Making manjaro use nonfree drivers by default

I want to start a small discussion about potentially making Manjaro use the nonfree drivers (mainly nvidia) by default, but of course still configurable in grub. Distros like PopOS already do something similar, but they have their own ISO files instead. I already use this in my modified Manjaro KDE build.

I know this topic is controversial in the Linux community and I hope we can have a thorough discussion about that.

I’ll try to collect some pro/cons from the replies here:


  1. Proprietary drivers are NECESSARY for a lot of systems. A lot of systems will freeze/lock up without the blob drivers and in my experience, users do not know about the cause of this and blame it all on Linux or the distro.
  2. I don’t have to tell every single user to enable nonfree drivers when they install manjaro for gaming. I actually got so annoyed by this that I made my own manjaro spin just for that.


  1. Nonfree drivers are well, not free. (p.s.: f*ck nvidia)
  2. Nonfree on AMD hardware causes it to not boot. (Not true, no difference between free and nonfree)

I’ve already made the change and made a pull request:

(Copy paste from old forum post: Making manjaro use nonfree drivers by default - Manjaro Development - Manjaro Linux Forum)

Nvidia is less working on linux in the future

  • stop supports for version drivers
    ( that means how many cards will be not working on first update Xorg ? )
  • always troubles on hybrid video cards , also on monitor power hybrid cards
  • no drivers for wayland , only Xorg then
  • always using theirs Egl components ( not free )
  • nouveau drivers are 10% perf from nvidia drivers
  • nvidia tried to circumvent the GPL
    Kernel Developers Work To Block NVIDIA "GPL Condom" Effort Around New NetGPU Code - Phoronix
    –> no more externals symbols GPL for drm in results for all binaries drm

Hey, please see the linked archived forum post from the old forum where there has already been a thorough discussion. @codesardine

Manjaro works around this automatically by using free drivers when no nonfree drivers are available.

I thought I fixed this more than half a year ago?

The things you have to give up for

  1. A stable system that doesn’t constantly freeze on nouveau.
  2. Actual acceptable graphics performance

Nvidia doesn’t support EGL, or does it?

This is one of the main reasons why I am trying to set nonfree drivers by default.

They do it constantly. Screw nvidia.


In my opinion this vote is flawed. I am not trying to shove one driver type down everyone’s throat, I’m simply for changing the default grub option from “free” to “nonfree”.

This vote makes it seem like it’s a “which is better for you personally” not a “which should be the default for a better user experience”.

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Which should be the default for a better user experience, that works better in a wider range of hardware.

  • Closed Source
  • Open Source

0 voters

Thank you. I don’t think I can actually make a poll myself for some reason. That was possible in the old forum :man_shrugging:

You need TL2, now granted. :smiley:

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why would anyone with a understanding of Linux want proprietary default on an open source OS?!?

Installing proprietary defaults makes a lot of things more complicated especially when one wants to switch to free. The other way round, switching from free to proprietary is a lot less complicated.

exactly, so why do you want to make nvidia’s proprietary cr** the default? That switch is only existing for Nvidia at the moment, AMD and Intel don’t do proprietary anymore, and the other proprietary network drivers are not affected by the switch.

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If the question is simply what supports a wider list of hardware … then its open source.
And since we are only talking about nvidia … then yes, nouveau supports more devices than nvidia.


It’s not. The question is only about nvidia, as you said.

What do you mean? Has all the work that has been put into MHWD gone to waste? I thought it was all one click?

Because I don’t care about ideology. I want manjaro to be the user-friendly system it should be instead of being needlessly bogged down by ideological purity. I think Macciolo’s message on the old forum sums this up the best:

I see more advantages on enabling something like this than disadvantages tbh. Manjaro is not like Trisquel or Parabola to avoid nonfree drivers. The goals of Manjaro is making Arch Linux easier, similar to what Ubuntu or Mint is for Debian.

I am aware of that, don’t you worry.


Then, as I said, more nvidia cards will succesfully get to a working desktop on nouveau rather than the proprietary drivers. nvidia proprietary only supports so many cards, and they discontinue at-will.


Average Nvidia users want to utilise their card to the fullest. Can nouveau achieve that? What I’ve heard, not at the moment.
If Manjaro touts itself as a beginner-friendly distro, proprietary drivers for Nvidia should be the default, with free as an option for those who wish to keep their systems as open source as possible (who are likely knowledgable and capable to make that choice already).

I see little weight in ideology and “but it’s proprietary” arguments, when the repositories contain other pieces of proprietary software.


I think beginner-friendly means a working desktop for the highest number of people.
Its also user-friendly to provide proprietary nvidia for those who want it (and want to sign up for everything that entails) at the cost of ~3 clicks.


it would be one-click if proprietary drivers would not exist. As soon as someone used the nvidia-GUI, a xorg.conf is created that does not follow mhwd’s standards (meaning it is created directly in /etc/X11/) and tries to force-load the nvidia module, even when the driver was removed in mhwd. In this situation, the system boots to blackscreen.

and to continue the “mhwd gone to waste”: With AMD dropping proprietary, mhwd was already close to obsolete (it was only really necessary for nvidia). The only reason it has meaning again is the added modesetting - option.

well, with the above reason, and with those reasons

the most user friendly approach is to stick with free drivers as default.
Most Linux-newbies come from windows anyway, where one has to install at least graphic drivers. So when they use Nvidia, nothing changes for them in that regard.

It’s useful for hybrid drivers.


There is a good case to be made for both options here.
Nouveau enables more cards to be booted succesfully into desktop, while the proprietary nvidia drivers enable better usage of the card. As such it follows an automatic detection of suitable drivers would be preferable and if none are detected using nouveau as a fallback.
Such an approach would though come with a set of problems of its own. Mainly bloating up the .iso files and possible problems correctly detecting every possible configuration.
So in the end as always it comes down to preferences. Everyone is entitled to their own after-all.

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Let me rephrase that, it was typed to hasted.

Please be aware that MHWD will only install nonfree graphics on hardware that has been deemed compatible by Nvidia, so there is no concern about lacking compatibility.