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  • What NVIDIA's Linux Customers Want

    Phoronix: What NVIDIA's Linux Customers Want

    Last week when talking about NVIDIA looking to expand its Linux team (hire more engineers), I asked what else NVIDIA Linux customers wanted that already wasn't offered by the proprietary driver for Linux / BSD / Solaris operating systems. Aside from the obvious one, of many desktop users wanting NVIDIA to support some sort of an open-source strategy, other expressed views are listed below...

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

  • #2
    The Nvidia blob already uses kernel modesetting. What people want is for nvidia to use the same form of KMS that is used by the open drivers. And that is never going to happen, because attempting to implement it would cause a massive regression in features, performance, and stability for the nvidia driver.

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    • #3
      Like a lot of Linux/Nvidia desktop users, I'm sure, I really don't care about a lot of these features.
      • randr: nvidia-settings does the job just about and I don't have to worry about hot-plugging monitors because it's a desktop
      • KMS: I only restart when I have to. Plymouth (through proper KMS) does look nice but I'm really not that fussed. The native-mode TTYs, again, look pretty, but I'm not going to cry myself to sleep at night without them.
      • Optimus: This does bug me because it essentially limits what products I can buy. I can only see dual-video cards in laptops getting more popular (they're a good idea, after all) and while the problem really lies in X, any product that uses this sort of technology is a product I won't be buying. This essentially means I either end up with: no product, a worse product and/or a product that costs a lot more.

      Feature support is a given. As is performance. I think Nvidia is pretty good at keeping ahead of the masses on this one (I know a few people have bought hardware on the day of release and been disappointed - just as people who like to run on the mythical pre-alpha X v2 source tree).

      My message to Nvidia would be:

      Keep up the good work. Make the driver even faster. And open source it if you get a spare minute. Thanks.

      Comment


      • #4
        As I said in the other thread, the problem with nvidia-settings is that those settings are not remembered across sessions, while randr 1.2+ clients generally seem to have implemented this pretty basic feature. So the advantage of randr 1.2 support is not just using native clients, it is getting basic features that nvidia has not bothered to implement in their own gui configuration tool. Nvidia seems to assume that everyone has root privileges and uses an xorg.conf, neither of which is necessarily the case.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by thefirstm View Post
          The Nvidia blob already uses kernel modesetting. What people want is for nvidia to use the same form of KMS that is used by the open drivers. And that is never going to happen, because attempting to implement it would cause a massive regression in features, performance, and stability for the nvidia driver.
          This is true. What we should be asking for instead is either a framebuffer driver for the pretty bootup stuff or an egl driver for wayland.

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          • #6
            What I really want is KDE window resize to stop sucking with the NVIDIA driver. I don't know why, but it's definitely not smooth - I can see the windows slowly repaint.

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            • #7
              Optimus support will likely never come to the blob. Essentially it would require Nvidia to integrate an Intel driver into the blob. Since the way Optimus works is that the Nvidia GPU does all its rendering to the framebuffer of the Intel GPU (after a frame is done a memcpy to the Intel framebuffer happens). The Intel GPU does all the presentation of the to the main display, so a full Intel 2D driver including mode switching all the other hell is needed.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by phoronix View Post
                Phoronix: What NVIDIA's Linux Customers Want

                Last week when talking about NVIDIA looking to expand its Linux team (hire more engineers), I asked what else NVIDIA Linux customers wanted that already wasn't offered by the proprietary driver for Linux / BSD / Solaris operating systems. Aside from the obvious one, of many desktop users wanting NVIDIA to support some sort of an open-source strategy, other expressed views are listed below...

                http://www.phoronix.com/vr.php?view=OTExMQ
                There are several items that need attention that people are reporting at nvnews.net:
                • Overclocking on GeForce 8 series cards is broken
                • Twinview does not work properly with the 200 series and up drivers.
                • 2D Performance is awful on the GeForce 7 series (e.g. my GeForce Go 7900 GS)

                You could probably find more if you looked. Anyway, it seems that Nvidia's current development resources cannot support more architectures, add more features and fix all of these issues at once. With that in mind, it does not surprise me that they are asking for help.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by patstew View Post
                  This is true. What we should be asking for instead is either a framebuffer driver for the pretty bootup stuff or an egl driver for wayland.
                  I also vote for EGL support with an OpenGL ES 2.0 driver.

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                  • #10
                    They are falling behind the Linux kernel and xserver development

                    Its not possible to fill the gap between fixing stuff and new api breakages in linux kernel and xserver or just new features what you wanna call it, not even the drivers also the core components of the kernel changes all the time.

                    And the lines of code changes each day increases linaraly so nvidia will maybe close for a short time the gap a bit with some new developers but they fight a lost battle, bring youre CODE in the kernel or you will loose against the change speed of opensource especialy the kernel.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Shining Arcanine View Post
                      • Twinview does not work properly with the 200 series and up drivers.
                      Care to explain? I use Twinview at work and home just fine.

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                      • #12
                        All I care about is KMS and Wayland support.

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                        • #13
                          I was (past tense) an Nvidia customer, until I learned of their apathy towards free/open source, through Phoronix and other sites.

                          Now, I and anyone else whom I influence will not purchase Nvidia graphics until Nvidia has a major attitude adjustment. They are the only one of the "Big Three" laptop/desktop GPU manufacturers who snubs free/open source.

                          Free/open source is my only criterion. The last Nvidia card I bought was a GTX 280 in 2007, and it died a year afterwards. My upgrade path into the foreseeable future will be AMD all the way for high-performance desktop graphics, and either AMD or Intel for ultraportable laptops. Currently enjoying my HD5970 on r600g.

                          Pay multiple Nvidia employees to work on open source graphics drivers for all Nvidia graphics chipsets and release public documentation, or this technology enthusiast will continue to snub you, Nvidia. End of story.

                          And yes, I appreciate Nouveau and PathScale. But I want to see Nvidia employees personally involved in the development effort. It's their responsibility to support their own hardware, not PathScale's. If they choose to be irresponsible to those demanding free/open source drivers, that is their choice, but customers will walk.

                          Hello, AMD. You are not perfect, but at least you try.

                          Hello, Intel. Thanks for the great open drivers, but maybe a little performance once in a while, eh?

                          Goodbye, Nvidia. It was nice knowing you.

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                          • #14
                            As much as I agree with you, I'm pretty sure the few customers that think like that won't even make one Nvidia exec blink...

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                            • #15
                              I would kill to see multi-monitor support work finally. I've been using 4 monitors for years and honestly all the vendor support sucks for this, as neither ATI or NVidia can do compositing across all of them. Using more than 1 monitor kills SLI capability (?!), can only composite render across 2, and anymore requires Xinerama to do it's dirty work. I really can't find a straight answer that says 3+ monitor compositing is a limitation in xorg or the hardware, other than that work toward Wayland recently to resolve xorg limitations in the windowing system (which nvidia has said they WON'T support - boo/hiss...).

                              I bought an ATI Eyefinity 6 finally out of frustration with Nvidia as most people say it can do 3+ monitors "as one", but still only using Xinerama that kills compositing support. Plus otherwise there were so many bugs in just using 4 monitors Xinerama'd that it was almost unusable with artifacting and tearing (of which their 2gb card wouldn't even let me enable "tear free" features for "lack of memory"(?)). At least using 2 nvidia cards I could get reasonable stability and performance (old gtx7950's) at the cost of full desktop compositing (which I miss compiz terribly), so I'm just going to exchange it for 2 newer, higher-end nvidia cards. Completely worthless ATI Eyefinity support STILL under linux.

                              Is it really too much to ask for compositing across more than 2 monitors under Linux from either vendor? I'd even take a crap Intel GPU if it could just do decent multi-monitor desktop compositing...

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