1. Computers
  2. Display Drivers
  3. Graphics Cards
  4. Memory
  5. Motherboards
  6. Processors
  7. Software
  8. Storage
  9. Operating Systems


Facebook RSS Twitter Twitter Google Plus


Phoronix Test Suite

OpenBenchmarking.org

GPU Driver Updates To Come Quicker To Ubuntu

Gaming

Published on 11 October 2012 08:09 PM EDT
Written by Michael Larabel in Gaming
17 Comments

In an effort to make Ubuntu Linux a better gaming platform and make the open-source operating system more attractive to game developers, hardware vendors, and end-users, Canonical will make it easier to upgrade your graphics driver.

Canonical's Bryce Harrington, one of their few X.Org maintainers for Ubuntu Linux, blogged this week about "Better gaming on Ubuntu 12.04." His posting basically comes down to making Ubuntu better for gaming by providing quicker driver updates to existing Ubuntu releases, in order to make updated drivers with game-fixes, improved hardware support, etc more easily accessible to Ubuntu users.

When Ubuntu Linux is released, the main versions of the NVIDIA and AMD Catalyst driver versions are frozen for that cycle. Recently they have been providing an "-updates" option too as an alternative for getting updated stable driver releases through their package repository, but they want to take it a step further by offering updated experimental/beta binary blobs.

Bryce says, "High end commercial games will often need bleeding edge driver support to get necessary fixes and features. But in Ubuntu we have to be very careful rolling out driver changes to users to avoid causing regressions, so this cutting edge support needs to be opt-in. With Valve’s guidance and advice, we’ve put together some solutions which will address the game requirements yet still be end-user accessible."

Canonical will be rolling out nvidia-experimental-xxx packages on the NVIDIA proprietary driver side where xxx is the major release stream, e.g. nvidia-experimental-304 right now. The experimental NVIDIA driver support will come to Ubuntu 12.04 LTS as well as the current releases such as Ubuntu 12.10. Canonical also plans to roll out similar experimental/beta drivers for the AMD Catalyst driver releases, but that has yet to be setup.

For the open-source drivers, there is the Ubuntu-X PPA. Updating the open-source drivers is a mess since it's not just one component but the Linux kernel, Mesa, libdrm, the DDX, and any other new dependencies. This is one of several challenges with the open-source drivers.

Basically the change to make Ubuntu better for gaming is that beta/experimental drivers can be more easily installed through the Ubuntu repository rather than needing to manually install the driver from the vendor's web-site.

Bryce ended his blog post with "All of the above is geared for leading edge adopters, as we want to help you get up and running on 12.04 with these games as soon as possible after release. For those wanting to wait a bit, in few months from now we’ll be rolling out a broader update for 12.04.2, which should include all the above updates plus some. But my hope is that going forward we’re going to see more and more commercial games come to Linux, and will be able to exercise (and improve) these new driver update mechanisms."

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 .
Latest Linux Hardware Reviews
  1. Rosewill RS-MI-01: An Ultra Low-Cost Mini-ITX Chassis
  2. D-Link DCS-2330L HD Wireless Network Camera
  3. Gigabyte AM1M-S2H
  4. AMD's New Athlon/Semprons Give Old Phenom CPUs A Big Run For The Money
Latest Linux Articles
  1. Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.0 RC Benchmarks
  2. AMD Catalyst 14.4 Brings Few Linux Performance Improvements
  3. The Performance Of Fedora 20 Updated
  4. Clang Fights GCC On AMD's Athlon AM1 APU With Jaguar Cores
Latest Linux News
  1. NGINX 1.6 Brings SPDY 3.1 & Other New Features
  2. Linux Foundation Announces A Core Infrastructure Initiative
  3. More Steam Linux Tests/Benchmarks Might Be Coming
  4. NVIDIA's Amazing Single-Board ARM Computer Might Be Delayed
  5. Fedora 21 To Get A Playground, New Features
  6. PC-BSD Is Developing Its Own Desktop Environment
  7. Valve Is Bringing VOGL To Windows & Working On Regression Tests
  8. Canonical Is Taking Over Linux 3.13 Kernel Maintenance
  9. Google Web Designer Is Now Natively Available On Linux
  10. Ubuntu 14.10 Is Codenamed The Utopic Unicorn
  11. Audacious 3.5 Lightweight Audio Player Released
  12. Steam Updated For Ubuntu 14.04 LTS, SteamOS
Latest Forum Discussions
  1. Linux Kernel Developers Fed Up With Ridiculous Bugs In Systemd
  2. What Else Would You Like To See On Phoronix This Spring?
  3. HTPC-upgrade advice: AMD Richland A8-7600 or Kaveri A10-6700T ???
  4. The GNOME Foundation Is Running Short On Money
  5. The Most Amazing OpenGL Tech Demo In 64kb
  6. Announcing radeontop, a tool for viewing the GPU usage
  7. New card. Open source drivers only.
  8. Script for Fan Speed Control