Boot stuck. Continuing probe, NVRM, legacy

After I installed the nvidia-settings and nvidia-xconfig packages on my Debian 12, bootup gets stuck at “continuing probe”. Somehow my driver got updated from 390 to 5xx, and ignores my GPU. The other error is LightDM can’t start.

I’m able to switch to a different tty and enter my credential, but 0.1 second after logged in, it kicks me back to the credential login screen again.

I already tried adding nomodeset and systemd.unit=multi-user.target to kernel parameters, but still the same error.

The reason to add those two packages is to allow the machine to boot headlessly.

My specs:
GTX 470
AMD Athlon II X4

For your Fermi based GTX 470, you will need to reinstall the 390 driver. Though I don’t know why you would need nvidia-settings and nvidia-xconfig to run headless.

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nvidia-xconfig is used to generate xorg.conf. I was following this guide. I want to have both options of running it headlessly and with a monitor sometimes.

Btw, does the 390 driver support the current Xorg version?

Yes.

I don’t think the xorg.conf from the guide would work, it basically contains 100% useless setting but not the only necessary option for using the 390 driver without a monitor connected, being
Option "AllowEmptyInitialConfiguration" "true"

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Thanks for the suggestion. I’ll give this another try.

According to the Arch wiki though, “If you have an older card, NVIDIA no longer actively supports drivers for your card. This means that these drivers do not officially support the current Xorg version. It thus might be easier to use the nouveau driver, which supports the old cards with the current Xorg.”

Are they correct or … ?

Yes and no. While it doesn’t explicitly supports the current Xorg version, what matters is the Xorg server ABI version. This is still supported by the 390 driver and since Xorg is in general regarded “feature complete” and in maintenance mode only, I don’t think that will ever change again. I still might be wrong, of course.

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