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NVIDIA Denies Opening Up Its Driver

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  • #31
    @Redeeman

    That's a value in your dreams. Because several things are completely missing like GLSL support and glxgears is really no benchmark - that it would be possible to archive a similar thruput for extra simple operations yes, but you must be really lucky to get maybe 25% speed for more demanding things.

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    • #32
      Originally posted by Svartalf View Post
      You need to take a chill pill. Seriously. You are more of a hindrance than a help right at the moment with the attitude.

      Pick your fights- something you're not doing right now. Honest.
      i guess thats the difference between the two of us, i pick fights that are just and right, you seem to pick fights "you can win"

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      • #33
        Originally posted by Kano View Post
        @Redeeman

        That's a value in your dreams. Because several things are completely missing like GLSL support and glxgears is really no benchmark - that it would be possible to archive a similar thruput for extra simple operations yes, but you must be really lucky to get maybe 25% speed for more demanding things.
        glsl should be coming some time, atleast with gallium.

        which things are you saying have only 25% speed?

        anyway, that stuff SHOULD become faster with the documentation released, right?

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        • #34
          Will we need GLSL when we have gallium?

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          • #35
            yes, we will, glsl is what the applications use to do the shaders.. gallium will then read the glsl and transform it into something the hardware can do.

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            • #36
              Originally posted by Redeeman View Post
              i guess thats the difference between the two of us, i pick fights that are just and right, you seem to pick fights "you can win"
              You tilt at windmills- what you consider is "just and right" only distorts the message you try to convey and you get NOWHERE fast.

              [edit]
              You have your heart in the right place- but stridence does you NO favors. You seem to enjoy bringing strife wherever you go and you accomplish little with it.

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              • #37
                Originally posted by Redeeman View Post
                glsl should be coming some time, atleast with gallium.
                yep; definitely needs a good memory manager first, and by the time we have the memory manager Gallium should be far enough along that it makes sense to do the rest of the work there. The open issue with Gallium is how effectively llvm will be able to pack work into the SP's, but that primarily affects performance not functionality.

                EDIT -- it's probably worth mentioning that GLSL doesn't "come for free with Gallium" -- someone has to do a whole heap of work to make it happen. The attractive thing about Gallium is that it seems like a sufficiently useful foundation that there's a good chance that the work will get done.

                Originally posted by Redeeman View Post
                which things are you saying have only 25% speed?
                I realize you weren't asking me but I'll answer anyways

                The whole speed thing is hard to put a single number on. I do expect that some things will run as fast on the open driver as on our proprietary driver -- but in other cases there may be a 5:1 difference. We do expect that open source drivers will be fast enough for many users, and some of the rest will simply get a slightly faster graphics card and not worry about performance.

                Originally posted by Redeeman View Post
                anyway, that stuff SHOULD become faster with the documentation released, right?
                We will be providing enough information and support to make open source drivers which run just as fast as the proprietary ones. The question is whether the open source community has the resources to write a driver which takes full advantage of the information even including development resources provided or funded by HW vendors.
                Last edited by bridgman; 06-24-2008, 07:20 PM.

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                • #38
                  Originally posted by Kano View Post
                  @Redeeman

                  That's a value in your dreams. Because several things are completely missing like GLSL support and glxgears is really no benchmark - that it would be possible to archive a similar thruput for extra simple operations yes, but you must be really lucky to get maybe 25% speed for more demanding things.
                  Once the GLSL is in place with an optimizing compiler the performance will majorly improve. But, that's a bit off yet, I fear- at least another 6-12 months before we start really seeing the results of the work in progress with Gallium3D, etc.

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                  • #39
                    Originally posted by bridgman View Post
                    We will be providing enough information and support to make open source drivers which run just as fast as the proprietary ones. The question is whether the open source community has the resources to write a driver which takes full advantage of the information even including development resources provided or funded by HW vendors.
                    My guess is it'll prolly never be quite as fast as the closed drivers simply due to the vast amount of resources that are devoted to that code base. But I'd be happy with 3/4.

                    But in the same aspect it also makes sense that the open drivers will improve with each new release. It may never catch up with the closed driver, but by the time a card reaches the end of it's life it should be pretty close.

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                    • #40
                      Yep. I do agree that most people will be happy with 3/4.

                      One of the little revelations that made this plan possible was "y'know, GPUs *are* pretty fast these days"

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                      • #41
                        Originally posted by Svartalf View Post
                        Once the GLSL is in place with an optimizing compiler the performance will majorly improve. But, that's a bit off yet, I fear- at least another 6-12 months before we start really seeing the results of the work in progress with Gallium3D, etc.
                        will we really see gallium being put to use in this timeframe? to be honest i would expect it to take longer?

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                        • #42
                          Another issue people don't seem to fully realize with completely GPL'd FOSS drivers is patented (evil word) technology. For example, floating point textures and rendering (more or less a requirement for HDR rendering) is patented by SGI. You must get a patent license to implement it, and unless SGI decides to allow FOSS developers to implement it royalty-free, you'll never see that supported in GPL drivers (GPLv3, at least).

                          Another is DXT compression, patented by S3. Will also likely require license fees, and will not see the light of day in a GPL(v3)'d driver, unless S3 is feeling rather generous. Not to mention the various NV and ATI-specific extensions, some of which no doubt have patent encumbrances. And of course, there's the whole thing with MS claiming patents on the programable/shader pipeline..

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                          • #43
                            Originally posted by bridgman View Post
                            Workstation customers make purchasing decisions based on proprietary software features and performance, which HW vendors spend a ton of money developing and don't want to give away to their competitors.

                            Workstation seems to be an exception to the typical user base, since the "Linux workstation market" is really the old "Unix workstation market", which didn't have a problem with closed source drivers.

                            the Linux workstation drivers are going to share a lot of code with drivers from other OSes, which in turn means that "opening up the drivers" puts your competitive edge at risk in all OSes not just Linux.

                            but every one I spoke with (including both ATI and NVidia customers) said that what they cared about was performance and stability on a standard commercial OS distribution (typically RHEL or SLES/SLED), not open-ness or ability to work across arbitrary distros.
                            GAH!

                            It seems that maybe you and/or your customers don't yet "Get It" when it comes to the Free Software model and all the reasons *why* they are using Linux today. Linux and the Free Software model has basically killed off Unix, for good reason, and it's now obvious which model has won out in the market. I think Nvidia, and apparently still AMD, need to realize that they are primarily a hardware company, and thus need to compete with the quality of their hardware, and to STOP looking for a competitive edge in software. Make the software a *shared* commodity so *nobody* has any advantage and you can all work together on it - that's what Linux is all about and you can only fight the model for so long before you either get with the program or someone who does eats your lunch (like maybe Intel) and you head down the same path proprietary Unix did.

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                            • #44
                              I think you just touched on the real issue -- the fact that there are at least two totally distinct groups using Linux, with totally different reasons for using it.

                              One group strongly embraces the "Linux is better because it's free and open" thinking, but the other group either feels there is a simpler explanation (the commercial Unix vendors underestimated how quickly PC hardware would progress, dragged their feet on porting to PCs and got their butts kicked out of the market as a result) or simply don't care.

                              To that second group, the "free and open-ness" of Linux is much less of an issue than the ready availability of a commercially supported "*nix" system for PC hardware, leveraging the work done by Red Hat, Novell and others to use Linux on commercial servers. The Unix platforms which embraced PC market are doing OK (BSD-based MacOS had almost 5% market share last time I checked, and Solaris seems to be showing renewed signs of life) but most of the other Unix vendors missed the boat.

                              I agree that for the Linux-specific portion of our market we should be embracing open source and that is obviously what we are doing -- I expect that in the not-too-distant future the majority of our consumer Linux users will run the open source drivers -- however there is also a small but important segment of the Linux market (the "second group" above) which expects feature and performance parity with Windows and for *that* market we are continuing to offer a closed-source driver to leverage and protect the significant investment we make in driver code for other platforms.
                              Last edited by bridgman; 06-24-2008, 11:38 PM.

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                              • #45
                                Originally posted by hubick View Post
                                what Linux is all about and you can only fight the model for so long before you either get with the program or someone who does eats your lunch (like maybe Intel) and you head down the same path proprietary Unix did.
                                Intel is already eating ATi's lunch... It is Intel that is making just about every major breakthrough in the linux graphics infrastructure. It's Intel that is shaping the future. Not ATi. The way ATi is going right now, the year or so after Intel releases a top end competitor ATi will be done.. It's a shame really, but the only one to blame is ATi.

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