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I have a fresh installation of Ubuntu 14.04.2, and now I want to start using Nvidia's official drivers, rather than the Nouveau drivers that come as default with Ubuntu. So, on the Nvidia website, I found which driver is needed for my graphics card, which is version 346. I ran sudo add-apt-repository ppa:xorg-edgers/ppa to update the repository, and then sudo apt-get install nvidia-346 to install the Nvidia driver.

Now, if I open Ubuntu Software Centre and go to Additional Drivers, it lists six drivers: five Nvidia drivers, and one Nouveau driver (which is currently selected). The Nvidia drivers are nvidia-331, nvidia-331-updates, nvidia-340, nvidia-346, and nvidia-349.

I have two questions:

1) Seeing as I only told Ubuntu to install nvidia-346, why has it also installed all of these other Nvidia drivers (331, 340 and 349)?

2) All the Nvidia drivers, except for nvidia-331-updates, are described as "open source". However, nvidia-331-updates is described as "proprietary". Why are these drivers open source, when I thought that all official Nvidia drivers would be proprietary, and only Nouveau would be open source?

Thank you!

4

Seeing as I only told Ubuntu to install nvidia-346, why has it also installed all of these other Nvidia drivers (331, 340 and 349)?

Additional Drivers lists every possible driver that your system is known to be able to use. It doesn't mean that it's installed, but rather that it's available and (likely) works with your hardware.

You can see what NVIDIA drivers and support packages you've actually installed using this command:

dpkg --get-selections | grep nvidia

For example, note the discrepancy on my system:

Woo!

All the Nvidia drivers, except for nvidia-331-updates, are described as "open source". However, nvidia-331-updates is described as "proprietary". Why are these drivers open source, when I thought that all official Nvidia drivers would be proprietary, and only Nouveau would be open source?

This appears to be a bug with drivers added from a PPA. Note, again, that the nvidia-370 driver is listed as "open-source" even though it's very much not. This is because my driver comes from a PPA, and apparently didn't have the attached metadata (or similar) that marked the as proprietary. The only open-source driver is the actual Nouveau driver.

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  1. The list you're seeing in Additional Drivers is not necessarily drivers that you have installed, just drivers that are available for you (which Ubuntu believes would be compatible with your hardware). It will install them on demand if you choose one and it's not installed.

  2. All those nvidia- packages are in restricted, so none of them should be listed as open source. I'd say that's a mistake. It's possible that it's because the ones showing as "open source" are actually showing the ones from the PPA you added and Ubuntu doesn't have a way of knowing whether those are open source, but that would be pure speculation.

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