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Linux Version of Google Earth -- Black Screen

posted May 5, 2013, 8:50 PM by Tom Gutwin   [ updated May 5, 2013, 8:50 PM ]
Google Earth logo
If you are running Linux and Google earth, you might find that after updating different different video packages (x.org drivers included) that Google Earth display a black screen with no earth when you open it.

Its a problem with the LibGL drivers, and its fixable.

To see the debug yourself, run google-earth from the command-line with debug messages turned on.
$ export LIBGL_DEBUG=verbose
$ google-earth

You probably will see something like:
LibGL error: failed to load driver: swrast

I have seen this few different times; usually after a package update or on an initial install - see my post on Fresh Install Ubuntu 12.10 (recovering from HDD failure) item 9 & 23.

This time all I had to do was re-install my nVidia driver.
I use the version direct from nVidia.
Download the latest from- http://www.nvidia.com/Download/index.aspx?lang=en-us  mine is version 319.17.

Here are the steps to do the update in Ubuntu 12.10.
  1. set the default boot up to runlevel 3 (text with network) or 1 (single user)
    • edit /etc/default/grub
    • change the line GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT="text"
    • ****run sudo update-grub to regenerate grub files
    • NOTE: you can also set this option at the GRUB2 bootmanager menu, but it is a one time setting
  2. reboot
  3. login, the sudo su to get a root prompt
  4. run the downloaded NVIDIA file - (NVIDIA-Linux-x86_64-319.17.run)
  5. let it build from source
    • you will need the linux headers for this (if you don't already have them installed)
      • sudo apt-get install linux-headers-generic
  6. Don't update your xorg.conf if you have it already setup.
  7. set the default boot up to runlevel 5 (full gui login)
    • edit /etc/default/grub
    • change the line GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT="quiet splash"
    • ****run sudo update-grub to regenerate grub files
  8. re-boot
    • /sbin/init 6

when you run google-earth our pretty globe should now show up!



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