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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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  • Quick Questions (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Monkeedude1212 (1560403) on Wednesday February 17, 2010 @06:51PM (#31177610) Journal

    Suppose I wanted to get into writing drivers -

    1) What are the things I'd need to know? Languages, Theory, Techniques

    2) What are the things I'd require? Testing environment, IDE if applicable, Development kits, etc

    3) Any Reading material? A beginners guide, reference material, that kind of stuff.

  • A better question (Score:2, Interesting)

    by ElusiveJoe (1716808) on Wednesday February 17, 2010 @07:09PM (#31177888)

    Is it better than using a software 3D stack? Because I have a feeling that nothing is really accelerated.

  • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Wednesday February 17, 2010 @08:09PM (#31178516)

    Remember that not everyone has an "OSS at any cost!" mentality. Some people use Linux for pragmatic reasons, not for ideological ones.

  • Awesome (Score:3, Interesting)

    by quantaman (517394) on Wednesday February 17, 2010 @10:06PM (#31179366)

    I'm actually pretty impressed, I didn't expect they'd be this successful getting a development community and a working driver going. I'm curious as to the stability, I noticed there was one issue with the fonts in the review. Personally stability would be the big selling point for me, I've had issues with the proprietary drivers in the past and it would be great if there was a highly dependable open source driver I could count on.

    On a related topic does anyone know the state of the open source ATI driver? I saw a phoronix article claiming it was more popular than the proprietary one [phoronix.com] but other than that I don't know what it has for performance or features. It would be interesting to compare since the ATI made the specs available.

  • Re:Quick Questions (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MostAwesomeDude (980382) on Thursday February 18, 2010 @02:25AM (#31180884) Homepage

    1) C. You should also be familiar with compiler theory, data structures, bus layouts, and all the various arcane weirdness around arches, especially x86.

    2) Nothing special. Most of the programs we use for testing are games, since they have the best stress tests and because we target real use-cases. The exception is piglit, which is a conformance test.

    3) The code. AMD and Intel have released some docs, but frankly, you will need to read the code.

    Good luck. This is tough stuff.

  • Remember that not everyone has an "OSS at any cost!" mentality. Some people use Linux for pragmatic reasons, not for ideological ones.

    You're exactly correct. I won't use closed software unless absolutely unavoidable because it's the least pragmatic solution. When you don't "own" the code running on your system, you're at the mercy of someone else.

    I had a FreeBSD desktop with a GeForce 4 AGP card. Just before the buffer overflow vulnerability [vuxml.org] was found that made it possible to crack a display using the closed NVidia drivers just by displaying an appropriately-formatted image, NVidia dropped support for the GeForce 4 series from their new drivers. They also announced that the vulnerability was fixed in the new drivers but that the old ones were EOLed and unsupported. The old drivers didn't support the currently released version of FreeBSD that I was using, and the new ones didn't support my graphics card. Furthermore, I couldn't find a new AGP card that would work on the motherboard I had at the time, and the rest of my hardware was a couple of years behind the then-modern stuff on Newegg.

    In my opinion, having to choose between living with a known vulnerability that actually affects you and paying to replace your entire system, from graphics card to motherboard to CPU to RAM, is pretty freaking impractical. I would've been happy to have the option of switching to a working FOSS driver, even if the performance was a third of the closed driver's.

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