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Hi! I wasn't perfectly sure how to classify what I'm asking about, so I hope that this is the appropriate forum section! I wasn't sure whether to put this in ...
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    Automatic Detection and Installation of Graphics Card Drivers


    Hi! I wasn't perfectly sure how to classify what I'm asking about, so I hope that this is the appropriate forum section! I wasn't sure whether to put this in the installation section or what...

    Basically, I wanted to know there's anyway upon installing\loading a particular distribution of Linux for it to automatically detect the graphics card and load the best suited driver regardless of if it's a proprietary one or not.

    There's this experiment I've been wanting to try out that involves installing a Linux distribution to an external flash drive to create a very small portable operating system. I was wondering that in doing something like this, would it be possible for upon loading, for it to detect the graphics card automatically, so that way one could take it, and plug it right into another computer to boot off of, regardless of whether the computer has a NVIDIA, or ATI\AMD card.

    I'm not particularly interested in legacy graphics card support, and I'd be happy to even start simply with just NVIDIA support.

    I'm kind of interested in the whole Linux From Scratch. I want an extremely minimalistic Linux OS, but one that's capable of fully using the power under the hood so to speak.

    I'm more interested in if it's even possible, but if there's some good specifics out there, that would be lovely!

  2. #2
    Linux Newbie nihili's Avatar
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    welcome to the forums!

    Quote Originally Posted by Spirrwell View Post
    I wanted to know there's anyway upon installing\loading a particular distribution of Linux for it to automatically detect the graphics card and load the best suited driver regardless of if it's a proprietary one or not.
    if i understand you correctly, distros like linux mint and ubuntu are doing exactly that.

    There's this experiment I've been wanting to try out that involves installing a Linux distribution to an external flash drive to create a very small portable operating system. I was wondering that in doing something like this, would it be possible for upon loading, for it to detect the graphics card automatically, so that way one could take it, and plug it right into another computer to boot off of, regardless of whether the computer has a NVIDIA, or ATI\AMD card.
    again, any live bootable distro is doing basically that. with some tinkering you can add persistance to it, so you can save your settings and files. most distro's forums have several threads about how to do it.

    I'm kind of interested in the whole Linux From Scratch. I want an extremely minimalistic Linux OS, but one that's capable of fully using the power under the hood so to speak.
    i feel that i am not yet ready for linux from scratch, but maybe you are?
    anyhow, take a look at distrowatch.com and check out what's there!

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    Thank you so much! I'm aware that Ubuntu and Linux Mint do go ahead and load a driver, but they always load the open source ones, but not the proprietary ones it seems. I was wondering if there was something holding back those distributions from doing that, or if it's purely a choice made by the development team to not automatically load those drivers. As in, if I were to install Ubuntu, I would love if it could automatically install the latest driver from NVIDIA for my graphics card.

    But they always seem to use that Nouveau driver to start with. Perhaps it's merely a licensing issue? I don't know. As per Linux From Scratch, I've always been wanting to do this experiment where you could take your Linux distribution and automatically load up a game on startup. I think it would be a cool idea (at least to me) if I could take a game, plop it onto a USB drive with that very minimized Linux distribution, and have it load automatically. Almost like turning your computer into a cartridge console, but with a flash drive.

    It's why the automatic detection and use of graphics drivers would be important. Now I'm not talking about what SteamOS does, I'm talking about a way to just plug and play. So I could say take the USB drive anywhere, plug it in to a computer that supports booting from USB (what computer doesn't nowadays?) and boom, good to go. I dunno, maybe it's a silly idea, I would like it though.

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    The Nvidia drivers are propriatary and if you want to include them in a linux from scratch along with any others you will have to insure you have license to do so. THis means the code is owned by Nvidia and is not available for you or any one else to use without consent, often at a fee.

    The open source drivers for the most part work very well and sometimes better on a computer that boots from usb however many of the new computers do not boot from usb by default and require you to switch first to a legacy mode.

    If you want to have an OS on a thumb then many distros offer a live option and include as many drivers as possible.

    I prefer puppy as it is very small, runs in ram, has good hardware detection, and barks to indicate sound is working. it will fit on small usb keys and you can use the remaining space for regular use and access those files if you boot the os or simply plug it into a running os. this is handy if you buy used computers and sometimes the os or even the hard drive has been removed. you could modify the system to boot and run an application

    As far as building a thumb drive os that boots a specific application and boots on most computers including propriatary drivers you are likely free to build one from scratch for personal use.

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    I thought licensing had something to do with it. However I don't understand, NVIDIA doesn't monetize their drivers. So long as you don't claim the drivers as your own what disallows the distribution of them with any particular OS? I assume something like that could be bypassed by downloading the driver on the spot so it's not actually packaged with the OS. But I'm curious what specifically prevents one from doing that.

    But thank you very much, you've given me a bit of hope!

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    Perhaps I am way off base but...Although you may be able to download propriatary drivers free of charge from web sites for personal use with your hardware card, you are still bound by the license agreement. and the source code is not available.

    Download NVIDIA, GeForce, Quadro, and Tesla Drivers

    I think the greater issue would be how do you include the closed source propriatary drivers and there are more than one with the open source drivers without running into conflict. how does the system detect a card and load the proper driver. if there are more than one available driver for the detected card. and some are compiled into the kernal and the others are modules.

    This is likely easy for you so by all means include the propriatary driver in your system for personal use and see if it works. if you can get it to work well, then share the knowledge and perhaps a means will be found to distribute the result.

  7. #7
    Linux Newbie nihili's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ohmy View Post
    ... and the source code is not available.
    i think this is also a very important point.
    linux is FOSS = free and open source software, and if you include sth that isn't foss, well, then it isn't foss anymore, is it?

    that said, of course it's ok for personal use.

    Quote Originally Posted by ohmy
    This is likely easy for you so by all means include the propriatary driver in your system for personal use and see if it works. if you can get it to work well, then share the knowledge and perhaps a means will be found to distribute the result.
    ohmy, i like your attitude! always look on the bright side!

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