Running ubuntu 18.04 with nvidia-driver-390. How can I switch to nouveau and make the change persistent between reboots?


You can switch drivers by running the GUI Additional Drivers from the Software and Update app.

Or you can do it from the terminal commandline by running these commands:

$ ubuntu-drivers devices

This will show you your available drivers. Then pick the nouveau driver found and switch to it with this command:

$ sudo apt install [xserver-xorg-video-nouveau]

The [xserver-xorg-video-nouveau] is an example a nouveau driver that might be found.

If for some reason you have removed your nouveau drivers, you can reinstall them with (for example):

$ sudo apt install nouveau-firmware

You can verify the available nouveau drivers from the repository with this command:

$ apt search nouveau
  • 1
    I cannot find any explanation of what nouveau-firmware is needed for exactly. It is not listed among dependencies of xserver-xorg-video-nouveau, and selecting xserver-xorg-video-nouveau with GUI Driver Manager does not install nouveau-firmware. Could it be useful to install nouveau-firmware manually? Does the Nvidia card model matter?
    – Alexey
    Feb 16 '19 at 19:09
  • You may be right that the particular driver may not be needed. The command lines (which I edited the answer to clarify) are intended as examples for installing drivers. Feb 17 '19 at 9:33
  • When I try to install xserver-xorg-video-nouveau it says: The following packages have unmet dependencies: xserver-xorg-video-nouveau : Depends: xorg-video-abi-23 Depends: xserver-xorg-core (>= 2: Jul 2 '19 at 17:23
  • That means your library configuration is broken. There are quite a few Q&A's that addresses fixing unmet dependencies issues. This is a carefully filtered Google search of this site that may help you get started: google.com/… The first one (currently) on the list will likely resolve your issue. Jul 2 '19 at 21:27


sudo apt purge nvidia-driver-390
sudo apt autoremove

and reboot.

Another way is to do it in "Software & Updates" -> Additional Drivers tab.

  • 1
    I've tried that but then when rebooting it doesn't enter to desktop.
    – Smeterlink
    May 5 '18 at 11:02
  • 1
    That may mean that your video card is not perfectly supported by nouveau.
    – Pilot6
    May 5 '18 at 11:24

Answer my own question: ubuntu-drivers and "Software and Update > Additional drivers" are broken on ubuntu 18.04. We'll have to wait until developers fix it. For now just use the proprietary nvidia driver which works ok.


On Xubuntu 18.04, "Software and Update > Additional drivers" worked for me, but I had to replace the /etc/X11/xorg.conf file by the original one, /etc/X11/xorg.conf.nvidia-xconfig-original, which in my case is just a blank file.

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