Created: 2006-10-26 by Alberto Milone
Contributors: Alberto Milone
Packages affected: linux-restricted-modules-uname -r
The ATI and NVIDIA binary drivers which come with Ubuntu's linux-restricted-modules should be kept up-to-date at least for the following reasons:
1) Adding the support for the latest ATI and Nvidia graphic card models
2) Fixing security issues (such as the one which affects the Nvidia driver 8774)
3) Enhancing the support for TV-Out/Dual Screen settings (thanks to ATI and Nvidia's GUI control panels)
4) Providing the best support for AIGLX and the latest eyecandy
Currently Ubuntu does not keep ATI and Nvidia's proprietary drivers up-to-date (in the restricted modules) for stability's sake.
However the new releases of these drivers might increase the level of usability of Ubuntu as they usually add the support for new graphic card models.
In the future, Ubuntu might make some official "Testing" repositories for the drivers (something like Fedora's Livna repositories), use the volunteers from the forum as "testing ground" (which are an underestimated resource of feedback), and make the drivers available to everyone (by uploading them to the offical updates) once they are deemed stable.
Currently an unofficial project (know as Ubuntu's Bleeding Edge Driver) provides Dapper and Edgy's users with some repositories which contain up-to-date restricted-modules. This project encourages the participation of the forum users (from ubuntuforums.org) by letting them test the new drivers. They can report any problems they have in this thread of the forum: http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=255929
Currently the project is going quite well and it supports both Edgy and Dapper. However this project, in my opinion, needs a better integration with Ubuntu, and would be a great way to improve the collaboration of the developers with the Community.
* Joe has an ATI or Nvidia graphic card which is not fully supported (or not supported at all) by the open source Nvidia drivers included with Ubuntu. He needs to install the latest version of the ATI or Nvidia proprietary driver which supports his card (let us support that it is a new card model) but which is not in Ubuntu's repositories
* The Nvidia or ATI driver has a security flaw but, since these drivers are binaries (and proprietary), Ubuntu's developers are unable to patch the drivers and solve the problem unless the upload a new release of these drivers.
* Joe wants to have his TV-OUT/Dual Screen setup up and running without messing too much with configuration files, the command line, etc. The new releases of the drivers (e.g. the next release of the Nvidia driver) will provide (or already provide, as the ATI driver does) some friendly control panels to setup the TV-OUT/Dual Screen mainly with few mouse clicks (just like in Windows XP).
* The new release of a driver supports the latest eyecandy such as Compiz, Beryl, etc.
1) The latest stable releases of the drivers are compiled and uploaded to the Testing repositories
2) The drivers are testing for a certain amount of time
3) Feedback is available on the thread of the forum (and maybe on launchpad as well)
4) The drivers are uploaded to the official updates.
Data preservation and migration
BoF agenda and discussion
RobJCaskey: I think the real answer on this is two-fold. Wait for the next release, and come up with a plan for point releases on the next LTS.