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View Poll Results: Which driver(s) do you use with your NVIDIA cards?
nouveau (free and open-source) 17 15.74%
nvidia (proprietary) 93 86.11%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 108. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 03-27-2012, 12:27 PM   #46
TobiSGD
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There are other reasons why Nvidia doesn't open their source (and I think for the obfuscated and now abandoned nv driver): Third party intellectual property. The interview with one of the Nvidia developers in the interview section of LQ gives some insight.
 
Old 03-29-2012, 12:30 PM   #47
cascade9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jtsn View Post
Most chips from the PCI era (i. e. 3Dfx, C&T etc.) don't work anymore. The drivers are still there, but they aren't tested on real hardware. Another example is the transistion from XFree86 3.3 to 4.0, which killed the support for ISA cards. It is okay, to do that, because unmaintained drivers for extinct hardware are useless anyway.

In the foreseeable future the folks with well-running Matrox or VIA/S3 UniChrome AGP hardware will face similar degradation, because most of the Xorg developers now have Intel or AMD.
Sure about that? I havent used a 3DFX card for ages, but last I tried they worked fine. Chips and Technologies cards, I havent seen one for years now....not surpising considering they were bought out by intel in the mid/late 1990s. I actually tried to find one in the computer junkyard, but I couldnt. If I could have I would have tested one with a circa 2011-2012 distro.

I have seen at least one bug report where the user had debian 'lenny' with a Chips and Technologies VGA chip and had no issues with video-

http://bugs.debian.org/cgi-bin/bugreport.cgi?bug=564095

So I would say that at least up to Lenny, Chips and Technologies video still worked fine. Even if you are right about 3DFX, Chips and Technologies and other PCI era cards are no longer suported with current linux distros, when was windows support dropped? Years ago. I dont recall ever seeing a 3DFX or Chips and Technologies driver for windows versions after XP.

I wouldnt say that any UniChrome chip deserves the title 'well running'. Yeah, I wouldnt be suprised if some open source drivers are outdated, but at least there is a chance of fixing them....

Quote:
Originally Posted by jtsn View Post
The bigger problem with reverse engineered graphics drivers is, that they can damage hardware, not just crashing your machine. So there is a expensive risk in activating them by default - as most distros do.
'Can damage' isnt the same as 'will damage'. I've never seen any reliable report of nouveau killing video cards. The nouveau devs are AFAIK are farily conservative, if the full specs arent known nouveau tends to run the fan a lot harder (which you've already complained about). Even if this was a serious concern, it leaves people with a nasty issue. Nv drivers are gone, no longer supported. Vesa could in theory be just as dangerous as nouveau...and for that matter, the windows default drivers could in theory cause damage as well. Before changing cards, are windows users meant to do a preinstall of the newest nVidia drivers with nlite/vlite to be 100% safe? Are linux users meant to jump through hoops to make sure that they have closed source nVidia drivers installed?

Its not like the closed nVidia drivers are prefect. The linux version of the 196.75 windows drivers (195.something IIRC) also had the possible overheating problem. Lots of users have had the 'GPU has fallen off the bus' error.......

In the end, the loss of the nv drivers forced nouveau to become as big as it is. Many distros wont ship non-free software, so the closed nVidia driver will not be on those distros (unless manually installed after OS installation). Its nouveau or vesa 'out of the box' for those distros, and IMO nouveau is a better option.

The other great reason for nouveau is that we are not at the whim of nvidia. The 71.XX drivers will not run with newer xorg versions, 96.XX is going the same way, if they havent already. If there was only nvidia closed drivers, users would have to get new hardware whenever the manufacturers drop the drivers. Great for hardware manufacturers, crap for end users who dont want to replace hardware that is doing the job just fine.
 
Old 03-29-2012, 07:49 PM   #48
TobiSGD
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jtsn View Post
Most chips from the PCI era (i. e. 3Dfx, C&T etc.) don't work anymore.
3Dfx Banshee PCI working fine in a machine used as jukebox with the tdfx drivers, running Salix 13.37 LXDE. No problems at all.
 
Old 03-29-2012, 09:16 PM   #49
KDHofAvalon
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I use the proprietary driver because I need audio over HDMI for XBMC.
 
Old 03-30-2012, 02:05 AM   #50
psionl0
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Nvidia 260.19.29
 
Old 03-30-2012, 08:50 AM   #51
dugan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jtsn View Post
Most chips from the PCI era (i. e. 3Dfx, C&T etc.) don't work anymore. The drivers are still there, but they aren't tested on real hardware
Of course they're tested on real hardware. They're tested on the same hardware that they're written for. The tests took place when the hardware was current, and the test results are still current because neither the hardware nor the software being tested against it (the driver code) has changed since then.
 
Old 03-30-2012, 11:38 AM   #52
dugan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by qweasd View Post
My guess would be (and I could easily be wrong) that nvidia code has been "hijacked" by a few core developers who get to see the complete source. They are the indispensable ones who understand how it works, and they resist as much as possible either opening the code or training the replacement. Aside from the docs NVIDIA squeezed out of them at gunpoint, they probably have their own secret and much more complete docs which they won't ever share with anyone. This problem is endemic in closed-source shops.

How can anyone expect high quality review in this setting is beyond me.
This is, in fact, exactly how things work at Microsoft:

http://blogs.msdn.com/b/oldnewthing/...296.aspx#55311

Last edited by dugan; 03-30-2012 at 02:02 PM.
 
Old 04-01-2012, 12:06 PM   #53
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I just switch to the nouveau after the recent slack current update. I was on the blob driver because I had the dreaded black screen issue in the early days of the nouveau driver. I haven't looked at nouveau again till now.

I was stuck on 275 release of the blob driver. Any newer release would locked up my system using a 9500GT card whenever I powered on the monitor. My laptop running 8400M card didn't have this problem. I am not sure if the laptop card worked with newer drivers or it was due to having only VGA connectivity. The 9500 card was connected using DVI. I didn't want to maintain different drivers so I picked the least common denominator.

This all worked well until kernel 3.2.13. The 275 driver compiles, but crashes hard when I boot (segfault). The current blob driver still have the same lockup issue. I was quite pleased that the nouveau driver has seen significant improvement. It now does everything I need. I don't think I will ever go back to the blob driver for my current hardware. I also don't see any devices in my near future which will require proprietary software.

Last edited by tux_dude; 04-01-2012 at 12:12 PM.
 
Old 04-03-2012, 12:23 AM   #54
lshantz
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I currently use the proprietary driver, but would love to drop it. Even better, it would be great if Nvidia would pull they heads out of their rears and release the info so it is no longer a problem! I HATE the fact that every single time a new kernel comes out, it blows me out of the water. Last week, while on the road, I did an update and apparently I knowingly updated the kernel. Bash prompt only. Thought I had the driver file in my system but nooooo.... I forget the syntax to get it from the bash prompt and had to jump through some hoops to not have a paper weight while on the road.

Another thing I do not like about Nvidia drivers, is they have not got it working correctly for hooking up to hotel tv's. The sync it borked. Works fine with The standard commercial OS, but absolutely can not play a movie on my laptop through a hotel tv screen. I would change back to open source in a heart beat if they have that support now.
 
Old 04-03-2012, 07:18 AM   #55
H_TeXMeX_H
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It depends on your card, but with my 8800 I can play all the games I used to with the nvidia drivers. All quake3 games, warzone, assaultcube, etc. So, to me 3D support is quite good. In fact, I've noticed that it is even faster than the nvidia blob, I mean I get better FPS. Newer games that require advanced opengl don't work, stuff like Savage 2, and others. But, I don't play those anyway, so it's not that important.
 
Old 04-03-2012, 10:48 AM   #56
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Does anyone have any experience in the linux driver and connecting up a TV montior? I'd like to watch movies on the road using the Hotel TV screen.
 
Old 04-03-2012, 01:56 PM   #57
Martinus2u
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jtsn View Post
a recent Intel GPU (excellent vendor-supported FOSS drivers)
I realize this isn't the main point of your post, but that statement is not true. The i915 stack (from xorg drivers over libdrm right down to the kernel) has been unstable for years. To the point I had to switch my main work station to an nvidia GPU, thus invalidating the whole purchasing decision for a Clarkdale based workstation. My bugzilla entries are still open (almost two years old I believe), and will be closed one by one with status NOT_REPRODUCIBLE when the maintainers realize I have replaced the intel GPU.

I have two other i915 based machines under maintenance. One is fairly stable (but does no 3D work), the other had a kernel bug that was fixed recently after more than a year.

i915's reputation on the LKML is not brilliant either. So excuse me if I fail to see the excellence in intel's drivers.

My experience with ATI is a bit dated but dreadful.

Nvidia is relatively speaking the best of the lot, but on a fairly low level. I reported a couple of issues in their forums asking for advice how to investigate further (yes, I'm willing to do their work) but I didn't even get a reply.
 
Old 04-03-2012, 09:43 PM   #58
claudecat
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I tend to use nvidia on "normal" distros and nouveau on bleeding edge distros (Gentoo, Arch). Nouveau gets better all the time, and the proprietary driver sometimes lags behind kernel versions. My GT240 tends to cause screen artifacts (black dots in upper left of screen) on Arch, etc when using the nvidia driver - also noticed this on Pardus (not so bleeding edge). Nouveau on "normal" distros ('buntus) works fine generally, but crashes randomly and hard - power button reset hard. All that being said, I still use nvidia on Slackware (current) because everything just works better on Slack.
 
Old 04-03-2012, 11:11 PM   #59
qweasd
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Quote:
Originally Posted by claudecat View Post
Nouveau on "normal" distros ('buntus) works fine generally, but crashes randomly and hard - power button reset hard.
I had X/nouveau combination crash on me on two different GPUs, from different programs (several screensavers and okular), but it's always in a way that only freezes the screen picture, and can be fixed by restarting X. I disabled the offending screensavers, switched to xpdf, and it's been rock-solid so far. My girlfriend uses KDE, so I know that kwin runs like a charm.
 
Old 04-04-2012, 03:31 AM   #60
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Martinus2u View Post
I realize this isn't the main point of your post, but that statement is not true. The i915 stack (from xorg drivers over libdrm right down to the kernel) has been unstable for years. To the point I had to switch my main work station to an nvidia GPU, thus invalidating the whole purchasing decision for a Clarkdale based workstation. My bugzilla entries are still open (almost two years old I believe), and will be closed one by one with status NOT_REPRODUCIBLE when the maintainers realize I have replaced the intel GPU.
Clarkdale is too new. I previously pointed out, you have to wait two years for FOSS drivers to get stable/working. I have two machines working fine with an Intel GPU: one based on 945GME and one with Pineview G. The latter reaches Uptimes > 100 days running Slackware 13.37 with an unmodified kernel.
 
  


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