Originally Posted by netllama
The next driver release will not be today or tomorrow (or this week). It will be several weeks from now.
Perhaps, not the good thread to post answer...Feel free to move it.
First, sorry for being upset.
Secondly, I'm sorry, Lonni, for being rude. You're not the target of this message. I always appreciate the help you can provide on this forum and the discussions we had elsewhere. Fell free to send this message to you boss or anyone taking decisions regarding NVidia and Linux.
Why being upset ?
Why nvidia doesn't give (or distribute with a special agreement or ...) beta drivers to Linux Community ?. All around we have problems with current drivers: either buggy, or not supporting newest cards etc.
Even if development of "release" drivers takes time (being a developer, I can understand it), we (users) can also understand that beta drivers won't work as expected and contain bugs. But what are those bugs beside a limited but functional system (ex: just starting an X server on a 7300. No 3D accel, no fancy stuff. Just having a framebuffer !) ?
If I want stability, I can buy "old" cards and use "old" drivers with "old" kernels. But if for any reason, one element in the system requires updated drivers 'let's say audio or network), you get stuck.
Let me illustrate this:
For example,we have the following problem. We have a Gigabyte motherboard with GeForce6150/nforce 430 on it. Nice stuff but : driver 8178 doesn't work well on this card. So we added a GeForce 6200TC to it and disabled builtin 6150. This way, we can use 7174 drivers which work quite well.
That's what I call a "stability" choice.
Here's where it becomes tricky:
- 7174 driver doesn't work with kernel >=2.6.15 (7174 is not maintained for recent kernels and causes kernel stack traces: the 8178 was patched to avoid this, but not 7174....)
- audio chip only works with recent alsa versions (>=184.108.40.206)
- forcedeth requires also newer sources (>0.49)
At the end it becomes really tricky to get something to work.
Should we buy "old" motherboards to get it work ? Probably, but we need hundreds of these and they're not manufactured anymore ! (ask ASUS, Gigabyte, MSI ... for a motherboard lifetime)
NB: we have the same problems with ALL Geforce6150/nforce 430 motherboards around: we tested Gigabyte, MSI and ASUS. No luck: none better than others => that's not a bios problem, or a manufacturer problem: it's really a problem with nvidia drivers and timeframe for releases.
If I add that my company is trying to build a set-top-box prototype which could lead to thousands installed solutions, you can understand that I'm quite nervous on stability problems. It's not just a "gamer" problem who can't get 8000FPS on it's card ! It's a professional solution which works well on 6150 but we can't sell because of stability and bugs of nvidia drivers !
We've tested nearly ALL possible combinations with :
- 6 different motherboards (ASUS/MSI/Gigabyte/Foxconn),
- 5 different nvidia cards (from 6150 to 6600),
- 3 different drivers (7174,7676,8178),
- 8 different kernels (from 2.6.13 to 220.127.116.11)
during nearly 6 months.
Imagine all the stability tests and developpement efforts we had to give just to workaround a driver bug (8178 for GeForce 6150 is buggy: no antialiasing, sync/vblank problems, freezes ...) and finally try to get a stable system.
That's not realistic ! And even now, we have something running quite fine, it's just because we have a dual GPU box (6150+6200 with 6150 disabled) ! Finally, I could believe that buggy 8178 drivers are just a good marketing strategy for nvidia: 2 GPUS/box instead of 1 ;-) . But it's not acceptable for us.
And again, even if we're happy with this funky hardware we assembled and tested in 5 months, we have more and more troubles to find 6200TC cards which are being quickly replaced by 7300 (not supported anywhere !).
Conclusion: as soon as we have a working box, we can't be sure we'll be able to sell it more than 1 or 2 months simply because of GPU disponibility !
If nvidia just gave beta drivers (as for Windows!), I could make all the stuff work with a recent kernel (18.104.22.168 or even 2.6.16-rcX) and no patch-o-patch stuff. This way, I could be sure of our hardware choices. When nvidia would release the driver, we could release our solution (of course, end customer shouldn't have beta drivers in its box). But giving beta drivers would help all developpers around too.
At the time of writing, we have prototypes running nvidia chips with 7174 or 8178 drivers. But I can't be sure the hardware is good and stable for our application => if nvidia doesn't do something quickly, we'll have to switch to something else ! Our market is ready and waiting for us. I just hope it will wait until nvidia releases it's new driver...
I know there's a developper program which perhaps gives access to beta drivers (I'm even not sure that Linux drivers are available). I registered myself 2 months ago and no answer (not even a confirmation mail !).
IS THAT NVIDIA'S CONCEPTION OF CUSTOMER SERVICE ?
I'm going to call the French NVidia Office too, even if I already know the silly answer I'll get ("we can't do anything bla bla bla not responsible bla bla bla linux ? what's that ? bla bla beta only for window$ bla bla bla bla...")
Finally, I'm just very happy not to have spent precious time in january to try to reproduce 3D problems we have with GF6150: by coding some repro case programs and taking time for it, I'm quite sure I would'nt have received any patch for current driver as a reward (and not even a beta one).
So, why pay for something which is not supported in "normal" timeframes ? First motherboards with 6150 came out in september 05. 6 (SIX !) months later, nVidia is not able to provide a working driver for it. That's just taking customers for milk cows (as we say in France ;-)). I wouldn't buy a 7900 now for sure if I can expect having it running well only in 2007...
NVidia shouldn't claim a support for Linux in these conditions. And specially, NVidia shouldn't use Linux as a marketing argument.
It's not fair. It's just a lie. People must know it.