stereo glasses to shutter continuously. This can be done by enabling the OpenGL control "Force Stereo Flipping" in nvidia-settings, or by setting the X configuration option "ForceStereoFlipping" to "1".

Stereo is not in sync across multiple displays.

There are two cases where this may occur. If the displays are attached to the same GPU, and one of them is out of sync with the stereo glasses, you will need to reconfigure your monitors to drive identical mode timings; see Chapter 17, Programming Modes for details.

If the displays are attached to different GPUs, the only way to synchronize stereo across the displays is with a Quadro Sync device, which is only supported by certain Quadro cards. See Chapter 22, Configuring Frame Lock and Genlock for details. This applies to seperate GPUs on seperate cards as well as seperate GPUs on the same card, such as Quadro FX 4500 X2. Note that the Quadro FX 4500 X2 only provides a single DIN connector for stereo, tied to the bottommost GPU. In order to synchronize onboard stereo on the other GPU you must use a Quadro Sync device.

My X server fails to start, and my X log file contains the error:

(EE) NVIDIA(0): Failed to load the NVIDIA kernel module!

The X driver will abort with this error message if the NVIDIA kernel module fails to load or the device files aren't present. If you receive this error, you should check the output of dmesg for kernel error messages.

If modinfo reports that the "nvidia" kernel module is loaded, the device files (/dev/nvidiactl, /dev/nvidia0..7, /dev/fbs/nvidia0..7) may be missing.

CDE and JDS do not start when multiple display devices are enabled.

When multiple display devices are enabled on the same X screen, the NVIDIA X driver normally provides a Xinerama extension that X clients (such as window managers) can use to to discover the current configuration of display devices. Some window mangers can get confused by this information. Use the following option in the "device" section of the X.Org configuration file to disable this behavior:

  Option "nvidiaXineramaInfo" "0"

When running multiple OpenGL applications concurrently, some appear to stall.

Changing the default process scheduling class to the real-time class may help concurrent OpenGL applications render smoothly.

To select real-time as the default scheduling class, run dispadmin -d RT as root and reboot. To restore the scheduling class to the system defaults just remove the file /etc/dispadmin.conf.

The X server does not start and shows the error

"Cannot open /dev/fb (No such file or directory)"

Your graphics card may be newer than the NVIDIA Accelerated Solaris Graphics Driver Set, meaning that its PCI device ID may not have been included in the installation scripts and therefore not added to the file /etc/driver_aliases. To manually register the graphics card, proceed as follows:

  • Determine the PCI device ID of your graphics card with the command

    # /usr/X11/bin/scanpci

    For example a Quadro FX500 appears as:

    pci bus 0x0009 cardnum 0x00 function 0x00: vendor 0x10de device 0x032b
     nVidia Corporation NV34GL [Quadro FX 500/600 PCI]

    The PCI vendor ID is '10de', the PCI device ID is '32b'.

  • Become root and register the PCI device ID with the command

    # update_drv -a -i '"pci10de,xxxx"' nvidia

    xxxx is the PCI device ID returned by the scanpci command. Drop any leading zeroes. Note that pci10de,xxxx is nested between a set of single-quote/double-quote double-quote/single-quote. For example:

    # update_drv -a -i '"pci10de,32b"' nvidia

  • Reboot with the command

    # reboot -- -r

OpenGL applications are running slowly

The application is probably using a different library that still remains on your system, rather than the NVIDIA supplied OpenGL library. See Chapter 4, Installed Components for details.

There are problems running Quake2.

Quake2 requires some minor setup to get it going. First, in the Quake2 directory, the install creates a symlink called that points at This symlink should be removed or renamed. Second, in order to run Quake2 in OpenGL mode, you must type

    % quake2 +set vid_ref glx +set gl_driver

Quake2 does not seem to support any kind of full-screen mode, but you can run your X server at the same resolution as Quake2 to emulate full-screen mode.

X takes a long time to start (possibly several minutes).

Most of the X startup delay problems we have found are caused by incorrect data in video BIOSes about what display devices are possibly connected or what i2c port should be used for detection. You can work around these problems with the X config option IgnoreDisplayDevices.

Fonts are incorrectly sized after installing the NVIDIA driver.

Incorrectly sized fonts are generally caused by incorrect DPI (Dots Per Inch) information. You can check what X thinks the physical size of your monitor is, by running:

 % xdpyinfo | grep dimensions

This will report the size in pixels, and in millimeters.

If these numbers are wrong, you can correct them by modifying the X server's DPI setting. See Appendix E, Dots Per Inch for details.

Using GNOME configuration utilities, I am unable to get a resolution above 800x600.

The installation of GNOME provided in operating systems such as Solaris 10 Update 2 contain several competing interfaces for specifying resolution:

    'System Settings' -> 'Display'

which will update the X configuration file, and

    'Applications' -> 'Preferences' -> 'Screen Resolution'

which will update the per-user screen resolution using the XRandR extension. Your desktop resolution will be limited to the smaller of the two settings. Be sure to check the setting of each.

OpenGL applications don't work, and my X log file contains the error:

(EE) NVIDIA(0): Unable to map device node /dev/zero with read and write
(EE) NVIDIA(0):     privileges.  The GLX extension will be disabled on this 
(EE) NVIDIA(0):     X screen.  Please see the COMMON PROBLEMS section in the 
(EE) NVIDIA(0):     README for more information.

The NVIDIA OpenGL driver must be able to map anonymous memory with read and write execute privileges in order to function correctly. The driver needs this ability to allocate aligned memory, which is used for certain optimizations. Currently, GLX cannot run without these optimizations.

X doesn't start, and my log file contains a message like the following:

(EE) NVIDIA(0): Failed to allocate primary buffer: failed to set CPU access
(EE) NVIDIA(0):     for surface.  Please see Chapter 8: Common Problems in
(EE) NVIDIA(0):     the README for troubleshooting suggestions.

The NVIDIA X driver needs to be able to access the buffers it allocates from the CPU, but wasn't able to set up this access. This commonly fails if you're using a large virtual desktop size. Although your GPU may have enough onboard video memory for the buffer, the amount of usable memory may be limited if the IndirectMemoryAccess option is disabled, or if not enough address space was reserved for indirect memory access (this commonly occurs on 32-bit systems). If you're seeing this problem and are using a 32-bit operating system, it may be resolved by switching to a 64-bit operating system.

My log file contains a message like the following:

(WW) NVIDIA(GPU-0): Unable to enter interactive mode, because non-interactive
(WW) NVIDIA(GPU-0): mode has been previously requested.  The most common
(WW) NVIDIA(GPU-0): cause is that a GPU compute application is currently
(WW) NVIDIA(GPU-0): running. Please see the README for details.

This indicates that the X driver was not able to put the GPU in interactive mode, because another program has requested non-interactive mode. The GPU watchdog will not run, and long-running GPU compute programs may cause the X server and OpenGL programs to hang. If you intend to run long-running GPU compute programs, set the Interactive option to "off" to disable interactive mode.