Making manjaro use nonfree drivers by default

As someone who has made quite a few contributions to mhwd and the mhwd configurations, I humbly disagree.

Why? It seems pretty not user friendly to have a distro ship with steam, yet still provide god awful performance.

Yes it does. I reckon you don’t have much experience onboarding Windows users, unlike me. Step 1 of installing graphics drivers for new Linux users: go to and manually download them, completely bypassing the package manager and mhwd -> black screen -> “linux baaaaaad :(”


I don’t think you have noticed that this is the current behaviour of Manjaro if set to nonfree mode. I’ll clarify this once and for all:

MHWD AUTOMATICALLY DETECTS IF A GRAPHICS DRIVER IS SUITABLE. IF NOT, THE NEXT LOWER PRIORITY DRIVER WILL BE USED: Example: Nvidia supported -> nvidia used, nvidia not supported -> next supported free driver used

I think this is something a lot of forum members are misunderstanding. I highly recommend everyone to read the old thread on the old forum.


I think this thread here proves your point

The user can’t install manjaro with the none free drivers but the 440 drivers won’t work either

I dont understand how it would help in this case when they are after a package not included in the ISO…

Troublesome hardware (including ultra-new) would be best serviced by Architect.

Thats still the case for anyone who cant wait for a newer release.

As to having the option to boot into non-free … its already there. Already available since years.

The only point I was trying to make (as long as i understood the thread correctly) was the nouveau drivers don’t always work

That user had already installed the automatic nonfree and was experiencing freezes,etc from the provided proprietary 440 nvidia driver.
The ‘guess’ solution in that thread so far is that maybe 450 will help.
But since it isnt included int he ISO … it idnt available.
So the better scenario might be nouveau actually … but is probably ultimately architect.
So no … its still not really applicable.

Not to mention that every time the Kernel gets updated, the drivers need to be reinstalled as well.

No thanks. Real PITA in the Old Days when users had to do this.

Actually if you read a bit closer you will notice this bit:

It would seem the nouveau driver did not work well with his particular graphics-card. Well i think we all can agree on blaming Nvidia for this situation though, right?

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looks like proprietary to me @Takei

Yes, the working one. He couldn’t really get into a working live system before, as noted by the original post.


Ah I see now … there it is.

The problem is using that hardware to start with.

Nouveau is known to have issues with many Nvidia cards, sometimes rendering system “unrebootable” (hard lockup). Another common issue is not booting at all. So the default option in grub should be non-free, I believe. With it, there’s a higher chance for live system to boot and work properly when user’s machine is equipped with Nvidia card.
As a person who is used to deal with lots of manual kernel options like nouveau.noaccel=1 and so on just to boot many other distros normally, I can’t help but agree with @TotallyNotElite on this proposal.


why not rename option ?
Free Drivers or Nvidia Drivers ?

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I never would have guessed that we would see the day where ‘non-free’ is more confusing than ‘proprietary’ … but if anything thats the category rename I would make.
Open vs Proprietary
(sprinkles 2 drops of wibubu blood to summon the dark collaborator Stallman)
Really the ‘free’ is a misnomer anyways.
The drivers from intel are ‘open’ but they arent free as in ‘freedom’.
And if we mean ‘free to install’ … then they all are, including nvidia.
Free and Opensource are not the same thing.


Yeah, these options’ titles should be something like “Nvidia proprietary driver on” and “no Nvidia proprietary driver off” or similar.

My vote goes too to the automatic selection of nonfree drivers if the installer finds them as a good match for the graphics card.

Also, my recent experience tells me that non-proprietary drivers (that is, the “free” ones) work like crap on a discrete GPU. I Tried them for the first time just yesterday on a laptop with a NVIDIA 2070 Refresh Max-Q; Results?

  • Free drivers:
    System bootable but horrible performances (just dragging a window around was spiking my CPU workload by 30-40%, all taken up by X-org/Kwin)
  • Nonfree drivers
    All good and dandy

Also, we should maybe add another variable to this discussion: the Kernel. might that be another element to consider? In my case, I wasn’t actually able to even boot into the installer with the non-free dirvers so I had to install Manjaro with them; But after installation and after updating my system and using the latest Kernel (5.8) I was then able to switch to the non-free one without any issue.
So this might be something to consider when referring to people unable to boot their system when using “non-free” drivers (the problem there could well involve the Kernel version the installer is using)

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Somehow this topic escaped me.
A few things i want to add from my part:

  • mhwd ui and cli needs a rework - is old; it can’t escape the fact that there are more laptops and desktops with exotic GPU combinations available out there and people want Manjaro installed on.
  • simplifying the install process is a must and the automatization of the best drivers choice needs to be done; since there are so many custom systems out there, and each user managed to get them working, those solutions could be gathered together and used somehow.
  • FOSS is a nice idea, i truly love it and respect it, but we live in the age when people install: Discord, Spotify, Telegram, WhatsApp, Viber, Zoom, Steam and other applications that rely on performance.

I think is easy to see where i go with this. :slight_smile:


I personally disagree. Managing exotic hardware configurations is Xorg’s and the kernels job. It’s our job to provide the required packages.

How many times is it actually necessary to manually modify the default configurations?