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Open Source 3D Nvidia Driver Is Ready For Fedora 13 160

Posted by timothy
from the oh-that's-nouveau-riche dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Red Hat has already been using the Nouveau X.Org driver in Fedora for providing display and 2D support, but with their next release (Fedora 13) they will be making open-source 3D acceleration readily available to those using Nvidia graphics cards. Red Hat has packaged the Nouveau 3D driver in Fedora 13 and what makes it interesting — besides being an open source 3D driver that was written by the community by reverse engineering Nvidia's closed-source driver — is that it's one of the first drivers to use the Gallium3D driver interface. Phoronix has tested out this Gallium3D driver for Nvidia GPUs in a Fedora 13 daily build and found it to run with a variety of OpenGL games, with benchmarks being included that compare it to Nvidia's official driver. The performance is far from being on the same stage as Nvidia's official Unix driver."
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Open Source 3D Nvidia Driver Is Ready For Fedora 13

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  • Re:How come? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 17, 2010 @06:59PM (#31177730)

    Step 1: Figure things out.
    Step 2: Make them work (correctly)
    Step 3: Make them work (fast)

    its all a part of the process and step 2 is a HUGE achievement especially when most of the information about the chips was reverse engineered.

  • Re:How come? (Score:5, Informative)

    by h4rr4r (612664) on Wednesday February 17, 2010 @06:59PM (#31177738)

    Because NVIDIA has access to the docs and these guys don't? It's hard work to reverse engineer a video card and build a driver.

  • Re:Benchmarks (Score:3, Informative)

    by serviscope_minor (664417) on Wednesday February 17, 2010 @07:00PM (#31177758) Journal

    So? The NVidia driver doesn't support xrandr. I know it's only a professional project, but I hardly thing that a company should distribute a driver which can't even change screen resolution using the standard tools.

  • Re:Quick Questions (Score:4, Informative)

    by mrphoton (1349555) on Wednesday February 17, 2010 @07:03PM (#31177796)
    clearly your post was a joke, but a serious answer to your question would be Linux Device Drivers: http://lwn.net/Kernel/LDD3/ [lwn.net] Understanding the linux kernel: http://oreilly.com/catalog/9780596000028 [oreilly.com] I found both books fantastic and well worth a read, they will take you from knowing C to developing drivers for the linux kernel.
  • Re:Benchmarks (Score:3, Informative)

    by Mad Merlin (837387) on Wednesday February 17, 2010 @07:09PM (#31177898) Homepage

    The binary blob supports xrandr, but not xrandr 1.2. xrandr 1.2 adds a lot of nifty things like on the fly display rotation, but I can't say I've ever actually used any of them.

  • Re:Quick Questions (Score:3, Informative)

    by arielCo (995647) on Wednesday February 17, 2010 @08:43PM (#31178764)

    clearly your post was a joke

    Not necessarily. Ever said "when I grow up I wanna..." without a clue as to what it would take? You still have that option as a grownup, with perhaps a better chance of making it since you make your own decisions :)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 17, 2010 @09:12PM (#31178974)

    It wasn't a waste of time from the military industrial complex's point of view.... or the religious right's point of view... or any number of special interests' points of view. And I'm pretty sure it wasn't a waste of time from _his_ point of view.

  • by GigaplexNZ (1233886) on Wednesday February 17, 2010 @11:19PM (#31179874)

    As most of you know KDE uses both Konqueror and Dolphin for file navigation.

    Konqueror is a web browser, it just happens to support Dolphin as a plugin. So nope, no change here. It's other browsers, like Firefox, which insist on making local file browsing look like an autogenerated Apache index.

    To be fair to the troll, this wasn't always the case. Konqueror was a web browser and file browser, then Dolphin came along later causing some overlap. This overlap has now been mostly resolved.

  • Re:How come? (Score:5, Informative)

    by GigaplexNZ (1233886) on Wednesday February 17, 2010 @11:29PM (#31179934)

    actually you can get copies of every MS product right back to DOS 3 via technet.

    Technet is not a retail channel for typical consumers to get a single product. Also, the older products aren't supported and generally don't work on the new hardware around today.

    because some FOSS project is FAR FAR more likely to stop producing updates and go offline (because they got a life/job/girlfriend) then a company like MS or nvidia which has actual funding

    NVIDIA has already shown [nvidia.com] they are willing to drop driver support for their products when they aren't interested anymore. And it's not just about the risk of if they will stop support, you also need to factor in the damage done - we don't have the option to fix the proprietary stuff ourselves even if we wanted to, but we could fix the abandoned FOSS stuff if we considered it worthwhile.

    so you'll need use a better example

    So you'll need [to] use a better excuse.

  • Re:Benchmarks (Score:2, Informative)

    by GigaplexNZ (1233886) on Wednesday February 17, 2010 @11:38PM (#31179998)
    It's illegal to drive even at 30km/h without a license...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 18, 2010 @05:27AM (#31181812)

    I have the impression that OSS evolution is influenced by both "OSS at any cost!" and "pragmatic" forces. In fact, these two constantly compete at different scenarios. At the end of the process in most(*) of cases OSS gets to "OSS just works fine!".

    (*) Here there are different opinions about the quality of the certain case.

  • Re:What? (Score:2, Informative)

    by BESTouff (531293) on Thursday February 18, 2010 @06:03AM (#31182042)

    Do some people really use markedly inferior software simply because it is open source, even if a better competitor is available at no cost?

    The NVIDIA driver has a huge cost: you know the day NVIDIA wants your card to be obsolete and replaced, they'll stop shipping the driver. They did it in the past and will continue to do it because they think it makes them more profitable. Plus, you don't know what's in their driver, no one can make it work with your custom kernel if there's a problem.

    Only if your don't value your freedom, the NVIDIA driver has no cost (but then you're better with MacOS or Windows).

  • Re:How come? (Score:3, Informative)

    by V!NCENT (1105021) on Thursday February 18, 2010 @06:47AM (#31182268)

    A few reasons:

    1) nVidia's drivers are not implemented like standard X.org drivers: the binary drivers replace most stuff.

    2) Not optimised yet.

    3) It's a Gallium3D architecture driver, which is slower (for now) than classic Mesa.

    Gallium3D is a new driver architecture where the driver itself is splitted into three parts:

    1) The Kernel part. Providing memmorty management and kernels based modesetting instead of user mode setting. Every driver could use it so this part is not needed to be implemented into every driver out there to reduce the amount of coding work.

    2) The Gallium3D itself, like this nVidia driver that only needs to expose the bare metal functionality of the graphics card in the form of an API.

    3) Features (called State Trackers) like OpenGL, video acceleration, OpenCL, Direct3D, vector graphics acceleration, etc... This is also something that is the same for all Gallium3D driver supported graphics cards. This also doesn't need to be coded for every Gallium3D driven card like the nVidia cards. BTW these State Trackers are implemented on top of the 'standard' Gallium3D API that is surficed by this nVidia Nouveau driver...

    So the speed of the nVidia cards when driven by this Gallium3D driver is not solely Nouveau's 'fault'. If the Linux kernel and the State Trackers speed up then the nVidia cards will also leverage more FPS.

    These Gallium3D drivers are still young. The entire architecture has not long ago passed the state of rocket science. There is no real world experience and so the fact that the Nouveau developpers could reverse engineer, convert to Gallium3D and make a GeForce 9 run Quake 3 is a realy, realy big achievement.

    Things will speed up soon and the future of graphic card driver is bright for Linux!

  • Re:How come? (Score:3, Informative)

    by TheRaven64 (641858) on Thursday February 18, 2010 @07:04AM (#31182344) Journal

    The binary nVidia drivers had a remotely exploitable kernel-privilege vulnerability that nVidia knew about for two years before fixing. When they did fix it, the fix was only for the latest revision of the driver, which didn't support all of the affected cards. Sure, you could run the old version, but then any web page you visited could inject arbitrary code into your kernel.

    Now, remind me, what was your point?

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