NVIDIA Proprietary Driver Causes Last Minute Headache For Ubuntu 20.04.5 LTS

Written by Michael Larabel in Ubuntu on 31 August 2022 at 06:05 AM EDT. 16 Comments
Earlier this month Ubuntu 22.04.1 LTS was delayed by one week due to an OEM install bug leading to broken Snaps support. Now with Ubuntu 20.04.5 LTS the Canonical developers are racing down to a last-minute rebuild of images over a NVIDIA proprietary driver issue.

Ubuntu 20.04.5 LTS is due for release tomorrow as those on the Ubuntu 20.04 "Focal Fossa" long-term support series. It looks like Ubuntu 20.04.5 LTS will still release tomorrow, 1 September, but they've had to do a last-minute rebuild for most of their install images.

The issue comes down to the NVIDIA 390 series legacy driver pulling in the Linux 5.13 kernel packages even though 20.04.5's hardware-enablement stack (HWE) should be on Linux 5.15 that is back-ported from 22.04.

The NVIDIA 390 series driver is still used by some on older NVIDIA graphics cards while the much newer NVIDIA 515 series is the mainline driver also available for use with newer graphics cards. Back in January a Canonical engineer had dropped the NVIDIA 390 series driver support at the time on the basis of:
Drop nvidia 390 that is really old and it doesn't build anymore with linux 5.15.

But there is now support on the NVIDIA 390 series driver for using the Linux 5.15 kernel, so this avoiding of pulling in 5.13 kernel packages while retaining NVIDIA legacy driver support can be properly handled.

NVIDIA's proprietary driver stack for their legacy GPUs through a last-minute wrench into Ubuntu 20.04.5 LTS. But it looks like all should be good for release day.

This morning the engineers have respun most of the 20.04.5 images to fix the NVIDIA 390 driver situation.

Those wishing to test the Ubuntu 20.04.5 LTS release in what should be its final form ahead of the hopeful release tomorrow can see these new QA builds.
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 20,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter, LinkedIn, or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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