The first time I used the GUI, it failed to install. The next time I started off the Text Rescue mode, setup partitions and installed it fine. However it would not recognize my display and the monitor would switch off. Having faced a similiar issue with Nvidia drivers on Ubuntu, I thought that might be the fault and tried to install the Nvidia driver as outlined here:

However it would not install module-assistant and gave me an error that the package could not be found.

apt-get install module-assistant nvidia-kernel-common[/code]
Searching for the package, I found it here:

While trying to add the package source to /etc/apt/sources.list, I found that my sources list was tiny-just three lines. I found that odd as my Ubuntu installation usually had scores of package sources listed in that file. So I had a hunch that this might be at the core of the issue.

I added the following line to sources.list:
deb squeeze main contrib non-free[/code]
And ran apt-get update
apt-get update


Sure enough, module-assistant could now be installed.

apt-get install module-assistant nvidia-kernel-common

At this point, you'll probably get locale errors like: "Cannot set LC_TYPE". Ignore them. The method to fix them is described elsewhere on this blog.

Note that it is recommended that you do NOT manually install build-essential, since that installs a newer gcc version. We need gcc-4.3 for our kernel compilation. Reverting to older gcc proved very messy when I tried it. When you install the above packages, the correct gcc version will be automatically installed as a dependency.

Now I had to run:

# m-a auto-install nvidia-kernel${VERSION}-source

I was prompted to install build-essential and a host of other packages includin the Linux kernel source, presumably to try to compile the Nvidia kernel driver.

Now, install the NVIDIA X driver and user-space libraries

apt-get install nvidia-glx${VERSION}[/code]
Install the NVIDIA X configurator
apt-get install nvidia-xconfig

Or combine all three with:

apt-get install nvidia-glx nvidia-xconfig nvidia-settings


Run the module assistant:


PREPARE to build modules


[X]alsa and



GET or update source package

At this point, the selected modules sources will be downloaded.

Select Build

Install them, and confirm by listing installed sources. Note that these have to be done from actual Debian boot and not the livecd. I found that even after running all this in the livecd shell, I could not get a screen in the booted version.

So, after building and installing proper kernel modules from the Live CD, reset root password from Live CD, and now remove CD and reboot to HDD

When GRUB shows its menu, choose the second option-i.e Rescue 686.

Now you land at the command prompt, being asked for a password. Use the root password.

Now run:


So I had to select 686 rescue mode and re-run m-a



SELECT alsa and nvidia-kernel

GET (seems to complete instantaneously)



Now run


At this point your system is ready to run X.

You can test by running:


right now. It will warn about missing theme file, show a part of the Nvidia GUI splash and momentarily land you back at the command prompt.

At this point, you can shutdown and restart the computer:

shutdown -h now


For me, everything seemed to work. However I can done this from the Rescue mode of the LiveDVD, and when I tried to boot from HDD, all I got was it getting hung trying to start X and kdm, saying the module 'nvidia' was not found.

Module 'nvidia' not found

I had to repeat the following step from the root shell of the actual installed system.

# m-a auto-install nvidia-kernel${VERSION}-source[/code]

To do this, I had to actually reset the root password since I found that the root user password had not been set correctly.

Execute the following from the Rescue system

The command sets the root password.


After this, nvidia module was successfully compiled, and it booted to kdm.

However I had to create another normal user before I could login to kdm. This can be easily done by pressing Ctrl-F1 while being shown the graphical login prompt. Here, login as root and execute the following:

useradd droidzone ; passwd droidzone