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07.13.19

Canonical is Turning Ubuntu Into a More Proprietary Deviant of GNU/Linux

Posted in GNU/Linux, Ubuntu at 11:59 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The command lineSummary: Ubuntu is becoming more ‘Ubinary’; binaries without their source code available are packed up and cooked up for (or baked into) the ISO; this may be good for widespread adoption, but it’s not an advancement of freedom, a capitulation rather

SEVERAL weeks ago Canonical said NVIDIA blobs would be added to future releases of Ubuntu. It later clarified that even though the ISO would be accompanied by this proprietary software (running not only in userspace), it would be disabled by default. Days ago the news resurfaced again in the following articles and blog posts:

  • Ubuntu LTS releases (and so derivatives too) to get updated NVIDIA drivers without PPAs

    Good news everyone! Canonical will now be offering NVIDIA users up to date graphics drivers without the need to resort to a PPA or anything else.

    Since this will be for the Ubuntu LTS releases, this means other Linux distributions based on Ubuntu like Linux Mint, elementary OS, Zorin OS and probably many others will also get these updated NVIDIA drivers too—hooray!

    This is really great, as PPAs are not exactly user friendly and sometimes they don’t get the testing they truly need when serving so many people. Having the Ubuntu team push out NVIDIA driver updates via an SRU (Stable Release Update), which is the same procedure they use to get you newer Firefox version, is a good way to do it.

  • Ubuntu Now Offers the Latest Nvidia Graphics Drivers to LTS Users

    Until now, anyone that has wanted to install Nvidia binary driver updates on Ubuntu 18.04 LTS has needed to make use of a separate PPA, futz around with random packages distributed online, or install the driver manually, by hand, the old-fashioned way.

    But not any more.

    Word on the street is that Ubuntu 18.04 LTS users can now install the latest releases of the proprietary Nvidia driver through the regular Ubuntu updates channel.

    The magic is made possible by the SRU (Stable Release Update) initiative. It’s this endeavour that keeps other apps, like Mozilla Firefox and Chromium, up to date on long-term support releases.

  • Ubuntu Will Make it Easier to Install Nvidia Drivers

    It’s about to get easier for Ubuntu LTS users to stay up-to-date with Nvidia’s stable graphics drivers. The Linux Experiment said via YouTube yesterday that Ubuntu plans to make these drivers part of its Stable Release Updates (SRU) program, which means users won’t have to rely on fiddly workarounds to install the latest drivers themselves.
    Ubuntu confirmed The Linux Experiment’s report on Twitter. (The company said it didn’t make an official announcement because it “decided it better to share an awesome video from a member of the wider community.”) It also said the change is “coming in an update, to your computer… [s]oon!” in response to another user.
    Ubuntu LTS typically doesn’t offer recent updates to apps, drivers and other software. The operating system is more focused on making sure everything remains as stable as possible than on providing access to the latest-and-greatest features. SRU offers a compromise by making it easy to install new versions of popular apps.

  • Excellent! Ubuntu LTS Users Will Now Get the Latest Nvidia Driver Updates [No PPA Needed Anymore]

    You might be aware of the troubles to install the latest and greatest Nvidia binary driver updates on Ubuntu.

    By default, Ubuntu provides the open source Nvidia Nouveau drivers that some time result in Ubuntu being stuck at boot screen.

    You can also install the proprietary Nvidia driver in Ubuntu easily. The problem is that the Nvidia drivers in the default Ubuntu repositories are not the latest one. To solve this problem, Ubuntu introduced a dedicated PPA a few years back.

  • Ubuntu LTS Linux Distributions Will Now Get The Latest Nvidia Drivers Installed Automatically

    The Linux Experiment dropped the news on YouTube, reporting that Ubuntu LTS installs will now automatically include the latest proprietary Nvidia graphics driver in its standard system updates. The newest stable Nvidia driver, version 430, is already in the bionic-proposed repository for testing and should land on your Ubuntu 18.04 system soon.

    [...]

    The only oddity surrounding this announcement? Well, it’s a very impactful change but was seeded through a community YouTuber (albeit an excellent one), and not via a Canonical-penned blog or press release. The company responded to this on Twitter, saying “We decided it better to share an awesome video from a member of the wider community. Ubuntu is all about community, after all.”

  • Ubuntu To Provide NVIDIA Drivers Updates To Ubuntu LTS Users

    Ubuntu has been a good choice to switch to Linux from other operating systems. The only thing that has stopped people is the hardware updates. Though there were NVIDIA drivers updates available but through third-party PPAs.

    But no more installation of third-party PPAs in Ubuntu 18.04 LTS. Ubuntu is now going to provide the latest NVIDIA drivers updates to its long term release users starting from its latest LTS release Ubuntu 18.04.

    The big news was announced through Ubuntu’s twitter account posting a Youtube video describing how Ubuntu is already testing the feature and will release to the public very soon.

    Let me tell you, updating Nvidia drivers were not difficult but required the installation of third-party PPAs or run several scripts to update NVIDIA drivers.

    As explained in the video, Ubuntu will now provide the latest proprietary drivers updates from its repositories in Ubuntu 18.04 LTS and also Ubuntu 16.04 in the near future.

There may be more and if I stumble upon any, I shall add them to this page (as comments).

Canonical recently enraged some circles (WINE, Valve and others) because it said Ubuntu would drop i386 support. We didn’t cover this at the time (except in daily links) as it didn’t seem like a very major deal and everyone — even corporate media — covered it on the earliest occasion. At the end Canonical made a much-needed concession, basically caving or surrendering to pressure from users and developers alike.

Canonical isn’t a perfect company. It never was. I’ve used Ubuntu since its first-ever release (at work) and I always viewed it as a ‘pet project’ of a rich tycoon looking to popularise Debian, initially on the desktop. Considering some worse scandals (like Amazon spying inside the desktop), this is hardly the biggest scandal and it’s not unprecedented. People who value freedom probably should not be using this GNU/Linux distribution in the first place.

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