After X.org update, NVIDIA proprietary driver reports ABI incompatibility

Solution Verified - Updated -

Environment

  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6

Issue

  • When starting the X.org server, it fails with the following error message:
================ WARNING WARNING WARNING WARNING ====
This server has a video driver ABI version of 13.1 that is not supported by this NVIDIA driver. Please check
http://www.nvidia.com/ for driver updates or downgrade to an X server with a supported driver ABI.
=====================================================
  • The ABI version in the above message may differ.

  • The graphical environment (GUI) will not start after a reboot and recent updates.

Resolution

Root Cause

  • Each version of NVIDIA proprietary driver works with specific kernel and X.org version.

  • Red Hat makes sure that while updating X.org server, all supported drivers are also updated to support the new ABI that may have been introduced; however, as Red Hat is not distributing the proprietary driver for NVIDIA graphic cards, this has to be updated manually by the users.

Diagnostic Steps

  • Note that the machine won't boot to a graphical environment at runlevel 5.

  • Inspect the Xorg logs in /var/log/Xorg.*.log for messages such as:

    This server has a video driver ABI version of 13.1 that is not supported by this NVIDIA driver. Please check
    http://www.nvidia.com/ for driver updates or downgrade to an X server with a supported driver ABI.
    
  • When runing startx from runlevel 3 the message above may also be shown.

  • Check /var/log/yum.log or /var/log/messages for indications of any recent updates to the kernel, xorg-x11-server-Xorg, or other Xorg tools/driver packages, which may have occurred before the last reboot.

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3 Comments

The easiest way to install and maintain Nvidia's proprietary driver is to use the kABI-compatible package from ELRepo:

http://elrepo.org/tiki/kmod-nvidia

To determine which version of the driver to use, run nvidia-detect from ELRepo:

http://elrepo.org/tiki/nvidia-detect

What do we do when a specific NVIDIA driver and other custom drivers are required in our environment? We must remain at the ABI that is supported by those drivers.

What's the easiest way to freeze the Xorg ABI, and what issues will doing so cause with other software?