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Open nVidia Linux Driver Pledge Nearly Complete

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  • by MountainMan101 (714389) on Tuesday January 09, 2007 @05:14PM (#17528904)
    With new technology like AIGLX, XGL and XEGL emerging, having open source drivers for 3d cards is very important. Along with the recent R300 work for the ATI cards, this will bring much improved graphics to the Linux Desktop regardless of architecture. I only hope that the ATI X200M card gets open source support soon too (obviously not from nouveau).

    Also Fedora 7 (dure April) intends to include the nouveau drivers - which is great as out-of-the-box Fedora can't include the binary nVidia driver necessary to have AIGLX working.

    And to anyone who thinks this is unnecessary as there is the binary driver - just wait until you card is dropped from the official support and the old driver stops working with some future kernel.
  • Re:Excuse me. (Score:3, Informative)

    by businessnerd (1009815) on Tuesday January 09, 2007 @05:25PM (#17529170)
    Actually, whether Nouveau successfully releases an open nvidia driver, or nvidia decides to open theirs up, the goal of all of this will have been reached. What the community desperately needs is an open driver for nvidia cards. A large project, like what Nouveau is undertaking, may garner the kind of press necessary to make nvidia change their minds. If nvidia wants any kind of control over what passes as an nvidia driver, it is in their best interests to stop Nouveau by beating them to the punch. You may think that Nouvou had just wasted their time, working on a driver that won't be released, but I see it as Nouveau working on get an open driver released, whether it come from their own developers or nvidia's. It's a win win situation
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 09, 2007 @05:27PM (#17529220)
    http://nouveau.freedesktop.org/wiki/NouveauCompani on_11 [freedesktop.org]

    [...] The pledge mentioned is however not supported by our project. We currently don't need any money and the person who set it up is not connected to our project.


    Congratulations to everyone who pledged to throw money at something that doesn't need any.
  • by fangorious (1024903) on Tuesday January 09, 2007 @05:31PM (#17529322)

    just wait until you card is dropped from the official support and the old driver stops working with some future kernel.

    Open source drivers drop support for devices too. And unless you're a kernel module developer, you're just as much at the mercy of others as you are with a binary driver from the manufacturer.

    Besides, isn't patent licensing part of the reason nVidia and Ati won't release fully OSS drivers? I believe Intel has patents on certain memory bus related technologies which are used by both nVidia and Ati.

  • Re:Huh? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Kalriath (849904) on Tuesday January 09, 2007 @05:36PM (#17529484)
    The project's official website is even more interesting. It explicitly says they have no affiliation with the pledge drive, and don't need money.
  • Re:Huh? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Otter (3800) on Tuesday January 09, 2007 @05:39PM (#17529546) Journal
    In fairness, the Nouveau guys (Heh, I hadn't grasped the name before but that's fairly clever...) aren't asking for money, say they don't need the $10K and make it clear that they're not expecting to have a reliable driver for the Fedora 7 release. The hype isn't their fault and I look forward to seeing what they come up with.
  • by just_another_sean (919159) on Tuesday January 09, 2007 @05:47PM (#17529718) Homepage Journal
    Well when I used nVidia's binary driver on Debian Etch I went through two kernel upgrades and each time I rebooted to begin using the new kernel I was greeted by a console prompt instead of an xdm login screen.

    Now for me that wasn't much of a problem. I sighed, logged in as root, found the original installer I downloaded from NVidia, ran it, agreed to the license, pressed continue and was greeted with a message about missing kernel headers. Sighed again, downloaded linux-headers-`uname -r`, reran NVidia installer, etc, etc, ad nauseum every time I update the kernel.

    As I said, I know why and how I do this but not everyone does and the whole point of bringing true open source 3d graphics to the desktop for Linux users is so they don't have to learn how or why they need to do this.

  • Re:Huh? (Score:3, Informative)

    by runderwo (609077) <runderwo.mail@win@org> on Tuesday January 09, 2007 @06:19PM (#17530414)
    Yes, you are missing something, since you are obviously not following the developer blog: 8 [freedesktop.org] 8 [freedesktop.org]
  • by spinfire (148920) <dpn@isomerica.net> on Tuesday January 09, 2007 @06:37PM (#17530754) Homepage
    One of the problems is that the drivers are x86 only (although there are old and outdated Itanium drivers). Another issue is obsolete video cards. nVidia could one day stop supporting the TNT or GeForce. What do we do then? If there are no open source drivers, we're SOL on updates. If there are open source drivers, then we can make continued improvements when needed.

    You are either misinformed or a liar. The nVidia Linux drivers support x86, x86-64, and IA-64 architectures. This is actually one more architecture than they support on Windows (no IA-64 for Windows systems).

    I agree it would be nice to see open source replacements for the nVidia drivers, but please lets not spread or further any FUD about the current closed source drivers. nVidia has done a nice job with the drives. I use them without issue on two different x86-64 machines (one AMD, one Intel).
  • by dinivin (444905) on Tuesday January 09, 2007 @08:11PM (#17532256)

    And, in case anyone wants a reference:

    http://nvidia.custhelp.com/cgi-bin/nvidia.cfg/php/ enduser/std_adp.php?p_faqid=1971 [custhelp.com]

    Now can we please stop with the BS complaints that nVidia allowed a known security hole to exist in their drivers for two years.
  • by cortana (588495) <sam@NOSPaM.robots.org.uk> on Tuesday January 09, 2007 @09:35PM (#17533284) Homepage
    According to NVIDIA [robots.org.uk], there is no demand at all for free software drivers for NVIDIA hardware.
  • by Peter La Casse (3992) on Tuesday January 09, 2007 @11:03PM (#17534162) Homepage
    You are either misinformed or a liar. The nVidia Linux drivers support x86, x86-64, and IA-64 architectures. This is actually one more architecture than they support on Windows (no IA-64 for Windows systems).

    Or simply imprecise. To rephrase your parent poster, "one of the problems is that the drivers support the x86, x86-64, and IA-64 architectures only." People on other architectures are out of luck.

  • by ratboy666 (104074) <fred_weigel&hotmail,com> on Tuesday January 09, 2007 @11:16PM (#17534246) Homepage Journal
    10,000 seems like a lot of money. Its not. I expect a driver dev to get $70+ per hour, this pays for 143 hours.

    You are not going to get a driver in that amount of time.

    But, I will give you clues. The nVidia chip is pretty high on the OpenGL stack. The chip itself handles most OpenGL primitive operations. It just won't do contexts (nor will the ATI). I don't know the underlying protocol to communicate with the chip, but I would guess it is packet based. Registers would prove far too slow. I would imagine that for OpenGL, VGA, video, and mode support you are looking at almost a thousand "registers" or eqivalents.

    It may be possible to catch the kernel level packet interfaces -- mode setting and VGA extension should be reversable via emulation. But this won't tell you what any of the commands do. You could try iterating OpenGL and comparing generated packets... but...

    Modern chips typically DON'T implement a fixed-function pipeline. So you will have to figure out how OpenGL shader compiler for the chip works (because you have to know the "machine code").

    Good luck for a 4 week driver project. The shader compiler itself is almost a C++ compiler which has to be reversed, the communications format and the packet streams. I would give 10 man-years as a first estimate.

    Or, you could try to get the vendors to "be nice".

    But I won't do it for 10 grand. Sorry.

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