Ask Ubuntu is a question and answer site for Ubuntu users and developers. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Which one should I select? Preferably without breaking my system.

The last time I tried to install drivers, it totally messed up my system and I had to reinstall Ubuntu (which I just finished) and I would like to try an avoid the same mistake, but I am not sure which one I had installed the last time.

enter image description here

share|improve this question

Well, this probably isn't the answer you expected... my apologies.

The only "real" way to find out what driver will work with your card/system is to ask someone with real experience with your specific card. Google didn't help me much with your card..

So lets go break your system shall we ;D

First we need to provide a failsafe in case we break your ability to run Unity. I usually just install Gnome Flashback so I can tinker with graphics drivers without using any of them.

sudo apt-get install gnome-session-flashback  

You should then be able to log into "Gnome Flashback" from the login screen, but I recommend using "Gnome Flashback (No effects)" as it doesn't use Compiz at all.

enter image description here

  1. Now we are ready to test your drivers. Go ahead and select one and apply it. I'd start with the tested and stable ones first.

  2. Reboot and try logging into Unity and see if it works.. Try your games, make sure the graphics meet what you want. I recommend writing down which driver you tried and how it worked; it won't help to forget later ;)

  3. If a certain driver doesn't work; log out of Unity (Or if you can't, press Ctrl+Alt+F1 login and run sudo reboot) and log into "Gnome Flashback (No effects)" and remove the driver. You'll find additional drivers in the software center under Edit -> Software Sources in the "Additional Drivers" tab.

  4. Repeat, starting from step one until you get a driver that pleases you. If you don't find one.. well... I don't think there's anything you can do about it..

This is the method I use to find a good driver. It has always worked for me.

Good luck!

share|improve this answer
We may still have issues from Compiz on GNOME classic. Then we may choose GNOME Classic (No Effects) to disable compiz and render the desktop with Metacity. – Takkat Mar 21 '13 at 7:26
Ah good point @Takkat. I'll edit that in. – Seth Mar 21 '13 at 13:44

If you have an Nvidia or an AMD card, you should install the 'normal' driver (the ones without 'experimental' in its name. I would go with the first option, as it is also tested by the Ubuntu team.

Also, if everything works fine as it is, don't install the proprietary drivers, as it's not worth it to break Plymouth (or other stuff) just for having a graphic settings tool for your graphics card.

Just a quick piece of advice, your boot screen will get messed up anyway when using Nvidia drivers, so you can 'repair' that problem by following this link, as it was written for Ubuntu 10.04, the solution still works even in 13.04 (tested by me).

share|improve this answer

Definitely do not go with the Experimental ones (sixth and second), experiments often break stuff (your OS in this case.)

My best guess is to go with the Open Source one as it might be less buggy because of the fact of Linus' Law, "Many eyes make shallow bugs." :D Anyways, even though the Nvidia driver says tested, it often creates graphics issues, especially during boot-up.

Best of luck!

share|improve this answer

Its safest to keep on using the nouveau open source driver, its the driver you use to generate this screen-shot and it is the only driver that is possible to support by the Ubuntu developers. The Nouveau driver will have the best Ubuntu integration in the long run.

share|improve this answer
The nouveau driver is not the safest. I've seen it cause all sorts of issues, not just on my machine. – Seth Mar 1 '14 at 1:48

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.