Well I just had another nouveau driver failure (can't idle on 0000c0000 or something like that), read the reply to my last post, and tried it again...and it installed this time! OMG it installed!!
I couldn't get back to the desktop with Ctrl+Alt+F8 or Ctrl+Alt+F7 which was bouncing me between a blue screen saying X server had stopped and the black tty screen (from a Ctrl+Alt+1-6) so I had to reboot. And it launched the plasma destop and is working. But I can't open the NVidia Xserver Settings icon that was added to my menu? No biggy. Command "inxi -Fx" shows NVidia driver is installed and running at 1280x1024 at 50Hz without error (unlike the nouveau driver which showed an error at this setting because it defaults to 60Hz). I'm still in awe that it actually installed. My rss-glx screensavers run noticably faster and smoother (nice!) and the system seems snappier. The only "glitch" I've noticed (so far) is the radio control buttons from some newly launched windows don't show the icon (minimize, maximize, close) until you hover over them. But after you hover, the icons stay showing.
My system (salvaged from a dumpster; a 2006 CAD station):
Intel motherboard with on-board graphics / 2GB RAM
Intel Pentium 4 single-core HT,multi-threading, 3.2GHz, 800MHz FSB
NVidia Quadro FX 1300 (NV38GL) [Dual-DVI monitor outputs]
Some things I did prior to successfully getting the NVidia-173 driver to install (step-by-step):
1. Went into my BIOS and changed the video from Auto to PCI (forces system to only use PCI NVidia card; decouples the "hybrid" video aspect of your Intel/NVidia hardware platform)
2. Noticed my DVI was connected to DVI-2. Moved the connector to DVI-1 while still in nouveau and configured as default. Not sure if this was a factor.
3. Ctrl+Alt+F1 (shell out to tty-1) and login
4. Sudo -i (get an interactive root shell)
5. Used command "mdm stop" not "sudo service mdm stop".
6. Used command "apt-get install nvidia-173"
7. Tried "mdm restart" then Ctrl+Alt+F8. Failed. Then tried Ctrl+Alt+F7. Failed. Both result in black screens or black/blue bouncing back and forth screens.
9. KDE Plasma desktop launched (smoothly - nouveau driver would load the splash, then flicker, then load the desktop with black stripes bottom and right, then fill in the black stripes.
10. Discovered I could not launch the NVidia X Server settings tool. Investigating...
Playing Maelstrom (Asteroids) now. Much, much more responsive. Nice!!
11. Used command "apt-get install nvidia-settings" (now NVidia Xserver settings launches)
12. All working now. Movies look and play great, game(s) play great, and got xscreensaver launching at boot and working with rss-glx (helios!!)
13. Styling my KDE desktop while watching a movie now...Stoked.
14. Will do a full backup (deja-dup) next
15. One persons Windows trash is another's functional Linux desktop PC. Free PC, free OS. Just took a little more work than expected but the end result was (almost) worth the effort. Had my nouveau driver not faulted (over and over) I would not have gone thru this but it does seem very stable now. What more can you ask for?