Getting 3D to work
Until recently, I have been happy without decent 3D performance on my computer graphics card. But the Linux version of Google Earth spiced my curiosity. This and the fact that my old ATI Rage 128 Ultra refused to work properly with the "ati" driver that Ubuntu Dapper installed by default.
I then learned that I could install an accelerated driver from ATI but I was not lucky enough to have it working flawlessly: The system was freezing quite easily, forcing me to hardware reset it. So I recover an old card my kids had discarded, that was in fact more powerful than the ATI one. It is an NVIDIA MX440 GeForce 4 with 64MB RAM.
Again, I needed to install the special Nvidia driver for it, but now it is working. Do not think it was easy: I actually needed to perform some dark magic to get it working. The problem this time was not with the 3D not working but with Firefox. Everything was working fine till I started Firefox, then the mouse still could move but the rest of the system was not working, not even the network. Fortunately, one piece of advice on the Ubuntu wiki helped me to get all working fine. Just in case you want to know, I've added this options to the Device section of my xorg.conf file:
Option "NvAGP" "0"
Option "RenderAccel" "Off"
Option "IgnoreDisplayDevices" "DFP,TV"
Option "NoRenderExtension" "Off"
Option "AllowGLXWithComposite" "Off"