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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 07-29-06, 06:26 PM   #25
cjcox
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Default Re: Opinions on driver license

Quote:
Originally Posted by pe1chl
Is there any sign this would happen? ATI's drivers are binary-only too.
Rumors are that AMD may open them up.
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Old 07-29-06, 06:52 PM   #26
pierrec
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Default Re: Opinions on driver license

Quote:
Originally Posted by cjcox
Rumors are that AMD may open them up.
The day they do, I yank my nVidia out of the box and I go get an ATI card.

Seriously, I used to be pretty impressed with nVidia when I had my MX400, because (apparently out of sheer luck from what I can read on several forums) I never had any problem with it. Silly me, now that I do have problem, I sit there looking at this stupid nv-kernel.o file in the nvidia distribution, that I can't even *try* to fix. As a programmer it frustrates the heck out of me.

Bottom line is: closed source is fine as long as the company stands behind the product, is proactive and has the man/hours to devote to people's problems. Since almost none of the companies I've had to deal with professionally and as a customer seems to, being happy with a product you just bought is a bit of luck, and finding support for a long time for it is even luckier. Case in point: I can still use my old S3Virge video card today with Xorg, but the new nVidia drivers breaks my recent FX5200 and creates a whole bunch of new problems in the MX400 that it didn't have before, and I'm quite sure nVidia doesn't give a toss about my old hardware...
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Old 07-30-06, 09:55 AM   #27
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Default Re: Opinions on driver license

Been gone a few days...

Quote:
The fact is that with an open source driver there would be more sort of "balanced system performance" (how should i call it??), whereas an closed source driver would deliver more fps (at the expense of other things).
This is a rather bold generalization IMHO, and hardly a fact. About your example, i'm not sure i get your point. Either there is a software problem or a balancing problem. If there is sound to be played, it will take some time, and may possibly takes away time from another task (in this case 3d rendering). If you gain 5fps by disabling sound in a game, well that's up to you. If it gains you 50fps this is just a sign that you should upgrade your hardware. In any case, balancing must comes first, the other way round doesn't make any sense. These are both "realtime" operations, so there shouldn't be any choosing between the two.

Quote:
i am talking about nvidias implementation, which has at least some part of the opengl core inside the kernel.
From NVidia's README Appendix C Installed Components:
Quote:
- An OpenGL library (/usr/lib/libGL.so.x.y.z); this library provides the API entry points for all OpenGL and GLX function calls. It is linked to at run-time by OpenGL applications.

- An OpenGL core library (/usr/lib/libGLcore.so.x.y.z); this library is implicitly used by libGL and by libglx. It contains the core accelerated 3D functionality. You should not explicitly load it in your X config file -- that is taken care of by libglx.

[...]

- A kernel module [...]; this kernel module provides low-level access to your NVIDIA hardware for all of the above components. It is generally loaded into the kernel when the X server is started, and is used by the X driver and OpenGL. [...]
Quote:
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.
Thank you!

Quote:
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.
The only reason you consider this whining is because you are happy with the drivers NVidia provides (and to make it sounds childish). I agree this debate is rather subtle sometimes and it isn't always clear as to why closed source drivers are a problem in the perspective of end users, but you could try to understand why so many people are against it before labeling this as "whining". You see what's better for your FPS, others see what's better for interoperability and stability in time.

Quote:
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.
It is more constructive if your goal is to get the features available on Windows. Another constructive approach is to integrate software into a platform in a non-obtrusive way, thus allowing the software environment to evolve as a whole.

Quote:
I think closed source drivers are totally ok, if: [...]
Yes, that is from a user perspective. "I am happy with my drivers/hardware and the providing company as long as they support my hardware in time and offer decent performances". Actually, i recently setup a 64bit machine for my dad and was happy to find out that NVidia had 64bit drivers too (in addition to what i knew already, ie the quality of the drivers), so it met my needs perfectly, and i was happy (left aside problems related to upgrades).

Unfortunately, most problems involved by binary-only drivers are invisible to the end user, let alone non developers. This is why the number one reaction on this issue really is "WHO CARES?!?! SERIOUSLY!!". And this is pretty normal, most people don't care about computers, and there is strictly no point in trying to get a casual user understanding these topics. IMO, this is one of the reason it is so hard to make people understand what's better for software interoperability and evolution/innovation (in a FOSS environment) on the long term. This also relates to things such as software patents, where developers tries to ensures the best environment is available for them to be able to create software in good conditions but have a hard time alerting their user base because of the relative subtlety of the issue. In a word, this is all boring stuff, people "don't care".

Quote:
Rumors are that AMD may open them up.
That would be way cool! Any references ? It sure could have some impact on the pre-installed FOS OS market.
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Old 07-30-06, 10:44 AM   #28
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Default Re: Opinions on driver license

i reall do hope that amd puts some weight behind releasing up to date open drivers for ati cards.
i am a loyal nvidia user for about 7 years now, but this binary only driver crap makes me really mad.
maybe i switch to a system with open drivers like the new intel graphics chips have.
while i like the support of the nvidia linux devs here on the forum,
zander, netlama & co. did a great job (thanks!),
i hate the nvidia big corporate policies not to talk about future development, no betas, ... no code, etc...

-> so i think no money from me for nvidia till this situation changes a lot!


best,
TF
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Old 07-31-06, 08:13 AM   #29
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Default Re: Opinions on driver license

Well, I currently use the free driver for 3 reasons: a) I don't need 3d that badly; b) I have a crappy, old as hell card (gf4mx440); c) xorg-7.1
But I would really like to see nvidia drivers working with xorg 7.1. And that makes me wonder why nvidia does release beta drivers for windows but doesn't do so for *nix platforms, where they're obviously more needed.

edit: working with xorg-7.1 as in supporting aiglx and stuff, not as in "-ignoreABI"
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Old 07-31-06, 01:48 PM   #30
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Default Re: Opinions on driver license

Quote:
Originally Posted by pierrec
The day they do, I yank my nVidia out of the box and I go get an ATI card.
QFT

For years I assumed my next CPU (like my current) would be AMD. Now that Core 2 spanks it, and AMD bought ATI (competitor to my favoured nVidia) I'm not so sure. But if AMD can open up ATIs drivers, I'll go back to them, and jump the nVidia ship in a heartbeat. Though with my luck, they'd close stuff off again right after that, like they've done before. Gah.

GPU people- sure route to some serious loyalty: open stuff up and stick with it.
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Old 07-31-06, 04:34 PM   #31
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Default Re: Opinions on driver license

Quote:
Originally Posted by acreal
The only reason you consider this whining is because you are happy with the drivers NVidia provides (and to make it sounds childish). I agree this debate is rather subtle sometimes and it isn't always clear as to why closed source drivers are a problem in the perspective of end users, but you could try to understand why so many people are against it before labeling this as "whining".
Personally, I think that the "whining" part is not about the closed-source drivers, but simply the fact that the current nVidia drivers don't yet support the latest eye candy. And that just comes down to impatience, which is indeed a slightly childish thing

I also think that we need to give nVidia some credit here. Now, I'm not arguing whether they should release their "IP" or not - as far as I'm concerned, it's theirs and the decision about whether to make it open or not is theirs alone. But given that they have made the decision *not* to release it, they are giving us the next best thing: binary drivers that are of a pretty high standard, and a demonstrated commitment to supporting the changing face of Linux over time.

See, what is "Linux"? Linux users have a bunch of kernel versions with slightly different driver interfaces, some with procfs and others with sysfs, static /dev versus devfs versus udev, various threading mechanisms, and X11Rx.y with all its changes as well. This is daunting for a hardware manufacturer contemplating building drivers, without even considering the *BSDs and Solaris that nVidia supports as well.

I love that Linux is so dynamic. I run Gentoo, because I'm addicted to the latest new toys and I've reached a level where I can fix the breakages when they occur . But since I've been using it for my production PCs rather than just a toy, I do need some stability. nVidia's fairly conservative approach to releasing drivers probably prevents me from having display foul-ups that could seriously kill my productivity!

I would like to see the odd beta release, because I'm a software developer and I think that widely-distributed betas are very valuable. But once again, it's nVidia's call. Testing Linux drivers must be a real nightmare, compared to (say) Microsoft with their relatively static driver interface and WHQL service. Of course, it can't hurt that Microsoft seems unable to actually deliver a new OS at this point, which gives driver providers plenty of time to iron out their bugs .

As was the case with the 2.6 kernel 4k stacks issue, nVidia *will* eventually come through with a high-performance driver that works nicely with X11R7.1. They are currently the only display hardware that I have that confidence in. And you can also bet that sometime down the track (X11R7.2?) a new breakage will occur and people on this site will be "whining" about nVidia's slowness to respond to it.

Until GNU/Linux takes over the world, or the AMD/ATI merger changes the face of the industry, or some other cataclysmic event happens, I suspect that this is how life will continue to be .
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Old 07-31-06, 05:43 PM   #32
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Default Re: Opinions on driver license

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robster
Personally, I think that the "whining" part is not about the closed-source drivers, but simply the fact that the current nVidia drivers don't yet support the latest eye candy. And that just comes down to impatience, which is indeed a slightly childish thing
If a nVidia card was free, I'd agree. But nVidia cards are not free, so when you don't get as many features on one OS vs. some other OS, but you still have to pay the same price for the card, I wouldn't call that slightly childish impatience, and the whining is perfectly justified.
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Old 07-31-06, 06:23 PM   #33
acreal
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Default Re: Opinions on driver license

First off, i would like to clarify something: i have nothing against NVIDIA, neither am i trying to get NVIdia release anything.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robster
Now, I'm not arguing whether they should release their "IP" or not - as far as I'm concerned, it's theirs and the decision about whether to make it open or not is theirs alone.
Same here.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robster
But given that they have made the decision *not* to release it, they are giving us the next best thing: binary drivers that are of a pretty high standard, and a demonstrated commitment to supporting the changing face of Linux over time.
Again, i agree that their drivers are really good, but i can't honestly believe they "committed to change the face of Linux", except officially. It's still a good thing they realized open source OS users represents a market worth considering.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robster
See, what is "Linux"? Linux users have a bunch of kernel versions with slightly different driver interfaces, some with procfs and others with sysfs, static /dev versus devfs versus udev, various threading mechanisms, and X11Rx.y with all its changes as well. This is daunting for a hardware manufacturer contemplating building drivers, without even considering the *BSDs and Solaris that nVidia supports as well.
Well, i won't be crying for NVidia either.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robster
nVidia's fairly conservative approach to releasing drivers probably prevents me from having display foul-ups that could seriously kill my productivity!
I also prefer to see a slower release cycles than drivers released prematurely, but only because it concerns hardware drivers (and it is closed source), or any core components. But i don't really see this as an "NVidia advantage", many distributions do provide a stable environment over time (especially for core components).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robster
Testing Linux drivers must be a real nightmare, compared to (say) Microsoft with their relatively static driver interface and WHQL service.
Well, this may be a bit exaggerated considering NVidia claims 95% of their drivers are platform independent (though this is still plenty room for bugs).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robster
As was the case with the 2.6 kernel 4k stacks issue, nVidia *will* eventually come through with a high-performance driver that works nicely with X11R7.1. They are currently the only display hardware that I have that confidence in.
For sure they are very professional.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robster
And you can also bet that sometime down the track (X11R7.2?) a new breakage will occur and people on this site will be "whining" about nVidia's slowness to respond to it.
Well people always whine about what they're waiting for, even if they don't really know why. This is true for all software, whether closed or open source. And though breakages are much more common on open source OS, this is also the sign of rapid (and continued) development.
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Old 08-01-06, 02:27 AM   #34
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Default Re: Opinions on driver license

Quote:
Originally Posted by pierrec
when you don't get as many features on one OS vs. some other OS, but you still have to pay the same price for the card, I wouldn't call that slightly childish impatience, and the whining is perfectly justified.
I don't think so. You buy a card, and at that time you investigate the market. You have some OS and you look if the card supports it and to what level.
Then your requirements change. The newest OS release has features that your card does not yet support. I don't think you can request action from the card manufacturer when you have already bought something and your requirements change.

Have a look next year, when Vista is released. *a lot* of people will be left in the cold because it does not support their current hardware. They have to buy new hardware to run Vista. Are they entitled to whine because the card they bought already does not work with Vista?
No, they should be thankful when their manufacturer releases a new driver, and when it doesn't, they will have to buy new hardware that says "Vista" on the box. Even when the OS is still called Windows, a completely new version like Vista may require new drivers. Same when under the Linux OS name, a completely new X server is released.

Having Linux drivers does not entitle you to continued support of bleeding-edge features. I think it is already very commendable that Linux kernel releases are tracked so closely by driver releases and patches, and you cannot expect the same for the much larger changes required by new X servers with modified driver interface.
And it is not even that nvidia have told us they are not going to support new X servers, it just takes some time. Another company might have left you in the cold at the time XF86 was replaced by Xorg.
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Old 08-01-06, 07:22 AM   #35
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Default Re: Opinions on driver license

Quote:
Originally Posted by pe1chl
Then your requirements change. The newest OS release has features that your card does not yet support. I don't think you can request action from the card manufacturer when you have already bought something and your requirements change.
This is a good point in itself, but when the features the drivers does not support are available to another OS, this kinda gets people wondering, and whining.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pe1chl
Have a look next year, when Vista is released. *a lot* of people will be left in the cold because it does not support their current hardware. They have to buy new hardware to run Vista. Are they entitled to whine because the card they bought already does not work with Vista?
No, they should be thankful when their manufacturer releases a new driver, and when it doesn't, they will have to buy new hardware that says "Vista" on the box. Even when the OS is still called Windows, a completely new version like Vista may require new drivers. Same when under the Linux OS name, a completely new X server is released.
Well, there really isn't any reason why your current video card wouldn't work with Vista. The "only" thing needed is driver porting, and i believe many companies will release drivers for hardware not "Vista certified".

Let me explain my point further.

I'm not a market expert by any means, but i know for sure people tend to identify to specific brands of hardware (CPU, MB, Memory, GPU, ...), and that the satisfaction factor is determinant, in that people buying brand X and being happy with the product and support won't go around and check another brand on their next buy out, and so won't be able to compare or even realize brand Y is good too. This may seem futile, but i really do think fidelity is a big word in the computer hardware market.

Now pick a Vista user, seeing everyone unable to install Vista because of unsupported hardware, who reaches to his GPU manufacturer website just to see "his" company provided drivers for his (not so new) card. This user is able to install Vista right on without upgrading his GPU. To the company, the work (and money) they put in porting their drivers was used to increase consumer satisfaction. For his next acquisition, this user may (and probably will) be influenced by his good experience, whatever his choice will be.

If you wanna know more about the customer psychology, please buy a copy my book at...

Quote:
Originally Posted by pe1chl
Having Linux drivers does not entitle you to continued support of bleeding-edge features. I think it is already very commendable that Linux kernel releases are tracked so closely by driver releases and patches, and you cannot expect the same for the much larger changes required by new X servers with modified driver interface.

And it is not even that nvidia have told us they are not going to support new X servers, it just takes some time. Another company might have left you in the cold at the time XF86 was replaced by Xorg.
Well, this just would have been a bad move for them. This is not all to say "they don't have to", they may also want to. And they do, they wanna keep their "Industry recognized leader in Linux driver quality, stability, compatibility and support" image. To keep this image they have to keep up with the environment. This is important for them now that countries and administrations are considering FOSS as an alternative, and investigate the possibility of larges migrations (and also because many people just open source OS these days).
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Old 08-01-06, 01:57 PM   #36
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Default Re: Opinions on driver license

Quote:
Originally Posted by acreal
i know for sure people tend to identify to specific brands of hardware (CPU, MB, Memory, GPU, ...), and that the satisfaction factor is determinant, in that people buying brand X and being happy with the product and support won't go around and check another brand on their next buy
This is probably true, and indeed last time I bought an nvidia card because earlier experience showed that for the specific situation I needed a card for, nvidia was probably the best choice.
However, that does not mean that most of the sales of nvidia are determined by this mechanism.

At work we use Dell. For a while, we got nvidia cards in their Optiplex workstations. But at some point in time they switched to ATI. Little we can do about that, as a small customer. The systems are used with Windows, but even there the nvidia cards are more convenient than ati because of some properties of the driver when using two screens as an extended desktop.
(similar problems occur with other components; for example we bought a couple of 400SC lowcost servers for use as firewalls etc. Worked perfectly with Linux, nice MPT SCSI controller. Next order the 400 was replaced with the 420 where the MPT was replaced by an Adaptec fake-raid SCSI controller that did not work under Linux except for one specific distribution/release for which there was a binary driver module. Fortunately we bought only one at that time and could swap it with a 400 that was running Windows.)

Similarly, many computer buyers will probably buy a pre-configured system without really deciding on a brand of videocard. Fanatic gamers or Linux users of course are different, but I doubt that they represent the majority of the market.
Losing Dell as a customer probably means more than gaining some Linux users.
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