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Basics: How do I end the X-server state?

Novell Cool Solutions: Feature
By Stomfi

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Posted: 25 Feb 2005
 

Question: I'm currently using the Novell Linux Desktop at home and I wanted to install the NVIDIA drivers for my graphics card. When attempting to install the drivers I receive a message stating that it can't be done because I'm within an X-server state. I found some tips on ending the X-server state (ctrl+alt+bkspace, ctrl+alt+F1 . . .) but every time I try I get the same message. I went back to NVIDIA's site and found a document that was about 30 pages long and I thought, could it be that complicated? So my question is: What do I need to do to end the X-server state to install the NVIDIA drivers? Thanks! J.

Answer: For SUSE

This is a problem for the newbie, especially those who are used to only having a Graphical User Interface (GUI) and don't know about the other powerful modes that Linux can operate in.

The GUI mode is one of four modes or run levels that Linux uses to do its jobs. The others don't have a GUI interface, just the command line. They are:

Single user mode
Multi-user without networking
Multi-user with networking

Only one mode is active at any one time on a normal user workstation. When the system boots up it looks inside the file /etc/inittab which is the system initialisation table, to see which is your default mode. Usually this is mode 5, the GUI mode. The other most common mode is 3, which is multi-user with networking and no GUI.

To activate a different mode you have to be the super user and use the shell command "init Mode_Number". Init is actually the parent process of all the other processes running on your system.

When your machine re-initialises to another mode it looks at the /etc/inittab to see what it should do. This is usually to run the script /etc/init.d/rc with the mode number. The rc stands for run control. rc looks in /etc/init.d/rcN.d/ where N is the mode number, to see which services to shutdown and startup. The directory contains links to files which are stored in /etc/init.d/ Each one has a letter and a number. The letter tell the rc script whether it is to be started (S) or stopped (K) and the number in what order this is to be done.

Here is my /etc/init.d/rc3.d/ directory:

K01SUSEfirewall2_final
K07cron
K08hwscan
K08nscd
K09cups
K09powersaved
K09splash
K10alsasound
K10fbset
K10running-kernel
K10sshd
K12nfs
K12nfsboot
K14portmap
K14resmgr
K14smbfs
K14splash_early
K15SUSEfirewall2_setup
K16syslog
K17network
K21isdn
K21random
K21SUSEfirewall2_init
S01isdn
S01random
S01SUSEfirewall2_init
S05network
S06syslog
S07SUSEfirewall2_setup
S08portmap
S08resmgr
S08smbfs
S08splash_early
S08webmin
S10nfs
S10nfsboot
S12alsasound
S12fbset
S12running-kernel
S12sshd
S13cups
S13kbd
S13powersaved
S13splash
S14hwscan
S14nscd
S15cron
S21SUSEfirewall2_final

Quite a lot of system activity takes place, but the main thing that you want to happen is that your GUI shuts down, so you can install the NVIDIA drivers, and then restart the GUI mode with them in place.

In your GUI, open a root console terminal window. In SUSE KDE from the menu – System – Terminal – Terminal Program Super User Mode and supply the root password, or if you don't have one of these, open an ordinary terminal console window and give the command "su -" and the root password.

In this window type the command init 3 as shown:

When you press Enter, the GUI should shut down and a login prompt appear in the black screen.

On some systems the GUI doesn't shut down properly, and you have to do the following actions, after activating init mode 3.

To get to the GUI screen:

CTRL-ALT-F7
To kill the X server:
CTRL-ALT-Backspace key

Login as root, and give the root password, cd to the directory where you saved the NVIDIA install file.

Run it by typing "./Name of NVIDIA File" and hit the Enter key.

When this file has completed its install routine, give the command "init 5" to return to your GUI mode. You should see the NVIDIA splash screen before the GUI appears.

This Newbie answer has covered:

How to understand Linux init modes or run levels.
How to change from GUI mode to command line mode.
How to run the NVIDIA install program in command line mode.
How to return to GUI mode.


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