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I've been using ubuntu for a while now and had a bit of a problem a while back with my graphics card and got to messing around with drivers.

Even though I'va had experience (nasty ones) with drivers, I'm still not sure.

What are the differences between the binary and source drivers. Now that question is not as stupid as it reads. I'm aware that binary are..well.. binary and source are compiled scripts you run yourself.

My question is moreso, what grounds would you choose one over the other?

Why is a binary driver more stable and source considered faster?


Just on that note. When I say source drivers, I don't mean nouveau. I mean the drivers you download manually from nvidia and run the scripts yourself.

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The drivers that you download from the Nvidia site are, as you know updated. The drivers you have on the Ubuntu repositories are updated only upon a Ubuntu release or when there is such a huge problem with them that can only be fixed by upgrading the version.

The only way you are going to get updated proprietary drivers for your Nvidia card is by either using the driver downloaded from the site or adding a PPA.

Fortunately the Ubuntu team keeps a PPA where you can get the most recent version of the Nvidia drivers, updated and packed for your system.

You can add it and upgrade your drivers to the same version released by Nvidia using the following commands in a terminal

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

you can then install / upgrade your drivers using the packages from the added PPA

sudo apt-get install nvidia-current nvidia-settings

Those drivers are updated every time Nvidia releases a new driver version.

The main difference between installing form the Nvidia site, the default packages released with a Ubuntu release or the drivers from the PPA is the support and where to report bugs to.

Another main difference is the way to remove them, the drivers installed via PPA or distributed with and Ubuntu release will be removed with apt-get while the driver provided by the download from Nvidia has it's own removal procedure.

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Is there a package in the default ubuntu repos called nvidia-current aswell? –  OVERTONE Feb 19 '12 at 20:16
    
Yes, those are the names of the packages that jokey (Additional Drivers) tool installs for Nvidia, nvidia-current and nvidia-settings. –  Bruno Pereira Feb 19 '12 at 21:23
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