Proprietary drivers, often called “closed-source” drivers, are developed by hardware manufacturers specifically for their products. These drivers can enhance performance and add features, especially for graphic cards. Users with specific hardware needs or those engaging in graphic-intensive tasks like gaming can benefit significantly from these drivers.

Ubuntu typically uses open-source drivers, which are sufficient for most tasks. However, proprietary drivers can offer better performance and compatibility for certain hardware components, such as GPUs. Ubuntu's “Additional Drivers” tool simplifies the process of enabling and switching between these drivers, ensuring users can achieve optimal performance for graphic-intensive applications.

Despite the benefits, proprietary drivers come with some drawbacks. They lack the transparency of open-source drivers and may not be updated as frequently, potentially affecting system security and performance. Users should consider these factors and regularly check for updates to maintain a secure and efficient system.

Steps to enable proprietary drivers in Ubuntu:

  1. Launch the Dash by pressing the Super (Windows) key on your keyboard.
  2. Search for and open “Software & Updates”.
  3. Navigate to the “Additional Drivers” tab.
  4. The system will scan and list available drivers for your hardware.
  5. Select the proprietary driver you wish to use.
  6. Click the “Apply Changes” button and authenticate if prompted.
  7. Wait for the changes to be applied.
  8. Restart your computer to activate the changes.

If you experience any issues after enabling a proprietary driver, you can revert to the open-source driver by following the same steps and selecting the previous driver.

While proprietary drivers might offer better performance, they might not receive updates as frequently as open-source counterparts. Ensure you monitor for updates regularly to keep your system secure and performing well.

This guide is tested on Ubuntu:

Version Code Name
22.04 LTS Jammy Jellyfish
23.10 Mantic Minotaur
24.04 LTS Noble Numbat
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