Fedora - GNOME 3 desktop poor performance and unstability with the nvidia drivers


I am using Fedora as my main operating system. Actually on my laptop, it’s the only OS I have. It is a Dell Precision M4400 with the Quadro FX 770M graphics card (01:00.0 VGA compatible controller: nVidia Corporation G96M [Quadro FX 770M] (rev a1))

For months, if not years, my laptop as been unstable as soon as I install the nvidia proprietary drivers. The symptoms currently are : poor 2D performance on the Gnome 3 desktop, especially when I change windows or show a tile open windows. After some time, I also get some freezes for a few seconds, and eventually it my systems hangs completely and I have to hard reset the computer, or gnome-shell process starts to take 100% of CPU until I reboot.

This on Fedora 16, and I will upgrade to Fedora 18 when it’s released, but I doubt it changes something, as I’ve heard that other people have similar problems, and because I’ve had these kind of problems (especially random freezes) across several OS versions, even before Fedora 15, which switched from Gnome 2 to 3. However, I don’t think I had crashes related to the nvidia driver prior to Fedora 14.

I have therefore been using the nouveau drivers. However, recently I started using applications that required that I install the proprietary drivers, since nouveau’s functionaly is limited =(
But please note that my unstability problems completely disappear when I use only nouveau, and the desktop is also much smoother.

As my graphics card is relatively old now, it might very well be related to this other topic :

When I have more time, I’ll try to find a specific older version of the drivers for which these problems do not occur, but it’s really been a long time since I had no problems at all.

So nvidia, please could you look into this. And why don’t you, like AMD does, publish hardware documentation about your cards to improve the free drivers quality, and why don’t you help nouveau developers ?

You and the rest of the world. I’ve found that moving over to XFCE solved my problems sufficiently. However, there are still plenty of memory leaks and performance issues in either the NVidia driver, Xorg, and probably mostly gnome3 left. I have found that things go bad really quick if you have a lot of tabs open in FireFox, even if they are minimized.

My theory is that for some reason Gnome3 makes all windows render to the display buffer, visible or not. That would accelerate any memory leak in changing the contents of the display buffer and require lots of rendering power. I don’t have the skill nor the time to hunt down what exactly is happening so if someone else is willing to figure out if this is true and where the leaks are, that’d be great.

Personally, I’ve had it with gnome since you have to hack the censored out of it to make it slightly usable and the developers are coming up with excuses in the category “you’re holding it wrong”. If they are in fact rendering every window, visible or not, they should be told not to, but they probably have some compelling reason that in their mind justifies this…

Testing other browsers/WMs should shed some light as where thu blame is, right?

I can confirm this problem, and furthermore, I’m pretty sure I can confirm that the problem is in fact the NVIDIA driver.

I use Ubuntu 12.10 GNOME Remix and have a NVIDIA GTX 285, so the problem neither has to do with the specific linux distribution nor with the specific (old) graphics card. On my Laptop (which has an Intel graphics chip), the same configuration works perfectly fine, so the GNOME Shell itself is probably not the culprit either.

The symptoms I see are the same as mentioned by the OP: After some time, the desktop starts to temporarily freeze and eventually becomes completely unusable. (Most of the time, I try to open the GNOME Shell overview, but it takes >5 seconds until a frame is drawn, then another 5-10 seconds until the second frame of the animation is drawn, and then rendering stops completely.) After that, I have to forcefully reboot the system by using the magic SysRq key combinations.

Edit: When this bug occurs, I cannot kill X anymore, but next time I’ll try to switch to another terminal and see whether I can run nvidia-bug-report.sh.

Edit 2: The title of this thread should be changed to reflect that this has nothing to do with Fedora.

Since I started to use the 310 driver series, this problem does not occur anymore. Seems to be fixed.


I have found, that the problem is a wrong symlink to /usr/lib64/libEGL.so after software updates from the distribution. It es very easy to correct that:

  1. ls /usr/lib64/GL
  2. if you see any wrong link hier (often red) then relink doing somthing like:
    sudo ln- sf /usr/lib64/libEGL.so.352.30 /usr/lib64/libEGL.so
  3. please notice that the version-Numebr of e.g. libGL or libEGL must be the same as the version number of the installed nvidia driver (hier 352.30).

Gnome do very well after relinking to the Nvidia-GL-Library.