Easy graphics drivers get a green light with Envy


Anyone who's seen Linux lately knows there's no truth its image as a text-based OS. (Sure, it has a command line, but so do Vista and OS X.) Linux gives you more than just a kick-ass GUI; it gives you your pick from several kick-ass GUIs. And it was the community of Linux developers, not Microsoft or Apple, that pioneered eye-popping desktop effects. But for all its graphical acumen, our beloved open source OS still suffers from buggy, convoluted driver support, which makes it a pain to keep your drivers updated and functional.

Blame who you like, but video drivers have been a nagging problem for Linux users who want the same 3D performance Windows users have long enjoyed. While both Nvidia and ATI do offer Linux drivers for their cards, the sheer multitude of different distros (with non-standardized install processes) makes it tough for vendors to offer convenient install packages and automated updates. And even Debian's automated update system will typically trash your fglrx configuration whenever a new kernel update comes down the tubes

But if you run Debian or Ubuntu, you don't have to waste too much time fooling with your drivers. Alberto Milone of Lecce, Italy, has had the foresight to automate Nvidia and ATI driver installs with Envy . This simple utility automatically executes a series of scripts to download and install the latest drivers for your ATI or Nvidia card. It's by no means a perfect solution, since it does require you to run it again and uninstall your driver prior to upgrading your kernel, but it's a great solution for anyone who'd rather not drop to the command prompt just to get OpenGL working.

We're going to keep pressing ATI and Nvidia to refine their own drivers for Linux, but in the meantime, check out Envy .

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