Once upon a time, when I installed Ubuntu 10.x on an older machine, and kept upgrading it until 13.04 or 13.10, there was an easy-to-find option in Settings that allowed to install NVidia's proprietary drivers and keep them up to date (or not, because sometimes they released a new version with a bunch of awful regressions).
Now, when I installed 13.10 on my new laptop, which I then upgraded to 14.04, I haven't ever been able to find that option anywhere.
An attempt to install nvidia drivers with apt-get dont-remember-what resulted in a screwed up system that wouldn't properly start Unity (or even xorg, not sure), roughly equivalent to an unbootable system. But I managed to revert that.
I seem to understand that there are some sort of opensource drivers called "nouveau" that come by default in Ubuntu which kind of provide an alternative to NVidia's proprietary drivers. Is that so?
THE PRACTICAL QUESTIONS:
Is it ok to not install NVidia's drivers, or am I underutilizing the potential of the GPU (i.e. not using all the available hardware acceleration)? Or in other words: is there a test I can run to check whether hardware acceleration of my GPU is being properly used with my current setup (nouveau or whatever it is)?
What's the proper recommended way to install NVidia proprietary drivers now on Ubuntu 14.04, without bricking the system?