#238 Improve driver installation experience
Opened 2 years ago by aday. Modified 2 months ago

Currently, if you need to install the proprietary NVIDIA driver, you need to:

  • enable the 3rd party repos
  • open Software
  • navigate to add-ons > hardware drivers
  • open the item for the NVIDIA driver
  • click install
  • reboot

This is documented by Lenovo user support, which lists it as 9 steps.

Aside from the discoverability and labouriousness of this process, there are other issues:

  • The hardware drivers section in Software can include other items (Broadcom something something, HW video decode support, two seemingly identical NVIDIA Linux Drivers, The Intel Media Driver something something). There's no indication of whether those are things you need to install or not.
  • The UI lacks the necessary information to provide a reassuring experience, like what hardware you have, which driver's currently being used, and so on.

I think that it's fair to say that Software isn't the best fit for a driver "management", and it's worth thinking about if the experience can be improved. Something which detects when there's hardware that requires additional drivers, and guides the user through installing them seems like the best approach.

It would also be good to identify if there are other drivers where it would be good to have this experience, or whether it's just NVIDIA. I'm not aware of other cases where there are additional drivers we can reasonably suggest to install.

This was also somewhat discussed in #105, but I'll restate my comment from there about some historical information that may help:

When the GNOME Software design for third-party repositories was done, it was originally for two cases:

  • GStreamer codecs (OpenH264)
  • Nvidia drivers

The former was only accessible if the metadata fetching was enabled so that the codec discovery stuff worked. We have since switched it to enabled by default so this is less of an issue.

The latter can have installation triggered by driver managers that know how to request drivers from modalias() Provides or AppStream metadata with modalias information. I packaged up linux-driver-management to allow GNOME Software to add support for actually doing this, but it never got done.

There's a trivial code example of how this could work with DNF in the ldm repo: https://github.com/solus-project/linux-driver-management/blob/master/examples/dnf-integration.py

The idea would be that it would detect your hardware, search for the drivers in the repos, propose them, and then if the user assents, it would seamlessly install them, configure them, and then prompt to reboot once things are set up so it can take effect.

Metadata Update from @ngompa:
- Issue tagged with: experience

a year ago

Metadata Update from @ngompa:
- Issue tagged with: meeting

a year ago

Metadata Update from @ngompa:
- Issue set to the milestone: Fedora 36
- Issue tagged with: nvidia

a year ago

Related ticket for this: #155

We discussed this at today's meeting. Plan of action: @mclasen to invite @pjones to speak to the WG. Also to ask Jared and Richard if they have any insight from the hardware vendor side.

Metadata Update from @aday:
- Issue untagged with: meeting
- Issue tagged with: pending-action

a year ago

Seems like this issue is a dupe of #155 ? That's where the previously mentioned action happened.

Metadata Update from @aday:
- Issue untagged with: pending-action

a year ago

I don't think this can be achieved in the Fedora 37 time frame.

Metadata Update from @chrismurphy:
- Issue set to the milestone: Future Release (was: Fedora 36)

10 months ago

We discussed this issue in today's WG meeting.

Currently, installing the NVIDIA can break your system if you already have secure boot turned on. That, along with the open sourcing of the NVIDIA driver, means that we need a plan around NVIDIA driver in general, prior to investigating potential UI changes.

@otaylor has taken on the action to ask someone from the graphics side to give us an update.

Metadata Update from @aday:
- Issue assigned to otaylor
- Issue tagged with: pending-action

4 months ago

Hi @otaylor, you have the action item here

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