Installing native Drivers/Headers

Hello. I’m in a computer graphics course, and openGL is the rendering software we are using. I’m trying to install everything I need at home. I have a graphics card that definitely supports openGL (nvidia 8600 GS). I’m running ubuntu 9.10. When I first logged on, a window came up in X windows and asked me to install the nvidia drivers, so I did. If on the desktop I go to System>Admininstration>Hardware Drivers it displays it there: version 185. Also available is the Nvidia X server settings, which seems to verify that it installed correctly (I can use desktop effects).
According to my teacher, installing the drivers should be all I need to use openGL. But when I search my computer, I can’t find any header files whatsoever. I’ve searched in /usr/include mainly.
What I need is help ‘installing’ openGL. I’m trying to use native openGL rather than Mesa, which is why I haven’t used it yet. Does anyone know how to make the needed files available? I’m not an adept linux user so I’d need reasonable instructions.
One thing I have tried is downloading a driver from Nvidia site. I exited xwindows and set runlevel to 3, then tried to install the .run file. It failed, saying that there was some issue with my kernel. When it tried to auto install it again failed, and I didn’t understand the output it gave me.
If there are header files available that will let me use it just the same as if it was native then that would be fine.

Thanks alot for your help.

Driver is needed for runtime support of opengl. You have it, version 185, it works, good.
Now for the development, just launch synaptic, great tool to install/upgrade all software packages on Ubuntu. You will need to install the *-dev packages to install development headers, probably these will be enough :

In general, and contrary to what is done on the Windows plateform, avoid installing random stuff from websites, but instead use your package manager (synaptic) to install software and dependencies. Much cleaner and simpler to install stuff, upgrade, and uninstall.

Read that too :

Thanks alot. That clarifies alot.
One more question: is using mesa a disadvantage over using the nvidia development packages? Or are they virtually interchangeable. I want to make sure my systems run on unix + windows, and as far as I know openGl will automatically use hardware when available. Is mesa essentially just a different author of the header files?
Thanks alot for your help.

Not sure but I think Nvidia dev packages is less standard than mesa.
Using freeglut and glew with opengl 2.1 + dynamic query of needed extensions will provide the widest cross-platform development.
glew dev package on ubuntu :

Hey Jade,

First thing I recommend you add the nvidia-vdpau ppa package repository to your list in /etc/apt/sources.list. Instructions available here.

Second, your instructor is mistaken in their instructions as they apply, at least, to Ubuntu Karmic. Install the nvidia-glx-(version)-dev package, and probably you will want freeglut3-dev package as well. You can get both off of the package manager.

Good luck.