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Old 04-14-05, 07:34 AM   #1
kot
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Default An alternative to supporting all Operating Systems

It is, perhaps, unreasonable to expect a healthy profitable successful company like NVidia to offer drivers for all Operating Systems out there -- and for all the different hardware platforms, these Operating Systems can run on. NetBSD on Mac? OpenBSD/i386? Linux/ppc?

No, this can only be done by a small group of developers, such as the authors of the XFree86/Xorg's nv-driver, which I'm using on FreeBSD/amd64 right now.

Amazingly, the driver's manual page has a COPYRIGHT section with NVidia's 1993-2003 Copyright. Would it be too much to ask, if NVidia could update this open-source driver (and, of course, the Copyright) to, at least, offer a decent 2D experience?

For example, the current lack of multi-monitor (TwinView) support in the open-source driver is a shame...

Opensourcing the full 3D driver is, for whatever reason, out of the question. Fine. But why not release the 2D parts?
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Old 04-14-05, 04:24 PM   #2
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Default Re: An alternative to supporting all Operating Systems

AFAIK, nVidia helped the XF/X.org teams write the 2D driver....
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Old 04-14-05, 08:24 PM   #3
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Default Re: An alternative to supporting all Operating Systems

Haven't you heard? There are amazing and astounding trade secrets in NVidia's 2D hardware which, if released, could bring the hardware giant to it's knee-equivalents!

So you see, they have to be kept up in a locked box with 24/7 security, lest the evil competitor ATI steal the secret and the rivers of profit run dry.
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Old 04-15-05, 11:45 PM   #4
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Default Re: An alternative to supporting all Operating Systems

Nobody loves me.
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Old 04-17-05, 11:54 AM   #5
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Default Re: An alternative to supporting all Operating Systems

Quote:
Originally Posted by silentplummet
Nobody loves me.
Rest assured, I thought it was funny.
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Old 04-18-05, 02:14 AM   #6
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Default Re: An alternative to supporting all Operating Systems

Haha.. ehh. Well, in the world of 800 dollar 3D cards, there maybe is a benefit to screwing over the competition or your consumers with a techie-skim. But, I agree about 2D. The only reason I would guess that they wouldn't update is that the 2D and 3D are partially linked. Which doesn't seem likely. Perhaps twinview has a design that ATI could copy.. and then.. well, who cares really. Perhaps it hasn't been something they've thought or cared about.

I think the whole thing is just rediculous though. Patents on drivers so people aren't able to buy your hardware. That just sucks no matter which way you look at it. Drivers shouldn't be the baby that King Solomon cuts in half. It's pointless.

I hate having to worry about something as rediculous as a software interface for patented hardware. They have the hardware- it can't be copied in a law abiding society. Let the consumer run the damn thing already.

But, no. It's a dagger that you can twist when you want to suddenly enable "optimizations"- and then one up ATI, all the while make your customers realize that you've been selling a card running at half speed for a year.

It makes me want to start selling 8 oz theoretical/16 oz actual bottles of water where you can only drink more than half when the competition starts selling 9oz bottles. In any case, I thought the previous post was funny. Sadly, though, I'm not.
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Old 04-18-05, 06:18 AM   #7
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Default Re: An alternative to supporting all Operating Systems

No issue for 2d the nv driver is opensource and maintained by nvidia it works well. Further there are also other projects working on opensource nvidia 2d/3d drivers, for example Rudolf Cornelissen is working on drivers for Beos. He has already made quite some progress as his 2d driver is already quite a bit faster than the nv driver as he has managed to get DMA working and he was also able to optimize it a bit. He is also working on opengl drivers. The first things are now done in hardware....
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Old 04-18-05, 06:23 AM   #8
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Default Re: An alternative to supporting all Operating Systems

Forget about open source drivers; it would have been nice if anyone in nVidia would have reviewed the code and released bigger chunks of the code. (I doubt that more then 20% of the driver is really NDA'ed/patented).
It would have been nice if instead of having 90% closed source driver + 100% closed source OpenGL library, we had 90% open source driver + 50% open source OpenGL library.
Most of the problems seem to originate from the OS-dependent Linux code and not from the OS-free Linux/Windows code. (Else, most of the problems we see would have manifested themselves in OpenGL software/games under Windows as well)
The Linux OS-dependent code can't possibly jeopardize nVidia's patents or NDAs.

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Old 04-18-05, 06:05 PM   #9
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Default Re: An alternative to supporting all Operating Systems

I think a lot people don't open souce their code strictly to avoid the embarassment of it all.
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Old 04-19-05, 02:07 AM   #10
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Arrow Re: An alternative to supporting all Operating Systems

Quote:
Originally Posted by gilboa
The Linux OS-dependent code can't possibly jeopardize nVidia's patents or NDAs.
I disagree. The specific register values for a given GPU operation is common across all OSes. Knowing what registers and values to poke would allow NVIDIA methodologies and implementation to be apparent, revealing 'trade secrets' to the competition.

NVIDIA doesn't even give out the complete register spec to OEMs with signed NDAs. They just give out specific register descriptions that affect the specific problem faced by the OEM.
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Old 04-19-05, 04:31 AM   #11
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Default Re: An alternative to supporting all Operating Systems

Would you even consider buying a CPU where you have limited access to it's GP registers and/or no GP register documentation? Why should nVidia and ATI be treated otherwise?
Why doesn't AMD or Intel block access to their CPU documentation claiming that HT (and/or AMD64) documentation may allow AMD/Intel methodologies and implementation to be apparent?
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Old 04-19-05, 06:59 PM   #12
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Default Re: An alternative to supporting all Operating Systems

Quote:
Originally Posted by gilboa
Would you even consider buying a CPU where you have limited access to it's GP registers and/or no GP register documentation? Why should nVidia and ATI be treated otherwise?
Why doesn't AMD or Intel block access to their CPU documentation claiming that HT (and/or AMD64) documentation may allow AMD/Intel methodologies and implementation to be apparent?

Now you're just being logical. Stop that. It makes me confused.
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