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Graphics Open Source Linux

Open-Source NVIDIA Driver Goes Stable On Linux 231

An anonymous reader writes "The open source Nouveau driver, a reverse-engineered incarnation of NVIDIA's official proprietary driver for Linux, has reached its biggest milestone. The Nouveau driver is now being considered stable within the Linux kernel and leaving the staging area, with the pledge of a stable ABI. Phoronix has summarized the state of the Nouveau driver, which works fine if you don't care about performance or are fine with running hardware that's a few generations old."
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Open-Source NVIDIA Driver Goes Stable On Linux

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 13, 2012 @08:58PM (#39681641)

    Sorry, this is kind of off, but still interesting and related as this was work done by reverse engineering. How do you reverse engineer on Linux, or other UNIX systems like OS X and BSD? Windows has many great software like IDA and OllyDBG, but seems there's just no such things available for Linux or UNIX. The problem isn't even about using console programs, it's about showing the debugging process and being able to put breakpoints.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 13, 2012 @09:44PM (#39681981)

    Way to go guys.. you've now given Nvidia massive disincentive to continue to do more work with their MODERN drivers.

    Competition is usually a motivation to improve rather than stagnate.

    Wouldn't be at all surprised to see things like VDPAU and CUDA recieve even more attention from Nvidia. Maybe even features like KMS might happen now...

  • by GrumpyOldMan ( 140072 ) on Friday April 13, 2012 @10:32PM (#39682277)

    Besides spotty hardware supprt, AFAIK it is also missing VDPAU (HD video decoding) support, which is the main reason a lot of HTPC types use Nvidia cards in their linux machines. It is also fairly hard to remove. I think it took me 1/2 hour of re-booting before I finally purged nouveau from my system to clear the way so that the Nvidia driver could attach.

    As a Linux (and other *nix) driver guy, I have tons of respect for how Nvidia deals with the constant, gratuitous changes in the Linux kernel APIs.

  • Awesome! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by starseeker ( 141897 ) on Friday April 13, 2012 @10:44PM (#39682343) Homepage

    I'm using this driver (well, probably a slightly older version of it) with my desktop now, and so far I've been pleasently surprised. I don't need blazing fast performance on 3D for most things. FlightGear/OpenArena level games are about as far as I'm likely to push, since I'm not into the latest and greatest FPS anymore. Given that, the prospect of an integrated driver that "just works" without having to do anything extra is awesome.

    My last Gentoo re-install I ended up trying the Nouveau driver after my attempt at enabling the binary NVIDIA driver didn't go well - had to flip on a couple kernel options to get acceleration, but after doing so and for my uses the results are "fast enough." I'll be sticking with Nouveau from now on unless I hit a major show-stopper. Well done, Nouveau team!

  • by portablejim ( 1538997 ) on Friday April 13, 2012 @10:56PM (#39682397) Homepage

    One thing which you cannot do with the official NVIDIA driver for GNU/Linux is have mixed rotation monitors. (I would like to be proven wrong - have even tried to prove myself wrong, but given up).

    I currently have one monitor in portrait and one monitor in landscape and one monitor in landscape, with the ability to drag windows from one to the other. I have some acceleration, which allows me to see through terminal windows.

    Nouveau works, official one does not work. Simple choice.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 13, 2012 @11:06PM (#39682437)

    So true. I had a problem with my onboard network card a while ago. I dug up an old 3COM PCI 10/100 card, those cards were awesome and would survive god striking them. I put it in, boot Windows 64 bit and... obviously no driver. It's an old card and no one bothered to create a driver for Windows 7 64 bit. Then I reboot under Kubuntu also running 64 bit and hey, it's working.

  • by Mr EdgEy ( 983285 ) on Friday April 13, 2012 @11:16PM (#39682491)

    The comments on this story really do illustrate how the readership of Slashdot really has changed over the past few years.
    This is a real "News for Nerds" story, a story about open source development and how we're still not really past the bad old days of winmodems when it comes to (real, not binary blob) hardware support by manufacturers.

    A full half of the comments I can see above seem to be troll posts along the lines of "LOL M8 DOESNT RUN UNREAL TOURNAMENT 27".

    Oh dear.

  • by hairyfeet ( 841228 ) <bassbeast1968 AT gmail DOT com> on Saturday April 14, 2012 @12:29AM (#39682859) Journal

    Uhhh...If you are Mr Peres, why don't you have an account instead of posting AC? After all both Eric Raymond and even Linus Torvalds has accounts, even if Linus naturally hasn't got the time to use his much.

    Now for my other question, since you are basically snatching the data from a binary blob which i'm sure is full of proprietary code, after all if it wasn't they could just FOSS the thing, do you worry about DMCA? i know that AMD can't release full specs on their GPUs because protected path isn't theirs and would break DMCA and since Nvidia cards i'm sure have protected path as well do you have to worry about legal ramifications? or have you set up the project in some place that doesn't recognize software patents?

    If you ARE Mr Peres I would like to say I admire your guts, frankly I wouldn't want to go within 100 yards of anything to do with video as long as all these crazy patents and lawsuits are going on. And how about hardware acceleration of video? How can you do that without ending up in the whole H.26x patent minefield?

    Frankly I think its a shame that such questions even have to be asked as while i have no problems with proprietary software and use both FOSS and proprietary software every day i do NOT support software patents but as long as that minefield exists I am curious how you intend to approach feature parity with the blob driver without stepping into the whole patent mess since one of the big uses of GPUs is video processing and that's patented up the wazoo.

  • by pankkake ( 877909 ) on Saturday April 14, 2012 @01:08AM (#39683043) Homepage

    > If the proprietor stops supporting something and they're all you've got to depend on, you're out of luck left with an ugly choice to run increasingly obsolete code or (apparently needlessly) do without that functionality at all.

    And nVidia does exactly this, they drop old models from their drivers (it isn't that bad, the last time it happened to me, it was really old, and the machine stopped being relevant for desktop usage a long time before). Still, I like the tranquility of mind; that's why I switched to ATI cards everywhere. It's good to have choice again. The work of Nouveau developers is impressive, considering the competing open source ati drivers got a lot of help from AMD.

  • by Carewolf ( 581105 ) on Saturday April 14, 2012 @05:41AM (#39683831) Homepage

    Summary is wrong. The nouveau driver is several orders of magnitude FASTER than the proprietary driver.. Well, for 2D acceleration. It is quite slower for 3D, but I don't really play games on Linux, so 2D is more important to me.

    The nouveau driver really solves he Achilles heel of NVidia on Linux. 2D performance.

"Hey Ivan, check your six." -- Sidewinder missile jacket patch, showing a Sidewinder driving up the tail of a Russian Su-27