I am setting up an old laptop Dell Inspirion 8100 - which will be shipped to a developing country. I work for a volunteer org, World Computer Exchange and the laptop here is donated ones, so pretty old.

In simple term, DRM is failing. I have spent enough hours to troubleshoot everything I can and I'm stumped at the moment.

Kernel version is

4.4.0-21-generic #37-Ubuntu

In dmesg, I see

[drm] Initialized drm 1.1.0 20060810

So, kernel seems to know the drm.

In /etc/default/grub,


Yes, I don't use splash, or quiet. I'm trying to see what's going on.

and run the update-grub, so both boot loader and initrd should have those too.

Just to be sure, I also did in /etc/default/grub


The /etc/default/console-setup's VIDEOMODE=. (empty)

I also did in /etc/modules,

drm modeset=0

The relevant kernel modules, nouveau, drm_kms_helper, drm are loaded. I can see it in lsmod.

From /var/log/Xorg.0.log,

(EE) [drm] Failed to open DRM device for pci:0000:01:00.0: -19

lspci -v shows:

01:00.0 VGA compatible controller: NVIDIA ... NV11M [GeForce2 Go] (rev b2)

For the packages, I have

libdrm-nouveau2:i386 2.4.67-1
nouveau-firmware 20091212-0ubuntu1
xserver-xorg-video-nouveau 1:1.0.12-1build2

All seems fine to me, yet the nouveau video driver cannot open the drm. What else can I check?

Nvidia's binary driver for Ubuntu 16 doesn't work with this NV11M chipset. It's too old. In order to use the binary driver, NVIDIA driver has to be version 96. (Current version is 3xx) To use 96, I have to go back the kernel version to 2.16. So, please don't tell me to use the NVIDIA binary driver. "nv" might work. If I can load up "nv" driver, I'm okay with it.

Thanks for your help.

  • It isn't clear in your text whether or not have you tried without nomodeset?
    – user589808
    Commented Oct 1, 2016 at 17:22
  • 1
    Without "nomodeset" is the default. Only reason to use the "nomodeset" is because the default doesn't work, and looked for answer. Here is the URL that says to use "nomodeset". nouveau.freedesktop.org/wiki/TroubleShooting/#index1h3 Commented Oct 8, 2016 at 17:29


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