Graphics driver development moves briskly, always adding some level of uplifted performance, bug fixes or crucially, support for newer graphics cards like Nvidia’s RTX 2000 series. This makes using “stable” distros like Ubuntu 18.04.2 LTS (Long-Term Support) a bit of a mixed bag for certain users. Thankfully, Ubuntu has clearly been listening to community and critical feedback over the past several months and is making a sweeping change to the way it handles updating the Nvidia proprietary driver in its LTS versions.
The Linux Experiment dropped the news on YouTube, reporting that Ubuntu LTS installs will now automatically include the latest proprietary Nvidia graphics driver in its standard system updates. The newest stable Nvidia driver, version 430, is already in the bionic-proposed repository for testing and should land on your Ubuntu 18.04 system soon.
That’s right, no need to manually add a repository or even journey into the Software & Updates settings manager.
Ubuntu will also backport this driver to 16.04 “in the near future.” This is nothing short of very welcome news, and it’s nice to see them following the example set by System76’s Pop!_OS.
In fact, in what I believe is a rare shift, this may put Ubuntu ahead of Pop!_OS when it comes to the latest stable Nvidia driver, as a pull request is open to add version 430 but it still hasn’t found its way to the System76-backed distro.
The only oddity surrounding this announcement? Well, it’s a very impactful change but was seeded through a community YouTuber (albeit an excellent one), and not via a Canonical-penned blog or press release. The company responded to this on Twitter, saying “We decided it better to share an awesome video from a member of the wider community. Ubuntu is all about community, after all.”