I just set up a fresh Debian (Jessie/8), set the APT Sources to fetch testing packages (main, contrib, non-free). Now I wanted to install drivers for the installed Nvidia GeForce 9600 and I tried following the Debian Wiki, which lists "the Debian way" of installing these drivers (340.65).

Although I don't all of what it does, I copied this line:

aptitude -r install linux-headers-$(uname -r|sed 's,[^-]*-[^-]*-,,') nvidia-kernel-dkms

On executing, lots of dependency salad occurs and aptitude suggests a course of action. However, that would remove 70 packages, including gnome, libreoffice and many more that seem either unrelated or pretty important (GNOME is the desktop manager after all, isn't it?). Additionally, 16 dependencies would be left unresolved. Hence I got scared and quit the process.

Is it safe to execute this and follow aptitude's suggestion or is there another (better) way of installing these drivers? Wouldn't it be sufficient to just apt-get install nvidia-driver?

EDIT1: In case it is relevant, my /etc/apt/source.list currenty looks like this:

deb http://ftp.de.debian.org/debian/ testing main contrib non-free
deb http://security.debian.org/ testing/updates main contrib non-free
deb http://ftp.de.debian.org/debian/ jessie-updates main

EDIT2: I did an apt-get dist-upgrade as recommended. I got logged out while it was running and could not log back in (it read something about "regex" and "sssssss" underneath the password field). Changed to TTY1, where it told me it could not load some rtl driver, then continued with something about bad sectors and corrupted file system. Could only restart system, was able to log in. Executed the aptitude command from above again. After a restart, I could log in, but was then presented with a mouse cursor and background only, no GUI elements. Trying to change to TTY1 actually brought up the GUI elements. However, it turns out that GNOME and almost all other programs were now actually missing. Trying to reinstall GNOME with apt-get install gnome crashed half-way through with a full-screen overlay featuring a sad computer screen in the center and some copy plus a button underneath, but the font was all glyphs (rectangles). Restarting or trying to start-x will just lead to this screen again (it reminds me of the "broken tab" screen in Google Chrome). Guess I will just reinstall Debian at this point...

  • You can't mix releases such as adding testing to a stable system and not end up with a broken system. You should remove testing from your sources or make the jump and upgrade to testing. – jordanm Nov 15 '15 at 18:21
  • @jordanm I did remove the stable sources from the sources.list and replaced them with the testing ones. After that, I ran apt-get update and apt-get upgrade and even did a restart to be sure. Isn't that the proper way? – domsson Nov 15 '15 at 18:23
  • In most cases you need to dist-upgrade, not just upgrade. – jordanm Nov 15 '15 at 18:35
  • @jordanm You are right, I forgot about that. Doing it now, let's see what happens after that. Thanks. – domsson Nov 15 '15 at 18:40
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    There's no reason to install testing to get Nvidia drivers. The proprietary Nvidia driver is the same, version 340, in Jessie (stable), Stretch (testing), and Sid (unstable). The newer 352 driver is available only in experimental. I would install the bumblebee package, first with the free "nouveau" drivers, after that's working, go to proprietary if necessary: wiki.debian.org/Bumblebee – RobertL Nov 15 '15 at 20:20

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