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NVIDIA's Andy Ritger On Linux Drivers

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the straight-dope dept.

Graphics 269

tykev writes "The Director of Unix Software at NVIDIA talks about Linux drivers, planned features, development cycle, and the open source Nouveau driver. (The interview is in English but all the comments are in Czech.) Quoting: 'NVIDIA's stance is to neither help nor hinder Nouveau. We are committed to supporting Linux through a) an open source 2d "nv" X driver which NVIDIA engineers actively maintain and improve, and b) our fully featured proprietary Linux driver which leverages common code with the other platforms that NVIDIA supports.'"

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Eat my goatse'd penis! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19409205)

Frosty Goatse Piss []

Time for a flame fest (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19409239)

Binary vs. open drivers. I say we ask Tiger Woods.

Nouveau (3, Interesting)

nxsty (942984) | more than 7 years ago | (#19409259)

NVIDIA's stance is to neither help nor hinder Nouveau. We are committed to supporting Linux through a) an open source 2d "nv" X driver which NVIDIA engineers actively maintain and improve, and b) our fully featured proprietary Linux driver which leverages common code with the other platforms that NVIDIA supports.

But what will they do when nouveau is complete, and replaces the nv driver? Will they stop commiting to xorg?

Re:Nouveau (5, Insightful)

babbling (952366) | more than 7 years ago | (#19409313)

Nouveau probably won't ever be "complete" since there's always new cards to add support for and that sort of thing. If Nouveau gets good enough and is the default driver they will probably start contributing to it. They would save money on driver development, and continuing their proprietary driver would be a bit pointless since everyone would be using Nouveau.

Until Nouveau gets good, I imagine they'll keep pushing the proprietary driver, though.

Re:Nouveau (1)

aabxx (1108623) | more than 7 years ago | (#19409383)

No open source is ever "complete", for good and for worse :) Even a dead open source project is only "temporary dead"! (whatever that means...)

Re:Nouveau (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19409559)

Why would continuing their proprietary driver be ever pointless???

There is no way that an open-source GPU driver can ever achieve same quality (in terms of performance and compatibility at a given timeframe) as an actively developed proprietary driver. GPUs are very complex devices, and drivers make a huge difference on performance. In order to make a fast driver you really need to know how the target GPU works on a very low level. Naturally, NVidia will not disclose this low level stuff about their GPUs to outsiders.

You can compare GPU drivers to compilers. There is no way that open-source compiler (GCC) will ever produce as good code for new Intel's CPUs as Intel's own compiler (ICC) as long as ICC is actively developed.

In addition, the driver must cope with many different applications and tons of different hardware. Even though NVidia started dropping support for older hardware in the recent Linux driver releases, latest drivers support THREE vastly different GPU architectures: NV3x, NV4x/G7x and G8x. That's why NVidia has huge CPU farms dedicated for testing their drivers under different workloads and with a different hardware.

Re:Nouveau (3, Insightful)

babbling (952366) | more than 7 years ago | (#19410027)

It would be pointless for Nvidia to continue developing their proprietary driver once very few people use it because the Free Software one is "good enough" and installed by default. Nvidia doesn't directly make money off drivers, so in such a scenario it would be in their interests to just make sure the Free Software driver is as good as it can be.

What's the point of spending money developing a proprietary driver if everyone just uses the default Free Software one which works reasonably well?

Re:Nouveau (1)

MBCook (132727) | more than 7 years ago | (#19410413)

I disagree. I think it would be pointless to stop developing it. Remember that their drivers are built on a common code base, meaning it shares quite a bit of code with Windows. They are also heavily optimized to a level that free software may never achieve in a reasonable time frame (simply due to lack of documentation and such). Their closed drivers will probably always have superior 3D performance, and that is why people buy Nvidia cards. If you only want 2D, you don't care most of the time. There is still the layer between the kernel and the OS independent stuff that must be worked on, but the have the other work done anyway due to Windows and OS X.

Re:Nouveau (2, Interesting)

Andy Dodd (701) | more than 7 years ago | (#19409571)

Yeah. I interpret their "help but not hinder" comment to mean:

"Some of our license agreements prevent us from contributing 3D support to open source drivers, we like Nouveau but can't legally contribute to it."

One wonders what happens if Nouveau becomes the official xorg driver. Perhaps NV will be able to legally contribute to the 2D aspects of the driver. The binary drivers will likely continue to exist as long as they are encumbered by technologies licensed from other vendors which NV has no direct control over (such as S3TC support).

Re:Nouveau (3, Interesting)

babbling (952366) | more than 7 years ago | (#19409969)

Do you really think Nvidia couldn't renegotiate license agreements, work around patent problems, or at least release a data sheet for their cards?

It's all a matter of how desirable it is for them.

If Nouveau became the official xorg driver and was decent enough that people wouldn't rush to replace it, Nvidia most likely find a way to contribute to it to ensure that Nvidia hardware has a good quality driver on Linux.

Re:Nouveau (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19410037) ensure that Nvidia hardware has a good quality driver on Linux.

Yeah. Just like they did with Vista.

Re:Nouveau (1)

babbling (952366) | more than 7 years ago | (#19410071)

What happened with Vista was not what they intended to happen. They slipped up, but it's not as though they intentionally had crappy Vista drivers.

Re:Nouveau (2, Interesting)

b1ufox (987621) | more than 7 years ago | (#19409797)

The problems as i look at it is loosely like this. Nouveau being a reverse engineered driver misses to harness complex Nvidia specific GPU features.Yes, mod me down if you feel like but that is the truth, a reverse engineered software for a complex GPU is not simple.And now please don't give me example of Samba and et all, i know it. The way hardware evolves in today's hardware industry Nouveau will find it extremely difficult to sustain the pace to match it.

Moreover reverse engineering being a difficult task, it will take time.

Here is the alternative IMHO, AMD open sources ATI drivers. ATI 3D driver gets into mainline kernel. Nvidia will *have* to open source their driver, which can be possibly merged with the nouveau project to make sure it is constantly up to date with the Nvidia's cutting edge technology advances.

But thats just optimistic me. :-)

Re:Nouveau (1)

neersign (956437) | more than 7 years ago | (#19409825)

What I don't understand is why 3d acceleration cannot be added to nv. why is there a completely seperate 3d driver? and what are the reasons that nvidia will help with 2d on nv but will not help with 3d on nouveau? and, what are nvidia's reasons for maintaining a closed source, proprietary driver if they are helping on open source too? it seems to me that if they waste any effort helping with nv, they might as well throw all of their effort in to it. I'm sure their main reason for maintaining a proprietary driver is to protect "secrets" and the reason they won't help with open source 3d drivers is to protect those same "secrets", but I'd really like them to take the "all or nothing" route, and stop teasing - Either make really spectacular proprietary drivers or help the community create 3d drivers that work.

Re:Nouveau (1)

jandrese (485) | more than 7 years ago | (#19410237)

As I understand it, while they own all of the IP for the 2d driver, some parts of the 3d support are licensed from other companies and individuals (who hold the patents). The terms of those licenses forbid nVidia from releasing their code (naturally). In order to get a nVidia to open up the 3d support in the driver entirely, the open source community as a whole (or at least some part of it) would have to negotiate with them and convince the companies to open up like nVidia. Given that they make their money off of licensing IP and perhaps selling software (as opposed to selling hardware), this is highly unlikely.

Re:Nouveau (1)

Stocktonian (844758) | more than 7 years ago | (#19410109)

Just to clarify things the nouveau project is trying to make an open source 2D and 3D alternative not just a 2D driver.

Does it really matter where the drivers come from? As long as the driver has the features I want, the stability I need and is open source I'll be happy. If I can get 2 out of 3 of those then that's pretty good and I'll be supporting efforts to make it a hat trick.

Hopefully the NVIDIA engineers will see the value of a community behind the nouveau project and find a way to contribute directly to that. If they can make contributions to the 3D side of things too then all the better. I think NVIDIA is one of those companies that is trying hard to work with Linux but the ecosystem surrounding it is not very easy for them to fit in with. You know what's funny is that I've never seen an interview that asks how the community can help NVIDIA or ATI. Things such as a stable ABI for loadable modules for instance might mean they can support more architectures.

Want Linux preinstalled on a laptop with a compatibility guarantee? []

see no evil, hear no evil, do no evil (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19409301)

So, basically, it's "we don't care, we're not changing". It's kind of sad that they refuse to release open drivers, although not nearly as bad as ATI's fglrx, the nvidia driver has issues too and seems to be used to force upgrades (semi-recent drop of support for 4xxx cards, eh?), basically meaning that otherwise fine cards will be unusable in a couple months or after a few kernel release cycles.

Move along, nothing to see here (0, Troll)

dfdashh (1060546) | more than 7 years ago | (#19409321)

Still no 3D support without having to use a proprietary (closed) driver. Wake me up when that changes.

Re:Move along, nothing to see here (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19409345)

Still no 3D support without having to use a proprietary (closed) driver. Wake me up when that changes.

Sure thing, Mr. Rip Van Winckle!

Re:Move along, nothing to see here (1)

aabxx (1108623) | more than 7 years ago | (#19409349)

Will an attitude like that really help anyone?

There are understandable reasons for nvidia wanting to keep it like it is.

A question (1, Troll)

Fross (83754) | more than 7 years ago | (#19409353)

Why do you _expect_ a company to do business according to your own rules?

Sure, you can vote with your wallet, but it seems to me demanding that a company release their drivers in open source (and let's not forget, that probably contains a vast amount of work they spent their own R&D budget on) is expecting a huge amount of work from them, in return for a small amount of convenience for you.

I'm just wondering why so many open source users have disdain for companies not open sourcing their software when it is potentially against their aims to do so. I mean, to the exclusion of actually using the software which could make their computer experience better. Surely we haven't got that many mini-RMSes?

Re:A question (5, Insightful)

Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) | more than 7 years ago | (#19409473)

seems to me demanding that a company release their drivers in open source

I read & re-read the parent comment, but couldn't see them demanding anything. WTF are you talking about?

I mean, to the exclusion of actually using the software which could make their computer experience better.

Some people have quite pragmatic reasons for preferring open software - particularly kernel software. Driver crashes were one of the things that made windows (particularly in the late 90's / early 2000s) such a mess.

If you're making a hardware purchasing decision and want to run linux, of course you should try to buy from a company that supports FOSS.

Surely we haven't got that many mini-RMSes?

Finish the troll with a flourish. Nice work.

Re:A question (0, Troll)

Ash Vince (602485) | more than 7 years ago | (#19409679)

Finish the troll with a flourish. Nice work.

I saw nothng in the parent post suggesting the poster was a troll. You post sounded more like one.

On the subject of RMS though, does he actually contribute any code to any projects or do anything usefull or is he just a worthless commie who whines about other poeple not having the same political outlook as him using Linux.

(That was a troll!)

Re:A question (3, Informative)

pkphilip (6861) | more than 7 years ago | (#19410105)

Though one may argue that having the source for a driver may result in the driver becoming more stable over time as a lot of people contribute changes/fixes to it, I feel that this may be overstated.

Consider Nvidia/ATI drivers on Windows or Mac OSX - these binary-only drivers are feature rich (are they more feature rich than their binary-only drivers on Linux?) and most users are quite happy. Bugs do occasionally show up, but they are normally fixed by Nvidia/ATI within a reasonable time frame.

However, I have noticed that these same manufacturers take forever to fix bugs which show up only on Linux.

That indicates to me that the reason that these binary drivers are not that stable on Linux is not because of the binary nature of these drivers but because the Linux user community matters less to Nvidia/ATI than the Windows user community.

And that is understandable - the number of windows users is roughly 93% http://http// indows_and_Linux/ [http] and Linux users probably account for about 3% to 4% for all computer users.

So it is understandable that a hardware manufacturer prioritizes bug fixes for their larger user base (windows) rather than for the Linux users.

Unless Linux gains the kind of market share which will force hardware manufacturers to take it seriously, we can expect less than stellar drivers and support from them.

Re:A question (1)

dfdashh (1060546) | more than 7 years ago | (#19409479)

What part of my comment demanded anything from Nvidia? They have every right to do exactly what they are doing, and I respect that. They have excellent support with their proprietary drivers, and I use them whenever I can. I expected TFA to have some trinket of _news_. I was sadly disappointed, that's all.

Re:A question (4, Insightful)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 7 years ago | (#19409505)

Because it works! There's a saying, 'The squeaky wheel gets the grease.' If Linux users are very vocal about how they expect companies to do business, those companies -will- feel pressured to move more towards that way of doing business.

It's the exact same reason that lobbying a congressman (without money) works. Once they hear it enough, they know it's important to the people that are most important to them: Their customers. (Or voters, as the case may be.)

When people don't tell a company how to behave, you end up with companies like Walmart. Walmart used to be about the country, the consumer, and the profit, in that order. They gave up on the whole 'made in the USA' thing quite a while back. They gave up on customer service even longer ago. They only care about the profit now. They do it by having cheap goods and cheap wages. For people who only care that the goods are cheap, it's a great store. For the rest of us it sucks.

nVidia has the choice of only catering to the mainstream Windows-based gamers, or also adding on a rabidly-loyal group of fanatics that are willing to work for free to make their business better. All nVidia has to do is LISTEN TO THEM and release their drivers open-source.

Yes, there was a great amount of R&D involved in their drivers, but most of the stuff that makes their drivers 'great' on windows just doesn't apply to Linux, like that massive control panel. That doesn't even exist in the binary Linux driver.

The code doesn't have to be GPL or any such. They could release it under their own license that specifically states the code can only be used for a driver for nVidia cards. The only thing necessary is the ability to improve the code at will. (I think they would find it advantageous to go to GPL later, but that's another discussion.)

nVidia really has little reason not to open their source code to the public, unless they are doing something illegal or extremely unethical in their drivers. (Cheating at benchmarks, etc.)

Re:A question (1)

Phisbut (761268) | more than 7 years ago | (#19409861)

Because it works! There's a saying, 'The squeaky wheel gets the grease.'

I played way too much Baldur's Gate in the past... I've read that and thought "that doesn't sound right..." I just can't imagine that saying to be anything other than 'The squeaky wheel gets the kick'. (As well as 'The bigger they are, the harder I hit').

Re:A question (1)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 7 years ago | (#19410429)

Oddly enough, for just about every saying like that, there's an opposite one. The old-time opposite is "The nail that sticks out gets hammered down." I like to use them because they mean just about nothing, since they all have a saying that negates them, yet most people take it as fact that both sayings are correct, simply because they're said often.

And, er... 'Go for the eyes, Boo!'

Re:A question (1)

Carewolf (581105) | more than 7 years ago | (#19409897)

nVidia really has little reason not to open their source code to the public, unless they are doing something illegal or extremely unethical in their drivers. (Cheating at benchmarks, etc.)

All modern windows video drivers "cheat" in games and benchmark. The drivers fixes bugs in the games, and introduces new ones. Since the driver recognizes the game running and adapts accordingly, it would be odd to not do the same with benchmarks.

Re:A question (5, Interesting)

mrcgran (1002503) | more than 7 years ago | (#19409615)

One big problem in not releasing the source code is that they actually are not making our computer experience better: their drivers have bugs, and we will be locked to whatever features and bugs THEY want to make available to us -- so, basically we become hostages of their will, they can do whatever they want, because whithout THEIR driver, your nvidia card isn't worth its weight.

In the future, when new versions and extensions of OpenGL are released, we won't have any guarantee that they will properly update the drivers. So, you'll probably won't be able to use their proprietary drivers in 5 years for new applications (shining new wobbling effects), because these apps will need new extensions, but the driver for your specific nvidia card is arbitrarily not supported anymore by them (they want to force you to throw the old one away). Too bad for you.

On the other side, if we have access to the source code (or at least the hardware specification), we don't even need nvidia's help: we can do the updates/bug-squatting ourselves, much better than a small team at nvidia. This is something that these companies don't get: the whole world is willing to write their drivers for free and maintain them to the end of times, but they refuse the consumer this right (or maybe they get, they just want you to throw away your old card and buy a new one). We don't want a huge amount of work from them, quite the contrary! It's *way* cheaper for them to release an open-source driver: it costs nada/zero, we can build one with the bare bones of a reasonable hardware specification, a little pdf file -- how much does it cost to post a pdf file on the Internet?

There's no RMS ideology in that, only the absolute minimum someone would expect in terms of support for something you bought. Nowadays, the choice is clear: go Intel X3000/X3500 [] , which supports open source and you can be sure will always be up-to-date. Ignore nvidia and ati, until at least one day (I hope so) nouveau arrives.

Re:A question (1)

RichardDeVries (961583) | more than 7 years ago | (#19409629)

Why do you _expect_ a company to do business according to your own rules?
I can only speak for myself, of course, and I don't expect them to do anything. I just don't understand them.
You're saying that it will cost NVidia (and others) money to open source their drivers. It will save them money. Their drivers would be developed, tested and used by more people. Development would speed up and it would cost less.
The fact that there are a lot of people out there who want nothing but OSS on their machines is only one issue. I would _prefer_ an OSS driver, but I _want_ a working driver that's at least up to par with the Windows version. I've got an ATI card so I'm fscked. Open sourcing drivers would give the Linux community state-of-the-art drivers within a few months without extra costs for the manufacturer.
The reason they don't do it, of course, is that they're afraid the design secrets of the hardware will be revealed. I can't really judge if that would be the case (I'm no hardware expert), but I'm guessing that risk would prove minimal. If company A _really_ wants to know how company B's hardware works, they'll figure it out even without the source code of the drivers.
NVidia's case is even more confusing as they do release their 2d drivers. As I said, I just don't get it. Or they just don't get it. If NVidia takes the first step, they'll be embraced by most of the Linux community and that is a fast growing market.

Re:A question (1)

Fross (83754) | more than 7 years ago | (#19409827)

You're saying that it will cost NVidia (and others) money to open source their drivers.

Not exactly - that it cost them money to develop the drivers, including their own R&D into how to best squeeze performance out of their cards, and gain an edge over their competitors. This is highly sensitive information and undoubtedly cost them a lot to develop. To open source their drivers would be to give this all away to their competitors, who you can be sure would be the first to look at the code.

As good as the open source environment is, they do not have the specialists or the resources to develop a cutting-edge product which is, after all, exactly what the video card market is.

The fact that there are a lot of people out there who want nothing but OSS on their machines is only one issue. I would _prefer_ an OSS driver, but I _want_ a working driver that's at least up to par with the Windows version.

Which is the boat I'm in. I'm thankful they spent the effort to make (closed) Linux drivers at all, but I'm finding it hard understanding seriously gimping your system rather than run a closed-source driver, which was the attitude of the original post I responded to.

Re:A question (1)

Synn (6288) | more than 7 years ago | (#19409703)

I'm just wondering why so many open source users have disdain for companies not open sourcing their software when it is potentially against their aims to do so.

Yeah, but it's really not against their interest for hardware vendors. ATI and NVidia sell hardware, not software, so it makes little sense for them to keep their drivers closed source. They're not going to expose any IP they couldn't patent or the competition doesn't already know about.

And the reason Linux users want open source drivers is because they work better than closed source ones. I don't buy ATI specifically because their close source drivers suck. I buy NVidia because despite their drivers being closed source, they do a good enough job with them. If ATI got their act together and put out a good open source driver I'd switch to them in a heartbeat as I'm sure many other Linux users would.

Re:A question (1)

Yfrwlf (998822) | more than 7 years ago | (#19409763)

You've been on Slashdot how long? I'd just think you would have found that out by now. I don't think anyone is "expecting" Nvidia to open source their 3D drivers anytime soon, but doing so gives control back to us, the consumers. Or at least, it helps. :) I know some of you may be used to buying things that are completely controlled by contracts/EULAs/DRM/binaries, but back in the old days, consumers actually had rights to do what they pleased with their stuff, for the most part that is, including tinkering, modifying, selling, duplicating, sharing, etc. :)
Equivalent to the open source movement in the physical realm is the Maker Fair [] which promotes basically the same agenda. OK, so the Maker Fair is much much smaller, but still.
Just because some of you believe that we should all bend over for the Man because you're used to it, give up our freedoms for security or because some company would LIKE to control most every aspect of your life and force you to watch their dumb advertisements no matter how many times you click the menu button on your DVD remote (yes, it pisses me off), doesn't mean that we should, and that everyone who doesn't like it should shut the hell up about it and accept oppression.

Re:A question (1)

Fross (83754) | more than 7 years ago | (#19409991)

This is exactly the attitude I'm talking about - the notion that anything you don't like is "oppressing" you, keeping you down. Yeah, stick it to the man!

So you don't like the license a piece of software is released under? You think you have the right to it under a license of your choice. You don't like the DVD with ads in it. So perhaps you should "tinker, duplicate, share" it, as you put it, by removing them and spreading the DVD without them? What about the boring bit in the middle of the movie, perhaps remove that to? After all, it's oppressing you, and you're not going to be bound by the contract. You're coming across like some kid who goes into McDonalds and wants the Happy Meal, but insists on a quarter pounder instead of nuggets, an icecream instead of fries, and a large milkshake, because that is the way you want it, so they MUST give it to you.

No-one is stopping you having an open source 3d driver for your nVidia card. You can write one yourself. But you're telling some company that they have to sell you their product on your terms. And then probably support your driver after you've hacked it to bits. By all means, vote with your wallet, if they don't cater to your tastes, don't buy their product. I hate DVD adverts as much as the next guy, but I understand that it's their business model, and I can either buy it or not. To tell them to not do it because I don't like it is tantamount to telling a musician they HAVE to sell me their new album without tracks 2, 3 and 5 because I don't like them.

I'd like to see you become a creator of content that your livelihood (and that of your family) depends on, then accept someone trying to rip up the way you want to sell it, because it doesn't suit them. You have *choice*, and you have the ability to do your own thing. Your demands others behave the way you want is spectacularily similar to the worst company attitudes about how they want their consumers to behave.

As for how long I've been on Slashdot? If you can't work that out, you MUST be new here.

How about a compromise? (1)

TheVelvetFlamebait (986083) | more than 7 years ago | (#19409977)

I'm thinking releasing the source in seriously obfuscated c [] with no descriptive identifiers. Or, there's always the old uncommented assembly.

Re:A question (1)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 7 years ago | (#19410141)

Why do you _expect_ a company to do business according to your own rules?

It's called bargaining, or haggling. Very common practice in almost all business transactions. There's nothing wrong with it at all. The hardware market is very closed and full of collusion, just like the pharmaceuticals. Without a suitable alternative the pressure must be put on these people to respond to market forces. That's pretty difficult to do when they control the market. And it's the buyer that's supposed to control the market, not the merchant. Real competition would bring both nVidia and ATI around real quick, and you would see completely open drivers. But there is none, so I'm for whatever it takes to force their hand. The buyers must assert their authority and not allow the vendor to dictate conditions.

Re:A question (1)

AP2k (991160) | more than 7 years ago | (#19410381)

that probably contains a vast amount of work they spent their own R&D budget on
Fair point. Although it is moot because they arent making a single dime off it because they give it for free.

Re:Move along, nothing to see here (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19409435)

you can never get 3D in a computer monitor, they have height and width there is no depth, although some fancy graphics can simulate that third dimension however it is not real, i say let Nvidia develop 2D to the best of its abilities and let the game developers continue to fool idiots in to thinking there is a third dimension on their 2D monitors...

Re:Move along, nothing to see here (1)

Ngarrang (1023425) | more than 7 years ago | (#19409511)

Still no 3D support without having to use a proprietary (closed) driver. Wake me up when that changes.
What is wrong with a closed-source driver? We are not talking about a business application or web browser client.

Re:Move along, nothing to see here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19409587)

"What is wrong with a closed source driver?"

Don't you know RMS's printer driver story?

Re:Move along, nothing to see here (1)

tomservo84 (990233) | more than 7 years ago | (#19409631)

Two words: orphaned hardware.

When nVidia decides they no longer wish to support an older piece of hardware, they just "build it out" of the driver. The driver no longer works with your perfectly good video card.

If the driver was open sourced in *ANY WAY* (including the scheme from somewhere above where they license it only for use with nVidia hardware) the code would aready be out there in the open and would always be accessible.

Re:Move along, nothing to see here (1)

Vanders (110092) | more than 7 years ago | (#19409695)

A binary Linux driver doesn't help much if you're not running Linux.

Re:Move along, nothing to see here (1)

neersign (956437) | more than 7 years ago | (#19409949)

the problem is that they can't even release a properly working closed source driver. And since it is closed source, all that we can do is sit back and hope that in the next release they might address the issues we are having, if we are lucky. If the driver was open source, then anyone would be able to fix the problem, and submit the change so things would get fixed quickly. If the nv driver and the nouveau driver show anything, it is that people are willing to expend their own time to develop a driver that fits their needs, so if the nvidia driver was opened, there would definitely be people willing to help develop it for free.

Did they mention 'why' (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 7 years ago | (#19409335)

Every interview with the NVIDIA "developers" they repeat the company line (see summary) but fail to state WHY this is the company line. Speculation abounds as to why this strategy was chosen, but I've yet to see an official comment from NVIDIA.


Re:Did they mention 'why' (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 7 years ago | (#19409441)

Licensed code and patented algorithms that require closed-source implementation, I'd wager. Or just a general paranoia and protection of software implementations. Or that they're still the preferred choice over ATI for Linux machines. If we ever get to the point where you say "Go with ATI instead, their drivers are much better *and* open source" maybe they'll change their opinion. Until then, they're probably committing most of their resources to beating ATI in the Windows market. Can't say I blame them for that.

Re:Did they mention 'why' (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 7 years ago | (#19409467)

More speculation, just what we need. Hopefully the next guy who interviews an NVIDIA dude will ask the question and we'll get something other than bullshit back.

Re:Did they mention 'why' (1)

simm1701 (835424) | more than 7 years ago | (#19409661)

Patents wouldn't exclude an open source release. Patents they want to enforce would preclude using the GPL or BSD licenses for example, but it would certainly be possible for them to release their driver open source with a license they are happy with that protects patents they own.

Its the licensed code, as you mentioned, that causes the problem.

They would need permission and an agreement on license type from every single company or organisation they have licensed code from

If it's their patent (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19409845)

then GPLing it means ATI can't use the patents unless they *GPL* their driver. And if *their* driver also includes patents, then these patents are available to NVidia for their GPL driver.

If it's someone else's patent, then let us know whose and we can tell them the same thing.

GPLing code implementing a patent doesn't help a competitor get a leg-up.

BSDing it would.

Re:Did they mention 'why' (1)

ajs318 (655362) | more than 7 years ago | (#19409583)

Possibly the fact that changing one bit in one byte is enough to turn a £30 graphics card into a £300 graphics card. Or maybe that they ripped someone else's code off.

Re:Did they mention 'why' (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 7 years ago | (#19409871)

Or maybe the secret of excelsior is in the code and they don't want to dethrone the new king. Speculation == pointless.

Re:Did they mention 'why' (1)

iainl (136759) | more than 7 years ago | (#19410165)

No, that's the ATI drivers where the cheap cards are clock-locked in software for Windows...

Although I suppose NVidia could be doing it as well.

Isn't that obvious? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19409627)

There are two reasons:

First, drivers are the half of the product. They are as important as the actual hardware. Open sourcing drivers would be equivalent to releasing VHDL code for their chips. It would give a huge advantage to their competitors who could utilize the same tricks to improve performance of their products.

Second, not all code in NVidia's drivers is owned by NVidia. They have licensed some stuff from other companies and they can't open source that code even if they wanted. Keep in mind that NVidia isn't developing Linux drivers separately, most (>90%) of NVidia's driver code is common across all OSes.

The line is blurred (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19409707)

At one time, there was a very clearly defined line between the graphics hardware and the driver software. The hardware was sold, the drivers were given away. The trade secrets were in the hardware. The driver just programmed registers and set up data transfers. In this environment, it is easy for someone like Stallman to draw a distinction between hardware and software.

However, GPUs are reconfigurable computers. Some of the rendering hardware is actually being built dynamically out of reconfigurable components to match the current tasks. This is very powerful, but it also means that the drivers contain partial descriptions of the hardware. The line between the two components is indistinct - where are the trade secrets of the hardware construction? Answer - they are spread between the driver programs and the GPU ASIC design.

It's exactly the same situation that we hit with the Winmodems, before DSL killed them off. Some wireless chipsets have this problem too, and at one point there were "winprinters" too. We're going to hit this again in the future, because CPUs will become more like reconfigurable computers, and there will be binary blobs to gain access to the high speed features. It's not the end of free software, but it is a major challenge for us all.

black window bug (2)

xNstAble (254212) | more than 7 years ago | (#19409341)

Improving our GLX_EXT_texture_from_pixmap implementation's handling of out-of-videomemory scenarios (this is the cause of the "black window bug" when running Compiz or Beryl composite managers)
Good to see that this issue is still wellknown to nvidia developers, this bug has been around for a lot of months and has never been addressed yet. This is the typical problem that open sourcing the drivers would solve in a much shorter timeframe I guess..

Re:black window bug (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 7 years ago | (#19410271)

Why do you guess that?
They know it exists but my guess they are having problems duplicating it. Even if it was totally open sourced I doubt that the fix would come much sooner. Frankly until they can say "If I do X,Y, and Z I get the error" it will be very hard to track down. Frankly with the complexity of the hardware they are dealing with it would take years for opensource developers to get a grip on it.
I like FOSS but it isn't magic. Take a look at just about any FOSS project and you will see that a few people do most of the work. Take the NV driver for example. It is FOSS and it still has bugs. Also take note that the NV driver is mostly maintained by NVidia.
The simple reason that NVidia probably doesn't release their drivers as FOSS is because ATIs drivers tend to be inferior to Nvidia's and that gives NVidia an advantage. The why don't you release the specs argument is probably also usless. I have a sneaking feeling that a lot of what makes the NVidia cards work so well is in the driver. Without that information I would bet that the FOSS drivers would suck.
GPL prevents people from cutting and pasting your code. It doesn't prevent a programmer from learning from your code and taking the basic ideas in the code and producing a Closed Source product from the. IT never can unless FSF starts patenting their code and that would just be wrong.
Of course there is another reason that NVidia and ATI might not want to release their code. With all the stupid Software Patents running around I would bet good money that both of them infringe on somebody's stupid patent. Why risk spending a few million dollars on court costs when you don't half too.
I keep hoping that ATI will release the driver as FOSS but I can see many none evil reason why they don't.

Considering (5, Insightful)

Z00L00K (682162) | more than 7 years ago | (#19409359)

the fact that the "nv" driver is buggy there is a lot of room left to improve on here.

I experienced a problem with the "nv" driver on my computer with dual 7600GS cards and three displays. It wasn't possible to run all three displays at all with the "nv" driver, but the binary driver from nvidia works. The part that I'm not satisfied with is the need for an alternate driver.

I haven't tried the Nouveau driver, but somebody else may. As I see it, Nvidia should release all information needed to allow others to write suitable drivers. (should apply to all HW manufacturers).

someone talk sense into this guy. I'd like ppc (1)

MrJerryNormandinSir (197432) | more than 7 years ago | (#19409397)

I would really like to see a ppc driver! Comeone! And the driver should be written so it will run on the PPC, the new PPC platforms that are emerging, and IBM powerpc boxes like the p4, p5, and p6


Re:someone talk sense into this guy. I'd like ppc (1)

DpakoH (805630) | more than 7 years ago | (#19410123)

and PS3 too... This will be best thing in the world probably

NVIDIA driver team members use Debian? (3, Interesting)

Karellen (104380) | more than 7 years ago | (#19409399)

From TFA:

"Across the NVIDIA Linux Graphics Driver team, everyone has their own favorite Linux distribution as their primary desktop: Debian, [...]"

Interesting, given that Debian can't ship their driver.

Oh, I know that none of the driver team will be using a distro-bundled version of the driver anyway, but still...

Re:NVIDIA driver team members use Debian? (1)

krmt (91422) | more than 7 years ago | (#19409727)

None of the major linux distros actually ship their driver. In addition, Debian does have it in non-free, and it's very actively supported there.

Re:NVIDIA driver team members use Debian? (1)

neersign (956437) | more than 7 years ago | (#19409859)

something tells me that the people at Nvidia could care less about the "linux way", and could really care less about the ethics of choosing a distro to match their driver development.

Re:NVIDIA driver team members use Debian? (1)

Peter La Casse (3992) | more than 7 years ago | (#19409983)

I hope they don't develop video drivers on their desktops. It would be horrible to close one's email, web browsers, terminals, IM, IDE, and everything else every time one wanted to test a new driver.

I occasionally compile stuff on my Kubuntu desktop, but not anything that prompts a reboot. That's what test machines are for. Yes it's good to eat your own dogfood, but not when every crash leads to a 10 minute break in concentration while you reboot and start everything up again.

What a crazy world we live in (3, Funny)

east coast (590680) | more than 7 years ago | (#19409445)

The interview is in English but all the comments are in Czech

Stop the planet. I want to get off!

From now on I vow that when I code the code will be in English but the comments will be in Slovak.

Re:What a crazy world we live in (1)

Enoxice (993945) | more than 7 years ago | (#19409635)

And the readme's are in sanskrit. Expect 6-8 weeks for delivery of the stone tablets.

[ot] What a crazy world we live in (1)

wild_berry (448019) | more than 7 years ago | (#19410347)

That's fast. The last chap was up the mountain getting them for 40 days but then spent 40 years wandering the desert...

please help (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19409455)

my mom has a myspace page....which is like soooo embarrassing!!!! please troll her into getting rid of it....thanks



Drivers for Syncing (-1, Offtopic)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 7 years ago | (#19409483)

So far I've never plugged any HW into my Ubuntu PCs without finding at least a proprietary driver that delivers at least the main functions, except an X3d "3DWorld" VGA/glasses system that seems totally orphaned. But I don't use other exotic HW, or even push the limits of the OS with gaming.

What I do lack is sync "drivers" for Evolution. I want to sync across the LAN with apps on Windows. And most important, I want to sync with my SonyEricsson K750 phone. I want to sync my calendars, contacts, and media files, including phone SMS'es as Evolution memos and Evolution email (from a single folder) as some kind of phone text item. I also want to import my old Palm Pilot calendar, contects and memos into Evolution (or the K750, then sync that with Evolution).

Usually OS connections to devices develops slower than app connections, because OS development is slower and has so many other focuses. Evolution seems pretty badly interconnected to other apps, especially on other OS'es, especially on mobile devices.

Or am I just missing a treasure trove? FWIW, the "MultiSync" project is pretty dead, and never worked as easily as a driver (for either the OS or for Evolution).

Re:Drivers for Syncing (1)

CmdrGravy (645153) | more than 7 years ago | (#19409601)

I agree wholeheartedly with you, I haven't found any sensible working method to sync with my phone. If all these people who are just dying to have a crack at the Nvidia open source drivers would work on this in the meantime I'd be very happy.

In the meantime my nvidia graphics card works perfectly on Linux and has done since I bought my first nvidia card 7 years ago so open or closed driver or whatever I think nvidia deserves a lot of credit for that. The last I heard from nvidia they couldn't open source their 3D driver because of licencing issues with some of the technology it uses, I don't think this has changed and if it did I'm sure they'd open source it in a second so all this moaning is pretty pointless in my opinion.

A different type of driver (1)

simong (32944) | more than 7 years ago | (#19409641)

There is a difference between drivers for graphics cards and 'drivers' for synchronisation software. In the synchronisation world there is a standard, SyncML/OMA Data Synchronisation [] , which has been adopted by M$ and most of the major phone/PDA companies, but hasn't found its way into Evolution or other OS desktop systems yet to my knowledge, even though there is a server [] for it. This topic is talking about closed source hardware drivers though, and cable linked PDAs usually use some kind of serial port, so there's plenty of support for that.

Re:Drivers for Syncing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19409671)

"Or am I just missing a treasure trove"

not sure about that but this may help a little:

I use syncml from evolution to a syncml server (on the evolution machine use "syncevolution")
From the syncml server you can sync to anything that speaks syncml (like a nokia n95, Windows desktop...)
so desktop syncmlserver anything else
The syncml server will usually support other syncing methods as well.

Re:Drivers for Syncing (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 7 years ago | (#19409865)

That sounds pretty good. Will it sync a phone plugged into a (Linux) PC across the Internet/LAN to the server?

Do you know which Debian/Ubuntu packages contain the syncML plugin for Evolution, and which contain the syncML server? Or where on the Net to find tarfiles/etc?

nVidia's Buggy Closed-Source Drivers (-1, Offtopic)

BillGatesLoveChild (1046184) | more than 7 years ago | (#19409561)

One thing that seriously blows about nVidia is their (closed-source) drivers are buggy. e.g. the nv4_disp infinite loop bug. This is year sold, affects many generations of cards, and nVidia *still* haven't fixed it. Fixed it? You can't even talk to them about it. They don't answer any tech support questions: Their forums are user-to-user. If this driver was open source, someone would have fixed it by now. It'd be quicker than the black-box game people have played to fix it.

Read it and weep: st=80 [] 4disp-problem/ [] iew [] tml [] -pc-need-advice-111501/ []

I'll share my fix for the nVidia nv4_disp infinite loop bug.

1. Shut down windows.
2. Power off PC.
3. Remove nVidia card.
4. Throw in trash.
5. Install ATI card.

Re:nVidia's Buggy Closed-Source Drivers (2, Insightful)

spikeb (966663) | more than 7 years ago | (#19409821)

and get even worse drivers! horray!

Re:nVidia's Buggy Closed-Source Drivers (1)

LubosD (909058) | more than 7 years ago | (#19409847)

I have never experienced this on Linux - and this article is about Linux. Moreover, nVidia's Linux team does always respond to received bug reports.

Re:nVidia's Buggy Closed-Source Drivers (1)

BillGatesLoveChild (1046184) | more than 7 years ago | (#19409921)

> Moreover, nVidia's Linux team does always respond to received bug reports.

They are accepting bug reports of their Vista drivers too, *but* you too may wake up one day and find support is dropped. Guess they'll do this once the market has critical mass. After that, you're on your own. Well, they actually tell you to talk to your board maker (despite the fact nVidia writes the drivers, not your board maker.)

Hey now that's funny (1)

BillGatesLoveChild (1046184) | more than 7 years ago | (#19409979)

After I hit the [send] key my trusty nVidia just did its BSOD infinite loop bug. Fourth time today. Getting a new ATI card tomorrow. Stay away from nVidia and don't buy their dulcet cooing: They're bad news.

Re:nVidia's Buggy Closed-Source Drivers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19409917)

I find this pretty funny. If you read the stories from yesterday about AMD/ATI Linux driver development, you'd see lots and lots of people complaining about the ATI drivers being buggy, lacking features and being so much slower. At least I can get multiple desktops with Beryl/Compiz working with nVidia. I can't with ATI. I can't even get Xgl working correctly with the binary ATI driver.

Be happy with what nVidia does give us. It is better than the alternatives.

Eating your own dog food (1)

should_be_linear (779431) | more than 7 years ago | (#19409577)

I even know Windows driver engineers at NVIDIA that primarily use Linux on their personal machines at home.

Well, that explains lot of issues with my DirectX setup.

Noticeable absence (3, Insightful)

redelm (54142) | more than 7 years ago | (#19409581)

I read TFA fairly closely, as usual looking as much for what could have been said but wasn't. iReading tea leaves. First, NVidia did not complain they had licenced technology from others which they couldn't "open source". It would have been a great excuse, but since they didn't use it, it doesn't apply.

Second, while they certainly want to be seen as supporting Linux, they really believe their closed-source drivers give them some source of competitive advantage. That's either in clever code or what the coding reveals about the internal organization of their GPU hardware. It would have been relatively easy and palatable to say: "We'd like to release full GPU asm specs and code, but believe this will help our competitors design better hardware. So we can only provide APIs." They didn't say this, so I think they consider their actual driver code to be very clever (main competitive advantage). No such secret will last.

Yes, I know there are many other explanations for "negative knowledge" -- things that didn't happen. But when they could have and would have been easy, perhaps we need to wonder why they didn't.

Re:Noticeable absence (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19409951)

My guess is the lawyers said "we may be potentially violating N patents" (N being large) and they have to keep the drivers closed to avoid handing out ammunition for lawsuits.

Re:Noticeable absence (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19410441)

No such secret will last.

It might only need to last until after the successor products
have been released and marketed for a few months, although that
would depend on what critical(ly proprietary) architectural
features the successor design inherits from its predecessor.

However, there's always the risk that the customer base would have,
by then, grown disenchanted with the vendor's attitude towards
open source and migrated to their competitors' products.

I'll still switch.. (2, Interesting) (760528) | more than 7 years ago | (#19409591)

ATI said they'll go OSS with their drivers and if they do i'll switch away from nvidia and be happy to do so given that article.

There's another interview with Nvidia's... (1)

Saint Aardvark (159009) | more than 7 years ago | (#19409623)

...Director of Unix Development, Andy Ritger; the BSDTalk podcast interviewed him and Christian Zander [] last year about NVidia's support for the BSDs.

Just a thought... (1)

Ekhymosis (949557) | more than 7 years ago | (#19409633)

Perhaps I'm echoing something that has been said before, but please bear with me. If the companies (Nvidia and ATI) are worried that releasing specs to the open source community will violate patents, why not make the driver more modularized so that they can release everything that is not patented and have the patented parts be libraries/plugins/whatever? This would allow the community to have better information leading to relatively more stable drivers (not 100% due to the binary 'plugins') instead of reverse engineering which is not always a delightful thing to do. I hope I'm making sense here...=p

nVidia PS3/Linux Driver? (2, Interesting)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 7 years ago | (#19409649)

How about a driver for Linux on the PlayStation 3 [] , which would let the PS3 RSX chip actually work for Linux apps?

Right now PS3 Linux runs all display processing on the PPC core on the Cell, which needs to do a lot of other processing to keep the complex Cell going. Meanwhile there's an RSX chip that runs at 1.8TeraFLOPS, dwarfing even the Cell's 0.2TFLOPS. But Sony's Hypervisor virtualization layer that runs Linux hides the RSX from Linux. However, the RSX is exposed in some API, otherwise PS3 Linux wouldn't display on the HDMI port out of the PS3, and sound probably wouldn't work (probably also running on the RSX somehow).

Sony doesn't want the RSX exposed to Linux apps, because then Linux apps could compete with Sony-licensed games (without paying Sony the royalty that even subsidizes over 25% of the PS3 purchase price). But can't nVidia release a driver, or some kind of specs, that expose a 2D API for running X desktops? Sony's money all comes from 3D games.

Or maybe someone else has a way.

Re:nVidia PS3/Linux Driver? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19409761)

Sony also don't want the RSX exposed because it would probably be possible to circumvent the hypervisor that way. Because the RSX is a last-minute off-the-shelf drop-in component it doesn't have security built in like the rest of the system.

Re:nVidia PS3/Linux Driver? (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 7 years ago | (#19409893)

The RSX is a part unique to the PS3 designed jointly by Sony and nVidia.

What makes you think it lacks the security the rest of the PS3 has? What makes you think exposing RSX functions in a driver would expose holes in the Hypervisor, other than the access to the RSX that the driver exposes by design?

Please (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19410077)

Oh please, it's a slightly modified GeForce 7800 chip.

Re:Please (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 7 years ago | (#19410435)

OK, smart AC guy, tell me how it's modified, in terms of specs for modifying a 7800 driver to make it work on PS3 Linux.

Re:nVidia PS3/Linux Driver? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19410295)

Sony originally planned to use a second Cell CPU for graphics, but at some point pretty late in the design cycle realized that it wouldn't work (too slow, developers wouldn't want to write the rendering code) so they went to nVidia instead. Due to the time constraint there was no way for nVidia to design a proper graphics system from scratch, so instead they modified one of their existing cores.

The security aspect comes from the fact that the RSX can DMA to and from anywhere in host memory, meaning the hypervisor can trivially be broken. AFAIK there is no IOMMU or similar prevention mechanism in place which most likely would have been the case if the RSX would have been in the design from the start. If you think that something like a binary driver would help stop this you have no idea to what lengths console hackers and especially pirates will go.

Re:nVidia PS3/Linux Driver? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19410113)

Sony are not concerned about competing with Linux games on the PS3. The Linux gaming market is near nil, and will probably remain like that. The number of real Linux users on the PS3 that aren't playing with cell development is significantly less.

There is another reason Linux is crippled on the PS3. What that is, I have no idea. Sony are extremely quiet about it. I suspect they knew is was pretty easy to get Linux installed due to the existing PPC distros, and fed us a BS line about the PS3 running Linux to gain some small tech cred.

Anyone who has actually used Linux on the PS3 will know it's pretty damn useless as it stands. RSX lock-out and fsck all memory.

Re:nVidia PS3/Linux Driver? (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 7 years ago | (#19410405)

I don't think you're reading my post properly.

Sony wouldn't be competing with "Linux games" in a "Linux gaming market". Sony would be competing with bootable CD/DVD/BD games that run on PS3, just like Sony games. The gamer wouldn't know it's a "Linux game", it would just be a game. That would be cheaper than the Sony games, because it doesn't include the Sony license (among other efficiencies).

Of course that scenario depends on the RSX working. So I don't know why you're talking about "RSX lock-out", which my post to which you replied postulated as working, the basis for competing with Sony-licensed games. Perfect circle, useless argument.

BTW, Sony has sponsored Linux on PS3 itself, not just feeding us a line about it working.

cool! (1)

DavoMan (759653) | more than 7 years ago | (#19409745)

Cooool. Good to see that Direct3D isn't on -everything-.

Video Acceleration Suppport (1)

tji (74570) | more than 7 years ago | (#19409879)

As a Myth user, trying to improve my HDTV output, I'm interested in the video acceleration capabilties of their components. NVidia provides some basic MPEG2 acceleration support (XvMC) but it doesn't seem to be too robust, there are tons of problem reports on the Myth mailing list. This is one area that could _really_ benefit from open source access to the drivers. But, we know how likely that is.

From TFA, regarding video accell:

Q: ... People seem to be especially interested in better 2D acceleration, hardware MPEG-4/H264 acceleration ...

A: (Nothing Related to video acceleration)

So, continued lack of suppport for all their hardware Video Acceleration capabilities in Linux. The only possibility it seems was touched on in the next question:

Q2) People would like to use their powerful GPUs for their own processing intensive applications (eg. video compression or math formulas computation). Can we expect some SDK to make this happen?

A: For NVIDIA GPU programmability, there are several options: for graphics-oriented applications within the context of OpenGL, NVIDIA supports Cg and GLSL for higher-level programming

GLSL could theoretically be used to accelerate video decoding. But, that's quite an undertaking, and is only supported on the newest chips.

Instead, I think the way to go is with Intel integrated GPUs. They don't have MPEG acceleration yet, but they are working on APIs and drivers to greatly improve this (the hardware has very good video support). I'm hoping Intel GPUs quickly become the far and away best option for Myth users.. let open source prevail.

Re:Video Acceleration Suppport (2, Interesting)

kimvette (919543) | more than 7 years ago | (#19410281)

Instead, I think the way to go is with Intel integrated GPUs. They don't have MPEG acceleration yet, but they are working on APIs and drivers to greatly improve this (the hardware has very good video support). I'm hoping Intel GPUs quickly become the far and away best option for Myth users.. let open source prevail.

Intel open source drivers are fine and all but before I abandon Nvidia for Intel I need:

  - Dual dual-link DVI ports (the nvidia cards we buy have these)
  - HDTV & S-video ports
  - dedicated video ram
  - in a discrete card (are there add-in video cards based on Intel GPUs?) - if I need to upgrade the video, or replace a bad video card, why the hell should I have to upgrade the board (and processor, and CPU) all at the same time?

I, for one, am hoping that AMD forces ATI to open up their drivers. THAT will create a ripple effect through the entire industry. Nvidia will have no choice but to follow suit.

Re:Video Acceleration Suppport (1)

raw-sewage (679226) | more than 7 years ago | (#19410357)

Q: ... People seem to be especially interested in better 2D acceleration, hardware MPEG-4/H264 acceleration ...

A: (Nothing Related to video acceleration)

I'm one of those people who are interested in better 2D acceleration and hardware MPEG-4/H264 acceleration. I'm a MythTV user. Nvidia's hardware does have support for such acceleration; they call it Purevideo [] . Unfortunately, the Linux drivers don't support it. Supposedly, it will be supported "in the future". But it's really frustrating. The new 7050PV [] chipset would be perfect for a high-definition, relatively low-powered (meaning quiet) MythTV system. But alas, the HD decoding features of that chip aren't (yet) supported in Linux, and therefore you still need a beefy processor to do HD in MythTV.

Instead, I think the way to go is with Intel integrated GPUs. They don't have MPEG acceleration yet, but they are working on APIs and drivers to greatly improve this (the hardware has very good video support). I'm hoping Intel GPUs quickly become the far and away best option for Myth users.. let open source prevail.

I wish Intel would release a standalone video card. This would be perfect for my workstation: an enthusiast motherboard for overclocking, but an ordinary video card (since I don't game on this machine). The problem is, the best overclocking motherboards rarely have onboard video.

Linux-certified hardware (4, Interesting)

athloi (1075845) | more than 7 years ago | (#19409981)

Windows certifies hardware, and Apple makes it clear what they support. Could it be useful for an agency of Linux developers to certify hardware that is open (standards released so drivers can be written) and well-designed enough to support the rigors of a "UNIX-like" OS?

I do not know the answer to this one. My inner four-year-old anarchist is leery of certification in anything, but even something as simple as a list of supported hardware like BSD does, with the requirement that its standards be open so drivers can be developed, might help companies market to Linux users (1 in 10 users, by my estimate) and help Linux users get their market share behind a few quality products so they can stand up and be counted.

Just an idea. Feel free to mod -1, this guy's an idealistic moron.

Blah (0, Troll)

nrgy (835451) | more than 7 years ago | (#19410055)

I hate seeing these kind of topics because they always turn into a flame war. I've been using linux as my only operating system for four years straight now and I could realy give a rats ass about whether a driver or program is open source or not. Its pretty sad that you have this vocal hippy crowd that are like children and if something good doesn't have it's source code available then its the work of Satan. Now I've never had a single problem with Nvidias linux drivers but that being said I'm sure their are some. Please stfu with the "See if it were open source the bugs would of already been fixed" shit, if a bug were as simple to fix as you try and act like it is then don't you think Nvidia would already have done it? Like I said really don't give a damn about open or closed because regardless of which of the two it is you WILL have bugs. As much as you would like to think open source is a mega god and suddenly turns a program or driver into a piece of bug free code because so many people will be able to see it, well I'm sorry to say your wrong. It's pretty sad now a days that just supporting linux with a driver or port of an application isn't enough, no the hippies also want access to your bread and butter to. Every time linux gains an inch these zealots run out asking for 3 more, well you can't have it all so fuckn deal with it. I've come to realize this vocal "ZOMGBBSAUCE EVERYTHING HAS TO BE OPEN SOURCE" crowd is nothing more then people that can't fully do something themselves so they want to milk off of someone else's work and have them do it for them. Mod me flaimbait all you want I could care less. I'm a linux user not because I follow some open source screwed up religion, I like the idea of open source but at the same time I'm sane enough to realize its not the only option. I don't play in the middle ages like some of you do, forcing people to convert to your way just because they play in the same sandbox.

Andy Ritger (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19410457)

Does anyone else remember when Andy used to be Conan O'brien's sidekick? I always said to myself, "Andy is funny, but one day he is going to move on to work on Linux drivers for Nvidia."
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