Nvidia Driver naming: confused

Avi Greenbury lists at avi.co
Thu Apr 5 16:30:19 UTC 2012

Leo Noordhuizen wrote:
> I am running UBUNTU 11.10 with a Nvidia based graphics card.
> Over the past time (years ?) I have seen discussions about the nv and
> 'nouveau' drivers.

There are three drivers available for NVidia cards:

'nv' is a very basic open source driver produced by NVidia essentially
in order to make the graphics card work by enough that the proprietary
NVidia driver can be installed. It supports very basic 2D graphics and
nothing else. 
Historically, this is the default driver used for NVidia chipsets on
fresh installs.

'The NVidia binary driver' is the 'proper' driver released by NVidia,
supporting all the features of the card like 3D acceleration and
multi-monitor support. It's not free-as-in-freedom so cannot be
shipped as part of the default install - it needs to be installed
manually after installation.

Novau is an attempt to write an open-source version of the NVidia
binary driver. It aims to support all the fancy bits that the binary
driver does, but without the non-free code. I didn't notice this driver
becoming considered stable enough to go into Ubuntu, but apparently it

> However when I open 'additional drivers' from System Settings I get 2
> choices which seem identical:
>    - NVIDIA Accelerated Graphics Driver [recommended]
>    and
>    - NVIDIA Accelerated Graphics Driver [post-release updates]
> The descriptions with these drivers are identical...

These are two incremental versions of the NVidia binary drivers. The
'Additional Drivers' tool will, in general, only show you those drivers
since they're the ones considered 'additional'. The post-release
updates one is just a slightly more updated version of the other one.


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