ATI and Nvidia Broken on RHEL 6

Update: In the comments below, Sean Kane provides a detailed explanation of how to get NVIDIA to work. Thank you very much, Sean!

Second Update: For those of you using ATrpms Repo, the NVIDIA kernel modules can be installed directly, and kept up to date that way. You still have to modify the Grub configuration, but it’s about as simple as it gets.

I don’t know that any one person is doing this, nor any one focused decision of a group, but the net result of all the decisions involved have made it impossible to run either the Radeon or Nvidia proprietary drivers on RHEL 6.

First, there is no third party repository for the drivers as with Fedora 12. Second, all those Fedora 12 users who tried and failed to work with the provided package from the manufacturer have shown me no reason to expect any better for RHEL 6. It’s bad enough ATI and Nvidia don’t really care, but I detect an on-going trend among developers and project managers to sabotage what little possibilities are left.

For the past three days I’ve been spending a lot of time on the Net searching with various different search engines the various techniques. Most of them who succeed at all have to go through manually blocking kernel modules, mucking about with initramfs, and some have downgraded their packages. The official setup pretty much forces the bundled inferior drivers early in the boot process. While this makes for a very nice boot display, with a good high resolution screen and all, it also means you have to fight tooth and nail to keep them from loading.

Having tried all the various tricks others claim work, I have struck out completely. With my onboard Nvidia chipset, the Nouveau driver offers no better than 280FPS for my GeForce 6150. With the Radeon driver, it’s about the same on my HD 4350 card (512MB VRAM), but adding the experimental glx drivers at least gets me about 800FPS on a card capable of some 3000FPS or better. It’s okay if that’s the best you can do, developers, but for goodness’ sake, stop making it so impossible to work around your puny results!

At any rate, this is probably my only real complaint about RHEL 6. Otherwise, try and take it from me. This is great!

About Ed Hurst

Disabled Veteran, prophet of God's Laws, Bible History teacher, wannabe writer, volunteer computer technician, cyclist, Social Science researcher
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13 Responses to ATI and Nvidia Broken on RHEL 6

  1. Bradley says:

    Why isn’t there any blame being placed on NVIDIA and ATI for not providing open source drivers, or even functional drivers. I doubt there is some grand conspiracy to keep them out of RHEL6 but considering all the issues they present, lack of debugging information available (you ever try to read a stack or core dump from X when an nvidia driver is loaded), and dependability I don’t blame RH for not having a repo available. Also, it is beta is it not.


  2. Ed Hurst says:

    Because I am not an Open Source purist, I am completely disinterested in the debate about opening the driver source. That I am fully aware of the finer points of this debate already is not the point. With the vast majority of computer users in this world, it does not matter, nor should it matter. They are my clientele. What matters to them is it doesn’t work right. Somebody has to bend, or users will not hang around. In which case, Linux becomes once again a hobby obsession with precious little adoption outside the hobbyist community.

    That said, RH 6 as beta is not the issue, since this is a problem which arose first in Fedora 12, upon which RH 6 is built. It’s still broken in Fedora 12, and 13 AFAIK. It’s not about repos, but breaking stuff which used to work just fine. In RH 5 and clones, you can use the ATI and NVIDIA drivers just fine. Something changed, and it wasn’t totally benign.


  3. Bradley says:

    I am running, and have ran F12, and F13beta with NVIDIA driver just fine, it is not broken – you just need to know how to install it. If you want idiot-proof linux use Ubuntu … if you want cutting, and sometimes bleeding edge unfortunately, then use Fedora.

    If you need someone to show you how to install nVIDIA driver on F12 just google it.


  4. Bradley says:

    The thing that changed BTW is heavily documented online and is basically kernel mode setting … again – google


  5. Ed Hurst says:

    Tried, and didn’t work with RHEL 6. I’m not a hobbyist and Fedora is about as stable as an oil slick at sea. Every user has a right to complain, and for every one which does make some noise, there is at least another hundred who don’t. It’s broken in RHEL 6.


  6. Sean P. Kane says:

    I actually got this working pretty easily all in all.

    First I downloaded the current NVIDIA driver from the NVIDIA site. In my case this was:

    I then ran:

    sudo setsebool -P allow_execstack on

    This last command might be handled by the nvidia installer, but just in case…..

    I then created the file:


    with the following contents:

    blacklist nouveau
    options nouveau modeset=0

    The Nvidia installer will also create this for you, but we want it now.

    I finally edited the file /boot/grub/grub.conf and appended “rdblacklist=nouveau” to the kernel line, as seen below (“nomodeset” might be useful as well):

    title Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 (2.6.32-19.el6.x86_64)
    root (hd0,0)
    kernel /vmlinuz-2.6.32-19.el6.x86_64 ro root=/dev/mapper/vg_rhel6-ROOT rd_LVM_LV=vg_rhel6/ROOT rd_NO_LUKS rd_NO_MD rd_NO_DM LANG=en_US.UTF-8 SYSFONT=latarcyrheb-sun16 KEYBOARDTYPE=pc KEYTABLE=us rhgb quiet nomodeset rdblacklist=nouveau

    Now, reboot.

    Finally, run:

    sudo sh

    answer the questions, let it do whatever it wants, and then you should have a good xorg.conf at the end. You can use nvidia-settings to improve it once you are in X. I.e. in my case, enable both of my monitors in TwinView.

    Hope this works for others as well.



  7. Ed Hurst says:

    That sounds like the missing pieces for NVIDIA at least. I’ll make note of that in my post. Now if someone would provide the equivalent for Radeon HD. Others might benefit. But since I gave up messing with the RHEL 6.0-Beta, this becomes a moot point for me.


  8. Dave says:

    Hello *,

    I had problems to configure my 9600 GT NVIDIA Card (RHEL 6 Beta2). Fedora 13 works fine – same hardware.

    Now since RHEL 6 (final) is released (yesterday) I gave it another try.

    And it works now !

    Just follow the instructions from Sean. (thx to you)

    I just use the latest driver from NVIDIA

    The nouveau driver from RedHat works also, but it cannot control the fan, so it’s very noisy 😦

    May be this is helpfull for others.



  9. Armin says:

    thanks, the nouveau driver is nowhere production ready and gave me a crash/kernel dump after a fresh install…


  10. Ami says:

    It worked!!!!! Thank you, thank you, thank you!


  11. DT says:

    this worked for me too which I’m really pleased about!
    However, it did take me a few attempts. It turns out I needed to have gcc and kernel-devel (or kernel-source) installed.

    yum install gcc
    yum install kernel-devel

    I also had to be in a non X world to run the install.

    “init 3” was good enough for me.



  12. aaa says:

    IT WORK!! thanks. so…


  13. Sherri says:

    Thanks, it worked. I had to be in non-x (init 3) to run the install.
    Then an init 5 and things came up beautifully


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