Installing Ubuntu 1804 With NVidia High End Graphics Card

Last week, I was presented with a message saying my Ubuntu partition was already full. I digged up what was going on, I found out Google Chrome was flooding /var/log/syslog. I had 40GB of logs with a weird error message:

Jun  1 12:22:35 machina update-notifier.desktop[5460]: [15076:15076:0100/] Error reading message from browser: Socket operation on non-socket (88)

I’m pretty certain it was related with Chrome because the only time the system stabilized enough was when I killed its process. I two extensions, an ad blocker and Todoist, so I don’t think it was related to any suspicious extension.

Anyway, the sprint ended in the previous Friday so I thought it might be a good time to format the computer. Maybe try a new Linux distro, other than Ubuntu. And this is the story of how I spent close to a day figuring out which Linux distributions would work on my hardware.

Here’s the thing: In April, I tried installing Ubuntu and failed miserably. The installer would freeze loading. It was not faulty image. The same happened again yesterday. Then I decided to give Manjaro Linux a try. It wouldn’t work properly. Sometimes the boot would freeze, others it would actually work. “That’s it, I’m moving to Fedora.” The installer work, but no start-up would work. So I investigated and wrote nomodeset in the grub options (when you enter the grub menu, just press e to get access to boot options). It worked, the system was booting., But at 800x600. And in no way I was able to easily install nouveau (open source drivers) or the proprietary.

It was then time to give a go to Ubuntu again. And I didn’t want to give up on the 18.04. It is LTS after all and it has to work. My graphics card always brought me issues, specially being on the mid-high end side of things (GTX1060).

The first step was to add the nomodeset command again to the grub options - Hey the installer launched instantly with 800x600 resolution. It’s enough to get it done.

Then I had a major issue: Ubuntu did not work after the first login. The screen turns black and nothing happens. Fine!!! In the next boot, before logging in via GDM, I pressed ALT + F2 to enter TTY mode and then ran the set of commands to enable the graphics card to work properly and set other important flags to allow the system to reboot, shutdown and not crash when opening the settings screen after booting up (these three errors have always been fixed after adding these options:

I need to add acpi=force into grub options again (run sudo vi /etc/default/grub and edit the line with GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX), add my mouse configuration manually - it’s a Mad Catz R.A.T. 3.

At the time, I decided to try and remove the nomodeset option in the GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX and the resolution got back to normal. The next step was to install NVidia’s graphics, using the proprietary tab (in Gnome, you can call that panel running software-properties --open-tab=4.

And that’s it. It just worked. Everything was back to normal. Potentially the same kind of solution would have worked in Fedora but since I’ve been using Ubuntu for the past 3 years now, getting help has become much easier, as well as debugging error logs.

Since version 17.04 and since I got this computer, installing Linux has always been difficult Hope this story is useful for someone with an high-end laptop that has encountered issues with NVidia graphics card’s drivers. Hopefully these commands will at least help you getting one step further into your working system

Thanks for reading,