Why other rolling linux distros manage proprietary graphic drivers easily and tumbleweed doesn't?

I know my question may look like putting the cat among the pigeons but it’s a genuine one!
It stems from the fact I have tumbleweed now installed on a laptop and a desktop equipped with nvidia GTX1060 video cards best served by proprietary drivers (e.g. to avoid picture tearing when playing movies). 2 years ago I had to switch from tumbleweed to arch based distros (i.e. firstly majaro then antergos) because the multi-screen was a headache with “nouveau” drivers and I failed to troubleshoot tumbleweed with failed nvidia drivers installation. I like opensuse for its versatility (rolling & server distro) and its very helpful community etc… And I have over the years managed to gain skills when it came to fixing malfunctioning devices & installation setup in various distros but not so much with video cards.

There is this warning on tumbleweed page saying that those installing proprietary drivers must be ready to tweak the video drivers setup as it may not work after an update (kernel etc…) so my question is very simple: why/how do Antergos/Manjaro offer from the installation stage proprietary video drivers with no particular warning whereas tumbleweed advise against it?

Because of the potential legal issues related to proprietary drivers/patents etc… also the word ‘open’ in the name and openSUSE has oss and non-oss (go through legal review) repositories :wink:

I have not had an issue here with my GT710, 4.20.6 kernel and 418.30 driver installed the hard way. It’s been a year or so since I had an nvidia card (GT8800), been happy with AMD and the oss amdgpu driver in the laptops I have running Tumbleweed, did have some screen tearing, but that’s all sorted now with driver fixes.

Mixed experience with proprietary drivers nvidia (one click install with opensuse repo for both laptop and desktop) and opensuse tumnbleweed LINUX:

  • Good on my desktop (AMD Ryzen 1600, X370 chipset, nvidia GT 710, linux kernel 4.20.6-1, cinnamon 3.8.9), except a very annoying picture tearing ONLY through remote “desktop” with Nomachine used on the below laptop. So I tried to switch back to Nouveau using this guide (https://en.opensuse.org/SDB:NVIDIA_drivers but when i did reboot the system would not go further the logging stage. Fixed this issue with the “upgrade” function of opensuse linux USB stick install (there may be a more elegant / quick way to achieve this but it worked for me keeping my added repositories).

Not so good with the laptop (clevo/metabox, intel i7 6700k, nvidia GTX 1060 mobile, linux kernel 4.20.6-1, cinnamon 3.8.9). After each boot I could see the computer logo displayed on and off several times until the system managed to reach the logging screen of tumbleweed. Then after a week or so linux became incredibly slow and I decided to uninstall the nvidia drivers suspecting they would be the cause of that. Unfortunately, I never managed to go through all modules uninstallation process as opensuse linux completely froze. As I intend to also use this laptop as a production machine I have done a full fresh install of opensuse linux and will probably stick to “nouveau”.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not criticizing opensuse Linux, there is the above mentioned warning that is justified and I wanted to have a feel of how nvidia drivers would behave. Should I have only the desktop and no need of remote access I would have kept nvidia drivers but stability is essential for me and I prefer dedicate my time to next setup an opensuse server than troubleshooting video drivers.

When you’re talking about remote desktops, there have been some major architectural changes over the past year plus, where the traditional xserver has been replaced by a sockets implementation. It’s been a little rough going, openSUSE is generally known to incorporate and deploy technological changes more quickly than other distros. So, for instance if you look closely at what those other distros are doing with their remote desktops, they might have decided not to push ahead with the changes and are still doing things the old way.

Incorporating new technologies is a double-edged sword… We probably see and have to fix more problems than many other distros, but it also means that you get the benefits of better performance and new features sooner than others. In some cases, hardware might be supported only with the Tumbleweed kernel. Hopefully any issues you run into are temporary and can be fixed with a little help in these Forums.

If you use Tumbleweed, you’ll get those newer technologies faster but possibly with an increased risk of breakage from time to time. If you need something that’s rock solid, you should install LEAP instead.



I am very happy with Thumbleweed and the Nvidia drivers, the few times they did not work because they were not synchronized with the Kernel update I have simply chosen Grub the previous kernel. The Kernel update in tumbleweed can also be blocked, and performed occasionally, without following all the 0.1 - 0.2 - 0.3 etc …

Thx for your feed back.
I may be biased but in my own experience rolling Linux distros (e.g. Kali, manjaro & antergos) have been behaving better in the long run, especially considering I run fairly recent hardware in most of my PCs, though I admit I never tried Leap. Both OpenSuse’s installation and package management software are rock solid and highly customizable so there is always a way to fix a broken system without reinstalling all the apps or spending too much time with the CLI. As i said only the laptop has been playing tricks with nvidia proprietary drivers probably because of its particular hardware configuration. Considering that Nouveau driver now manages much better mutiscreen & suspend state than 2 years ago i am quite happy to stick to it for now.

It may be that I’m biased, in 2006 I started with openSuse and at the beginning I tried several Distrò, then I decided that my interest was not to be the provator but that the computer had to work and I deepened only one … all here, I found some weapons that others Distrò have not type Yast, you can also start textually, so even in an extreme situation with black monitor you can enter with textual yast to fix the situation …
good job :wink:

When next you get into an experimental mood, try removing xf86-video-nouveau. My four GeForce cards on 64 bit TW use only the (upstream default as of 4 years ago; not a separate rpm) modesetting DDX. Neither proprietary nor xf86-video-nouveau is installed on any of mine, dual screen included:

> rpm -qa | grep xf86-vi
> inxi -GxxSM
System:    Host: p5bse Kernel: 4.12.14-lp150.12.28-default x86_64 bits: 64 compiler: gcc v: 7.3.1 Desktop: KDE 3.5.10
           tk: Qt 3.3.8c wm: kwin dm: startx Distro: openSUSE Leap 15.0
Machine:   Type: Desktop Mobo: ASUSTeK model: P5B SE v: Rev 1.xx serial: MS6C79B32413550 BIOS: American Megatrends v: 1103
           date: 06/04/2009
Graphics:  Device-1: NVIDIA GT218 [GeForce 210] vendor: eVga.com. driver: nouveau v: kernel bus ID: 01:00.0 chip ID: 10de:0a65
           Display: server: X.Org 1.19.6 driver: modesetting unloaded: fbdev,vesa alternate: nouveau,nv,nvidia
           resolution: 2560x1440~60Hz, 1920x1200~60Hz
           OpenGL: renderer: llvmpipe (LLVM 5.0 128 bits) v: 3.3 Mesa 18.0.2 compat-v: 3.0 direct render: Yes
> xrandr
Screen 0: minimum 320 x 200, current 2560 x 2640, maximum 8192 x 8192
DVI-I-1 connected primary 2560x1440+0+1200 (normal left inverted right x axis y axis) 598mm x 336mm
   2560x1440     59.95*+
   1920x1440     60.00
   1856x1392     60.01
   1792x1344     60.01
   2048x1152     59.90    59.91
   1920x1200     59.88    59.95
   1920x1080     59.96    60.00    59.93
   1600x1200     75.00    70.00    65.00    60.00
   1680x1050     59.95    59.88...
HDMI-1 connected 1920x1200+0+0 (normal left inverted right x axis y axis) 519mm x 324mm
   1920x1200     59.95*+
   1920x1080     59.96    60.00    59.94    59.93
   1600x1200     60.00
   1680x1050     59.95    59.88...