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Old 02-03-11, 06:01 AM   #1
ShiningArcanine
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Default Would Nvidia publish documentation for its old hardware?

I have a GeForce Go 7900 GS in my laptop and 2D performance in KDE has always been slow. On the other hand, my desktop with a GeForce GTS 250 runs KDE 4.6 with Windows-like smoothness. I recently discovered that I can run gtkperf benchmarks to quanitfy how extraordinarily slow my GeForce Go 7900 GS is and the performance is unacceptable.

While my desktop's 2D performance is good, it is increasingly obvious to me that as the Linux graphics stack advances, I will find myself in a position where a new driver will introduce some sort of regression that never gets fixed, the old driver will stop being usable do to changes to the X server and the new driver that has the regression will become the legacy driver that Nvidia maintains for my hardware.

Upgrading is a workaround, but upgrades should never be when the powers that be decide to break the graphics stack. It is in Nvidia's best interest to avoid such situations because forced upgrades have the effect of sending customers to competitors and given the lack of 2D graphics issues that their competitors have, those customers won't come back. It simply does not matter manner how many 3D operations a graphics cards can do if it cannot do something as trivial as render a 2D desktop environment.

With that in mind, would Nvidia institute a policy of publishing documentation for old (i.e. 3 years old or older) hardware so that open source developers can develop drivers for it? Doing that would allow open source developers to address these issues and benefit Nvidia from the halo effect that insulation against forced upgrades provides. If Nvidia does not publish this documentation, then I and many other people experiencing 2D performance issues will buy AMD graphics cards from now on. Buying a Nvidia graphics card is not worth the risk of having it be good today and garbage tomorrow.
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Old 02-03-11, 02:23 PM   #2
artem
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Default Re: Would Nvidia publish documentation for its old hardware?

First of all, these forums are run by NVIDIA Linux users and a few NVIDIA Linux engineers/programmers which have no voice/necessary privileges to even raise this question.

Secondly, if you are not interested in playing games, you might want to consider using open source nouveau driver which provides excellent 2D support for most NVIDIA cards.

Thirdly, if you still insist on NVIDIA opening their old hardware documentation, you should address yourself to Mr. Jen-Hsun Huang, Jonah M. Alben or Dr. Ranga Jayaraman.

Fourthly, there's already been a petition for that with over 10 thousand people signed and NVIDIA just ignored it.

Fifthly, NVIDIA doesn't care about users running 1) ancient hardware 2) Linux (it's not entirely true - they care about their corporate users who use NVIDIA products for cloud computing, including rendering and animation).

Sixthly, releasing such a documentation is a burden for NVIDIA: they have to allocate engineers who will write it, review it, make sure it doesn't include any patents, go through their lawyers on that - if you think it's just a matter of their wish - you are largely wrong, releasing these documents will cost them a lot of money. And I bet they just don't want to waste money this way.

I hope I have answered your questions.

P.S. NVIDIA drivers for their current hardware are the best in Linux. ATI and Intel drivers are nowhere near close.
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Old 02-03-11, 10:27 PM   #3
ShiningArcanine
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Default Re: Would Nvidia publish documentation for its old hardware?

First, they can pass on the feedback to someone who can.

Second, that suggestion is a stab in the dark; you do not know whether or not I play games. Furthermore, the notion of using the nouveau driver for a laptop graphics card is foolish. Power consumption increases by 10 watts at idle. If the nouveau driver could provide what I needed via reverse engineering, I would have started using it when I switched to Gentoo Linux from Windows 7 instead of allowing myself to suffer for more than a year.

Third, if I had their contact information, I would certainly send them my thoughts. If you would like to suggest contacting people, then perhaps you would like to do the research on how to contact them.

Fourth, that petition did not have my argument.

Fifth, if you read what I said, you would know that they should care. It is not really good to annoy end-users when some of them make purchasing decisions for major corporations. As long as those people use computers, keeping them happy by ensuring a good experience for them should be Nvidia's top priority.

Sixth, Intel releases specifications on their processors all the time. Nvidia should not have any patent issues in releasing documentation. It is not like they are giving away their hardware schematics.

I hope you understand that I neither asked questions nor wanted someone to interject answers to imaginary questions that I did not ask.

P.S. Nvidia's drivers are only good as long as you are not affected by a major performance regression. If you are affected by a major performance regression, the relative quality of graphics drivers for competitor's hardware becomes much higher than Nvidia's quality. It is relativity.
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Old 02-04-11, 10:14 AM   #4
artem
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Default Re: Would Nvidia publish documentation for its old hardware?

You've ignored all my arguments, in fact it seems like you just don't understand/care what I wrote.

That's OK with me but don't except people caring about your messages/requests if you are so pathologically ignorant.
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