Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Upgrade Video Drivers through PPAs, all Ubuntus

If you are having issues with your currently running video driver and/or want to try a more recent version of it, you can try upgrading it through one of the PPAs below. Both of these offer more recent drivers than the offical repos, and are providing packages for all current versions of Ubuntu.

Ubuntu-X-Swat PPA

This PPA is basically only providing updated proprietary Nvidia and ATI/AMD drivers, and since Natty Narwhal in fact restricted to them. If you are using a prop. driver, this PPA is -at least as of now- the best choice, and it also shouldn't break your system or reduce the performance of the used driver.

To upgrade using this PPA, run these commands in the Terminal:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:ubuntu-x-swat/x-updates
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade

If you need/want to remove those PPA and downgrade the concerning packages again, run these:

sudo apt-get install ppa-purge
sudo ppa-purge ppa:ubuntu-x-swat/x-updates

https://launchpad.net/~ubuntu-x-swat/+archive/x-updates

Xorg-Edgers' PPA

This PPA is to prefer if you are not using the proprietary Nvidia or ATI/AMD drivers, since -at least as of now- the Ubuntu-X-Swat PPA offers more recent prop. Nvidia drivers, and the Xorg-Edgers' PPA doesn't provide the prop. ATI/AMD driver at all.

But if you are using a default open source driver, this PPA definitely provides the most recent version of it.

Notice, however, that Xorg-Edgers have ceased upgrading their packages for Ubuntu versions prior to Natty Narwhal, and also that upgrading through this PPA would upgrade a lot of other packages as well, please see its description for details:

https://launchpad.net/~xorg-edgers/+archive/ppa

To upgrade using this PPA, run these commands in the Terminal:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:xorg-edgers/ppa
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade

It is well possible that upgrading the driver through this PPA doesn't fix your issue or even makes the performance of the used driver worse. So, if you need/want to remove those PPA and downgrade the concerning packages again, run these commands in the Terminal:

sudo apt-get install ppa-purge
sudo ppa-purge ppa:xorg-edgers/ppa

Why not manual installation?

If you want to install or upgrade the proprietary Nvidia or ATI/AMD drivers, there are quite a lot of people echoing to just download them and using their installer. Why you shouldn't do this? Well, there are a number of reasons to make that option the least option to consider:
  • This is not a safe installation, you can't remove the driver easily and safely!
  • You have to reinstall the driver each time when the kernel gets upgraded, very probably intermittently landing you at the console login!
  • The driver will not get updated automatically.
  • The driver is not necessarily reasonably more recent.
  • The driver doesn't necessarily provide a reasonable higher performance.
But if you don't get a package of a reasonable recent version through any PPA, and the best available version still doesn't fit your needs or delivers a reasonable performance, you can of course try the manual installation.

In this case, I give you this guide beforehand, in case you need/want to safely uninstall the driver again, to either use default open source driver or want to do a package based installation. This guide, obviously, primarily covers the ATI/AMD driver but it also includes hints regarding the Nvidia driver.

https://wiki.ubuntu.com/X/Troubleshooting/FglrxInteferesWithRadeonDriver

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Installation , System , Troubleshooting