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Nouveau In Linux 2.6.36 Has NVIDIA Fermi Mode-Setting

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  • #11
    Evergreen / radeon:
    release: sept/oct 09
    modesetting (KMS and UMS): beginning of February, ~4 months

    Fermi / nouveau:
    release: Nov 09. Huang said so. Ok, let's make that april 2010.
    modesetting (KMS only): now. ~4 months.


    AMD spent additional time on IP review and they wrote extensive documentation while they were at it. Their task was more difficult this time since they had to deal with huge changes in the display logic due to Eyefinity.
    Nouveau spent additional time RE'ing the cards. Their task was easier since they skipped writing UMS code and the display logic should be similar to the older cards. They can also blindly copy what the blob does, they're not required to understand and document it.


    So as we can clearly see, both apples and oranges took around 4 months to develop.

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    • #12
      Originally posted by rohcQaH View Post
      Evergreen / radeon:
      release: sept/oct 09
      modesetting (KMS and UMS): beginning of February, ~4 months

      Fermi / nouveau:
      release: Nov 09. Huang said so. Ok, let's make that april 2010.
      modesetting (KMS only): now. ~4 months.


      AMD spent additional time on IP review and they wrote extensive documentation while they were at it. Their task was more difficult this time since they had to deal with huge changes in the display logic due to Eyefinity.
      Nouveau spent additional time RE'ing the cards. Their task was easier since they skipped writing UMS code and the display logic should be similar to the older cards. They can also blindly copy what the blob does, they're not required to understand and document it.


      So as we can clearly see, both apples and oranges took around 4 months to develop.
      The clear advantage of the radeon development path is when it comes time to create new capabilities that aren't part of the blob driver. Having spec means that you understand what things do, which makes this MUCH easier. If the nouveau developers really need to understand what the thing does, they may be up a creek.

      Note also that the nouveau developers have neither need nor interest in protecting nvidia IP. From this perspective, nvidia is really shooting themselves in the foot with this, because it means that some of the proprietary secret sauce will get out of their control. That could have SERIOUS ramifications for them down the road...

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      • #13
        Originally posted by droidhacker View Post
        The clear advantage of the radeon development path is when it comes time to create new capabilities that aren't part of the blob driver. Having spec means that you understand what things do, which makes this MUCH easier. If the nouveau developers really need to understand what the thing does, they may be up a creek.

        Note also that the nouveau developers have neither need nor interest in protecting nvidia IP. From this perspective, nvidia is really shooting themselves in the foot with this, because it means that some of the proprietary secret sauce will get out of their control. That could have SERIOUS ramifications for them down the road...
        That's a good point. Without any docs or any assistance from nVidia, the nouveau devs won't be able to add any other features as they don't have any clear way to add that feature.

        As for the nouveau devs getting close to the "secret sauce", I am sure there may be some noise from nVidia if the feature and performance parity got quite close to the reference nvidia blob. It could be well within nVidia's right to demand a code audit in that case for them to determine if any of their patents or IP got infringed. I'm sure that as long as the devs did their work totally in a clean room with NO access to docs or code of nVidia's that there is no case for patent infringement if the nouveau driver reaches parity with nvidia's reference blob in terms of features and performance (I am not a lawyer)

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        • #14
          The fact is, this reverse engineered hacking driver still progresses faster...
          http://blogs.warwick.ac.uk/images/lb...5/06/nodog.jpg

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          • #15
            Originally posted by DeepDayze View Post
            It could be well within nVidia's right to demand a code audit in that case for them to determine if any of their patents or IP got infringed.
            Why would anyone demand an audit on an open source driver that's had it's entire development catalogued in GIT history? They can get anyone they want to look at Nouveau code any day of the week.

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            • #16
              I don't see the point of making open drivers for fermi cards. If you own one of these bad boys your not gonna want to use anything but the proprietary driver to do all the fun stuff you payed $200+ for.

              Just me :-P

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              • #17
                Originally posted by Yuma View Post
                Why would anyone demand an audit on an open source driver that's had it's entire development catalogued in GIT history? They can get anyone they want to look at Nouveau code any day of the week.
                What I mean is if an open driver starts encroaching on nVidia's or 3rd party's IP then there could be some noise. But I am sure the devs are being quite careful how they go about their RE work so this sort of thing happening will be rather remote.

                Just sort of playing devil's advocate in my earlier post.

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                • #18
                  Originally posted by jmcharron View Post
                  I don't see the point of making open drivers for fermi cards. If you own one of these bad boys your not gonna want to use anything but the proprietary driver to do all the fun stuff you payed $200+ for.

                  Just me :-P
                  In 2 years, there will be budget cards based on the same technology and people will be getting them in their Dell computers and the like.

                  And many of them will want them to work out of the box instead of getting a VESA driver and having to navigate to strange websites to download strange binaries.

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                  • #19
                    Originally posted by pingufunkybeat View Post
                    In 2 years, there will be budget cards based on the same technology and people will be getting them in their Dell computers and the like.

                    And many of them will want them to work out of the box instead of getting a VESA driver and having to navigate to strange websites to download strange binaries.
                    That makes sense. But nvidia.com isn't a strange website nor is downloading their driver strange. I use links to download the blob so I skip the vesa part :-)

                    I think it would be sweet if they could start on OptImus support. That would be a big win for nouveau to beat nvidia to the punch on that...

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                    • #20
                      They can't beat Nvidia to the punch, because Nvidia has been rather clear that they have no intention of supporting linux with these chips.

                      This means that there will be no closed-source driver for the Nouveau team to reverse engineer.

                      Which means that it will be much more difficult to program the thing than it is with other hardware, and even that is bloody difficult.

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