Overview of Jockey replacement; options for Kubuntu?

Mario Limonciello superm1 at ubuntu.com
Mon Jun 4 20:54:01 UTC 2012

On Fri, May 25, 2012 at 4:12 AM, Martin Pitt <martin.pitt at ubuntu.com> wrote:

> Hello all,
> Also sending this to kubuntu-devel@, but as I'm not a subscriber
> someone needs to moderate; CC'ing Scott and Harald directly.
> As discussed at UDS and in [1] we want to dramatically simplify the
> machinery for installing extra drivers (NVidia, bcmwl, and friends).
> Jockey was originally designed to do a lot more than we are using it
> for, and be compatible with other distros as well (I had it working on
> Fedora 14 back then, when we discussed it in the Linux Foundation
> driver backports workgroup). But we don't use it to that extent, other
> distros have moved into a different direction, and thus it has way too
> much code and bugs. So Ubuntu will drop it and replace with with
> something much simpler and robust, and also use upstream friendly APIs
> (PackageKit).
> The logic of detecting drivers and providing PackageKit/aptdaemon
> plugins is now in the ubuntu-drivers-common package (formerly known
> as "nvidia-common"). This now mostly makes PackageKit/aptdaemon able
> to answer a "WhatProvides(MODALIAS, pci:s0000DEADv0000BEEF...)" query
> to map a piece of hardware to a driver package. It also contains a
> command line tool "ubuntu-drivers" with a few commands (list,
> autoinstall, and debug at the moment) which replaces jockey's usage in
> the installer (which called jockey-text --no-dbus ...).
> The user interface will be made a lot simpler and less confusing, and
> move into software-properties-gtk (or perhaps software-center at some
> point).
> The question arises what to do with Kubuntu. We have a few obvious
> options:
>  * Kubuntu uses software-properties-kde, so as long as we keep
>   software-properties, the new design could be implemented there as
>   well, and jockey-kde be dropped.
>  * Kubuntu implements a similar (or their own) design using the
>   ubuntu-drivers-common API in the KDE control center as an embedded
>   tab. Then we can also drop jockey-kde.
>  * Kubuntu keeps jockey-kde, and takes over the Jockey maintenance.
>   ubuntu-drivers-common does not break Jockey, but it would still
>   need some maintenance to adapt to newer nvidia driver versions,
>   changing Qt/KDE APIs, and the like.
>  * Kubuntu keeps the jockey-kde UI, but drops the backend
>   (jockey-common) and changes the UI to work with the
>   ubuntu-drivers-common API.
> In either case, automatic driver installation by Ubiquity will Just
> Work (e. g. for the Broadcom wifi cards) but there should still be an
> UI for enabling or changing drivers (like NVidia, which is not
> auto-installed) manually.
> Opinions?
> Thanks,
> Martin
> [1]
> https://blueprints.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+spec/desktop-q-third-party-driver-installation
> I think a simpler code base is great.  I noticed that Jockey is still
included in Quantal daily builds today.  Couple of related questions:

1) Once there is support directly in software center to indicate which
packages support your hardware, will Jockey be dropped from ubuntu ISOs?

2) Have you considered expanding the auto_install_filter to also install
the packages in the archive that improve the virtualization experience so
that this is set up on first boot if appropriate?

Mario Limonciello
superm1 at gmail.com
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