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Nouveau Makes Its Own NV40 Firmware Replacement

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  • Nouveau Makes Its Own NV40 Firmware Replacement

    Phoronix: Nouveau Makes Its Own NV40 Firmware Replacement

    Since last week the DRM code for the Nouveau driver has been in the mainline kernel code-base for its official debut with the Linux 2.6.33 kernel. However, by default this DRM will not work with hardware newer than the GeForce 5 series as there is some firmware that must be loaded...

    http://www.phoronix.com/vr.php?view=NzgxMQ

  • #2
    This is what should happen to binary blobs in open source drivers.

    Kudos.

    Comment


    • #3
      Incredibly sexy news.

      Comment


      • #4
        What does the ctx_voodoo actually do? Is it like a BIOS that initializes the GPU and such?

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Louise View Post
          What does the ctx_voodoo actually do? Is it like a BIOS that initializes the GPU and such?
          That's what I believe it is...something like what the ATOMbios is to ATI cards

          I think this stripped down version of the ctx_voodoo blob should at least provide basic 3d stuff. If you wanted the better stuff you'd then have to load the native nvidia firmware blob

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Louise View Post
            What does the ctx_voodoo actually do? Is it like a BIOS that initializes the GPU and such?
            "The point of context switching is to allow several clients to access the card at the same time, without bad hardware level interference. Those clients will typically be the X server and OpenGL applications. Indeed, the 2D driver owns one hardware context, while every OpenGL client takes one more." - http://nouveau.freedesktop.org/wiki/ContextSwitching

            AFAIK, proper name would be ctxprogs/ctxvals.

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            • #7
              At this point my question is: what is so secret about it? Why can't nvidia release the source code of things like this? I mean, I'm starting to believe NVIDIA will have an hard time with linux at the end of next year and starting from 2011.

              If AMD and Intel continue like they are doing, I see no real future for NVIDIA in the Linux market. Maybe in some professional areas, but are we sure on the long term a binary blob will win over open source drivers? I bet 10$ and a cup of coffee that NVIDIA is the one that will loose. And I'm actually not happy because NVIDIA knows how to write software, they could contribute to the open drivers in such an incredible way that I'm sure that if all GPU vendors have open drivers NVIDIA will continue to lead the GPU market EVEN with open source drivers. They just have to get the courage to get this decision...

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              • #8
                Originally posted by bulletxt View Post
                At this point my question is: what is so secret about it? Why can't nvidia release the source code of things like this? I mean, I'm starting to believe NVIDIA will have an hard time with linux at the end of next year and starting from 2011.

                If AMD and Intel continue like they are doing, I see no real future for NVIDIA in the Linux market. Maybe in some professional areas, but are we sure on the long term a binary blob will win over open source drivers? I bet 10$ and a cup of coffee that NVIDIA is the one that will loose. And I'm actually not happy because NVIDIA knows how to write software, they could contribute to the open drivers in such an incredible way that I'm sure that if all GPU vendors have open drivers NVIDIA will continue to lead the GPU market EVEN with open source drivers. They just have to get the courage to get this decision...
                If you look at who Nvidia is targeting - businesses and OEMs the folks that don't care about OSS and just wan't something that works and they can sell

                Ion is a prime example

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by bulletxt View Post
                  At this point my question is: what is so secret about it? Why can't nvidia release the source code of things like this? I mean, I'm starting to believe NVIDIA will have an hard time with linux at the end of next year and starting from 2011.

                  If AMD and Intel continue like they are doing, I see no real future for NVIDIA in the Linux market. Maybe in some professional areas, but are we sure on the long term a binary blob will win over open source drivers? I bet 10$ and a cup of coffee that NVIDIA is the one that will loose. And I'm actually not happy because NVIDIA knows how to write software, they could contribute to the open drivers in such an incredible way that I'm sure that if all GPU vendors have open drivers NVIDIA will continue to lead the GPU market EVEN with open source drivers. They just have to get the courage to get this decision...
                  nVidia will win big! They haven't spend a cent developing the open source drivers.

                  And I am pretty sure that is their secret plan. If the Nouveau developers stopped what they do, nVidia might start releasing specs.

                  No doubt AMD got the mind share right now, and once it have come to a point where it "just works", that will spread like heat on a Pentium 4, and it will hurt nVidia sells.

                  Because no one wants to spend time on getting their hardware to work, if AMD's work out of the box.

                  nVidia have scored pretty big on that on Linux.

                  But nothing beats a full featured distribution with Compiz enabled at first boot.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by FireBurn View Post
                    If you look at who Nvidia is targeting - businesses and OEMs the folks that don't care about OSS and just wan't something that works and they can sell
                    But those that use Linux are aware of the driver situation, and if one vendor "just works out of the box"... That will effect OEM's and workstation sells.

                    It is like XP. People use at work what they use home and visa versa.

                    If the guy that orders the hardware and software, are used to AMD on Linux, that just works, with no work done on his side, he is going to order AMD machines at work.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Louise View Post
                      But those that use Linux are aware of the driver situation, and if one vendor "just works out of the box"... That will effect OEM's and workstation sells.

                      It is like XP. People use at work what they use home and visa versa.

                      If the guy that orders the hardware and software, are used to AMD on Linux, that just works, with no work done on his side, he is going to order AMD machines at work.
                      Most folk that use linux or have contact with linux don't even know it - it's mostly embedded or servers. The desktop market for linux is still tiny - even with netbooks

                      In this case the Nvidia binary blob still works better than any other offering for linux graphics. It has support for OpenGL 3.2 OpenCL and CUDA, mesa is playing catch up big time. Even flgrx isn't as advanced as the Nvidia blob

                      I'm not saying I like it - I use AMD and Intel, IcedTea and Chromium. The only blobs on my PC is firmware and Flash (and I'll switch to gnash or swfdec as soon as it works properly with chromium)

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Louise View Post
                        But those that use Linux are aware of the driver situation, and if one vendor "just works out of the box"... That will effect OEM's and workstation sells.

                        It is like XP. People use at work what they use home and visa versa.

                        If the guy that orders the hardware and software, are used to AMD on Linux, that just works, with no work done on his side, he is going to order AMD machines at work.
                        Until foss drivers can match them in features and performance that won't happen. Even things like accelerated video acceleration foss X devs are reluctant to incorporate because of "possible patent" issues and that won't change in the foreseeable future. A corporate purchaser is not going to buy card that is more expensive to achieve less performance. Even if the foss drivers are eventually able to achieve 70% performance of their blob counterparts when it comes to purchasing the buyer is going to see that they get more bang for their buck (and more then likely cheaper) going with a blob solution.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          It would be pretty amusing if Nvidia hardware ends up being better supported than ATI in Gnewsense because of this development.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by bulletxt View Post
                            ...
                            I'm starting to believe NVIDIA will have an hard time with linux at the end of next year and starting from 2011.
                            ...
                            Maybe in some professional areas, but are we sure on the long term a binary blob will win over open source drivers? ...
                            Phoronix did an interview with Andy Ritger fairly recently where his statements suggested that the "professional areas" are the big portions of their business.

                            I Quote:

                            "There has been, and continues to be, significant Linux workstation interest from a variety of workstation segments (e.g., Oil & Gas, Automotive, Film and Broadcast, etc)."

                            "I don't know many concrete percentages. Highend workstation visualization is roughly half Linux, and Digital Content Creation (DCC) is largely Linux. NVIDIA Linux graphics powers a respectable portion of the 3D workstations. Our CUDA user base also has a large Linux contingent."

                            I think nvidia is betting on their proprietary drivers because that's where they think most of their consumers are.

                            I think AMD previously thought the same at one point. I don't have any evidence for this but the name "fglrx" really does emphasize their firegl workstation gfx cards.

                            Thankfully AMD has done a fantastic job at opening up their specs so better opensource drivers can be written.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              The difference between these blobs, and the AMD/ATI blobs, is in what they do. These blobs are definitions of the context-switching layout, used to provide hardware support for tracking state. ATI blobs are used to start up the CP/DMA engine, one level lower. Completely different things.

                              Also, these are non-trivial in size and not required for card operation, unlike the ATI blobs. Additionally, they're actually reversible; ATI's blobs are for custom, single-purpose chips which only use ucode for cost reasons, and it would not be useful at all to have them reverse-engineered since there are no additional features to be gleaned from them. (IIRC there have only been two updates to the ATI blobs, ever, and those were both for older Radeons, not current-gen stuff.)

                              Originally posted by Ex-Cyber View Post
                              It would be pretty amusing if Nvidia hardware ends up being better supported than ATI in Gnewsense because of this development.
                              Well, don't forget Matrox, either. But sure, you can enjoy nVidia cards. I'll be over here enjoying WiFi, and VLC, and 3D. (Although I guess you can have 3D too, since GLX is now free enough for FSF to not throw fits over.)

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