Software update, disapearing Nvidia driver, flatpack and snap management

I apologize for a broad title, but I'm not sure about causality chain in this case. I'm searching for Ubuntu flavor with a stable UI. Old-fashioned is not an issue for me. I used Ubuntu MATE years ago in my short encounters with Linux and I liked it. Recently, I dropped Windows and started using Linux exclusively. I'm on a standard Ubuntu 18.04.5 distribution, which was a somewhat forced choice, but I'm not a big fan of newer versions of Gnome.

I'm trying to move my daily working environment to Ubuntu MATE 18.04 and 20.04.2 (I need both). Here is the issue I just encountered. Ubuntu MATE 20.04.2 installed just fine and my Canon MF232W printer works - hurray! I wanted to install the newest version of Okular, which is only available as binaries through flatpack or snap. I installed Plasma's Discover, thinking that it will be an easy way to manage flatpacks and snaps without using the command line. After installation, Discover notified me that system updates are available, so I went for it. Rebooting the system after updates, shows that Nvidia driver is dead and my display is in low resolution and different orientation. Here are the questions I have:

  1. Are software updates by different means equivalent, e.g. Discover, sudo apt update && sudo apt upgrade and Software Updater?
  2. Is there a procedure to avoid Nvidia driver getting disabled? I remember this happening multiple times when evaluating different Linux distributions.
  3. What is the most convenient way for occasional flatpack or snap package installation? Discover, which I just installed, didn't find flatpack or snap version of Okular, even though I checked enable snap and flatpack backends.
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Just my two cents.

They are same, at least in as much as upgrades are concerned. Just that graphical tools are more intended to make things easier for users while command line tools give finer control to users. The more experienced you are the more you can get out of command line tools. I don't think Discover caused your issue (apart from pulling in lot of KDE stuff).

I know nothing about graphics cards but if it is at kernel level (i.e., a newer kernel broke something), we could select 'Advanced menu...' option from grub menu when system is booting and choose an earlier kernel version of our OS (and hopefully wait till things are fixed). If it is at application level, Synaptic is a powerful tool that lets us revert to an older version and pin it there.

The newer technologies of software delivery like snaps, flatpaks, guix, nix-pkgs etc are trying to address such issues. The software is either installed completely or not at all, never in between. Also, if a change did not workout well, we could revert to an earlier version easily.

While I can't say what was issue with Discover, you didn't have to install it on UM. You install 'Snap store' which is Ubuntu's software center for snaps or more generic 'Software' which handles .debs, flatpaks and snaps. If you open 'Software Boutique', there is 'More Software' button (second from right) from where you can install 'Software' easily.

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Hello pauljurczak

Firstly, managing Flatpak application on the command line is not difficult. After you have installed the Flatpak basic framework (which has to be installed before you install individual applications) read the short man pages for Flatpak.

You may find these pointers about using Flatpak helpful:

  • ignore the parts about LibreOffice off course.

Secondly, Discover. If you are not running KDE I do not think you should install this. I can only see it leading to problems (if I am thinking about the same 'Discover' you are writing about).

You say you need the latest version of Okular (which I also use on occasion) - would Master PDF Editor be an option for you?

And finally, to get your system working correctly, you may well be better off doing a new installation of the Ubuntu-Mate release concerned.

I hope some of this helps you get going again. :slightly_smiling_face:

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Thank you for all suggestions. I fixed the Nvidia driver problem with:

sudo apt purge *nvidia*
sudo reboot
sudo apt install nvidia-driver-460
sudo reboot

I installed it initially, but it doesn't find flatpack or snap version of Okular. I have Software 3.36.1 A nice way to manage software on your system in mind. This was the reason I installed Discover and tried to use it instead. I removed it now. BTW, there is a confusing list of applications with software in their name on my PC now:

  • Software & Updates
  • Software Boutique
  • Software Updater
  • Software

It seems very redundant.

I installed Flatpak from command line and Software shows the newest Okular flatpak, but the older .deb disappeared. This is different from standard Ubuntu 18.04.5 where Ubuntu Software finds all versions of Okular: .deb, flatpak and snap.