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Ubuntu 12.10 To Further Binary Blob Handling

Ubuntu

Published on 11 May 2012 06:20 PM EDT
Written by Michael Larabel in Ubuntu
17 Comments

While things are coming to a close in Oakland at the last day of UDS-Q, there was an interesting session that concerns the future of third-party driver installation on Ubuntu 12.10 and future releases.

The Ubuntu developers discussed plans to improve third-party driver installation (namely for the binary driver blobs) on Ubuntu Linux. The improvement isn't by eliminating the need for hardware driver blobs or anything on that end to fundamentally shift the equation, but rather to allow end-users to more easily install the proprietary bits.

The main part of this session revolved around doing away with the complicated logic currently inside Jockey, the Ubuntu program for managing the third-party driver installations. The Jockey code-base has grown quite complex while there's now new features in the Ubuntu Linux stack (such as with PackageKit and aptdaemon) that can allow to simplify the logic and improve the back-end.

Ubuntu developers also discussed merging the Jockey/third-party-driver functionality directly into the Ubuntu Software Center itself. For a novice Linux end-user, this would make sense.

There's also talk of having the Jockey functionality cover open-source drivers, to add the VirtualBox guest drivers to Jockey, and better integrate with the hardware database.

Also talked about were plans to expand the proprietary coverage of drivers within Ubuntu. Among the mentioned hardware was for now bundling scanner firmware, support for ndiswrapper (what allows using Windows networking drivers on Linux), Brother Printer drivers, LinuxAnt dial-up model drivers, and more.

The official notes from today's third-party driver handling session can be found at uds.ubuntu.com.

About The Author
Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the web-site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience and being the largest web-site devoted to Linux hardware reviews, particularly for products relevant to Linux gamers and enthusiasts but also commonly reviewing servers/workstations and embedded Linux devices. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics hardware drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated testing software. He can be followed via and or contacted via .
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