Why does Ubuntu wait weeks and sometimes months to release new Nvidia driver updates? It doesn't seem to make any sense at all. Is this common practice to serve up old drivers and not official Nvidia recommended drivers?

Background: coming from Windows 7 and XP I'm used to my Nvidia drivers being in sync with the official Nvidia release cycle and always having extremely fresh drivers available. However with Ubuntu it seems that new upstream Nvidia releases are delayed for way too long before being released to the main repositories. Nvidia Ubuntu drivers should always be at the most recent version officially endorsed by Nvidia themselves as STABLE. This affects the quality of the experience I have with Nvidia on Ubuntu because newer drivers mean greater performance/stability, new features and added support for new Nvidia cards. Ubuntu needs to embrace a rapid-release cycle where new drivers are quickly put into production and release it to the main repository where all Ubuntu can update to it especially for LTS users.

Just filed Launchpad Bug #1219908 about my frustration with the slow-release cycle of the Nvidia drivers in the main Ubuntu repositories and it got upgraded to Wishlist. If this problem affects you too you can log into www.launchpad.net and click the “this affects me too” button the bug report and let the package maintainers know that you would like a faster release cycle so you can have access to fresh drivers in sync with official Nvidia releases.

Nvidia Official Linux Drivers List


"Why does Ubuntu wait weeks and sometimes months to release new Nvidia driver updates?"

  1. Other things get in the way - Usually, a specific person or group of people will be in charge of packaging the driver and putting it up, unless the process is automated. Usually, these people also have several other projects and responsibilities and as a result need to prioritize. Believe it or not, the open source world is rather... understaffed, as it were. So there is not really much that can be done about that situation. (Though you, I, and all the thousands of others surely appreciate the hard work of the team of people who work on this.)

  2. The drivers need to be tested - Like all other software, the nVidia drivers not only need to be packaged, but also tested before being put forward to the repositories.

Now, to provide a solution for you:

You can use the nVidia proprietary "blob" from their download server, rather than the version from Ubuntu's repositories. It comes with a feature that automatically detects and installs the latest and greatest driver version:

./NVIDIA-Linux-x86-319.49.run -a --update -X --no-runlevel-check -q

Or, if you just want to check for the latest version:

./NVIDIA-Linux-x86-319.49.run -l

Perhaps a script could be created from this, for example "every day, check to see if there is a new version available, and if there is, tell the user to run the utility"...

Or, you could just check the server every week or so, if this is really that important to you.

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