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Graphics Intel Windows Linux BSD

FreeBSD, Ubuntu Offer Same NVIDIA OpenGL Support As Windows 74

Posted by timothy
from the next-year-windows-will-be-ready-for-the-desktop dept.
An anonymous reader writes "There's some good news if you use NVIDIA graphics on (Ubuntu) Linux or FreeBSD with their binary graphics driver: the OpenGL performance is comparable to Windows 8. Unfortunately, that's not the same for Intel graphics and AMD doesn't even offer a Catalyst driver for FreeBSD. FreeBSD offers a binary Linux compatibility layer to run games at the same (or better) performance as Linux, but unfortunately it's capped to running Linux x86 binaries and NVIDIA is the only GPU vendor with proper BSD graphics driver support."
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FreeBSD, Ubuntu Offer Same NVIDIA OpenGL Support As Windows

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 01, 2013 @08:47AM (#44445301)

    AMD is missing out on that HUGE FreeBSD gaming market.

    • by 0100010001010011 (652467) on Thursday August 01, 2013 @08:51AM (#44445325)

      Yeah. Like the Sony PS4.

      VGLeaks reports that the operating system used on Sony's upcoming PlayStation 4 is called Orbis OS,

      http://www.vgleaks.com/some-details-about-playstation-4-os-development/ [vgleaks.com]
      http://www.tomshardware.com/news/FreeBSD-Linus-Orbis-OS-PlayStation-OtherOS,23254.html [tomshardware.com]

      • by Anonymous Coward

        I'm about 110% sure that AMD will provide Sony with graphics drivers for their GPU that they ship in the next Playstation, you useless pedant.

      • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Thursday August 01, 2013 @08:57AM (#44445369) Journal
        The PS4 doesn't use a stock FreeBSD install, it uses something that incorporates a lot of FreeBSD code. So does Android (although not in the kernel) and so does OS X, but neither of them use the same driver model for GPUs either.
        • This answers the question I was about to ask... I figured if the PS4 was based on FreeBSD there *was* an AMD driver, but you point out well that it may not be one usable by the (freeBSD) PC gamer crowd. Boo.
      • by CAIMLAS (41445)

        Isn't the PS4 shipping with ATI graphics/an AMD CPU?

        • by aliquis (678370)

          Isn't the PS4 shipping with ATI graphics/an AMD CPU?

          I don't know what your point was really.

          Could had been "So there is AMD drivers for it!" but as others has pointed out it's not really the same / not just because of that usable by FreeBSD right now at least.

          It could also be "Isn't it ATI graphics?" but then what need to be pointed out is that AMD bought ATI a long time ago so ATI graphics really is AMD graphics.

          And finally I suppose it could also mean that you think there's a ATI (AMD really) GPU somewhere on the board and then an AMD CPU somewhere else bu

      • by Narishma (822073)

        The PS4 doesn't use OpenGL, so it's a moot point.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 01, 2013 @09:13AM (#44445461)

      I'm not a FreeBSD user, but this shows that sadly, we still have a long way to go when it comes to getting open source driver support. Sure, there are drivers for Linux nowadays, which I'll admit is a huge victory in itself. But having binary drivers only completely misses the point. The point of *open* drivers is to permit tinkering, which is a Greater Good that benefits all of us (including the manufacturer).

      • This is a great day for FreeBSD folk, now FreeBSD is even faster then W8 in some benchmarks. The closed source driver is a non-issue as long as nVidia would provide continuous support for it. Lots of key software is now working on FreeBSD like Libre and Apache office suites. PlayStation 4 is using FreeBSD too, so the AMD driver could also happen, interesting times!
      • by Bengie (1121981)
        Of the people capable of tinkering with graphic drivers, they're all hired by AMD, nvidia, or Intel. Everyone else has no idea what they're doing in there.
      • by smash (1351)
        The irony of course here is that the driver for FreeBSD by Nvidia is a binary blob, and performs the same across all platforms probably because of this (i.e., a single compiler with nvidia flags is used for all platforms). The OS just compiles a platform specific stub for it - all the heavy lifting is done internally...
    • The ARB have released OpenGL 4.4 and I don't even have OpenGL 4.3 AMD drivers yet. The existing catalyst betas support about half of the 4.3 spec. So the garden isn't exactly rosy over here on Windows either.
    • It should be this easy on ALL linux distros. Here's a screencap of me installing the latest NVidia drivers on Lubuntu the other day:
      http://youtu.be/49iq5A8d0e4 [youtu.be]

      • by aliquis (678370)

        It should be this easy on ALL linux distros. Here's a screencap of me installing the latest NVidia drivers on Lubuntu the other day:
        http://youtu.be/49iq5A8d0e4 [youtu.be]

        Yeah. That was like super-easy and I'm sure many Windows or OS X users would be impressed..

        Also what's up with the lack of usage of the tab key, the multiple clears and I guess it would had helped if you had made sure the commands actually gave the results you where after in the first place + the warning at the beginning about a distribution specific pre-installation script failing.

        As for FreeBSD:
        http://www.freebsd.org/doc/en/articles/compiz-fusion/nvidia-setup.html [freebsd.org]

        Or openSUSE:
        https://en.opensuse.org/SDB:NV [opensuse.org]

  • by cbope (130292) on Thursday August 01, 2013 @08:50AM (#44445317)

    "...performance is comparable to Windows 8."

    Oooh, this is going to get ugly, quick.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 01, 2013 @08:59AM (#44445379)

      It's like the finger smudges on the screen are jumping right out at me!

    • by Sponge Bath (413667) on Thursday August 01, 2013 @09:03AM (#44445405)
      Just wait for Windows 8.1 (with new Start button!). It will completely surpass FreeBSD in gaming market share.
    • Re:in 3... 2... 1... (Score:5, Informative)

      by CajunArson (465943) on Thursday August 01, 2013 @09:12AM (#44445451) Journal

      It's kind of sad that people on Slashdot no longer understand that operating systems include modular components that can be replaced.

      I installed Windows 8.. on a 5 year old Core 2 duo system using a spare hard drive. You know what? While I sure didn't like the UI choices MS made for Windows 8, it was at least as fast as my Arch Linux installation on the exact same box (the difference being that Arch got an SSD while Windows 8 was on an older mechanical hard drive).

      In many ways the Windows graphics stack is well ahead of X (Wayland is fixing this fortunately, but it has taken a long time). The interesting thing is that the actual 3D stack in Linux, which practically ignores the X server in modern implementations, is actually quite good, but the actual core graphics in Windows are also very good despite what Slashtrolls would like to believe. Nvidia
      has done a very good job at getting comparable performance levels out of both platforms.

      • That's exactly what I've been saying. A simple game benchmark isn't everything as the performance of the 3D stack, compositor and desktop components define the general use experience. You can easily see the difference by installing Linux to an Intel Atom or AMD Bobcat computer. Windows 7 and 8 will run like an oiled raccoon having all eye candy enabled, while at the same time on Linux any desktop effects, including a simple window minimize animation, will stutter.
      • by jedidiah (1196)

        > It's kind of sad that people on Slashdot no longer understand that operating systems include modular components that can be replaced.

        Except MacOS and Windows don't really work that way. They simply aren't designed to. Neither is nearly as modular as Unix.

        In Linux, this modularity leads to a meaningful level of diversity that a lot of trolls like to spin as "fragmentation" and a barrier to consumer adoption.

        Windows has more problems than a graphics stack that has been hacked to violate Microsoft's own o

      • despite what Slashtrolls would like to believe

        There is deep denial that a Firefox extension update could introduce code that could steal their root password from their terminal session.

      • by smash (1351)

        In many ways the Windows graphics stack is well ahead of X

        I think you mean "all ways". Note: "graphics stack" doesn't mean window manager...

      • by petrus4 (213815)

        Is Wayland interested in being truly portable, (as in offering support for the BSDs, and making things sufficiently and open that it can be potentially used with as-yet undeveloped operating systems) or are they committed to pretending that Debian Linux is the only alternative to Windows that exists, a la Freedesktop.org?

  • Grain of salt (Score:5, Informative)

    by gauntlet420 (646001) on Thursday August 01, 2013 @09:12AM (#44445459) Journal
    This article seems to be talking about newer hardware and the NVIDIA binary blob driver. If you're stuck with Nouveau and an older NVIDIA card, your performance is going to be much worse than Windoze. I recently de-Windozed a P4 box running a GeForce440MX. Perfectly acceptable performance under XP became molasses-slow under Xubuntu 13 - we're talking seconds per screen refresh, and lots of visual artifacting. Newer distys and the legacy binary blob drivers that support GeForce 4 don't play nice with each other either. I ended up yanking the card and putting in a Radeon 9800SE (with 1/4 the video RAM) and even with the open-source radeon driver, performance was astronomically better - the machine was actually *useable*.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      I like how you insult Windows with a deliberate misspelling even though Linux was the one that performed worse with artifacts and whatnot. Goes to show some people are a little too attached to operating systems such that they don't have any actual problems in life to deal with.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      The "440MX" was a rebadged Geforce 2; that Radeon has a GPU about two generations more advanced, so of course it performed better despite having less vRAM.

      Why are we bickering about 1990s video hardware anyway, though? My Voodoo3 doesn't run all that well in Fedora 18, either; what's up with that?

    • by The Moof (859402)

      This article seems to be talking about newer hardware and the NVIDIA binary blob driver. If you're stuck with Nouveau and an older NVIDIA card, your performance is going to be much worse than Windoze.

      How old are you talking? NVIDIA has been providing blob drivers for FreeBSD for a long time. Even your GeForce MX 440 has drivers available [nvidia.com].

      • Those 96-series drivers don't work with the latest Ubuntu disty, which is where I was having my issues.
        • by The Moof (859402)
          I completely blanked on the fact that you were talking about Ubuntu and not FreeBSD. Have you tried using the kFreeBSD kernel under the Ubuntu userland? I'm not sure how difficult it would be (looks like Ubuntu 10.04 had a package for it, but nothing newer).
          • by smash (1351)
            Or... you know... you could just run proper FreeBSD or PC-BSD at least.
    • by phorm (591458)

      Part of that might depend on what you're trying to do with the OS. Was there some compositing layer running on your Xubuntu install?

  • by Type44Q (1233630) on Thursday August 01, 2013 @09:23AM (#44445501)

    Unfortunately, that's not the same for Intel graphics and AMD doesn't even offer a Catalyst driver for FreeBSD.

    I'm still trying to get the Tseng Labs ET4000 video chip in my IBM PS/2 ValuePoint to display more than 256colors. Apparently the chip itself is capable but there was a hardware bug in IBM's implementation (the chip is soldered to the motherboard, by the way) and it simply won't display 16 or 24bit color depths in Windows 3.1 without artifacting all-to-hell. I've tried calling IBM every year or so (since 1994) to see if they've released a patched BIOS for the problem yet but still no luck (however, now that Lenovo's in charge, things might finally shape up over there; my fingers're crossed...).

  • by cupantae (1304123) <maroneill.gmail@com> on Thursday August 01, 2013 @09:31AM (#44445563)

    FreeBSD offers a binary Linux compatibility layer to run games at the same (or better) performance as Linux

    Or worse. It might be worse, too.

  • FreeBSD plays games "as well or better" than Linux? On what criteria, the Phoronix benchmark which gave the FBSD and Ubuntu beta box different hardware?

    • by petrus4 (213815)

      I could think of a couple of reasons.

      a} A sane audio subsystem.
      b} Generally a lot less crap running in the background, at least by default.
      c} The BSDs are developed by adults, in general terms.

      Before you respond to that last point critically, understand that I actually do know what I'm talking about. I've used Linux for ten years, and compiled both the Linux kernel and the GNU userland from source numerous times; and as a result, I am prepared to say with the authority that that gives me, that Linux is

  • I'm not sure if I believe this. I thought OpenGL has to pass through layers-upon-layers of APIs (just like sound) to do anything. All of that overhead can't possibly translate well to the average Joe. Plus, as we all know, Linux hardware compatibility is usually Plug 'n' Pray (i.e. plug it in, pray it works OOB).

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