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Graphics Linux

Nouveau NVIDIA Driver To Enter Linux 2.6.33 Kernel 289

An anonymous reader writes "Not only is DRBD to be included in the Linux 2.6.33 kernel, but so is the Nouveau driver. The Nouveau driver is the free software driver that was created by clean-room reverse engineering NVIDIA's binary Linux driver. It has been in development for several years with 2D, 3D, and video support. The DRM component is set to enter the Linux 2.6.33 kernel as a staging driver. This is coming as a surprise move after yesterday Linus began ranting over Red Hat not upstreaming Nouveau and then Red Hat attributing this delay to microcode issues. The microcode issue is temporarily worked around by removing it from the driver itself and using the kernel's firmware loader to insert this potentially copyrighted work instead."
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Nouveau NVIDIA Driver To Enter Linux 2.6.33 Kernel

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  • by Lord Lode ( 1290856 ) on Friday December 11, 2009 @12:53PM (#30403416)

    I'm a Linux user using the official binary NVidia drivers, they work good - very good even, many modern Windows games work in Wine without any performance loss.

    How do the Nouveau Nvidia drivers compare to the official ones? Do they have the same performance, no little annoying bugs or differences, etc...?

  • by Just Some Guy ( 3352 ) <kirk+slashdot@strauser.com> on Friday December 11, 2009 @12:56PM (#30403484) Homepage Journal

    My Dell at work has an ATI RV635 card. You know: the one that might, someday, support 3D but hasn't yet in the couple of years it's been out? I switched from Ubuntu Karmic to Fedora Core 12 a couple of weeks ago to see if the experimental drivers worked, but ended up with a non-working X.

    If I want to buy a card that has working accelerated 3D today - not next week, not "maybe if I download a hack from North Korea that might work or might catch fire" - so I can do basic stuff like get smooth compositing in KDE, what should I get? Again, this is going into my computer at work, so $500 gaming cards are right out. I'm positive I can get the hardware guy to order a reasonably priced card for me (and another for himself) if it'll work on Linux, though.

    BTW, let me preemptively say that I'm not gonna Google it. There are 5,000,000 outdated and spurious reports. I'd much rather discuss it with a group of peers than try to decode what some kid in Sri Lanka came up with.

  • As I understand it (I have an ATI card, not an Nvidia), Nouveau currently has 2d hardware support, and 3d support is in progress. Don't expect it to replace the proprietary driver for anything requiring preformance anytime soon, but this is good news for people who dislike the proprietary drivers, and for distros that cannot/willnot ship with them by default.

  • by ClosedSource ( 238333 ) on Friday December 11, 2009 @01:01PM (#30403592)

    I've often wondered why more reverse engineering isn't done to create Linux drivers rather than just complaining about the manufacturer of the hardware. The only unfortunate thing about this project is that Linux drivers already exist (according to other posts here).

    Wouldn't it be better to reverse-engineer hardware to create Linux drivers that don't exist?

  • by socrplayr813 ( 1372733 ) on Friday December 11, 2009 @01:10PM (#30403740)

    I've heard some absolutely nightmarish stories about getting ATI cards to work properly in Linux and they haven't gotten much better. In the most recent releases, they may have even gotten worse.

    They might be more Linux-friendly now than they were in the past, but that doesn't make them good. They're certainly nowhere near as Linux-friendly as Nvidia.

  • What about BSD? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by rhavenn ( 97211 ) on Friday December 11, 2009 @01:11PM (#30403760)

    So, currently there is an issue with xorg 7.5 being imported into FreeBSD due very Linux specific driver "hacks", specifically in the latest Intel drivers and the ATI radeon drivers. Is this the same issue? Will this Nouveau driver work on anything else or is "open source" becoming synonymous with "if it runs on Linux, that's good enough". Linux has achieved great strides, but far too many "open source" developers target Linux only and have blinders on to any other open source OS or UNIX'esque OS where this stuff should really be able to run.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 11, 2009 @01:17PM (#30403834)

    For 3D. For 2D it's already better. Good 2D is underappreciated, but matters most for a lot of stuff that people casually use computers for.

    Obviously, gamers care about 3D, but good 2D matters also more than you might know for gamers into 80s/90s emulation - it's quite disappointing that even today, emulators sometimes fail to reliably vsync, really doesn't recreate the classic experience of amiga or snes gaming if frame rates aren't a rock solid tear-free 60Hz (or 50Hz depending on territory).

  • by RAMMS+EIN ( 578166 ) on Friday December 11, 2009 @03:12PM (#30405506) Homepage Journal

    ``A modern graphics card, for example, is actually a complete computer. It's got RAM, a processor, a bunch of peripherals, a complete miniature operating system... and you don't even know what type of processor it is. A lot of peripherals work like this; a wireless card is typically an ARM processor with some RAM attached on one end to the radio and on the other to an I/O controller that talks to the computer.''

    The big difference here is that we usually think of as a computer typically has enough specifications published that you can program them, and there are really just a couple of flavors. By comparison, even though each wireless network card does pretty much the same things as the next one, they are usually programmed completely differently and we're not told how. We have standards and heaps of documentation when it comes to CPUs, but when it comes to graphics accelerators or wireless network cards, it's a mess of undocumented, proprietary, incompatible interfaces.

  • by gr8_phk ( 621180 ) on Friday December 11, 2009 @03:24PM (#30405662)
    The reverse engineering of the nVidia driver took advantage of the close nVidia driver. Because the OS is open, they were able to put in hooks to intercept all data moving between the computer and the card. They can even monitor communication during specific rendering events. While it's an enormous amount of effort for a video card, it pales in comparison to trying to figure out how even a simple device works with no documentation and no existing way to manipulate it. In other words, the existence of the closed driver is what made the effort possible in the first place.
  • by SarahAnnAlien ( 690359 ) <sarahannalien@ya ... com minus author> on Friday December 11, 2009 @06:36PM (#30407942) Journal
    As one of the other posters said, buy an older R500 based ATI card. I'm trying this out myself; I ordered a card this week and (hopefully) will find out how well it works with the Radeon driver. But everything I've read suggests it will work pretty well.

    Read more here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/R520#Variants [wikipedia.org]

    I also ordered a (cheap) R600 (or R700? don't remember...) based card to experiment with or put on the shelf for a few months; people seem to be working quite hard on ironing the bugs out, and those will probably be well supported in the future.

    I ordered my R580+ based card from a place called compuvest. It was my first order with them so I can't say whether or not they're worth recommending. They seem to have a lot of generation-ago equipment. Another place to try would be geeks.com, which is where I got the R600 based card.

    I'm not sure how well this will work out, but that's what I'm trying...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 11, 2009 @10:04PM (#30409884)

    Nvidia's drivers arn't even that good at general 3D. Actually, they suck for anything other than popular FPS games.

    About vsync: Nvidia cards are capable of outputing PAL and NTSC RGB signals on the VGA ports, which gives you an excellent picture quality on old CRT TVs. This is useful for emulators and watching SDTV the way it's supposed to look. But unfortunately the implementation of interlacing and vsync is wrong and broken in Nvidia's driver, which means video fields get played in an effectively random order - and there is nothing you can do about it. The nv driver doesn't support interlace at all and the developers refuse to implement it. Nouveau supports interlace in these modes, and it would actually be possible to fix the vsync bug here.

  • by hairyfeet ( 841228 ) <bassbeast1968@@@gmail...com> on Friday December 11, 2009 @10:24PM (#30410056) Journal
    But I thought AMD/ATI opened up their specs? I know that here on /. we hear all the time "if they would only open up their specs we would take care of the rest". So shouldn't the ATI drivers for Linux be much better now? I know the Nvidia driver isn't "free as in freedom" and if AMD/ATI have fully opened up their specs shouldn't ATI be having the better experience in Linux now?

The last thing one knows in constructing a work is what to put first. -- Blaise Pascal