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Old 05-17-04, 07:55 AM   #1
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Default Differences between the linux and Win nvidia driver!

So what are the differences, to me they seem totally different after all would a Windows dev be able to program a Linux driver?.

russofris

If they are so simular then what would be the point of opensourcing the driver as nvidia useally has a high standard driver dev anyway, Your comments are welcome.
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Old 05-17-04, 08:02 AM   #2
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Default Re: Differences between the linux and Win nvidia driver!

Try searching for "High level language" and "Cross Platform"
Often code compilation is a matter of setting a flag as to what the target platform is.
Look at GIMP / GTK
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Old 05-17-04, 08:56 AM   #3
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Default Re: Differences between the linux and Win nvidia driver!

"High level language" ?
By definition, drivers are low-level. I doubt graphics card drivers are going to be written in the likes of java or perl - or even C++. When your drivers are constantly being benchmarked against the competition, a few loops of optimised SSE code may well be worth it.

I also find the comparison to GIMP and GTK a bit far fetched - apps and widgets are not drivers.
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Old 05-17-04, 08:59 AM   #4
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Default Re: Differences between the linux and Win nvidia driver!

Quote:
Originally Posted by SuLinUX
So what are the differences, to me they seem totally different after all would a Windows dev be able to program a Linux driver?.

russofris

If they are so simular then what would be the point of opensourcing the driver as nvidia useally has a high standard driver dev anyway, Your comments are welcome.
Well, as I said in the other thread, I believe that the core driver source code is mostly the same. Then of course there is some "glue" around the driver which hooks the driver up to the operating system. This "glue" obviously has to be different on Linux and Windows as these are two entirely different operating systems. As long as the core driver source code and this "glue" code are kept separated I don't see any reason why updates made by the Windows driver developers in the core driver would not be possible to apply to the Linux driver too.


I don't understand the logic in your second question, though.
What does similarities between the Linux and Windows drivers have to do with whether it would be beneficial to open source the driver or not?!
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Old 05-17-04, 10:03 AM   #5
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Default Re: Differences between the linux and Win nvidia driver!

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Originally Posted by Evil Penguin
I don't understand the logic in your second question, though.
What does similarities between the Linux and Windows drivers have to do with whether it would be beneficial to open source the driver or not?!
Because nvidia know how to dev drivers well and if they are simular to Windows then they shouldbe of a high quality(which they are anyway in my opinion). Opensourcing the driver help fix bugs but since when has that stops Windows users hacking the driver to solve such bugs?.
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Old 05-17-04, 10:20 AM   #6
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Default Re: Differences between the linux and Win nvidia driver!

Quote:
Originally Posted by SuLinUX
Because nvidia know how to dev drivers well and if they are simular to Windows then they shouldbe of a high quality(which they are anyway in my opinion). Opensourcing the driver help fix bugs but since when has that stops Windows users hacking the driver to solve such bugs?.
Well, sure, to some extent it is possible to modify the binaries, but it's generally a lot more time consuming and simply much harder.

And yes, I believe it has often stopped Windows users who were interested in investigating bugs they encountered in the driver from solving these problems.
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Old 05-17-04, 05:06 PM   #7
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Default Re: Differences between the linux and Win nvidia driver!

First I hope this doesn't lead to another opensource flamewar

Nvidia uses a crossplatform architecture in which about 90% of the code is shared between all platforms. In the case of the kernel module the "opensource" part is the "glue" and for the rest the binary part of it, is that crossplatform stuff. In the case of the 2d driver I'm not sure if much is shared as X works differently with some things. In case of the opengl part ofcourse a lot is shared as allmost all those gl calls exist on both platforms with the exception of some GLX specific ones.

Opening the drivers would mean revealing the source code to not just their Linux drivers but also to Windows, OSX, FreeBSD and drivers for some other OSes they have "secret" drivers for. Even if you have the source fixing bugs is VERY difficult if you don't have hardware docs. Even if you have those it is still hard if you aren't an nvidia employee.
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Old 05-17-04, 05:35 PM   #8
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Default Re: Differences between the linux and Win nvidia driver!

first and foremost, lets get something out of the way -- the nvidia drivers will never be open source; so arguing for it is almost as if you're poruing your heart out to the wall next to you. the reason why is because nvidia is not legally permitted to do that as per non disclosure agreements set down by other companies associated with nvidia.

the major differences between the windows and linux versions of the drivers reside in the extras that come with nvidia's drivers. along with that is some of the advanced instructions that the GPU's have; some of them aren't permitted to be coded into linux by some unknown agreement with an unknown place. i really dont know the details on it, but as far as i can tell as an end user, the linux drivers generally look identical to the windows drivers.

the only bug i've ever encountered is trying to run 3d applications while xenerama is enabled, when screen0 istop screen1 the engine initializes on the top card and attempts to run (with total falure) on the bottom screen. i'm still not sure wether or not to blame nvidia or XFree for this though.

i guess there may be some other things, but i personally have never noticed any of them.

edit: i forgot my source, but this is all information i got a while back -- if you want i will look it up
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Old 05-18-04, 06:49 AM   #9
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Default Re: Differences between the linux and Win nvidia driver!

Quote:
"High level language" ?
By definition, drivers are low-level. I doubt graphics card drivers are going to be written in the likes of java or perl - or even C++. When your drivers are constantly being benchmarked against the competition, a few loops of optimised SSE code may well be worth it.
thats what compilers are for and they have come a long way in the last 10 years.
My guess would be that >90% of the drivers are C/C++ based, look at some of the FOSS embeded projects.

Quote:
I also find the comparison to GIMP and GTK a bit far fetched - apps and widgets are not drivers.
Thats what I meant, the functionality, the stuff behind the widgets is still the same on what ever platform.
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