How to Install Latest Nvidia Drivers in Ubuntu 12.04 Precise Pangolin & 11.10 ?

Now, starting with Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Narwhal, Ubuntu developers introduced a new desktop environment of their own called ‘Unity’. There are two versions of ‘Unity’, one that relies on fancy 3D effects etc and another one that doesn’t use any of those.

The latter is aimed at ‘older hardware’ and it’s called ‘Unity-2d’. But the default version uses a 3D graphics rendering window manager called “Compiz” (which relies on the ‘OpenGL’ library for the rendering).

The thing with 3D rendering is that, in order to get the best “thrill” out of your OS, you’ll have to have the most up-to-date or the best drivers for your GPU. Because if you have a buggy (even if it’s up to date) or non-optimized drivers, then you’ll run into problems plus most probably Ubuntu will forcefully switch you back to the ‘Unity 2d’ that uses no 3D rendering, boooooo ;-).

Now it’s true that starting with the version 11.10, Ubuntu comes with the Kernel 3.0 for the first time (including a lot of individual application updates etc) and most importantly the libraries which is behind rendering/creating the GUI (graphical user interface).

Yo Compiz!, where u hiding! 😀 …

This is also the one that’s behind controlling your GPU, and the proprietary or the open-source GPU drivers actually run on-top of it.

By default Ubuntu does not ship proprietary drivers for Nvidia or ATI, etc. But thanks to a dedicated PPA, we can easily get the latest proprietary drivers in Ubuntu nonetheless!.

So if you want to get the latest proprietary Nvidia drivers in Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot, 11.04 Natty Narwhal, 10.10 and 10.04, then simply open the terminal and enter the below commands.

Update: This also works in 12.04 Precise Pangolin as well.

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:ubuntu-x-swat/x-updates

sudo apt-get update

sudo apt-get install nvidia-current

Now, most of the time these official proprietary drivers will be slightly faster than the default open-source ones (not always true actually, since the open source ones do outperform them proprietary ones!, sometimes). And currently this PPA channel holds the latest “295.53 ” Nvidia drivers.

So, if you have a newer Nvidia GPU but still having few issues while trying to run the default Unity 3D desktop with OpenGL rendering alongside with Compiz, well, this might come in handy then!. Good luck.

An RHCE, 'Linux' user with 14+ years of experience. Extreme lover of Linux and FOSS. He is passionate to test every Linux distribution & compare with the previous release to write in-depth articles to help the FOSS community.

23 thoughts on “How to Install Latest Nvidia Drivers in Ubuntu 12.04 Precise Pangolin & 11.10 ?”

  1. I am hopeful that these command lines drive home the Ubuntu Experience for me – I have a brand new Dell XPS 14 z just dying to show off what it can under Ubuntu – 2D rendering puts me to sleep. Hopefully this solves that issue for me! Thank you very much!

    • Hi Rick

      Did it work for you?

      I am thinking of getting a Dell XPS 14z! Will it work ok with Ubuntu 11.10?

      Please let me know


    • So I’ve got the Razer Blade gaming laptop with the Nvidia GeForce GTX555M, and so far it has been a real headache to get accelerated graphics working. I’m on Ubuntu 13.04 using Bumblebee and this PPA. I’m able to get Bumblebee’s optirun to work, but as far as getting accelerated graphics when I boot the laptop, it doesn’t work.

      • Sorry to hear that ‘David’. Unfortunately I don’t have such a configuration (running a lame Intel GPU :D), so I don’t think I can help you with that mate. Sorry about that.

  2. Sub-process /usr/bin/dpkg returned an error code (1)??

    Can you translate the error code for me please, or refer me to a location in which I can find out what it means so I can fix it?



    • Hello Zooxio,

      This is a standard error code in "dpkg", which is used whenever an interruption occurs during installations, so it's hard to trace back the real issue without the other output data.

      <del datetime="2012-03-01T10:40:45+00:00">But then, I just visited the Nvidia drivers PPA, and realized that the commands for installing the drivers have changed from "nvidia-current" to "nvidia-graphics-drivers".

      <del datetime="2012-03-01T10:43:40+00:00">

      I just updated the post, try the new commands which should work.

      <del datetime="2012-03-01T10:44:21+00:00">

      I hope this fixes your issue, and sorry about the mix up :). If you still have issues, then throw a comment, I'll try my best to help you. Good luck mate.</del>

      PS: Actually, I was bloody wrong (I wrote that comment from a Win7 machine:/). I updated the post back again and restored the commands to their previous (original) values.

      This time after changing the commands back to their original ones, just to make sure, I tested it with my Ubuntu 11.10, and they worked quite fine.

      But for the record, this PPA gets updated quite frequently and could be some sort of a minor issue. If this occurs again, then you can try again in few hours (or 2-3 days). Good luck.

  3. Hi Gayan, I'm still around 🙂 Cos this computer has an old Nvidia 96 card and the drivers not working under Kernel 3, I am using Linux Mint 9 Fluxbox version now and it's really fast for such an old machine. The other computer is still running Arch. I think I'm going to have to buy a new graphics card for this one 😉

  4. Actually, what I was thinking was that if I hadn't installed Ubuntu all those years ago, would the graphics card still be working? Windoze used to crash several times a day, while Ubuntu just runs and runs and runs. The uptime on this at the moment is 19 days, 18 hours and yea 🙂 You're not subjecting your computer to all those start-up surge currents several times a day and thus the components just go on working, and working, and working, but should I be tempting fate in this way? LOL

  5. Thank you – I’m setting up to use the Bumblee project’s dual-mobile video manager and needed to update to nvidia drivers. Your instructions worked like a charm.

  6. As a GUI guy I don’t understand the terminal & command line but I can follow simple directions and copy your code.

    Your code worked. I thank you very much!

  7. When I installed Ubuntu on my new Samsung Ultrabook the touchpad stopped working. Should I get a driver? If so which one and where from?


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