Linux Version of Google Earth -- Black Screen

Post date: May 6, 2013 3:50:13 AM

If you are running Linux and Google earth, you might find that after updating different different video packages ( 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
Google Earth logo

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- 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 - (
    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!