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Old 12-29-08, 06:39 AM   #13
nevion
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Default Re: Is everyone satisfied?

Not in the least
  • Powermizer isn't integrated into the system well... instead, they're doing their own thing and leaving the users out of the loop as well as the systems software.
  • Howcome they think they can hardlock my machines so often? Userspace anything shouldn't do this.
  • Why must I always choose between interactivity and functionality? There's always some reemerging bug every driver cycle that prevents some basic things (cough suspend) and yet with every new driver iteration they are partially meet general 2d/desktop interactivity performance just a bit more - but still fall behind the likes of software methods or cards from 2000. Don't believe me? See how qt/gtk performs with the nv driver/vesa. Hell, I'd use nv if it had at least xv but its not exactly an alternative without that. Since it doesn't though, I'm forced to choose between a ui which conforms to my usage better or a machine which can suspend/switch terminals/insert your problems here.
  • Come to think of it, how do they keep breaking suspend? Its not like the old hardware is changing.
  • Why do they have such a hard time following standards. So what if they suck, the drivers they make suck already. We can move on when we have drivers that conform to the standards. Its like watching people optimizing when getting the product shipping is what matters - nvidia's efforts are misguided.
  • Why does the driver play hell with the system latency? The driver still screws with RT scheduling.

And to all the people who always reply saying "things are just peachy here," it obviously isn't for others. PEBKAC isn't so frequent with this demographic too (except for many of the "help installing driver" threads, heh) so stop thinking/implying "it works fine for me so it's obviously you". Consider also some people might use their computers differently from your own usage scenarios with completely different environments. Also, what might be a minor annoyance for you may make the difference of night and day for others.

For christ's sake though, its nearly 2009 now, why is the state of the graphics card such a flaming pile of crap? This isn't even a question of proprietary/opensource. I don't see cpu's needing drivers and microcode being opensourced in order to make them work properly - there's simply no tolerance there for this bs. Why should graphics cards be any different?

In conclusion, the situation as a whole sucks and nvidia seems somehow focused on software outperforming them in some cases though they are steadily playing catchup with 1.1 steps forward and one step back at a time - god I hope graphics cards pull their heads out of their ***** soon.

@nvidia: higher more staff. Get into the kernel. Contribute more patches. Get a public bug tracker. Do something, you wear me down and create too much needless suffering in the world. It will be remembered.
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Old 12-29-08, 07:24 AM   #14
mendokusai
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Default Re: Is everyone satisfied?

Yes, I'm satisfied. I was angry with NVidia for about 6 months after I got my 8800GT, because it did take a long time for the drivers to get up to standard, but since the glyph caching and so forth stabilized they've been just fine. My computer works, and performance is adequate.

Oh, I'm not saying everything's perfect, of course. There's plenty of room for improvement. Suspend is broken. Performance in Linux lags behind what I get in Windows. But, seriously, we're talking about what, less than 1% of the desktop market here? NVidia's a company, not a charity. They're putting in as much effort as is justified by the meagre market share of the operating system we choose to use, and they'd be doing a disservice to their shareholders if they did anything more.

As plenty of people have pointed out in this thread, if you want free/open-source drivers then you can buy your graphics cards from one of NVidia's competitors instead. This is called the "free market". It works. Use it, instead of whining about how the world doesn't care about you. If you want NVidia to drop everything and fix your problems, maybe you should try buying hundreds of thousands of their cards, not just one or two...
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Old 12-29-08, 09:32 AM   #15
nevion
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Default Re: Is everyone satisfied?

When the market share argument comes up, why do people always know its <1%. Did you do some type of study to find this? At best I find varying results but they just guarantee it is not the majority - no one knows for sure as its a difficult problem to estimate, but if companies like (lenovo,ibm, dell, asus, hp, msi, hell even walmart) or creating it (novel,ibm,redhat,canonical etc) there has to be a thriving market. And the market share has been growing (doubling) within single years as of late. Thats geometric growth (if sustained), pal. Additionally, the companies developing linux full-time are not usually that small and thus there HAS to be a market to sell to. And on workstations and servers (as opposed to PC) - something has got to go into the video unit. So I don't by it, there is demand.

And here's some numbers from smolt, a new and reliable tally system (prompting people on new installs for opt-in entry/registration): http://smolt.fedoraproject.org/static/stats/stats.html . Keep in mind it is new, and thus, since it is only brought up new fedora and opensuse installs, it is clearly underestimating the total population. Now according to their recent drop from 90 percent pc marketshare, nividia now has ~70% marketshare. You can see the stats from smolt are almost completely laptop and desktop and there are ~200000 machines. Again, this is a gross underestimation of the total population, this is only really for recent fedora and opensuse installs. We're completely forgetting debian/ubuntu/mandriva/arch/gentoo/etc, all whom have non-negligible populations to add to these numbers and all the people who haven't reinstalled or opted-out! I highlight to point out that it is well known in general from statistics that most people will opt-out, case in point, do you take every survey you find? But even at the gross-underestimation of ~.7*200000=140000, that's alot of people to screw over with bad drivers and alot of paying customers. In other words, that's still alot of people, marketshare wise or not and as such there should be a development at an acceptable pace as well as superb drivers to keep the population happy. They should have a wad of developers to match their profits and be the heavyweight party in xorg, pioneering where development goes.

I also made sure not to bring up the foss thing in my previous post - its irrelevant to me - I just want stability and "just works" and no horrible leaks/side effects with OK performance. I also stated that the state of graphics cards as a whole sucks in linux atm. The oss drivers aren't much of a help either(though intel is taking initiative to make the infrastructure better - the benefits won't be seen for another year or two though - ati also has a problem getting specs released to novell and still and lacks 3d acceleration/xv coverage with foss, fglrx still has its problems though I hear its improved greatly over the last year). So I'm pissed that pretty much all choices suck equally. Again, its ~2009! Why isn't this done already and how much longer do we have to bear with the current situation? In this day and age there is more than just opengl needed.
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Old 12-29-08, 12:34 PM   #16
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Default Re: Is everyone satisfied?

@nevion

It's just idiotic myth about Linux marketshare. Few years before they were talking the same. I bet Linux marketshare is only few percent lower than macos, but who can count every Linux machine?

@Lysius

KDE 4 is stable and it's not beta or pre-beta. Every problem I met was due to nvidia drivers. The latest beta fixed some of them like desktop corruption after launching Open Office.

@mendokusai

If you pay for something you get it as charity? What a stupid thinking...
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Old 12-29-08, 12:53 PM   #17
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Default Re: Is everyone satisfied?

@nevion: Forget about nVidia hiring more Linux specific devs, after recently announced layoffs:

http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/0...its-workforce/

Given the worsened state of the economy since that announcement, I don't see them bucking the trend and dedicating new devs to Linux. WYSIWYG.

Historically over the past few years, the focus, especially on this board, has been with high-end gamers, not the 'typical day-to-day' Linux users, of which I am one. That is why there seems to be a focus on adding new features for new boards, rather than stabilizing existing drivers on existing HW.

The latter does not generate any new revenue for nVidia, whereas the former, as long as folks naively buy new high end boards thinking that they will work better and faster on Linux than their older HW, does.

Unfortunately, for those of us with laptops, we essentially have no choice relative to GPUs subsequent to purchase. Thus, we have to make a reasoned decision up front with respect to purchasing new HW, with a crystal ball at our side trying to anticipate what the nature of Linux support will be over the coming 3 to 4 years, which is the estimated life span for most laptops.

I have posted here previously, expressing my frustrations with Linux development, with little to show for it, save the periodic rants in return from those whose priorities are in gaming and who feel that those of us who just want decent 2D performance for day to day use are diverting nVidia resources from their own issues.

Either that or the reactions from folks who believe that we should be happy to get what we get and I don't buy that either. nVidia should provide competent support for its products or get out of this market. If the latter happened, then at least we could make informed decisions and focus on ATI and Intel and stop wasting money and time on the false promise of nVidia. The marketplace, based upon supply and demand, would eventually be shaped by those purchasing decisions, especially given the "more" open way in which both ATI and Intel have moved, enabling more resources within the community to actively participate.

I have just lurked here for quite some time, watching the rapidly increasing number of posts with problems and frustrations, which has not been at all satisfying, as I had hoped that the opposite would occur.

I am on the verge finally of buying a new laptop. At this point, since Dell no longer seems to offer laptops with ATI cards, the only options are either Integrated Intel or nVidia. Since, as Nevion has noted, neither ATI nor Intel is particularly any better than the current state of nVidia support on Linux, I am loathe to spend several thousand dollars on a new laptop to find myself suffering the poor performance that I have experienced over the past couple of years. I will not put up with this crap for the next several years.

As they say, the only good thing about banging your head against the wall, is that it feels so good when you stop.

Thus, unfortunately, after a number of years of Linux use, going back to the RH 8.0 betas in early 2002 and now running Fedora 10, I will be moving to a MacBook Pro in the first quarter. I will not run Windows and my family is MS free (all others run Macs).

While on one level, it pains me to move from Linux, especially to a HW platform that has not just one, but two nVidia GPUs in it, I no longer have the patience to put up with the graphics related loss in productivity in using just basic applications under Linux. Just sitting here writing this post in Firefox as I watch in Conky, Xorg is running at between 25% and 65% CPU. That's absurd and importantly, also affects battery performance, where even with a new battery, I am lucky to get 1.5 hours of life on a full charge.

I will likely install Fedora under a VM on the Mac, using VMWare, Parallels or VirtualBox, just to stay close, but Linux will not be my primary OS for day to day operations.

I hope that perhaps over the next few years, GPU performance on Linux will improve, as I now see this as the key issue that will hinder Linux acceptance on the desktop. The hurdle is no longer largely applications or compatibility with other OS's, as I have been able to do everything that I need to do, both personally and professionally, on Linux working in a heterogeneous OS environment with colleagues and clients. If graphics performance does not improve, then Linux on the desktop is destined for marginal marketshare and that is not an endpoint that I had envisioned for it.
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Old 12-29-08, 01:11 PM   #18
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Default Re: Is everyone satisfied?

People forget that there is a lot of 3D graphics work in government data analysis. I work on contracts for missile defense and our building (which is very large) is full of Linux machines running nvidia cards for our 3D analysis tools (which I produce as a software engineer.) Without Linux and nvidia we would be running Sun's with Solaris and SGI with Irix at a much much higher cost. While Linux has not made a huge impact on the desktop market (though I believe it to be much higher than 1%) it is in wide use in the government and corporate worlds. These guys need 3D support as well and I know they buy tons of nvidia cards.
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Old 12-29-08, 02:19 PM   #19
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@Hyper_Eye: You make a reasonable point. My reaction however, is that if Linux based applications generally within the USG and even just within your industry/company, result in significant Linux related nVidia GPU purchases, then nVidia should be in a position to have dedicated Linux dev and tech support for you and your class of users, without impeding the support of the retail Linux marketplace for the rest of us.

In other words, there should be no conflict between us relative to resource allocation.

That you are posting here, suggests that this is not the case, which raises some fundamental business issues regarding nVidia's Linux development/support model and the underlying economics.

I am a biostatistician and work within clinical trials. R (http://www.r-project.org/) is my primary analytic tool and has been for longer than I have been running Linux.

While I don't engage in it, I am not naive to the needs for high end visualization as I have many colleagues in the drug discovery realm who utilize high end 3D graphics in genomics, proteomics and other related domains. Many are running 64 bit Linux boxes, while many are also running Macs and other workstations. A sister project to R is BioConductor (http://www.bioconductor.org/), which builds upon R and is specific to BioInformatics and is used heavily by those same colleagues.

Thus, I do have a sensitivity to your requirements and that it is not just gamers who need such 3D functionality. Again however, supporting your requirements should not be at the expense of other domains where basic functionality is required, with reasonable stability and performance. That is not a Linux market share issue, but simple dollars and cents relative to the revenues generated specifically from your domain.

Either they are sufficient to justify expensive technical resources at nVidia, or they are not. Based upon your comments, they would seem to be, which as noted, raises the question as to why you are posting here to raise your point.
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Old 12-29-08, 03:51 PM   #20
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Default Re: Is everyone satisfied?

I am also a an avid Linux user at home and use it as my primary OS (OS X would be my secondary.) As a gamer I use nvidia for gaming on my home Linux desktop. Also, I post in technical forums frequently and generally do so without trying to solve issues of my own.

I simply was reading this thread and saw the remark on Linux desktop market share. I think that people tend to think Linux and the need for nvidia within is limited to the desktop market (which has only been penetrated by Linux to a certain extent) but it is not. The fact is that Linux has penetrated the professional market much more deeply than the desktop market. These are markets where Unix has always been at the head of the pack and there is a lot of software written there that companies don't want to rewrite. So when looking for viable alternatives to their expensive Unix machines Linux on cheap PC hardware (in comparison to proprietary Unix machines) look very attractive. This is where Linux has been most successful as servers, development platforms, and analysis platforms. As these systems are utilized to run the volumes of Unix software already written the same companies also develop new software on them as they are available and able. Today these applications tend to be graphical and many of them are 3d. This is where nvidia comes in. I have seen only a handful of ATI cards in these environments but I have seen tons of nvidia cards.

As for the topic of the OP... I am pretty happy with the current state of the latest beta drivers.
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Old 12-29-08, 08:46 PM   #21
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Default Re: Is everyone satisfied?

For linux market share - I was trying to ignore the server market as I know linux holds a strong presence there and instead chose to focus on the PC market. As smolt's numbers indicate, there are nearly 200k machines (desktops/laptops) running fedora 9/10 and opensuse 11.1. These are fresh installs that are counted only with the opt-in system and as I pointed out before, a gross under-estimation of the true overall linux desktop market. Now the corporate environment is fine with locked down everything as long as they get CUDA and can render opengl acceptably. So requirements from here are sporadic and not particularly huge - once they get it working they can forget about it as it then works to corporate computing needs.

But looking at strictly the desktop/laptop market, there are at least a million+ customers out there - and this is a demographic you want to keep on your side. With over a million customers - there should be a much stronger developer presence with substantially better drivers. I also disagree that crappy drivers with experimental-not-supported-except-on-bleeding-edge-hardware feature support are needed to guarantee a good revenue stream (though new features on new hw alone shouldn't hurt). Take a look again at the cpu market - still going strong. Better hardware existing for an affordable price is all that is required to generate sales, people who need the performance increase will always come and no matter the optimizations made in the driver or not, it will never be enough. This is true for game and corporate markets and why we constantly have better hardware offerings in general. But instead having a driver that sucks (especially more-so towards the newer hardware) is just painful and unneeded. It should just be stable and work reliably. Its not like the hardware isn't competitive with amd/ati too, so a reliable stable driver that works ontop of superior hardware should still come out on top. With better treatment of the customers, I don't see why they wouldn't be able to gain >=99% marketshare and even keep that marketshare through any hiccups they might have in the future. This half-***** approach seems like a disservice to shareholders as its not like they can't make a killing in the linux market with superior products/drivers.
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Old 01-02-09, 01:58 PM   #22
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Default Re: Is everyone satisfied?

Since marketshare has been discussed in this thread, let me put forth some new numbers, at least in so far as desktop Linux is concerned. Based upon the latest report from Net Applications:

http://marketshare.hitslink.com/oper...e.aspx?qprid=8

Desktop Linux has a 0.85% marketshare.

One can argue that this number is either pessimistic or optimistic, depending upon one's agenda.

With that figure and various assumptions regarding nVidia's Linux related proportion of sales (?), nVidia's annual revenues (~4 *B*illion dollars) and nVidia's post layoff employee base (~5,000), one could engage in some hypotheticals regarding Linux related revenue and how many employees nVidia should have dedicated to Linux driver development and support.

By the way, for Linux related sales, one has to place a lot of weight on sales for computers that are sold predominantly with Windows installed, which are then converted to Linux. That is likely the case for most Linux desktops/laptops, even though some vendors are selling systems with Linux pre-installed.

As far as I can tell, nVidia has no significant sales and marketing efforts targeted to Linux and that hardware R&D expenses would be largely born and subsidized by development for other applications. The same would be the case for product distribution.

In addition, since nVidia's Linux related support efforts are provided here, rather than at nVidia.com's forums, unless nVidia is paying Mike Chambers (this site's owner) to help defray his expenses, nVidia has no significant support infrastructure costs in so far as communications to end users. Hopefully, they are compensating Mike in some real fashion.

Thus, given whatever revenues and employees are allocated to Linux related activities, the majority should reasonably be focused on driver development and support, not "ancillary activities".

I am guessing that whatever the hypothesized numbers end up being, Linux driver development and support is underserved given nVidia's actual internal allocation of Linux related resources. In other words, I am guessing that somewhere in the neighborhood of at least 30 employees focused on Linux could be justified and that in reality, there are probably half of that, if that, actually in place.

There should also be at least one nVidia person focused on interacting with Linux kernel development and at least one also focused on interacting with Xorg development. Both of those activities critically impact the functionality and stability of the nVidia Linux drivers and there is no reason why nVidia should not be closer to them that what we tend to see, at least publicly, here.

The same should be the case for interacting with the Fedora and Ubuntu communities, which are arguably the two predominant Linux desktop distributions in place. At least for Fedora, I have seen Lonnie (Netllama here) post periodically to the Fedora lists. I don't follow Ubuntu, so I don't know there. I do see that Lonnie has not posted here in some time, so perhaps his focus has shifted.

Feel free to challenge my assumptions.
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Old 01-02-09, 03:54 PM   #23
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Default Re: Is everyone satisfied?

mschwartz,
I've seen that report as well and I don't find it as believable or as supported as the databases of unique machines like smolt (there are several other databases out there and there should be a merging of the data...). But, even if it is .87 after all, despite ratios, its still a hella lot of people according to the real numbers found out in the wild. Thats the problem with ratios is that one can lose the meaning in terms of real people affected and not just the global picture. In this way it's arguable a million people or so are affected, even if they are <1%. Thus I'd say there should be some initiative on a scale of the population to support that base. But I can definitely say that I can agree it should be 30 or so (up to about 50 w/ a 3/2 split of devs to qa would be my personal ideal). I'm not expecting a gigantic team but from this forum it would seem maybe 10 people tops? I'm basing this off of the developers/qa that reply to this forum actively, since it is always the same base and doubling the number for good measure of the combined number of qa (assuming they just aren't borrowing windows division) and linux devs. Take that basis as a grain of salt but there isn't much information/data in the while to estimate better as far as I can tell.

No one is in consensus about linux's marketshare though and there are unforeseen problems with direct sales as you mentioned since windows tax is usually non-negotiable. About the only other thing trustworthy in my opinion besides machine-based registration databases is user-agent statistics over something nearly every demographic uses, like google, yahoo, msn (with a breakdown of how many users are of each class of user so they are weighted appropriately). However, sales misclassifies users, useragent tracking has duplication errors (+probably other varying issues), and the opt-in registration underestimates by an unknown amount but you are guaranteed no less than this amount since the error/duplication is essentially nil. Each has something negative that doesn't do well for linux, but I find the lower-bound the hardware registration method provides to be the most useful information. After all, a big number representing a lower-bound is still a big number. It's also reasonable to assume the real number is bigger.
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Old 01-02-09, 05:16 PM   #24
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Default Re: Is everyone satisfied?

I'll invite the wrath of the crowd by saying that I'm happy

I've used Linux for 10 years, and for quite a lot of that time, I've been using nvidia hardware and drivers; they've consistently been head and shoulders above anything else. There have been bumps along the way of course, remember the long time period when the kernel changed from 8kB stacks and it broke the nvidia drivers?

But for all of the numbers that get bandied about, Linux support isn't going to be making much money for nvidia and certainly threats of moving to ATI or Intel won't change nvidia's direction... I suspect that nvidia's Linux support is more to do with high-profile graphics companies than home desktop users!

For the last year I've been trying to get a really top-notch HTPC setup going with Linux. MythTV with CPU decoding doesn't meet my requirements. I was even keen to get involved with software development work, and I got myself an AMD780G and an Intel G45 motherboard to work with. What a joke! The AMD documentation is almost useless for those outside the NDA wall, and Intel's open-source efforts are fine as long as you're an insider because they don't publish a roadmap of what direction they're going in (I suspect this is because they don't know themselves).

Believe me, the fglrx driver is not the answer (even with their super-secret video acceleration library) and I don't personally believe Intel will ever publish the video acceleration details for their chips. IP concerns? Possibly, but I really don't care; I just want a solution that works. And yes dammit, I will give up my "freedom to tinker" if that solution is closed-source.

So nvidia releases VDPAU, and while it's incomplete right now, it is a huge tangible step in the right direction. Importantly I have confidence that it will be improved over time, and that by the time MythTV 0.22 is released, we should have a truly viable GPU-accelerated Linux HTPC solution.

Am I hoping for improvements? Yep, I sure am. Am I satisfied at the moment? Very.
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