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View Poll Results: What driver do you use ?
I use the binary driver and use 3d acceleration. 90 67.67%
I use the binary driver but don't really need 3d acceleration. 14 10.53%
I use the free driver and actually "need" acceleration. 26 19.55%
I use the free driver and don't really need 3d acceleration. 3 2.26%
Voters: 133. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 07-26-06, 08:57 AM   #13
evilghost
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Default Re: Opinions on driver license

Quote:
Originally Posted by gnutux
WHO CARES?!?! SERIOUSLY!!
I care.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gnutux
I use the binary drivers because I use 3D acceleration and I could care less about open sourcing it.
It appears you care as well else you would have said could'nt care less.
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Old 07-26-06, 09:09 AM   #14
SaTaN0rX
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Default Re: Opinions on driver license

Quote:
Originally Posted by acreal
That's the first line : "I use the binary driver and use 3d acceleration."

If the free driver was feature complete, nobody (or few) would use the binary driver. Distros would ship with the free driver and people would have no reason to look further.
well, "feature complete" includes the same performance.

remember:

ATi has opened the specs for their 8500, and the DRI driver was
written. Later, ATi released the FireGL8800, together with their closed source
frglx driver. ppl figured out how to get the frglx driver working with the
8500, and switched drom dri to frglx due to the added performance.

The end of the story: ATi concentrated on the frglx driver, and kept te specs
for the newer generation cards closed.

IMHO For most persons out there (that really need 3D) , performance is more
important then "free" (as in freedom, blah)

where really need 3D means for gaming, CAD, etc ... i think even via integrated
is fast enough for 3D desktop eyecandy or OpenGL screensavers, but if you really
need performance, then most will accept closed source.

ok, and: open source drivers will always offer less performance, because:
*) open source programmers want to write high quality, maintainable code instead of adding ugly hacks that increase performance
*) open source programmers tend to fix "bugs" like doing lot of stuff in
hard interrupt context, or programming the whole opengl core in the kernel. This could make the system more responsive and stable, but leads to decreased performance
*) open source programmers can't look in te codebase of games, and add tweaks for games based upon this knowledge. (as long as games are closed source )

PS: please don't start a flamewar, now. This statement respects my oppinon,
and is not the objective truth, i'm aware of that.

I know that there are people out there that think that a free driver is worth a
performance degradation. The only thing i'm trying to say is that this people
are the minority.

Still, i might be wrong. To proove my these, you could start a poll:
would you accept less performance for a free driver? yes/no
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Old 07-26-06, 10:31 AM   #15
acreal
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Default Re: Opinions on driver license

Interesting post SaTarNOrX, though i disagree on most points.

Quote:
well, "feature complete" includes the same performance.
Yes, of course, or at least in the same range. Though the main criteria is probably being able to do what we wanna do without problems/slowdowns etc.

Quote:
IMHO For most persons out there (that really need 3D) , performance is more important then "free" (as in freedom, blah)
IMO too.

Now about the "fact" that open source drivers are de facto less performant, if found them doubtful, to say the least.

Quote:
*) open source programmers want to write high quality, maintainable code instead of adding ugly hacks that increase performance
Hmm... generalization is often misleading Besides, i don't know where you get the idea you need ugly hacks to increase performance.

Quote:
*) open source programmers tend to fix "bugs" like doing lot of stuff in hard interrupt context, or programming the whole opengl core in the kernel. This could make the system more responsive and stable, but leads to decreased performance
Actually SoftIRQs/Tasklets increase performance. Because deferring non-critical work in interrupt handlers ensures lower response times for, well, critical tasks. This is essential for network throughput.

About GL, is it a userspace library, so you may be confusing this with DRI and DRM the framework allowing for fast and secure acces to graphic hardware (and designed to speed up GL operations).

Quote:
*) open source programmers can't look in the codebase of games, and add tweaks for games based upon this knowledge. (as long as games are closed source )
Well neither the drivers' writers, nor Microsoft does have access to the code of those games, so they can't really add these "magical tweaks" either.

Quote:
I know that there are people out there that think that a free driver is worth a performance degradation. The only thing i'm trying to say is that this people are the minority.
Agree.
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Old 07-26-06, 07:58 PM   #16
golding
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Default Re: Opinions on driver license

Read this < http://www.kroah.com/log/linux/ols_2006_keynote.html >.

I do care, and am wondering, Is the closed section of the driver actually linked in any way to the module? Does it 'call' the kernel api or just add function to the open parts via software? I can 'read' the source for the module code, do is this actually a GPL violation or not?

The problem, as I see it, is that nobody at nVidia has actually come out and ratified what PRECISELY happens when you compile the module. AFAIAA, the binary section remains separate from the module, therefore is not in violation. Is this true, or am I justifying it so I can use the driver with a clear conscience?
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Old 07-27-06, 02:46 AM   #17
Robster
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Default Re: Opinions on driver license

Quote:
Originally Posted by golding
Does it 'call' the kernel api or just add function to the open parts via software? I can 'read' the source for the module code, do is this actually a GPL violation or not?

The problem, as I see it, is that nobody at nVidia has actually come out and ratified what PRECISELY happens when you compile the module.
Well, you can read the source and the compiling instructions, which should tell you PRECISELY what happens. That is, if you can read that stuff

It's a grey area that has people drawing battle lines all over the place. From my understanding, using (open-source) glue to stick a binary module to the kernel is a GPL violation, but I'm OK because *I* compile the glue code and create the final kernel, and I don't distribute the end result to anyone. Distros that ship pre-compiled modules to users would be actually in violation.

Morally? Who knows... I'm not in charge of anyone's conscience but my own

In the end though, I support nVidia's position of keeping their code under wraps, and if the kernel were modified to make it *technically* difficult to link nVidia's binary driver, I'd hack the kernel to remove that obstruction.
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Old 07-27-06, 06:25 AM   #18
SaTaN0rX
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Default Re: Opinions on driver license

Quote:
Originally Posted by acreal

Actually SoftIRQs/Tasklets increase performance. Because deferring non-critical work in interrupt handlers ensures lower response times for, well, critical tasks. This is essential for network throughput.
Yes, i totally agree.
It is a question on what is called performance, and how to prioritize things.

an example (found on windows):

under certain circumstances, sound with the new X-Fi series is totaly choped.
creative says that in this cases the gfx card eats up all available memory
bandwith for huge amount of times, and the on-chip audio buffer on the
X-Fi underruns. Let's assume creative is right.

This is of course an undesirable situation for most users. BUT:

There are limited ressources (in this example memory bandwith).
The graphic cards devotes all ressources to itself, with the highest priority.
This gives more fps than if the soundcards gets enough bandwith, and
most benchmarkers don't wirte that sound w/ the X-Fi was chopped in that
benchmark.

If the driver was open source, somebody would fix the situation, leading to
less fps.

thats the same with SoftIRQs and tasklets. somebdy would give the sound card's IRQ a higher priority, as the soundacrd driver only directs the soundcard to a new buffer, which is less work on the one hand, on the other
hand giving complex things of the gfx driver a higher priority could make sound
choppy. The same goes with network latency as well.

The fact is that with an open source driver there would be more sort of
"balanced system performance" (hw should i call it??), whereas an closed source
driver would deliver more fps (at the expense of other things).

not that the latter is more desirable, but if you look on raw fps numbers in benchmarks ...

Quote:
About GL, is it a userspace library, so you may be confusing this with DRI and DRM the framework allowing for fast and secure acces to graphic hardware (and designed to speed up GL operations).
i know of that.

i am talking about nvidias implementation, which has at least some part of the opengl core inside the kernel. (the nvidia module has 5MB!)
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Old 07-27-06, 12:40 PM   #19
Original_PQ
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Default Re: Opinions on driver license

If there would be an open source, free, driver for nvidia cards supporting 3D, but only at 50% of the speed the current binary driver offers, I would take the open source choice immediately, without hesitation. At least someone seems to be trying to get it done: < http://nouveau.freedesktop.org/wiki/ >

I have even been thinking of switching my GF4Ti4800 to an Ati 9200-series card, as those should have an open source 3d-support. Now if someone just sold me one...

This is on my home computer, where I rarely actually need 3D, but sometimes I do play games. I work in Lappeenranta University of Technology and I do stuff that nowadays requires 3D-acceleration. Even there I would switch to free nvidia drivers if they would provide just enough power to get my work going. And if a free driver would exist for any middle-class or better graphics card, that vendor would get my love. And money. Do you know any? I don't.

From recently I will do everything I can to avoid buying hardware that requires closed source drivers. Closed source user space parts I would probably accept, but not in the kernel, not anymore.

The link golding posted is a pearl, and here's another one:
< http://marc.theaimsgroup.com/?l=linu...8006232564&w=2 >

I know I may have to wait for a long time, but in the mean time I will be watching < http://wiki.duskglow.com/tiki-index....=Open-Graphics >, who knows, maybe I'll end up bying their devel board.
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Old 07-27-06, 11:28 PM   #20
d13f00l
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Default Re: Opinions on driver license

Open source drivers would be pretty cool..however....it would be impossible.

IP and Patent laws would have to drastically change in the US. Nowadays, you can patent just about anything in the US, even ideas and concepts.

I don't really respect the concept of intellectual property. The words combined themselves don't make sense. "Property" generally implies that what it's describing is tangible...

I'm all for copyrights, but I would LOVE to see a major overhaul in the US Patent Office and patent law.
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Old 07-28-06, 06:28 PM   #21
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Default Re: Opinions on driver license

Nvidia is in a high risk position right now with the AMD+ATI thing. Nvidia could become Intel's best friend.... not sure. If AMD+ATI releases there drivers as "free" (FOSS), might be wise for Nvidia to scorch the earth first (just a hint). There's many reasons to do this.... we'll see what Nvidia does next. My guess is that they've got so much to worry about now that Linux users just dropped another couple of notches. Nvidia needs to remember where many of these Linux folks work (high tech, often decision makers in corporate IT).
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Old 07-29-06, 02:43 AM   #22
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Default Re: Opinions on driver license

Quote:
Originally Posted by cjcox
If AMD+ATI releases there drivers as "free" (FOSS),
Is there any sign this would happen? ATI's drivers are binary-only too.

Sometimes I wish all this whining about free drivers would stop. When you want your free driver, write it. Or setup your own video card manufacturing company that makes boards and gives free drivers with them.

I fully understand the need to hide trade secrets and as long as the manufacturer tracks kernel developments (like nvidia and vmware do) I am happy to include binary modules in the kernel.
(this, for example, means I won't buy adaptec controllers for which that company releases binary drivers at the time the product is developed, and then never updates them when new kernels appear. so you are stuck)

I think instead of whining about free drivers, we better ask for more features (in-line with the features available in Windows). That is more constructive.
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Old 07-29-06, 04:23 AM   #23
Original_PQ
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pe1chl
When you want your free driver, write it. Or setup your own video card manufacturing company that makes boards and gives free drivers with them.
I would do those things if I just could. I believe many other people would do that too. The problem is, it is extremely hard or impossible in the current situation. Why is nouveau not already having a somewhat working driver, even when there are FOSS drivers for BeOS that support even 3D in some sense?

I am almost (meaning not quite) wishing that the binary drivers would just die. It would put more pressure to develop FOSS drivers.

Yesterday I updated to Wine 0.9.18, and it froze my home computer totally. I snapped. I deleted every trace of the nvidia binary driver, and switched X.org to the free nv driver. I practically lost 3D-support. I lost the second head on my display card. Yet, I feel releaved. TV-card overlay works fine. Now I can update the kernel more often and more recent versions, as I know I can complain, if something breaks. Having a single illegal driver in the kernel prevented me from getting help and denied even the possibility to give anything back to the kernel community. And now I can use the latest X.org.

Unfortunately I cannot do that at work, because there I depend on 3D-acceleration.

I think I am going to take a look at the BeOS drivers to see how they do dual head. That feature is now the first on my wish list, although I fear I do not have what it takes to help it happen.

PS. The freeze I mentioned has happened before, and seems to be connected to versions of Wine and nvidia binaries. Complete freeze at the instant I launch any 3d-game via Wine. No logs, no error messages, nothing to debug on. And at the same time native 3d-games run perfectly. But this is off topic.
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Old 07-29-06, 05:06 AM   #24
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Default Re: Opinions on driver license

I think closed source drivers are totally ok, if:

* The vendor provides updates for a long time, so that also newer kernels can use the hardware
* The drivers are high quality and issues found by users are corrected.
* The drivers are full-featured and not only "we too" drivers.

lg Clemens
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