Nvidia driver options are not easy to understand

Bug #1839756 reported by mark johnson on 2019-08-11
10
This bug affects 2 people
Affects Status Importance Assigned to Milestone
software-properties (Ubuntu)
Undecided
Olivier Tilloy

Bug Description

I have just upgraded to Ubuntu 18.04.3LTS, and the options I have for my nvidia driver are shown in the screenshot.

I dont understand why I have the option for an older, untested version of the driver as well as the latest version. Also, the wording of these options is highly technical and not very meaningful to someone who just wants the latest driver.

I would be better to have just 2 options, with labels more meaningful to the end user like:
* Latest official Nvidia driver (proprietary)
* Latest Nouveau driver (open source)

ProblemType: Bug
DistroRelease: Ubuntu 18.04
Package: software-properties-gtk 0.96.24.32.9
ProcVersionSignature: Ubuntu 4.15.0-55.60-generic 4.15.18
Uname: Linux 4.15.0-55-generic x86_64
ApportVersion: 2.20.9-0ubuntu7.7
Architecture: amd64
CurrentDesktop: XFCE
Date: Sun Aug 11 13:32:43 2019
InstallationDate: Installed on 2016-11-11 (1002 days ago)
InstallationMedia: Xubuntu 16.04.1 LTS "Xenial Xerus" - Release amd64 (20160719)
PackageArchitecture: all
SourcePackage: software-properties
UpgradeStatus: Upgraded to bionic on 2018-08-24 (351 days ago)

lotuspsychje (lotuspsychje) wrote :

Converted to a question, as the provided screenshot seems like an expected additional driver situation

Changed in software-properties (Ubuntu):
status: New → Invalid
Matthew Paul Thomas (mpt) wrote :

Hi mark, thanks for your report. We plan to improve this interface for Ubuntu 19.10, as part of the inclusion of Nvidia drivers in the official Ubuntu repositories.

I think the issue you are seeing, with a newer driver showing as “tested” while an older one is not, is that the older one is what Nvidia calls the “Long Lived” driver and the newer one the “Short Lived”, which people choose depending on whether they want stability, compatibility with the latest game updates, etc. So it’s not simply a case of “newer × tested” >> “older × untested”. When I designed the current UI, in January 2012, that distinction had existed for only four months and I wasn’t aware of it. Now, we’ll show Nvidia’s “Long Lived” and “Short Lived” terminology in the GUI.

At the same time, as you suggested, we’ll drop technical wording that doesn’t help you make a choice, like “metapackage” and “X.org X server”.

Here’s the new design: <https://wiki.ubuntu.com/SoftwareAndUpdatesSettings#drivers>

Changed in software-properties (Ubuntu):
status: Invalid → Triaged

Thanks for the response and the explanation Matthew,
the new design is a big improvement, good to know that it's already in the works!

Changed in software-properties (Ubuntu):
assignee: nobody → Olivier Tilloy (osomon)
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