Tips & Tricks for Ubuntu

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Ubuntu 13.04: Managing the Graphics Card Driver

Previous management of the proprietary graphics card driver before version 12.10 worked pretty well. Once Ubuntu found a proprietary driver after installation for the built-in graphics card, the Additional Drivers message prompted for installation of an ATI or NVidia driver. Sometimes importing software for certain wireless cards was available.

According to developers, the Jockey tool was originally designed with a different concept in mind and was much too complex and error-prone for this task. That's why Jockey is missing in Ubuntu 12.10 and 13.04. Managing proprietary drivers was thus moved to another, somewhat less intuitive, location. In Ubuntu 12.10, you can invoke the Dash, enter soft, and click Software Sources. On the Additional Drivers tab, you can restart, revert, or apply changes (Figure 4).

Figure 4: Since Jockey disappeared from Ubuntu, you can manage proprietary drivers in a new window – if you use such cards on your system.

Ubuntu 13.04: Switching Package Sources

While you're still in the Software Sources window, something else might interest you. Occasionally, software updates can fail because Updates doesn't recognize the server for downloading the patches, but when you check the Internet connection, you find no problem – what's up?

Ubuntu usually locates the closest download server. But, if the server is overloaded or otherwise unreachable, the update fails. However, you can still switch the server manually – that's where the Software Sources dialog comes in. The Ubuntu Software tab at the far left has a Download from drop-down that usually has an entry based on your location, such as Server for United States. Instead, select the Main server entry to get to the official Ubuntu server for updates. You can also click the Other entry for an overview of other download sites (Figure 5), where you can also choose an alternative server and restart the update.

Figure 5: If your Ubuntu download server is unavailable, select another one from among the global sites.

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