185

I would like to try a different video display driver, but I'm not sure which one I'm currently using.

What's the simple way to see what driver my system is using currently?

174

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

  *-display
       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 module named "nvidia", it's just an alias. To resolve the alias you can use modprobe --resolve-alias nvidia. Or to get the whole modinfo in one command:

modinfo $(modprobe --resolve-alias nvidia)
  • 1
    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
  • 3
    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
  • 1
    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
  • 3
    @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
  • 2
    When I run sudo lshw -c video, the line for "configuration" says "latency=0" and there is no entry for driver anywhere. I've reinstalled the Intel drivers successfully several times, with reboots in between, and no matter what, lshw does not show any driver info. – ely Oct 12 '16 at 17:44
82

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.

  • 4
    +1 for solution with 'standard' linux tools (works perfectly on fedora here) – 4levels Apr 27 '15 at 10:09
  • 1
    How about if I see in use both i915 and nouveau? How do I know which one is used by X? – akostadinov Jan 11 '17 at 15:31
  • +1 I was trying to get the video driver's name in use on a lubuntu system: your lspci | grep got me streight there. The lshw proposed by Lekensteyn ,while is working on ubuntu, failed to detect the module file's name on lubuntu. – Antonio Molinaro Oct 25 '18 at 21:27
2

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.

  • 2
    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
  • I have tested this command in Ubuntu 16.04.2. It appears to report the active GPU with similar syntax as the command glxinfo|egrep "OpenGL vendor|OpenGL renderer*" see. I believe that unity_support_test --print runs the OpenGL command at the backend. – Sun Bear Apr 18 '17 at 13:02
1

The best information I've seen so far is in nouveau wiki. It can also help with non-nvidia cards: https://nouveau.freedesktop.org/wiki/Optimus/

This is xrandr --listproviders and sudo cat /sys/kernel/debug/vgaswitcheroo/switch. A lot of other useful info how to control power, outputs and offloading, etc.

1
hwinfo --gfxcard

Look for the line starting by " Driver:" You may have to install hwinfo package first.

0

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.

  • 2
    I can't get any VGA driver information with Sysinfo. Sysinfo VGA information screenshot – BuZZ-dEE Feb 14 '13 at 13:50
  • 1
    sysinfo crashes under Ubuntu 16.04. Nice start to a program to display useful system information. – Underverse Mar 3 '18 at 11:24

protected by Braiam Mar 17 '14 at 11:59

Thank you for your interest in this question. Because it has attracted low-quality or spam answers that had to be removed, posting an answer now requires 10 reputation on this site (the association bonus does not count).

Would you like to answer one of these unanswered questions instead?

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