[CentOS-docs] Closing loop: How-to for NVIDIA driver on Xen Dom0

Thu Mar 4 16:57:09 UTC 2010
Cris Rhea <crhea at rentaclue.com>

Ralph's comments:

> I am not talking about flakey hardware, I am talking about the first
> solutions for running the nividia kernel in a dom0. Those lead to
> spontaneous reboots at least twice a day ...

> So if you say that it now is working and is stable - I have nothing
> against that article on the wiki. If we have to slap a warning sign on
> the article "This can crash your machine", I'd rather not :)

Perhaps some background is in order...

I'm a Unix/Linux system administrator and my desktop system runs Linux 
(CentOS). My motivation for this topic was twofold:

1. I wanted the ability to prototype systems and test software via
Xen-based VMs on my desktop system.

2. I also wanted reasonable graphics performance on dual, high-res flat
panels (single desktop across two 1600x1200 screens).

Obviously, if one downloads the NVIDIA driver package and attempts to
install on a Xen-enabled kernel, it says Xen is not supported and the
installer exits.

When I googled the topic, I found several articles that were either:
-- Very out of date (years)
-- Had an incomplete set of instructions that an "average user" would
not be able to follow.
-- Had a very complex/convoluted set of instructions (building entire
custom kernels, etc.)
-- Solved different problems (e.g., the one set of RPMs
rebuilding/repackaging the NVIDIA module so it would not be kernel
dot-release sensitive).

I spent a couple week weeding through all this info and came up with a
solution where I had a concrete set of (reasonable) steps and it works.
While I can't promise that it will work for everyone and every
combination of hardware, it has worked well for me. There is no voo-doo
in the mix that is tied to my specific set-up, so I would expect it to
work for others too.

[crhea at kaizen ~]$ uname -a
Linux kaizen.mayo.edu 2.6.18-164.10.1.el5xen #1 SMP Thu Jan 7 20:28:30
EST 2010 x86_64 x86_64 x86_64 GNU/Linux

[crhea at kaizen ~]$ cat /etc/redhat-release 
CentOS release 5.4 (Final)

[crhea at kaizen ~]$ uptime
 10:47:40 up 35 days, 19:56,  9 users,  load average: 0.12, 0.03, 0.01

[crhea at kaizen ~]$ glxgears
70539 frames in 5.0 seconds = 14107.752 FPS
70601 frames in 5.0 seconds = 14120.141 FPS
70586 frames in 5.0 seconds = 14117.038 FPS
70616 frames in 5.0 seconds = 14123.051 FPS
70577 frames in 5.0 seconds = 14115.374 FPS
70619 frames in 5.0 seconds = 14123.761 FPS
70592 frames in 5.0 seconds = 14118.317 FPS
70752 frames in 5.0 seconds = 14150.232 FPS

What I have written so far is about 150 lines of text.

--- Cris

Cris Rhea