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Proprietary drivers management

Dear Colleagues,

Hope it's OK to ask an Ubuntu-related question here, after all
Ubuntu is Debian architecturally, isn't it?

So there is a GUI widget to manage proprietary drivers:

1. Do you think the widget is a separate mechanism from the common
deb/repository infrastructure, or does it rely on the same deb packages? 

2. Is there a way to make this selection from the OS shell, not from the GUI?

3. What is a "driver" after all in Linux terms? A kernel module, an
Xserver loadable module? How do you "install a driver"? (in FreeBSD you
either enable/load a kernel module, or make something like
xorg/modules/drivers/intel_drv.so available to the Xserver).

4. It is remarkable that this GUI widget does not actually permit any choice,
it just says in Russian "Continue using the manually installed driver."
Manually installed? I don't remember installing any drivers manually in
this system, even if I knew what a "driver" in Linux terminology is.

Thank you for your patience, any input is welcome.

Victor Sudakov,  VAS4-RIPE, VAS47-RIPN
2:5005/49@fidonet http://vas.tomsk.ru/

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