Update 2/25/08: Udi has again brought to my attention that there is a fix to force the nVidia 169.09 to work with the 8600GT. An entire thread has been dedicated to the topic here. I have not personally tested this method, but when I do I will write a new post on how to update to the newest driver.
Update: It has been brought to my attention by Udi that the nVidia 169.09 linux driver has trouble displaying images on Dell laptops. Make sure that you use the older, more stable 100.14.19 driver.
One of the first problems I ran into after the initial install was the video. I hadn't installed xserver yet so I grabbed it from the debian repositories (note: Make sure you disable your cd repositories if you used a net install cd):
> sudo apt-get install xserver-xorg
For a temporary fix to get the video running immediately (I wanted to check other issues such as bluetooth and wifi), I configured the driver to use 'vesa' (note: You do not need to use the 'vesa' drivers. You can install the kernel headers from bash and wget the binary nVidia drivers. Again, I did this because I wanted to test other things on the system before I started messing around with video drivers). While vesa is great because of its compatibility, it offers no hardware acceleration. Now I had to reconfigure the xorg.conf with the settings I wanted:
To change to vesa, I switched my driver from 'nv' to 'vesa'. All of the other options work on default. To get gnome to restart, I commanded:
> sudo/etc/init.d/gdm restart
Vesa works (at 1024x768), but again, it does not provide any sort of graphics acceleration or crisp visuals I would expect from a high end video there. After fiddling around with GUI, I decided the binary nVidia drivers were probably the best way to go (You can download it here). The only other dependency I needed to get my nVidia drivers working were the kernel headers. To check my kernel version, I typed:
> uname -a
It then spat out:
> Linux goz 2.6.22-2-686 #1 SMP Wed Oct 3 00:12:50 UTC 2007 i686 GNU/Linux
Now I had to grab the kernel headers for my kernel from the repositories. I prompty entered:
> sudo apt-get install linux-headers-2.6.22-2-686
Now I navigated to folder that nVidia drivers are in and typed:
> sh NVIDIA-Linux-x86-100.14.19-pkg1.run
After promising I would not sue them for destroying my computer with their drivers, the drivers compiled against my kernel. Now I needed to reconfigure the xorg.conf to work with the nVidia drivers. I went back to a clean shell with ctrl+alt+f1, logged in and typed:
> sudo dpkg-reconfigure xserver-xorg
Now with working nVidia drivers, I changed the 'vesa' driver to 'nvidia' . I made sure all options were on default and when I was prompted for screen resolutions, I checked '1200x800'. Finally, I restarted gdm:
> sudo /etc/init.d/gdm restart
The nice nVidia logo popped up (It is possible to turn this off from nvidia-settings) and I was off to use gnome with hardware accelerated 1280x800 resolution.