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I know that sometimes I have the option to change my video display driver, and I can access this functionality by using System→Administration→Additional Drivers. But what's the simple way to see what driver my Ubuntu 10.04 or 10.10 system is using currently?

UPDATE -- I found a command I didn't know about in How to determine version and origin of proprietary drivers.

jockey-text -l

Martin Owens gives this example output:

kmod:nvidia_current - nvidia_current (Proprietary, Enabled, Not in use)
pkg:sl-modem-daemon - Software modem (Proprietary, Disabled, Not in use)

kmod stands for kernel module, pkg is obviously an apt package. According to the code, jockey installs the latest candidate package and ignores any detectable kernel modules or blacklisted modules.

The output is more descriptive than that from lshw by itself, but I think it is limited to giving information about drivers that were installed with jockey in the first place. Jockey, launched as jockey-gtk, is (I believe) the same application that runs when you select System→Administration→Additional Drivers .

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up vote 69 down vote accepted

Run lshw -c video, and look for the line with "configuration". The loaded driver is prefixed with "driver=". Example output:

       description: VGA compatible controller
       product: Core Processor Integrated Graphics Controller
       vendor: Intel Corporation
       physical id: 2
       bus info: pci@0000:00:02.0
       version: 02
       width: 64 bits
       clock: 33MHz
       capabilities: vga_controller bus_master cap_list rom
       configuration: driver=i915 latency=0
       resources: irq:45 memory:fd000000-fd3fffff memory:d0000000-dfffffff ioport:1800(size=8)

If you want more information about the loaded driver, run modinfo. Output of modinfo i915:

filename:       /lib/modules/2.6.35-24-generic/kernel/drivers/gpu/drm/i915/i915.ko
license:        GPL and additional rights
description:    Intel Graphics
author:         Tungsten Graphics, Inc.
license:        GPL and additional rights
... stripped information for saving space ...
depends:        drm,drm_kms_helper,video,intel-agp,i2c-algo-bit
vermagic:       2.6.35-24-generic SMP mod_unload modversions 

Note that modinfo works on filenames and aliases, not on module names. The majority of the modules will have the same name for the module name and filename, but there are exceptions. One of them is nvidia.

Another way of using these commands in order to show you the file name of the driver would be:

modinfo -F filename `lshw -c video | awk '/configuration: driver/{print $2}' | cut -d= -f2`

When loaded, the command lsmod will show the nvidia module as loaded. modinfo nvidia will error out. Why? Because there is no alias "nvidia" and the module is placed in /lib/modules/3.2.0-32-generic/updates/dkms/nvidia_current.ko. You have to use modinfo nvidia_current in this case. (note that modinfo automatically converts - to _, so modinfo nvidia-current is equivalent.)

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Thanks -- do you know if there is a way to match the string it gives back to a database (or list, etc.) that gives a longer description? – belacqua Jan 25 '11 at 20:30
Use modinfo‌​. If you want to have more information about the i915 driver, run: modinfo i915. – Lekensteyn Jan 25 '11 at 21:00
modinfo nvidia_current does not work for me. however lshw -c video does show me the driver details as nvidia – Ubuntuser Feb 8 '13 at 7:39
My laptop has two video cards: an integrated Intel card, and a Radeon HD 6xxx. Both cards have drivers, and so both show up with these commands. But that doesn't tell me which one is actually being used by X11, does it? – naught101 Nov 10 '13 at 1:17
@naught101 Look in /var/log/Xorg.0.log to discover. The card that is being used is marked with an star: ` (--) PCI:*(0:0:2:0) ...` – Lekensteyn Nov 10 '13 at 9:58

You could use the following command to see the currently used vga kernel driver:

lspci -nnk | grep -i vga -A3 | grep 'in use'

Example output for an ATI / AMD graphic card:

  • if the open source Radeon driver is used:

    Kernel driver in use: radeon
  • if the proprietary Fglrx driver is used:

    Kernel driver in use: fglrx_pci

Complete Output with lspci -nnk | grep -i vga -A3:

01:00.0 VGA compatible controller [0300]: Advanced Micro Devices [AMD] nee ATI Mobility Radeon HD 2400 [1002:94c9]
    Subsystem: Toshiba America Info Systems Device [1179:ff00]
    Kernel driver in use: fglrx_pci
    Kernel modules: fglrx, radeon

Available kernel modules you can see with lspci -nnk | grep -i vga -A3 | grep 'Kernel modules':

Kernel modules: fglrx, radeon

Note: This does not work in every case!

For a SiS 65x/M650/740 PCI/AGP VGA Display Adapter, there is no "Kernel driver in use" line:

lspci -nnk | grep -i vga -A2
01:00.0 VGA compatible controller [0300]: Silicon Integrated Systems [SiS] 65x/M650/740 PCI/AGP VGA Display Adapter [1039:6325]
    Subsystem: ASUSTeK Computer Inc. Device [1043:1612]
    Kernel modules: sisfb

and the available sisfb kernel module is not the loaded driver, because lsmod | grep sisfb has no output (sisfb is blacklisted). In this case also sudo lshw -c video | grep Konfiguration does not work. The output is:

   Konfiguration: latency=0

without any driver information.

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+1 for solution without root permissions – ManuelSchneid3r Apr 8 '14 at 8:23
+1 for solution with 'standard' linux tools (works perfectly on fedora here) – 4levels Apr 27 '15 at 10:09

I have tried many ways without succes, but this did work on me (Ubuntu 12.10):

/usr/lib/nux/unity_support_test --print

One reason is that I have Nvidia Optimus card and that makes thing harder so I added optirun before the command.

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I thought it only printed driver capabilities and OpenGL version - does this show what driver you are using? – belacqua Feb 15 '13 at 16:32

Open a terminal and type:

sudo apt-get install sysinfo

This is a handy little program that can tell you all ya need to know about your PC.

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I can't get any VGA driver information with Sysinfo. Sysinfo VGA information screenshot – BuZZ-dEE Feb 14 '13 at 13:50

protected by Braiam Mar 17 '14 at 11:59

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