[TriLUG] Ubuntu, Nvidia and the Freeze or Black Screen

matt at noway2.thruhere.net matt at noway2.thruhere.net
Fri Apr 8 13:31:14 EDT 2011

> I've been trying to figure this out for awhile now and I'm getting no
> where.
> I've got a Lenovo desktop that has an Nvidia GeForce 8600GTS card in
> it running two IBM 19" flatpanel monitors. I'm actually running Ubuntu
> Studio 10.10 with the 2.6.38-8-lowlatency kernel.
> The problem I'm having is that when running the default nouveau driver
> I am getting random freezing of X windows, usually when in Firefox but
> it has also happened in other apps like synaptics etc. It happens
> often enough the system is basically unusable for much of anything. It
> appears that it is just X windows that has frozen as the mouse still
> moves, but I can't get to another screen with ctrl+alt+F#. I haven't
> tried SSH to the box because of the network setup I'm on right now,
> but I'm pretty sure I could SSH to the box no problem.
A couple of comments:
1) I have read on several occasions that nvidia is the default driver, not
nouveau.  It appears that ubuntu may use drivers that are slightly
different than the standard and there is a potential conflict issue.  See:

To verify, I ssh'd into my home laptop and using lsmod, verified that is
using vnidia drivers.  I am really certain that this would have been from
a default installation as I don't believe I ever manually changed this. 
Infact, I think even the live CD shows the proprietary drivers in use.

You might want to verify that you don't have both installed (just a thought).

2) I too have been seeing "freezup" on Ubuntu.  The laptop has the geforce
7000m series card I believe.  It has been pissing me off to the point I
have been thinking of getting rid of Ubuntu, except for the fact that my
wife uses it, where as I added slackware too it (which has different
problems).  I never considered that it might be x-related, but your
description sounds awfully familiar to what I have been experiencing.

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