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VDPAU and Debian

15 December 2008 18:35:10 Debian, Linux, software

Now that NVIDIA has released updated beta (180.16) of its proprietary graphics card drivers for Linux, I've finally managed to install VDPAU-capable drivers without breaking everything else. Basically version 180.06 also worked, but for whatever reason it also caused X to consume nearly all available CPU time whenever Firefox was running. VDPAU is an API that allows applications to utilise GPU for video decoding and post-processing. In other words, you'll get smoother video playback of H.264. To quote phoronix, "HD Video Playback With A $20 CPU & $30 GPU On Linux".

If you're running Debian GNU/Linux and willing to try the drivers out but are not too keen to mess your installation with files outside package management, feel free to use make-nvpkg.sh (symlink to the latest version). make-nvpkg.sh abuses packaging scripts by Randall Donald. You can get the original from your local Debian repository. The script creates kernel source package, runtime and development package of GLX. Kernel source package can then be compiled and installed using module-assistant. Once done, reload the kernel module and you're good to go. You can try VDPAU with VDPAU enabled mplayer.

Note that I've tested the script only on AMD64 but thanks to magnificent work done by Randall Donald, it should also work on i386. If it doesn't feel free to send in patches.