Overview of Jockey replacement; options for Kubuntu?

Martin Pitt martin.pitt at ubuntu.com
Fri May 25 09:12:05 UTC 2012

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

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

The question arises what to do with Kubuntu. We have a few obvious

 * 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.




[1] https://blueprints.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+spec/desktop-q-third-party-driver-installation
Martin Pitt                        | http://www.piware.de
Ubuntu Developer (www.ubuntu.com)  | Debian Developer  (www.debian.org)
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