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Google Won't Enable Chrome Video Acceleration Because of Linux GPU Bugs

Soulskill posted about 8 months ago | from the off-the-poorly-rendered-table dept.

Chrome 295

An anonymous reader writes "Citing 'code we consider to be permanently "experimental" or "beta,"' Google Chrome engineers have no plans on enabling video acceleration in the Chrome/Chromium web browser. Code has been written but is permanently disabled by default because 'supporting GPU features on Linux is a nightmare' due to the reported sub-par quality of Linux GPU drivers and many different Linux distributions. Even coming up with a Linux GPU video acceleration white-list has been shot down over fear of the Linux video acceleration code causing stability issues and problems for Chrome developers. What have been your recent experiences with Linux GPU drivers?"

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Permenant Beta (3, Informative)

sunderland56 (621843) | about 8 months ago | (#46400547)

You mean like Google Maps??

Re:Permenant Beta (2)

asmkm22 (1902712) | about 8 months ago | (#46400635)

They obviously mean "beta" quality. Google Maps is hardly beta quality, regardless of what they label it.

Re:Permenant Beta (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46400775)

yep a very very long way to go before it is anywhere near beta quality.

Re:Permenant Beta (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46400673)

What's not to like? Now I get new Google Maps that take several seconds to load in Chrome. That's progress compared with the instant loading that plagued the tile-map version...

Re:Permenant Beta (1)

Ralph Wiggam (22354) | about 8 months ago | (#46400881)

I think Maps has been out of beta for years.

Re:Permenant Beta (1, Insightful)

LifesABeach (234436) | about 8 months ago | (#46401021)

Google can't solve this problem? Given the harvested, or hired, global super hero underware wearing scary talent, and all of its billions? I ask, "It sucks to suck?"

Re:Permenant Beta (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46401037)

Agreed. I miss street view. I don't understand why they removed that little guy you could drag onto the map.

Re:Permenant Beta (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46401305)

He's still there, he's just in the bottom right corner now.

Re:Permenant Beta (4, Interesting)

joaommp (685612) | about 8 months ago | (#46401039)

to me this all sounds like a lame excuse for the lack of quality of their own software. I mean it's true that there are bugs in the kernel and everywhere on X and alike, but all other apps play nice. only chrome is playing the "poor little guy" part. all other software rants and complains when they find a bug, but they still manage to work it out and to help everything get better. Linux is not the only platform having frustrating bugs that can cripple any piece of software. but it's the easy prey for anyone preparing to become a competitor.
this is the typical tactic of making people "dependent" on their software, then complaining that some of the platforms it runs on doesn't have as much quality to be excused for a poor performance so they can make it work worse and then they have another excuse to impose a bit more of their own platform like the one running on chromebooks or something else about to be launched.

first (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46400559)

first

Disable the GPU. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46400699)

Disabling the Gosudarstvennoye Politicheskoye Upravlenie sounds like a good idea to me. Those guys could be vicious!

What have been my recent experiences? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46400595)

AMD sucks. Intel and NVidia seem to work.

AMD sometimes costs a few pennies less, so there fucking everywhere. I guess I can't blame Google; people buy shit hardware.

Re:What have been my recent experiences? (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46400859)

I love how you claim AMD video chipsets suck but somehow put intel in the praise side... intel gpu's are garbage by any reasonable standard AMD cards often boast the best performance.

The fact that linux drivers suck for all 3 (and they do) is sad supporting gpu accelleration should be easy in a market where only 3 product lines tend to exist at a time

Re:What have been my recent experiences? (4, Insightful)

clarkn0va (807617) | about 8 months ago | (#46401207)

linux drivers suck for all 3

Don't tell Valve! You'll ruin there latest business model!

Seriously, I've used GPUs from all three manufacturers and found every Intel and nvidia hardware/driver combination I've tried to work well in Linux, and every AMD combination to be the opposite. I wish it were not so, but it is, in my experience.

Re:What have been my recent experiences? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46401439)

When comes to open source drivers Intel is way better, however Nvidia has better closed source drivers

Re:What have been my recent experiences? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46400973)

so there fucking everywhere

Really?

Re:What have been my recent experiences? (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46401369)

2014: The coming of the retard fanboys

first (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46400603)

yay, first, meaningless post??

Google really cares about Linux (2)

fsck-beta (3539217) | about 8 months ago | (#46400611)

ChromeOS, GPU acceleration always! Same hardware and drivers but not horribly tied to the Google Cloud? Nope.

Re:Google really cares about Linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46400703)

Here's to hoping a GPU acceleration-enabled version of Chromium makes it into our respective repositories.

Re:Google really cares about Linux (1)

Severus Snape (2376318) | about 8 months ago | (#46400789)

ChromeOS, GPU acceleration always! Same hardware and drivers but not horribly tied to the Google Cloud? Nope.

Ensuring stability with their own certified hardware to looking at the whole entire Linux ecosystem is like comparing a mouse to an elephant.

Re:Google really cares about Linux (1)

mevets (322601) | about 8 months ago | (#46401003)

I think it is more like comparing a dragon fly to a pack of dingos.

If Google dId care about Linux..... (1)

ron_ivi (607351) | about 8 months ago | (#46401011)

they'd remove the blacklist completely --- and all the driver vendors would quickly fix the bugs (if there even are any).

As it is, no-one fixes the drivers because there aren't that many test cases showing the hypothetical bugs. And a good way to get those test cases would be with a frequently used app like Chromium.

By keeping the blacklist, it means those bugs they think are there will likely never be found and fixed.

Re:If Google dId care about Linux..... (1)

NotDrWho (3543773) | about 8 months ago | (#46401309)

I'm pretty sure that Google's investors wouldn't appreciate them intentionally sabotaging one of their flagship pieces of software just to make some moral point for an obscure OS (that directly competes with their own OS, no less).

Why not special case Linux? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46400613)

It's normal to has custom configurations between Windows, OS X and Linux, so why are they hurting the performance of "the many" over the weakness of the few?

They already have custom support for OS-specific features (e.g., OS X's full screen mode), so this would not be a new development.

Re:Why not special case Linux? (0)

sexconker (1179573) | about 8 months ago | (#46401017)

It's normal to has custom configurations between Windows, OS X and Linux, so why are they hurting the performance of "the many" over the weakness of the few?

They already have custom support for OS-specific features (e.g., OS X's full screen mode), so this would not be a new development.

Truth: It's bullshit they're feeding you because they want you to use ChromeOS on a branded Chromebook where GPU acceleration magically works. despite being the same hardware and drivers.

Re:Why not special case Linux? (1)

boolithium (1030728) | about 8 months ago | (#46401203)

Because they don't want to develop to a shifting target. By relying on open standards, they force hardware manufactures to support those standards with higher fidelity. Otherwise you end up with software you have to continue to patch to specific drivers. The only reason linux suffers from sketchy graphic drivers, is that the spec they code to never matches what the hardware ends up producing. The hardware manufacture can simply hack the drivers to deal with each corner case. Video cards which accurately match their specs are well supported on linux.

Mine is working just fine. (5, Informative)

abednegoyulo (1797602) | about 8 months ago | (#46400631)

Using intel i3 graphics with default driver that comes with RHEL6/CentOS6. I startup chromium with --ignore-gpu-blacklist. It has been more than a year now and so far so good.

WHY DOES SLASHDOT WANT EVERY COMMENT TO HAVE A FUC (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46400813)

Do you see substantial performance improvement with this?

Re:WHY DOES SLASHDOT WANT EVERY COMMENT TO HAVE A (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46401255)

Because Dice supports rebels in Chad? [wikipedia.org]

Re:Mine is working just fine. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46401083)

I run accelerated video on a Samsung i7 laptop using Chrome on Ubuntu 13.10. It's working fine for me.

I assume this means Desktop Linux only? (1)

AvitarX (172628) | about 8 months ago | (#46400637)

Not Android Linux, or Windows or OS X?

Re:I assume this means Desktop Linux only? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46400719)

Yes because they cant stop you bypassing the DRM on Linux. But its about driver stability.. honest.

Re:I assume this means Desktop Linux only? (1)

maliqua (1316471) | about 8 months ago | (#46400869)

OS X is not based on linux
FreeBSD != linux

Re:I assume this means Desktop Linux only? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46401051)

He mentioned Windows as well...I don't think he assumed OS X = Linux...

Re:I assume this means Desktop Linux only? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46401249)

Also, iOS is not Linux.

Re:I assume this means Desktop Linux only? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46401405)

OS X != FreeBSD

Re:I assume this means Desktop Linux only? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46401409)

You misinterpreted his post. It wasn't to imply that OS X (or Windows, as mentioned) as based on Linux, but whether or not this code is being disabled on the browser for those platforms too.

The summary made it sound as if Google is disabling the code on ALL versions of Chrome (regardless of platform) because of potential problems on the Linux version.

Like the good ole days (2)

geek (5680) | about 8 months ago | (#46400645)

I remember these types of problems in the early days of Linux, only then it was audio drivers. Getting audio to work was a disaster. Video typically worked ok but that was before nVidia and AMD were the major players. Now the tides have turned and audio works like a dream and video is what sucks ass.

I swear I've had more issues with video this last year than I did in the last 15 combined.

Re:Like the good ole days (3, Insightful)

jedidiah (1196) | about 8 months ago | (#46400773)

No. Video does not "suck ass". Google is just a bunch of whining crybabies.

Many of us have been happy as clams taking advantage of these features for years now on Linux. At least for Nvidia kit, it's pretty old news at this point.

The Intel and AMD variants may not be up to snuff yet but progress is being made. Google could certainly "white list" Nvidia without trouble.

As for the rest, they could allow it to be enabled for those that are really determined to take the risk. That might even help improve the quality of those other offerings.

They can't be stressing things any harder than Valve.

Re:Like the good ole days (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46400929)

I love the denial from trolls like you. Are you illiterate? He just referenced his own personal experience from the last 15 years and you come back with:

No. Video does not "suck ass". Google is just a bunch of whining crybabies.

That's right! Shift the blame far away from Linux and slap it back on software developers, users, or anyone else. Then I really enjoyed this flip:

As for the rest, they could allow it to be enabled for those that are really determined to take the risk.

Risk? There shouldn't be any fucking risk. It's 2014.

Re:Like the good ole days (0)

jedidiah (1196) | about 8 months ago | (#46401007)

> I love the denial from trolls like you. Are you illiterate? He just referenced his own personal experience from the last 15 years and you come back with:

And I am responding with MY OWN PERSONAL FIRST HAND experience.

The situation is not universally dire.

Clearly you are the one that's illiterate.

> That's right! Shift the blame far away from Linux and slap it back on software developers,

The truth of the matter is that the community has been taking care of business in this regard for a number of years now. If the "hobbyists" can manage, then why not the "professionals".

It's funny how that works.

Never mind me. I actually use this stuff and have been for years now.

Re:Like the good ole days (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46401375)

jedidiah = unemployed lamer who trolls all day long

Re:Like the good ole days (1)

Ralph Wiggam (22354) | about 8 months ago | (#46400907)

but that was before nVidia and AMD were the major players.

Who were the major players?

Re:Like the good ole days (5, Informative)

operagost (62405) | about 8 months ago | (#46401117)

3dfx and Matrox. Millennium + Voodoo, bitches!

Par for the course. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46400671)

Considering google will try to run against the GPL drivers, I seen similar experiences where I agree w/Google.

Google Maps or Bing Maps show black on satellite views, google earth constantly crashes randomly. Video playback of hi res content like 1080p/60 in fullscreen mode sucks. Video scaling--ha., and generic redraw glitches make me have a dedicated OSX box (MBP from 2008!) for multimedia in general use.

The proprietary drivers are only marginally better. And still have most of the same problems.

What's the solution? (1)

asmkm22 (1902712) | about 8 months ago | (#46400689)

Is this really something that's best fixed by expecting Nvidia/ATI/Intel to release higher quality drivers for every distro? Or is this a distro problem, where LInux will simply never have ability to handle acceleration very well because it's a constantly-moving target?

It's an honest question. I'm curious to see what people involved with either Linux or GPU drivers thinks.

Re:What's the solution? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46400743)

Is this really something that's best fixed by expecting Nvidia/ATI/Intel to release higher quality drivers for every distro? Or is this a distro problem, where LInux will simply never have ability to handle acceleration very well because it's a constantly-moving target?

Yes.

Re:What's the solution? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46400749)

It's the problem of too much choice. If everyone and their weird neighbor makes their own linux distro with their own vision of what video drivers it should have supporting them becomes a nightmare.

Re:What's the solution? (1)

geek (5680) | about 8 months ago | (#46400757)

Is this really something that's best fixed by expecting Nvidia/ATI/Intel to release higher quality drivers for every distro? Or is this a distro problem, where LInux will simply never have ability to handle acceleration very well because it's a constantly-moving target?

It's an honest question. I'm curious to see what people involved with either Linux or GPU drivers thinks.

It's both. Distro's refuse to install the binary blobs from the providers, instead using the open source and usually crippled versions while the graphics card providers refuse to open up their source (though intel is better at this than the others).

I'm hoping a move to Wayland will smooth things out. I'm not a gamer anymore so intel graphics are good enough for me so I just deal with it.

Re:What's the solution? (4, Insightful)

Freshly Exhumed (105597) | about 8 months ago | (#46400781)

AFAIK the Mozilla folks have not had the same complaints about Linux graphics drivers, have they?

The solution is to avoid using the Google Chrome browser, unless you like being spied on all the time by Google. Load up Firefox with a completely fascist set of add ons and do your best to browse safely.

Re:What's the solution? (1)

x_t0ken_407 (2716535) | about 8 months ago | (#46401159)

This is the correct solution. Been on FF since Opera abandoned the Linux community last year (saw the writing on the wall with the yet-to-be-released Linux version of their Blink browser -- not that it even matters since all functionality that I loved Opera for died (or will die) with 12.x). Anyways, I was pleasantly surprised with how fast it's become vs. the last time I used it [on linux], which was around 2009/2010. Still not as fast as Chromium or Opera, but fast enough to do the job without wondering if I'm missing out on speed, and with all the add-ons, I'm able to mimic most of the behavior Opera gave me.

tl;dr +1 for "use FF"

Re:What's the solution? (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 8 months ago | (#46401299)

I really just don't see why anyone would use Chrome. I never did get it. IE comes default with windows... so you use it if you're too lazy or don't know what you're doing you leave it on there... Opera has some neat, unique features... so ok... But Chrome? Really? What positive purpose does it serve? Firefox has had its issues over the years but time and again it's proven to be the most stable, most user friendly browser over the long term.

Re:What's the solution? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46401419)

Judging by the family I do IT support for there are two reasons. 1st is that it came bundled with something else they installed and they just kept clicking next until the installer was done. 2nd is that they used gmail or gmaps and it had a little box that popped up saying they needed to use it for the "best experience" or something to that effect. In addition, those two overlap when they were looking to install the google drive software.

Re:What's the solution? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46401397)

Firefox also has a video card blacklist:

https://wiki.mozilla.org/Blocklisting/Blocked_Graphics_Drivers#On_X11

Not just GPU drivers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46400725)

It depends on what GPU drivers you're talking about. Nouveau's GPU drivers suck ass. That's not even a question. And Nvidia's aren't that much better. This goes all the way down past the DRM and into X itself. Whether you're talking about incomprehensible error messages, random crashes, GTK/Qt conflicts and glitches, the amazing way Linux window managers offload critical system functionality into graphical icon packages called themes for the sake of customizability. And you have to deal with all of this before you can even get to a usable desktop environment.

Really, Google needs to hook up with Nvidia and AMD if they want to get anything done on the GPU front as long as those two keep refusing to open source their driver stack.

Re:Not just GPU drivers (0)

jedidiah (1196) | about 8 months ago | (#46400833)

> Whether you're talking about incomprehensible error messages, random crashes, GTK/Qt conflicts and glitches,

I'm a long time Nvidia user and I don't see this kind of crap. I use exactly the kind of GPU video acceleration features that Google is whining about. I've used VDPAU pretty much since the day it was available and I used it's predecessor before then.

Re:Not just GPU drivers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46400971)

There we have it folks. Jedidiah [slashdot.org] hasn't had any problems, therefore the problems do not exist. Everyone else who claims to be having problems must be an idiot or a liar.

Disabled By Default... okayface (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46400729)

Not too concerned about this. It's not like the entire feature of video playback is being disabled; it's just a power efficiency issue. I'm sure there would be a lot more upset users if it were enabled by default and crashing peoples' browsers (or the entire OS), vs. having it disabled by default and video playing back correctly at a greater cost to battery life on laptops.

That said, Windows drivers aren't much better off; there are well-documented problems with the hardware acceleration used by Chrome on Windows with the AMD Catalyst drivers; the problems have existed for a year or more and have not been addressed, yet hardware acceleration of canvas, etc. continues to be enabled by default on this hardware.

Seems like a bit of a double standard, but as long as the code to enable the experimental feature is shipped with the browser, savvy users who know that their driver does it right can enable it for a power savings. Even users who aren't sure whether or not their drivers will do it correctly can enable it temporarily, try it out, and see if they experience any crashes; if so, disable it or try to get a newer driver (especially if they're using the open source graphics stack).

Also, as long as you're running a recent version of the open source graphics stack, you are rather more likely to hit problems with this kind of functionality in the proprietary drivers -- especially Catalyst on Linux, which is a heaping load of crap -- than in the open source stack. The trick is to get your open source graphics stack components (kernel, Xorg server, Xorg client libs, DDX, Mesa, LLVM, and supporting libs) version-aligned so they all work harmoniously together, and then don't use absurdly new hardware whose hardware support implementation is still a work in progress. If you can satisfy those two simple criteria, the open source graphics stack should run quite well.

Re:Disabled By Default... okayface (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46400803)

AMD

There's your problem, right there.

Steam/GoG/HB (2)

clubby (1144121) | about 8 months ago | (#46400741)

I must admit, I don't do gaming on my Linux rig, but ... aren't there major 3D games being published for Linux via Humble Bundles, Steam, GoG, and no doubt others as well? Is this a support nightmare for those companies? And if not, how is it that they can work with GPUs in Linux, but the living gods of code over at Google can't hack it? I'm at work and can't be bothered to look up compelling examples, but I'm pretty sure The Witcher 2 runs on Linux, and that's a pretty GPU-intensive title. When something like this doesn't add up, it usually means I'm missing something. Like maybe Witcher 2 requires a specific distro that uses proprietary drivers or something, but Google's talking about Linux in general? Can anyone clue me in?

Re:Steam/GoG/HB (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46401025)

but I'm pretty sure The Witcher 2 runs on Linux, and that's a pretty GPU-intensive title.

No it doesn't. Only released for Windows/360/OS X. Also, GoG does not sell Linux games.

Re:Steam/GoG/HB (1)

clubby (1144121) | about 8 months ago | (#46401111)

Fair enough; on those specific points, I stand corrected. That said, I know Valve has some Source Engine games ported to Linux, so I still feel like this doesn't make as much sense as it ought to.

Re:Steam/GoG/HB (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46401043)

I must admit, I don't do gaming on my Linux rig, but ... aren't there major 3D games being published for Linux via Humble Bundles, Steam, GoG, and no doubt others as well? Is this a support nightmare for those companies?

Yes. They support only specific versions of specific distros with specific drivers of specific cards. You can use something else, but it is not supported and rarely works.

The software I ship on linux is not a game, but it requires OpenGL and is unusable without acceleration. We joke that it would be cheaper to give people computers with our software rather than spend the time triaging the "bugs" that turn out to be an unsupported combination of (distro x driver x video card).

Linux is not designed to support shipping software without source. Is the specific version of glibc you tested with available on release X of distro Y? If not, expect your program to crash. This is the reason no one ships proprietary software for linux in general: It is for RHEL Y or Ubuntu version X.

Every linux distro has a different driver with a different level of support for the specific revision of the specific card a user has. Usually the driver author was not allowed to see the vendor-internal specs of the card, and the vendor never tested on linux. So, the drivers poke at the card until it has just enough functionality to make the desktop environment work, and no more. Think about what this means for a user: They run your program. Your program uses the card in a way that was not tested by the driver developer. The driver does the wrong thing. The card produces a black rectangle. Who does the user blame?

Re:Steam/GoG/HB (2, Informative)

jedidiah (1196) | about 8 months ago | (#46401215)

> Every linux distro has a different driver with a different level of support for the specific revision of the specific card a user has.

You mean like anyone with a Windows box?

Linux distributions are just collections of upstream projects. That includes the kernel, the user land, and anything else.

Someone comparable to myself either has some version of the kernel or the Nvidia blob drivers. That's the official driver from the hardware vendor. I might have a different version than someone else, but that has nothing to do with whether I'm running Gentoo or Arch or Slackware.

EVERY ONE can have a different version of the official driver.

It's no different from Windows in this regard.

Every PC is going to be a random collection of software components that some 3rd party has no control over. Every user is free to do things that will scramble the mix.

Not only video but also sound (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46400747)

Linux on the desktop is still years behind its competition. Video drivers and the struggle to install one (ATI for example) makes it difficult to adopt it for any "normal" user. Few distros work out of the box and even those have issue in other parts like usability (Thank you Unity!).

But it's not only video, it's also sound that keeps Linux behind. For example in Skype you have multiple sound devices to choose from but only 1 works. Pulsaudio server tries to fix that but still I cannot explain why on Windows in a virtual machine (Linux as host) the sound is better than in Linux itself.

Linux is great on servers and for networking but for the desktop it is clearly years behind everything from the 21st century. Good thing that others (manufacturers using Android) managed to create something at least more usable.

(Still) A Linux user.

Re:Not only video but also sound (1)

Dr_Barnowl (709838) | about 8 months ago | (#46400923)

still I cannot explain why on Windows in a virtual machine (Linux as host) the sound is better than in Linux itself.

I suspect the Linux builds of Skype don't have all the good audio codecs they've added to the Windows build, Skype now being a Microsoft product. The audio quality is total ass.

Still requires an "advanced" user skillset (1, Insightful)

Yaddoshi (997885) | about 8 months ago | (#46400771)

If you want GPU acceleration that actually works somewhat as expected in LINUX, you need a relatively recent (but not TOO recent) graphics accelerator card and a popular distro such as Ubuntu / Linux Mint so that you have access to precompiled proprietary drivers (and an automated installer) that have actually been tested with that distribution (and still may break things when you install them even after they have passed testing). Mileage will vary on other distros but you will likely need the most recent release of the OS in order to get acceleration working without tons of effort. You will still need to use a proprietary driver if you intend to do anything more advanced than rendering 2d effects, and the desktop environment may impact performance if gl effects are enabled.

If you manage to avoid breaking Xorg after you have installed the proprietary drivers, you will still find that performance is lagging behind equivalent setups in Windows, and rendering issues may appear in certain games that will not be resolved for at least one or more driver releases, typically not included with that particular distribution's release. This will force you to either upgrade to the alpha/beta/testing version of that distro or else try to compile your own proprietary drivers, either scenario including a significant amount of additional risk to your environment and potentially costing hours of effort to resolve.

God help you if you have a laptop with a hybrid intel/nVidia GPU system that is designed to use the intel GPU for common 2D tasks and the nVidia GPU for gaming or other high performance 3d rendering tasks in an effort to offer the best of both worlds (good battery life and high performance) which is an absolutely nightmare to get working correctly in LINUX.

God help you if you are dealing with EFI or UEFI.

These are some of the reasons why I bought a used Mac and stopped using LINUX as my primary OS.

Re:Still requires an "advanced" user skillset (-1, Flamebait)

jedidiah (1196) | about 8 months ago | (#46400909)

You're whining about the difficulties of using Linux for gaming and whatnot and then you declare that you bought yourself a Mac.

That's funny.

The crapulence of Mac hardware is perhaps the single biggest disadvantage of using MacOS. While MacOS itself may be nice, and a preloaded "Unix" might be nice, the choices that Apple makes in terms of hardware blow bloody chunks.

Plus Apple's equivalent of PureVideo/VDPAU doesn't even expose all of those available features.

If you're willing to use a lame Intel GPU, you really don't have to bother with Macs.

Re:Still requires an "advanced" user skillset (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46400931)

The fact that you spelled "linux" in all-caps gives away the fact that your experience with linux is very limited. Oddly, you have rather strong opinions for someone with limited experience.

Re:Still requires an "advanced" user skillset (2)

clubby (1144121) | about 8 months ago | (#46400985)

The fact that you, twice, failed to capitalize it at all, forces me to wonder if you're applying your case-based experience divination method to yourself.

Re:Still requires an "advanced" user skillset (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46401077)

Funny, I have to wonder what I'm doing differently from everyone who suffers these horrible abuses of their santiy. I just bought myself a decent PC with stock (but good quality) parts on the cheap. I just made sure it had a decent video card that was supported by the nvidia proprietary drivers, and I'm having no problems. Guess I'm just horribly, horribly lucky since I've had no serious Linux graphics issues over the last 5 years, beyond maybe some laggy window dragging when I'm using a beta version of xorg. Maybe it's not Linux so much as it is people haphazardly buying hardware without checking compatibility first, then giving it all up and buying a pre-fabbed machine with OSX on it?

Re:Still requires an "advanced" user skillset (2)

maccodemonkey (1438585) | about 8 months ago | (#46401141)

God help you if you are dealing with EFI or UEFI.

How would EFI or UEFI change anything?

EFI or UEFI will change things at firmware boot time, but actual run time/OS usage should be the same.

Re:Still requires an "advanced" user skillset (2)

IndigoDarkwolf (752210) | about 8 months ago | (#46401197)

From my own research, difficulty appears to vary by card manufacturer, linux distro, and specific task. If you pick the right distro, support is decent. If you pick the wrong distro, you spend many hours wandering the internet safari. I can sympathize with Google's position.

In the briefest terms, AMD/ATI = Hard Mode, or so it appears.

Most recently, it took me a significant part of a weekend to setup a GPU-based Dogecoin miner on Debian, using ATI cards. The first and most painful lesson was learning that Debian Squeeze was a non-starter, which wasn't immediately obvious as several seemingly outdated guides exist, referring to experimental apt packages that no longer exist. Upgrading to Wheezy, I only managed to get a single card working, though a second identical card was plugged into the motherboard and known to be good. Lamenting my half-solved problem, a coworker directed me to a hardware hack (resistors stuck into a DVI/VGA converter) so that the second GPU would be fooled into thinking a monitor was present, so it would be recognized by the mining software. Apparently, this is a hardware hack needed to run Apple desktops in headless mode.

Supposedly, these things are "easier" on NVidia-based setups, or at least have a larger community to assist, but there are still some gotchas. I wouldn't blame Google for feeling that things need to be improved before offering official support. With any luck at all, Steambox will push card manufacturers to create better drivers for at least one distro, even if it's only Steambox. The Count tells me that One is greater than Zero, Ah, Ah, Ah.

Re:Still requires an "advanced" user skillset (2)

Microlith (54737) | about 8 months ago | (#46401221)

Doesn't it suck when you use products from companies that are borderline hostile to their customers on a given platform?

Re:Still requires an "advanced" user skillset (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46401245)

I have been using NVIDIA's proprietary drivers under Linux for over ten years. They are easy to install. I've never had any problems with them. So I have no idea what you are talking about. Everything you need to know about installing them is spelled out in the documentation.

Re:Still requires an "advanced" user skillset (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46401267)

Or you can just install Windows.

Re:Still requires an "advanced" user skillset (0)

gman003 (1693318) | about 8 months ago | (#46401313)

If you want GPU acceleration that actually works somewhat as expected in LINUX, you need a relatively recent (but not TOO recent) graphics accelerator card and a popular distro such as Ubuntu / Linux Mint so that you have access to precompiled proprietary drivers (and an automated installer) that have actually been tested with that distribution (and still may break things when you install them even after they have passed testing). Mileage will vary on other distros but you will likely need the most recent release of the OS in order to get acceleration working without tons of effort. You will still need to use a proprietary driver if you intend to do anything more advanced than rendering 2d effects, and the desktop environment may impact performance if gl effects are enabled.

Guess what? Even on Windows all you get is precompiled proprietary drivers, and even with a far more limited set of supported systems things still go wrong.

If you manage to avoid breaking Xorg after you have installed the proprietary drivers, you will still find that performance is lagging behind equivalent setups in Windows, and rendering issues may appear in certain games that will not be resolved for at least one or more driver releases, typically not included with that particular distribution's release. This will force you to either upgrade to the alpha/beta/testing version of that distro or else try to compile your own proprietary drivers, either scenario including a significant amount of additional risk to your environment and potentially costing hours of effort to resolve.

Windows video driver updates still frequently have significant performance updates, and many games don't work right on release, requiring a driver patch to fix (mainly games sponsored by Nvidia/AMD not working on AMD/Nvidia cards, respectively). And WTF do you mean by "compile your own proprietary drivers"?

God help you if you have a laptop with a hybrid intel/nVidia GPU system that is designed to use the intel GPU for common 2D tasks and the nVidia GPU for gaming or other high performance 3d rendering tasks in an effort to offer the best of both worlds (good battery life and high performance) which is an absolutely nightmare to get working correctly in LINUX.

Guess what? I've never seen anyone get that working in Windows either - in fact, I remember hearing that Windows itself dropped the idea after Vista, although AMD's Hybrid CrossFire seems to still be around. I just leave my Nvidia GPU on constantly - it turns off enough and drops the clocks enough that the battery life is not too horrible (or at least, it sucks because of the CPU or the display, not the GPU).

God help you if you are dealing with EFI or UEFI.

Because the pains of that are limited to Linux? I spent two weeks trying to get Windows installed on an EFI Mac. And I've had issues with old BIOS-based systems as well, mainly ones that don't boot from USB or CD (I still have an OpenBSD boot floppy in a box somewhere).

Firmware is a pain in the ass no matter what acronym they use for it.

These are some of the reasons why I bought a used Mac and stopped using LINUX as my primary OS.

Where you still have proprietary drivers, lower performance than Windows, frequent graphics bugs in games, no hybrid graphics, EFI and pretty much every single thing you bitched about. Hell, the new Mac Pro can't use CrossFire despite shipping with two GPUs - in OS X, one is hardcoded for OpenCL use, the other for OpenGL. I'm pretty sure Linux does better than that.

The fact that you think Linux is an acronym makes me suspect you of being a shill, but the similar failure on Nvidia (it's "Nvidia" or "NVIDIA", not "nVidia") makes me think you just don't really know what you're talking about.

Graphics has always been a problematic section, simply because there's enough demand for performance that they're willing to go to extreme lengths to get it. You don't see CPUs getting driver updates to optimize the performance of a single program the way you do with GPUs. Even back in the day (before my time, but I've heard the stories) it was like that, with weird memory layouts or display modes being set to try to get it.

Re:Still requires an "advanced" user skillset (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46401361)

If you want GPU acceleration that actually works somewhat as expected in LINUX, you need a relatively recent (but not TOO recent) graphics accelerator card and a popular distro such as Ubuntu / Linux Mint so that you have access to precompiled proprietary drivers (and an automated installer) that have actually been tested with that distribution (and still may break things when you install them even after they have passed testing). Mileage will vary on other distros but you will likely need the most recent release of the OS in order to get acceleration working without tons of effort. You will still need to use a proprietary driver if you intend to do anything more advanced than rendering 2d effects, and the desktop environment may impact performance if gl effects are enabled.

If you manage to avoid breaking Xorg after you have installed the proprietary drivers, you will still find that performance is lagging behind equivalent setups in Windows, and rendering issues may appear in certain games that will not be resolved for at least one or more driver releases, typically not included with that particular distribution's release. This will force you to either upgrade to the alpha/beta/testing version of that distro or else try to compile your own proprietary drivers, either scenario including a significant amount of additional risk to your environment and potentially costing hours of effort to resolve.

God help you if you have a laptop with a hybrid intel/nVidia GPU system that is designed to use the intel GPU for common 2D tasks and the nVidia GPU for gaming or other high performance 3d rendering tasks in an effort to offer the best of both worlds (good battery life and high performance) which is an absolutely nightmare to get working correctly in LINUX.

God help you if you are dealing with EFI or UEFI.

These are some of the reasons why I bought a used Mac and stopped using LINUX as my primary OS.

This comment makes me want to give up on /.

The comment is somewhat based in truths with respect to the pains of dealing with proprietary kernel modules. However the Free modules I've used for ATI/AMD, Intel, and nVidia have all been easy to install; even on Gentoo. Between *buntu, Debian, and Raspbian, Gentoo is the only distro that I've broken Xorg on. The Debians have been very stable.

Performance for games is another matter. The Free drivers have not been great for performance, but great for everything else, even compositing Window managers.

The OP mentions OS X which is also highly imperfect, especially for gaming.

The OP mentions Windows which is absurd since Microsoft's drivers are complete shit. The so called "equivalent" setups in Windows make use of proprietary drivers, which are typically made by the GPU manufacturer.

Bullshit! (5, Informative)

Martyn Hare (3546791) | about 8 months ago | (#46400815)

Simply enable it for NVIDIA users by default. It works the same across every distribution, and in fact, every OS. Google are just as cowardly as Adobe were.

For those who want faster flash and faster Chrome, try this:

* Go to chrome://flags

* Override software rendering list -> Enable

Welcome to a faster Flash and faster Chrome :)

Re:Bullshit! (2)

pouar (2629833) | about 8 months ago | (#46401099)

Agreed, I've been running Chrome with graphics acceleration enabled for a long time and I never ran into any issues.

Re:Bullshit! (1)

TangoMargarine (1617195) | about 8 months ago | (#46401437)

This is what we get when the journalists get ahold of some technical info and start waving it around with the safety off. I assumed from reading the summary that even if the functionality was "permanently disabled", if the code was already built into the browser, you would just have to find the right bits to twaddle in the binary to enable it. Although I guess that is indeed "permanent" for the vast majority of users.

If only... (4, Funny)

fph il quozientatore (971015) | about 8 months ago | (#46400831)

Oh, if only a large company like, say, Google would adopt the drivers and support their development...

fLASH (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46400841)

I think that it is to drive licensed content on chrome to flash and then break flash for Linux as they know that Linux will reverse engineer chrome to view and possible grab single use content from the Linux side for pay per view or online TV, movies. So the solution is to force to an ecosystem that controls licensed content better and that won't be open source Linux, just chrome on windows and mac

A reasonable precaution (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46400871)

given that CPU horsepower today is good enough, and tomorrow will be more so. Besudes how much video power do you need for your typical low-rez linux display. Not much. Better to be safe and cozy than to fall off into some windows netherworld of black and blue screens of death.

Re:A reasonable precaution (1)

jedidiah (1196) | about 8 months ago | (#46401107)

It's not the display. It's the codec and resolution of the video. The size you of the screen you are going to display it on has squat to do with what it will take to decode the video.

For 720p or 1080p h264, this can be considerable. Add h265 into the mix and you've just added a whole new world of hurt.

This allows machines that can't even run Windows anymore to deal with any video that you could throw at it.

Even if you do have the CPU for "brute force", using speciality silicon on the GPU is probably more efficient (less battery drain).

My favorite "low rez linux display" is measured in feet rather than inches.

Re:A reasonable precaution (2)

jones_supa (887896) | about 8 months ago | (#46401281)

given that CPU horsepower today is good enough, and tomorrow will be more so. Besudes how much video power do you need for your typical low-rez linux display.

So you are fine with Linux requiring gobs of CPU horsepower and delivering low video performance? Then it is technologically worse option than Windows. Windows lets me squeeze more out of my hardware. Why would I use Linux anymore then?

There was a time when I used Linux precisely because it was the faster option and gave me more power. There are still good reasons to use Linux. But this unoptimized bloated software is really starting to now appear everywhere on Linux world. Not good.

Performance is a top thing I want from my computer.

So long, Google of yesteryear (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46400905)

Google's clearly passed its prime. Three years ago, I wouldn't be surprised if they just said "screw it, let's write some drivers and show these guys how it's done!" I mean they did the same thing with Dart, WebP, SPDY, and other things... they didn't even care what others thought, they just created their own replacement web stack. But drivers? God forbid. Leave that kind of rat's nest to Mozilla.

my ati mach32 vesa local bus card worked great (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46400993)

It's been down hill since then.

I agree - the linux GPU support is broken (2)

najay (733875) | about 8 months ago | (#46401029)

In 2 words: THEY SUCK.

I had to abort a windows to linux port because the intel linux graphics driver is BROKEN (Intel Atom N455). I spent weeks convincing a customer he was better off moving his code base to linux, and when I finally got the OK to build a prototype, the UI was unusable. I really wish the GPU manufacturers would provide enough documentation so the Open source ppl could come in and fix it.

ChromeOS competition (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46401067)

I'm guessing this has more to do with Google's interest in promoting ChromeOS. They will keep support for vanilla Linux at a minimum until ChromeOS gets a more solid footing. Only when vanilla Linux is no longer a threat to ChromeOS will Google acquiesce in order to keep up its facade of supporting open source.

Re:ChromeOS competition (1)

jerryjnormandin (1942378) | about 8 months ago | (#46401217)

Yep you hit it on the money. And if you have a Chromebook you always want to run Linux on it to get any real use out of it.

Work ok for me (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46401081)

I've been running Centos 6 with a Gefore GTX 285 without any issues. Running with the nvidia proprietary drivers, no problems. Didn't take long to setup.
This setup has been running for about a year now with no issues. Heck I even play some games (Minecraft & starmade) on it.

Only irritation is I needed to make an init script that would auto update the driver and reboot if my kernel updated...

Linux drivers are fine (5, Informative)

melting_clock (659274) | about 8 months ago | (#46401103)

I've been using Linux as my primary OS for 10 years. My desktop PC does dual boot into windows for a few games but spends 95% of the time in Linux. I've done a bit of gaming and other graphics intensive applications under Linux without any problems. As a part time gaming machine, there is a mid range NVIDIA card hiding inside and I've always used the proprietary NVIDIA drivers which are as good as those on windows. There was a time when installing those drivers was a bit of a pain, due to other developers trying to to force their extremist political views on users, but it is a very simple process now.

Some drivers might have problems but there is no reason they couldn't take the same approach as Firefox developers: provide a user controlled, easily accessible, option to enable hardware acceleration... Maybe that last point shows why I don't care what Google does with Chrome on Linux or any other platform... Firefox works for me on Linux, Windows and Android.

I've permenantly disabled chrome. (2)

Maltheus (248271) | about 8 months ago | (#46401127)

Not having flash in chromium was one of the many straws. This doesn't help.

I used to use a Chrome/Firefox combo to segregate my browsing/cookies. Just switched to multiple firefox profiles and added a "Close Tabs to the Right" plugin (to restore the one thing I missed about chrome). Much happier and I doubt I'll ever go back.

It's more like google can't write code.. (4, Interesting)

jerryjnormandin (1942378) | about 8 months ago | (#46401195)

It's obvious that the google gui programmers just use windows or mac gui APIs and don't know how to code. Linux GPU code has been extremely stable. Maybe they can learn how to program from the folks at Steam ? LMAO The new Steam Appliance runs Linux. I use a GTX 560 in a MacPro 2,1 running linux on bare metal with NO ISSUES.

Only proprietary drivers are bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46401321)

I never had any issues with the open-source drivers.
Intel's driver is really good, as is radeon. The performance and feature-set of radeon isn't at the level of fglrx but it works out of the box.
With fglrx you lose modesetting, get random freezes and other bugs which wouldn't be there if the source weren't closed.
It would be best to force ATI/AMD and nVidea to open their documentation, somehow. IDK how, but it has to be done.

...if it's so bad, why do the games work...? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46401343)

Mass Effect seems to work - and how many layers of abstraction are there in between...?

Google indirects to Linux (1)

ToasterTester (95180) | about 8 months ago | (#46401411)

What's the saying any problem can be solved by adding another layer of indirection. Guess they can't figure out how to monitize contributing coding resources to address the issue.

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