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I had the opposite experience. I had an older nvidia card. The binary driver would work great, then an update to the nvidia driver would come out, and the next reboot, I got to have lots of fun trying to get get it repaired without a gui. Half the time, just uninstalling/re-installing the older version would fix it.

IIRC Nvidia have dropped support for entire chipsets during seemingly minor updates to their Linux driver. This happened to me with an older card.

I think I ended up bisecting the changelogs to find that they had dropped support two versions back.

For a long time I was on Ubuntu 14.04 LTS with the NVidia driver, and every time to update it would be a pain; inevitably, when I rebooted, I'd be at a console, having to fix the damn thing so the updated driver would work.

After a couple of times of this, what I saw that was happening (and I am not saying this was it in your case) was my X config file was being replaced/updated and really just breaking everything. So I got in the habit of always making a backup of that file. Usually, when dropped at the console, I could just backup the config file there, then copy my old file over, and everything would work perfectly on restart.

Except this last time (a few months ago) - but it was inevitable it would happen, and it was entirely my fault.

I had a need a couple of years back to be able to use the latest C++ 11 version of gcc - but 14.04 LTS didn't have it available, and there wasn't any backports. So I decided to "wing it" from scratch, compiling a new version.

Then I found myself in dependency hell - which I also got past through a variety of updates from for my Ubuntu, or via download and install, etc. It was a complete mess, but in the end I got it working...

...until I tried to update - the entire update system was fairly broken, so no moving forward from 14.04 LTS.

But I thought I could do NVidia's latest proprietary driver - and it needed the compiler and other parts (for what reason I don't know) and it died a horrible death, leaving me with no good options to for the driver. I had to fall back to the open source neuveau driver (yuck) just to get my desktop back. But things were pretty well hosed.

Fortunately my OS was on a seperate partition and drive, so I bit the bullet and did a reinstall and upgrade (to Budgie Desktop 18.04 LTS), and vowed to never do any hand compile and install stuff again (next time if I need such a thing, it's going to be in a VM or containerized).

I've often wondered about putting the whole of /etc into a git repository, so any changes (either by software updates, or by myself) were visible and reversible. Does anyone do this, and if not why not?

You might be interested in etckeeper [1].

[1] https://joeyh.name/code/etckeeper/

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