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Free Software NVIDIA Driver Now Supports 3D Acceleration With All GeForce GPUs

Soulskill posted about a year and a half ago | from the can-now-outmaneuver-Khan dept.

Graphics 159

aloniv writes "The reverse-engineered free/libre and open source driver for NVIDIA cards Nouveau has reached another milestone. 'The Nouveau driver in the current Linux 3.8 development branch has recently acquired everything that's necessary to support the 3D acceleration features of any GeForce graphics hardware. Together with a current version of libdrm and the Nouveau 3D driver in Mesa 3D 9.0, this allows Linux applications to use 3D acceleration even with the most recent GeForce graphics cards."

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159 comments

Good News (3, Insightful)

houstonbofh (602064) | about a year and a half ago | (#42490791)

Now people can stop bitching about how "free" a driver is and just concentrate on how well it works.

Re:Good News (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42490893)

My happy is that now the kernel team can see how the free driver works, and I don't have to patch NVIDIA's driver (eg: with 3.8.0-rc2 --the current beta kernel-- and likewise 3.8.0-rc1 --last weeks beta kernel--) I had to patch the current NVIDIA-Linux-x86_64-310.19 drivers by changing a few lines so that it would build. It tanked on the newest kernels. NVIDIA does a good job with stable kernels (although they sometimes delay getting drivers out for recent stable kernels by a few days to a week or more), but now I can use Nouveau's driver to look at accelerated video (not just games but HD TV too).

Re:Good News (2)

DragonTHC (208439) | about a year and a half ago | (#42492241)

I totally agree with you. I'm not happy about having to use binary kernel modules with Nvidia's driver.

My only concern is nvidia will alter the workaround to access the most recent features of the newest GPUs.

They have a history of disabling driver features in response to the community.

Re:Good News (2)

DMiax (915735) | about a year and a half ago | (#42490895)

Not really sure what you mean, but there is something weird in your comment. In particular that the driver being free is the only way we can focus on how well it works. The alternative is to sit back and pray someone else fixes it for you.

Re:Good News (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42491145)

The alternative is to sit back and pray someone else fixes it for you.

Since most of us obviously don't have the knowledge or time to fix bugs in the video card drivers we use, we are still relying on other people to fix the bugs whether the driver is open source or not. So, sorry, your argument isn't very convincing.

Re:Good News (4, Insightful)

Bill Currie (487) | about a year and a half ago | (#42491275)

Of course most of us don't have the knowledge, but if we're motivated enough, we can obtain that knowledge. Worst case, we go to someone who does have the knowledge and say "here's $X, fix it". With closed drivers, none of that is even possible. You need $X**N to get noticed by most closed sources.

Re:Good News (5, Informative)

Bert64 (520050) | about a year and a half ago | (#42491303)

It's a choice between having a single source who can fix bugs, or a significantly larger pool of people who are capable of fixing those bugs. Employees of a single company are beholden to the business goals of that company, goals which are highly likely to differ from your needs as a user.

In short, if the source is open you have a much bigger chance that someone will be both willing and able to fix the bug thats causing you problems, or that you could entice someone to do so if it really matters to you.

Re:Good News (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42491541)

It's a choice between having a single source who can fix bugs, or a significantly larger pool of people who are capable of fixing those bugs. Employees of a single company are beholden to the business goals of that company, goals which are highly likely to differ from your needs as a user.

Err, why are my needs likely to differ greatly with the goals of the company? If I buy a product from a company, I'd say the chances are good that my needs jive with their goals. Especially in this case: Nvidia exists to make money, they make money by creating a product people want, and drivers that aren't buggy make their products more valuable. I'd say Nvidia inherently has a much better motivation to fix bugs in their drivers than a couple hundred random people scattered throughout the world.

I'm not arguing that open source isn't good, only that it should be the least of our concerns if we're evaluating driver quality. If Nvidia's own drivers were open source, that would obviously be better than the current situation, but that doesn't mean that open source drivers are always better than proprietary drivers. Reality shows greater evidence than this theoretical discussion: I'm glad people are scratching their itches and working on Nouveau, but those drivers are simply not nearly as good as the proprietary drivers. Not yet. Not in any meaningful or non-religious way. Not by a long shot.

If you're easily manipulated by adverts (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42491809)

Then you'd not have different goals and needs than the company.

However, most other people prefer at least the illusion of free will.

You, on the other hand, seem to be very open about how weak your will is. Well done.

Re:Good News (3, Informative)

Karzz1 (306015) | about a year and a half ago | (#42491885)

It's a choice between having a single source who can fix bugs, or a significantly larger pool of people who are capable of fixing those bugs. Employees of a single company are beholden to the business goals of that company, goals which are highly likely to differ from your needs as a user.

Err, why are my needs likely to differ greatly with the goals of the company? If I buy a product from a company, I'd say the chances are good that my needs jive with their goals.

Sweet!!! I am going to go download the beta drivers for OSX to try out the new bug fixes.. oh, wait, I can't do that...
Nevermind -- when are the chipset fixes coming out for the 780i/790i chipsets that cause SATA to act all funny under Linux? Any day now.. oh, wait, never..
Well hell, I am going to go grab the BeOS drivers for my NVidia card so I can hack on that OS... oh wait... no such drivers...

In the future, please don't assume that your needs cover everyone's needs.

Re:Good News (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42492071)

In the future, please don't assume you are even *remotely* representative of NVidia's target user. You don't matter, period.

Re:Good News (3, Insightful)

Zontar The Mindless (9002) | about a year and a half ago | (#42492975)

In the future, please don't assume you are even *remotely* representative of Slashdot's target reader. You don't matter, period.

Re:Good News (4, Insightful)

Ost99 (101831) | about a year and a half ago | (#42492391)

Nvidia wants to sell new cards. I want to keep my old one as long as possible.
I've had buy a new card twice after support for my card was dropped from the binary driver.

Re:Good News (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42492807)

Nvidia wants to sell new cards. I want to keep my old one as long as possible. I've had buy a new card twice after support for my card was dropped from the binary driver.

Actually, my Nvidia card is over five years old and is still supported by the latest drivers. If it ever becomes unsupported, I can then determine if I want to keep using the last supported proprietary driver or switch to an open source driver, but it's far likelier that I'll just buy a new card. It will definitely be time for an upgrade anyway, so who cares?

I call bullshit - here's why (2)

dbIII (701233) | about a year and a half ago | (#42492831)

There's the "legacy driver" you can download which I use on a couple of old desktop machines in the office that have AGP Nvidia Geforce cards and one with a PCI card as well (actually newer than the AGP cards, but still getting on a bit). Changelogs show Nvidia still fix bugs in the "legacy driver" or make some sort of change every few months so it's not abandonware.
I suspect you've bought new cards the same reason the rest of us do - more shiny features or dying fans

Re:I call bullshit - here's why (1)

0100010001010011 (652467) | about a year and a half ago | (#42493105)

Same here. I'm still cranking away on an old Nvidia card. Meanwhile the ATI card I bought 2 years ago was dropped in a recent update.

Nvidia makes cards that work. And software to go with those cards. Anytime someone wants to build a HTPC I always suggest Nvidia, because their VDPAU drivers *work*.

Re:Good News (2)

dbIII (701233) | about a year and a half ago | (#42492771)

If Nvidia's own drivers were open source, that would obviously be better than the current situation

I don't see that happening until software patents for the utterly obvious (or software patents in general) are disposed of. Some of the SGI people that were hassled by a patent troll ended up at Nvidia.

Graphics software patents are so tangled that John Carmack even had to pay royalties to a patent troll for an algorithm that is named after him.

Re:Good News (4, Interesting)

Zontar The Mindless (9002) | about a year and a half ago | (#42492961)

Err, why are my needs likely to differ greatly with the goals of the company? If I buy a product from a company, I'd say the chances are good that my needs jive with their goals. ...

Sit back and let me tell you a little story.

A few years ago, I bought a laptop, the first one I'd ever owned that had a 64-bit CPU. I set it up as a dual-boot system, with 64-bit versions of Windows XP Pro and whatever OpenSUSE that was current at the time (10.2 or 10.3, I'm guessing).

There were no 64-bit Windows drivers for the wifi card. None.

There were no binaries of 64-bit Linux drivers. But, there was source. While I took C++ in school way back when, and have worked with other people's code quite a lot in the last few years, I am in no way an expert coder. Nonetheless, it took me only about 20 minutes to figure out that I needed to change 1 line in one header file, and then I was only a configure; make && make install away from having a working wifi card.

That model card is still being used in new laptops today, and there are still no 64-bit Windows drivers for it. Every one of those laptops is sold with 32-bit Windows, even if it has a 64-bt CPU.

Meanwhile, the particular card discussed above is being used at this very moment to transmit this post from that very same laptop (running a 64-bit OS) to you.

*fin*

Re:Good News (2, Insightful)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | about a year and a half ago | (#42493071)

LOL. You sound like someone who's never come in contact with a real open source project before. Let me fix this for you: "Volunteers of a single open source project are beholden to the goals of the open source community, goals which are highly likely to differ from your needs as a user." That's far more realistic. Throw in some rudeness and you've got it. At least with the business you can complain to someone.

Re:Good News (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42490901)

Now people can stop bitching about how "free" a driver is and just concentrate on how well it works.

Or just use an OS that actually works with modern hardware

Re:Good News (5, Insightful)

ghetto2ivy (1228580) | about a year and a half ago | (#42490965)

Now people can stop bitching about how "free" a driver is and just concentrate on how well it works.

Or just use an OS that actually works with modern hardware

Or just use hardware that works with a modern OS.

Switching cost (1)

tepples (727027) | about a year and a half ago | (#42491017)

Or just use hardware that works with a modern OS.

That would make switching from your current OS to a modern OS far more expensive.

Re:Switching cost (1)

Immerman (2627577) | about a year and a half ago | (#42491387)

You mean you never upgrade your hardware? It's only more expensive if you decide you absolutely must make the switch today, and weren't already using supported hardware. Linux-compatible hardware is rarely notably more expensive than unsupported stuff, you just need to actually pay attention to compatibility when making your purchasing decision.

Re:Good News (5, Insightful)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about a year and a half ago | (#42490983)

Now people can stop bitching about how "free" a driver is and just concentrate on how well it works.

Or just use an OS that actually works with modern hardware

Or just buy hardware from manufacturers that release open source drivers, so your OS choice isn't limited by your hardware choices.

Re:Good News (1)

tepples (727027) | about a year and a half ago | (#42491059)

Or just buy hardware from manufacturers that release open source drivers, so your OS choice isn't limited by your hardware choices.

And do what between today and when my hardware becomes otherwise due for replacement?

Re:Good News (1)

Immerman (2627577) | about a year and a half ago | (#42491413)

Pay extra to replace it sooner, or just accept your lack of foresight and don't make a similarly limiting choice next time.

Re:Good News (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42491063)

And have crap support? No thanks.

I'd prefer a system that I have some control over and works reliably for years on end to something dependent on propriteary code that fails because some company decides to drop support. And it isn't just NVIDIA/AMD you have to worry about. There are also wireless chipsets that aren't supported with free drivers, printers, etc. And EVEN "Linux" companies like System76 and ZaReason (Dell is just as bad even if they "certify" it with Ubuntu).

What pisses me off is all the companies which cater to Linux (except for ThinkPenguin) don't give a fuck about the issues effecting users. If you don't care about freedom your going to get fucked later and when that happens these companies who claim to support Linux just ignore you. I got hosed one to many times by various companies along the way before I realized why I kept running into problems.

Linux is dependent on software being free. When it isn't you run into problems and the problems are the fault of companies that ignore freedom. I just stopped buying non-free dependent hardware and all my problems went away.

Re:Good News (1)

jedidiah (1196) | about a year and a half ago | (#42491855)

> Or just use an OS that actually works with modern hardware

Can you name one that better libre nvidia drivers?

Otherwise your post makes no sense in context.

If you are willing to use a proprietary blob, then you can just use Linux. You don't have to defect to some OS that probably doesn't have ANY libre drivers at all.

Re:Good News (1)

davydagger (2566757) | about a year and a half ago | (#42492409)

I know right. Those windows people need to stop bitching about driver support and find a new OS

Re:Good News (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42490957)

How well it works in this case depends on the amount resources they have to spend on reverse engineering the proprietary drivers.

The open Radeon drivers have enough issues with open register specifications.

Re:Good News (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about a year and a half ago | (#42491005)

That's my question, how well DOES it work?

Re:Good News (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42491061)

Not so well on 8400s. Oh wait, the fine print indicates it was sold as a 3D decellerator.

Re:Good News (5, Interesting)

phantomfive (622387) | about a year and a half ago | (#42491071)

OK, here are the limitations:

decent fan control support is still in preparation and will initially only cover older GeForce chips......Furthermore, the driver can't switch between the various graphics chip and memory speeds with many current cards and often causes the graphics hardware to run at the slowest operating speed – the 3D performance that is achievable this way is usually sufficient for 3D composited desktops such as Unity or the Gnome shell but stays well behind what NVIDIA's proprietary driver can tickle out of the same graphics hardware.

So that's how it is. Still good to see progress.

Re:Good News (1)

antdude (79039) | about a year and a half ago | (#42492037)

So for gaming and other intensive video card speed programs, closed binary drivers are still required, :(

Re:Good News (1)

davydagger (2566757) | about a year and a half ago | (#42492441)

thats a "soft" required.

lets face it, if your gaming, your more or less playing closed source games.

Re:Good News (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42493487)

Well if you are going to try and game on OSS drivers you are best off with an AMD GPU that is a generation or 2 older, I.E. not the GCN/ "Southern Islands" based HD7000 parts. Currently an HD6870 would be the best bets for an all OSS system since it's still based on the "R600" / "Evergreen" VLIW5 cores. Though the HD6970 should also work, but is based on the "Northern Islands" VLIW4 cores.

For more info see here www.x.org/wiki/RadeonFeature and here for what games have been tested http://www.x.org/wiki/RadeonProgram

Re:Good News (4, Informative)

davydagger (2566757) | about a year and a half ago | (#42492433)

There are many advantages of both the proprietary driver and noveau

nouveau
1. since its free software it can co-exist with other drivers, and lets x auto detect. your only option on live cds
2. feature complete 2d and 3d rendering
3. rock solid stable. Its actually more stable than the proprietary driver

nvidia
1. fast, perfomance comparable with other OSs
2. closed source, doesn't play well with other drivers. But lets face it, if your playing video games, them too are closed source, and if your on a proper normal installed system, you don't need other video drivers.
3. 100% feature complete, uses every last feature of the hardware as intented.
4. supports OpenCL and vector programming.

Re:Good News (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42493529)

Or you could get a GPU that actually has real open source support in Linux, I've got an HD6870 for gaming on the Gallium3D drivers.

I picked up a MiniPCIe to PCIe 1x adaptor and a Broadcom CrystalHD BCM970015 for HD video codec acceleretion at lower power usage since AMD isn't legally allowed to divulge their hardware for that. The combination of the 2 work beautifully together.

Re:Good News (1)

UltraZelda64 (2309504) | about a year and a half ago | (#42491045)

Too bad what is to be the next Debian Stable has already long been frozen... major, groundbreaking improvements always seem to be implemented at a time that guarantees waiting through an entire release and then some.

Re:Good News (5, Informative)

dreamchaser (49529) | about a year and a half ago | (#42491119)

Too bad what is to be the next Debian Stable has already long been frozen... major, groundbreaking improvements always seem to be implemented at a time that guarantees waiting through an entire release and then some.

How does that stop you from installing it? It doesn't. Just because it won't be prepackaged in your favorite distro doesn't mean you can't use it.

Re:Good News (1)

UltraZelda64 (2309504) | about a year and a half ago | (#42491197)

Given that support for this new driver seems to be based on the latest development branch of the Linux kernel, unless there's a backport available eventually, I think it's safe to say that getting it set up will not exactly be a walk in the park.

I have had a hell of a time just trying to get the nVidia drivers installed in current Debian 6.0 (though Debian 5.0, ironically did not give as much trouble). And that didn't even require compiling an updated kernel from source. I ended up just giving up trying to get it properly on the current stable... it's just not worth it to completely break X. I have a feeling the problem had something to do with KMS which if I remember right was added to the kernel somewhere around that time.

Re:Good News (1)

dreamchaser (49529) | about a year and a half ago | (#42491553)

Fair enough. I generally manage to get what I want working. It's certainly a lot easier now than in the early days in many respects, but then again in those days we didn't even have to worry about 3D acceleration, but still overall I find that it's pretty simple to get whatever I want working on a given distro.

Re:Good News (1)

UltraZelda64 (2309504) | about a year and a half ago | (#42491767)

Yeah, I normally don't even run into much trouble getting the nVidia drivers to work... I used to install them in Zenwalk from the official binaries and have also managed it in its parent, Slackware. In general, normally, the only thing that tends to give me trouble universally across distros is wireless cards. Maybe nVidia was just a weird one-time exception for the current Debian Stable.

Re:Good News (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42491505)

And why you would not want to use the proper debian flavor for what you're trying to achieve? newer stuff goes with testing or unstable, if that's a problem for you you might want to add a recent kernel to debian stable, install unstable on a chroot, compile and load the modules there. Or boot from usb key.

Or if it's too much hassle you can go the win or osx route and always make somebody else decide what driver can be made to work on an OS release supporting your card.

Re:Good News (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42491881)

"Debian" and "Stable".

I do not think this wor means what Debian thinks it means.

The problem isn't so much Debian itself, actually. It's what *every single Debian admin I've ever met* does to it, which is to add two or 3 non-Debian channels and mess up any hope of stability. Debian, unfortunately, encourages this by maintaining far too many weird incompatible, parallel threads of core components.for example.

      How many different ways are there to set your hostname? I counted 4 currrently methods last week.

      Hoe many different major versions of Apache are currently in the mainline Debian? I counted 3 last month, all with incompatible sub-components like mod_ssl based perl components. And don't *get* me started on the XML parsesr than linked to Apache based perl modules.

      How many phone and fax servers are there, all of them substandard because *no on can ever r gets any of them stable in a complete environment*? A phone system that is Turing complete is not the *point* of a phone system!!!!!

This is not stability. This is spraying your seed far and wide hoping some of it germinates. Some of it does, but you wind up with a sore hand from all the wanking involved in spraying that much seed.

Re:Good News (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42491091)

I could care less the heritage of a piece of software, as long as it functions correctly. Im a big fan of using the best tool for the job, not the tool you think is prettier.

When the best tool goes unmaintained (2)

tepples (727027) | about a year and a half ago | (#42491123)

I could care less the heritage of a piece of software, as long as it functions correctly. Im a big fan of using the best tool for the job

Until what used to be the best tool for the job suddenly becomes unusable. If, for example, you have found the best tool for the job to be Windows XP, that'll more likely than not become vulnerable to remote exploits by the end of April 2014, soon after Microsoft pushes out the final Patch Tuesday for that platform. A user of free software, on the other hand, is free to hire anybody to continue maintaining the best tool for the job.

Re:When the best tool goes unmaintained (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42493235)

Thats when you switch tools, free software often goes unmaintained as well

Re:Good News (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42491893)

Unfortunately it still sucks so when I install a system I can't wait to replace the nouveau driver with a driver that works correctly.
Maybe someday the data will be released but I don't see that as long as ATI is in business. I wouldn't want to see ATI go out of business since it forces NVidia to always come up with better and better hardware.
I have no issue whatsoever with using NVidia's video driver since it works beautifully as long as I have the nouveau driver who acts as a trojan out of the way.

thank you (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42490797)

Thank you Linux community!! and nVidia disappointed me...

Great news (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42490825)

Next step: CUDA?

Re:Great news (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42493571)

More then likely not. OpenCL however should be eventually as it's already being hammered out for the OSS Radeon drivers.

Opirmus support (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42490867)

Anything beyond bumblebee and primus?

No thanks to NVIDIA though... Intel's better (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42490977)

I'd never buy a system with NVIDIA graphics even though I support the nouveau projects efforts. The problem is NVIDIA doesn't cooperate with the nouveau project and has provided little to no support for it. I'm not going the ATI path though. AMD just pulls the cloth over your eyes to what is really going on. Good PR is not good enough for this user. AMD doesn't provide sufficient documentation to produce a completely free solution.

Which means that right now Intel's graphics (except for the PowerVR based stuff which is actually third party) are the only good option. And before you go on about what crap Intel's graphics are they have significantly improved from years past and have some of the best support. The Intel drivers even support features the proprietary graphics drivers are lacking from NVIDIA/ATI. So depending on what you really care about Intel's the best bet. The game developers are even tailing to the code because they can (since the drivers are completely free) which has produced a significant boost in performance for some games.

Re:No thanks to NVIDIA though... Intel's better (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42491503)

Right now they're pretty much the only ones that don't support open source. Intel long ago opened things up, and AMD is opening up everything they can legally open. nVidia hasn't shown any evidence of opening up, even though right now that means that they're completely closed off.

As much as I appreciate projects like Nouveau, it seems like the only way that nVidia will change it's mind is if people stop buying their products and go with AMD GPUs.

Re:No thanks to NVIDIA though... Intel's better (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42491613)

I'd encourage people not to buy NVIDIA or ATI. AMD needs to fix the problems in its house first before I'd recommend them. NVIDIA is worse although being able to run free software is a priority. Then we can talk about supporting that companies products. I'd love to support AMD because AMD supports the coreboot project. Unfortunately I can't do that because the company hasn't invested in fully supporting Linux properly.

Re:No thanks to NVIDIA though... Intel's better (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42491769)

Every time I see the "Intel is so much better with open source." I think the same thing:

Of course, they are more open that amd and nvidia, they're not serious contenders in graphics. Yes, they're popular, but performance wise, they have no secrets to keep. Amd and nvidia are in heated competition and because of that they want to keep their cards close to their respective chests.

Don't care, don't want it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42490985)

NVIDIA provides binary with the latest features and works great. No need for some confusing drivers.

Good luck extracting this binary (2)

tepples (727027) | about a year and a half ago | (#42491049)

NVIDIA provides binary with the latest features and works great.

Not all platforms treat graphics drivers as user-installable packages. For example, good luck extracting this binary from a particular version of Android in order to use it with an AOSP build for a given device.

Even the GeForce 256? (1)

Hsien-Ko (1090623) | about a year and a half ago | (#42491029)

Even the TNT2? TNT? Vanta? RIVA128? NV1?

TFA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42491121)

"The latest modifications should allow the Nouveau driver to support the acceleration features of any current GeForce chip." ..cause all real Linux users only use new hardware, I guess.

Re:TFA (1)

Nimey (114278) | about a year and a half ago | (#42491933)

I doubt you'd want to use the 3D accel function of a TNT2 or GF256 card for any modern software. It'd bog like crazy unless you only had it do simple tasks, and Compiz wouldn't qualify as simple.

Re:Even the GeForce 256? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42491163)

TNT and TNT2 looks like it should be supported. Riva 128 is only supported through the nv driver. NV01 through vesa, and Vanta is afaict the same as TNT2. Are you asking just to nitpick, or were you genuinely interested?

Re:Even the GeForce 256? (5, Informative)

salahx (100975) | about a year and a half ago | (#42491383)

The nouveau driver supports everything from NV04 upwards - NV01 and NV03 (NV02 never made it to production) are very different. In particular, PFIFO (the engine on the card that submits command the GPU) on NV01 doesn't support DMA at all, and NV03 has broken DMA. For that (and other) reasons, if support were desired for these cards, it would be in a separate driver. However such a driver would essentially be of academic interest, since these cards only accelerate simple shapes (like triangles and curves).

That having been said, one of the nouveau developers has done some reverse engineering of the NV01, the finiding of whic hare in the envytools [github.com] notes.

Re:Even the GeForce 256? (2)

crizh (257304) | about a year and a half ago | (#42491423)

Fat chance.

I've got all sorts of older Nvidia hardware that works great with the Nvidia blob and that has never worked with Nouveau.

It's a particular pain in the arse because it's loaded automatically as if it really were a real stable driver during installation these days and it is used to drive the console. Combined with the current trend for 'live-install' discs many modern distro's are nearly impossible to install on older hardware. Ubuntu, I'm looking at you.

Sure there are ways around it but they are far from beginner friendly, at which point why the hell are you bothering with a distro like Ubuntu, you might as well be installing Gentoo.

It's frustrating to watch old, dull stuff that works being deprecated for new flashy shit that doesn't.

Re:Even the GeForce 256? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42491433)

Get a job.

Re:Even the GeForce 256? (1)

jedidiah (1196) | about a year and a half ago | (#42492103)

If you have such a relic, why are you concerned with 3D acceleration? You can probably do much better in software. The most generic VESA driver available probably won't be a problem.

Re:Even the GeForce 256? (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | about a year and a half ago | (#42492125)

I have an old TnT2 card in a server, with VESA you can watch windows draw

hmm (0)

buddyglass (925859) | about a year and a half ago | (#42491101)

This article's summary pretty much sums up why I still have no interest in Linux as a desktop OS.

Re:hmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42491181)

This article's summary pretty much sums up why I still have no interest in Linux as a surrogate gaming console.

FTFY. Or wait, I lost track, did the definition of "desktop OS" entirely drop the "environment in which one gets work done" part?

Re:hmm (1)

buddyglass (925859) | about a year and a half ago | (#42492675)

I don't game. I do, however, dislike having to be "strategic" in my choice of drivers.

Re:hmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42493201)

Then use whatever comes with your distro and STFU.

Re:hmm (1)

Teun (17872) | about a year and a half ago | (#42491201)

Why?

Do MS, the BSD's or Apple have OS drivers?
What about the firmware in your computer's parts, you don't accept that either?

I see proprietary video drivers just like firmware, part of the package.

Re:hmm (2)

Bert64 (520050) | about a year and a half ago | (#42491391)

Firmware runs on the device itself, and is generally OS independent.
Drivers run on the OS, and therefore require you to be running a specific OS and a specific version of that OS. If a third party is maintaining the drivers, and does not provide you with sourcecode then you have no guarantee that they will continue updating it to work with new OS versions, or fix bugs.

Re:hmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42492193)

The BSD drivers are for the most part open source with the exception of nVidia on i386/amd64 for FreeBSD.

Re:hmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42491419)

yep, regedit is sooo much funnier.

Re:hmm (2)

MrEricSir (398214) | about a year and a half ago | (#42491559)

This article's summary pretty much sums up why I still have no interest in Linux as a desktop OS.

The blame isn't on Linux entirely. It's long past time we get past this sort of nonsense and focus on the real problems in computing. Having different types of incompatible drivers for every OS (and often different versions of the OS) is inexcusable.

If the OS vendors can't get their shit together, we need to find a way to package drivers directly into the firmware and bypass the OS entirely. Basically, we need what UEFI promised to deliver but didn't.

Re:hmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42491667)

If the OS vendors can't get their shit together, we need to find a way to package drivers directly into the firmware and bypass the OS entirely. Basically, we need what UEFI promised to deliver but didn't.

What? A lockout of the hardware for anything not OEM?

Re:hmm (1)

jedidiah (1196) | about a year and a half ago | (#42492147)

Your response pretty much demonstrates you have absolutely no clue what is being discussed. So anything you have to say on the matter is pretty meaningless.

Calling you a mindless troll would be charitable.

still no reliable optimus support (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42491135)

still no reliable optimus support

Good news, everyone! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42491225)

I mean, it is. No snarky comment here. I like and support this.

What REALLY, REALLY needs to happen now to make people switch over in droves is 1:1 game support. If it runs in windows, it should run as well or at least 90% as well in linux.

I know, beating a dead horse, but I figured I'd say it.

Nvidia blobs always beat-crap outa FOSS drivers (1)

noshellswill (598066) | about a year and a half ago | (#42491341)

When you buy (into) NVida hardware you also buy their software. Period. The OS matters not. FOSS dev freeks are neither needed or wanted by the casual *nix NVida lusr. We say ... "Amuze yourself as ye may, but go drink a feckin-A free beer and leave publicly distributed graphics drivers to your commercial **betters**!

Re:Nvidia blobs always beat-crap outa FOSS drivers (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42491479)

The reason these FOSS drivers are crap is because NVIDIA doesn't cooperate and it requires significant resources to reverse engineer. If you asked me I'd say the NVIDIA cards are defective. They simply don't work without a bunch of fiddling around. That's not how Linux and free software systems work and if your not going to cooperate than why bother? If your going to give me Microsoft Windows I might as well use Microsoft Windows. I don't want that and I won't buy cards with NVIDIA chipsets. FOSS drivers are always the better choice when all other things are equal.

I want FreeBSD support... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42491379)

I will put a cuddly baby penguin into a wood chipper every day until FreeBSD x11-drivers/xf86-video-nouveau catches up to Linux! ::evil laugh:: ... ::cry::

--libman

Re:I want FreeBSD support... (1)

Beetjebrak (545819) | about a year and a half ago | (#42491701)

Well, with the GEM/KMS work on Intel progressing I'd guess FreeBSD support for Nouveau will also come within reach..

Good news, but how well do they work? (2)

inglorion_on_the_net (1965514) | about a year and a half ago | (#42491395)

Let me start by saying this is good news. I don't have an Nvidia card, but I like to have the option of getting one and have it be supported by Free software.

Having said that, the article is light on details. How well do the features work? Does anything that works with the Free drivers for AMD or Intel now also work with Nvidia? How does the feature set compare with the closed-source Nvidia driver? How does performance compare?

Re:Good news, but how well do they work? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42492001)

It does not hit the performance of the non-free drivers and I wouldn't recommend it over Intel's offering. Intel's got some pretty good stuff these days. Particularly for free software users in the graphics arena.

The AMD drivers aren't 100% free so I can't recommend them. AMD though does a better job of supporting free software whereas NVIDIA doesn't do it at all.

NVIDIA chips are supported because of reverse engineering efforts.

If you want something that works go with Intel.
If you something that is a bit better performance wise and is free software friendly go with NVIDIA (although supporting a company that isn't helping isn't supporting free software or encouraging NVIDIA to support it in the future).
If you want to support a company that is pulling a PR move go with AMD. They did release some specs/code although not sufficiently to produce a completely free solution. Thus nothing works with distributions that don't or can't include / support the non-free pieces.

The 9500GT (you can get them from ThinkPenguin still) works good enough with the nouveau driver and is pretty well supported (the best supported from the free driver). The card they sell is supported out of the box with recent distributions.

Re:Good news, but how well do they work? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42492349)

9500GT = only 134.4 GFLOP/s (@ 50W). Uh. I hate to break this to you, but most games are shader-bound these days, so you might as well just use the integrated GPU that came with your brand new CPU or motherboard -- it'll be faster. Even the bottom of the line / "training wheels" GT 610 (155.5 GFLOP/s @ 29W) cards are faster than the 9500GT. Do yourself a favor and get a GT 650 (812.5 GFLOP/s @ 64W) if you're considering getting the 9500GT. Your frame rate will be 6x higher with the 650, and you'll be able to use OpenGL 4.2. The *only* downside: RMS will call you funny names behind your back (and to your face as well).

The real Nvidia driver works well on Ubuntu, it supports OpenGL 4.2, and it works beautifully. I'm partial to the 4-line (less power than the 5-line), so I've had a 9400 GT, a GT 240, and a GT 640 on this PC over the years, and I've never had any problems with the real Nvidia driver. Never had to install a new driver during the hardware replacement process (but updates have given me the "latest non-bleeding-edge" driver periodically). Same driver that gives OpenGL 3.3 for the 9400 and GT 240 gives OpenGL 4.2 for the GT 640.

Unlike Nvidia, Nouveau supports Framebuffer. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42491727)

Unlike Nvidia, Nouveau supports Framebuffer and KMS (Kernel Mode Setting). Since XBMC requires it, Nouveau is your best and only option for setting up a Media PC \ Streamer from leftover hardware laying around.
Also, if you're running an X-less server, then you get to have Full-HD terminals which is REALLY nice and useful.

Re:Unlike Nvidia, Nouveau supports Framebuffer. (1)

jedidiah (1196) | about a year and a half ago | (#42492133)

Bullshit.

If you use the Noveau driver then you are giving up VDPAU.

If you are building a media PC then why the HELL would you give up free BluRay decoding? Otherwise you need to use brute force via the CPU and you've left the domain of "leftover hardware".

An Nvidia card and the BLOB driver redeems hardware that would otherwise be a doorstop.

Slow performance due to no re-clocking support (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42491987)

Re-clocking does not work, which means the GPU core and memory runs at the default frequncy which it gets at boot up which is underclocked.

So the performance is slow. So re-clocking needs to be fixed and implemented. But for that to be done, there needs to be proper fan control support first.

Also, OpenGL 4 does not work. Some parts of OpenGL 3 might be implemented, but not all.

Not all games work properly, such as Warsow, Reaction, etc which suffer from rendering artifacts. But Portal 2 does work though.

VDPAU? (3, Insightful)

crow (16139) | about a year and a half ago | (#42492121)

Is there any support for media playback acceleration? That's the one thing keeping me with the nVidia driver for my MythTV system.

Re:VDPAU? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42492247)

That depends on card, fermi and kepler have some basic kernel support for loading it with nvidia firmware, but userspace support hasn't landed yet. If there was a libdrm update for kepler, it would have been to allow userspace to drive the engines for it. 3d works fine without libdrm updated.

Why do drivers need to be free? (2)

AlphaBro (2809233) | about a year and a half ago | (#42492129)

This is likely to be perceived as trolling, but I'd honestly like to know: why are free 3D accelerator drivers so important? The OSS community has proven to be utterly incapable of developing or contributing to such projects in any meaningful capacity, so what's the point? The argument I frequently see is that this is the fault of the GPU manufacturers for not supporting OSS devs, but if said devs need their hand held every step of the way, what makes people think they can produce a worthwhile, production driver? What's wrong with a high quality propriety blob developed by experts that actually know what they're doing?

Re:Why do drivers need to be free? (1, Flamebait)

Skinkie (815924) | about a year and a half ago | (#42492297)

Its quite simple. I have a very nice Mac Snowball. Updates for OSX PowerPC are not flying in anymore, even Safari crashes on Google.com. So it is a good time to switch to a better maintained operation system. For PowerPC there are not many choices, but lets pick Linux. The motherboard has an onboard NV04, if this was an x86 I might be able to use the nvidia legacy drivers, for PowerPC: architecture not supported. So why is open source important: it can be compiled on your architecture of choice and gives proper hardware a few extra years (see below: "Great news for ARM"). Another interesting thing is that improvements won't limit themselves to the latest, greatest (and most expensive) flagship.

Re:Why do drivers need to be free? (1)

raxx7 (205260) | about a year and a half ago | (#42492331)

Some people just like the concept of open source.

Also, the drivers being closed source, you are at the mercy of NVIDIA for features, fixes, etc.
Now, NVIDIA has generally been good -- they know they have paying customers using their hardware in Linux.
But there are some negative aspects, which NVIDIA has neglected.
NVIDIA proprietary drivers don't implement all the features of the Linux graphic subsystem and so, there are some corner cases that don't work. The most obvious one nowadays is the support for Optimus and the cumbersome way it's being implemented.

Occasionally, it takes a while for NVIDIA to update their drivers to make them compatible with the latest kernel or X.org server.

Re:Why do drivers need to be free? (2)

marcosdumay (620877) | about a year and a half ago | (#42492449)

The OSS community has proven to be utterly incapable of developing or contributing to such projects in any meaningful capacity

Yet, they've just released a completely free alterneative. How can you say that the people can't contribute anything in the article about how they reached a huge milestone in their contribution?

Great news for ARM (4, Interesting)

crow (16139) | about a year and a half ago | (#42492139)

One of the problems with the official binary driver is that it only supports x86. With an open source driver, there's no reason you can't use it on any architecture out there. There might be some people interested in PCI cards on PowerPC, but the big interest here is with ARM-based systems.

I wanna say one word. (1)

buanzo (542591) | about a year and a half ago | (#42492283)

Steam.

Free, Libre or Open Source... which one? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42492683)

Is that an attempt at not upsetting our sentimental FSF/GNU friends?

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