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NVIDIA Denies Opening Up Its Driver

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  • #21
    Originally posted by bridgman View Post
    Sort of... I'm saying that somewhere between 90% and 95% of the code is OS-independent.

    I'm not saying that re-allocating resources would not benefit the open source driver, I'm saying that it would not benefit the open source driver *enough* for us to be able to compete successfully with other vendor's closed source drivers on performance and features. That's a very important difference (isn't it ?).
    I dont think it is no. I think that everything that an open source driver needs, can be made available. Everything else can be dropped completely. You'll save time money and talent by doing so.

    The side effect of doing so is that anything that anybody could ever possibly need could be fulfilled at the same time. Nobody needs DRM, despite what the MPAA, and RIAA would have you think.

    And then there is the issue of blue sky. Blue sky is just a term meaning extra cool stuff. Can you provide blue sky in an open driver? Thats debatable, but I believe it can.. Blue sky should be implemented in hardware, and controlled by a firmware. Take power management for example. Some degree of power management is required, the minimum for the open driver would be some form of clock scaling. But if you wanted to provide a better system of power management then it should be implemented in hardware and controlled by a firmware.

    I think we've all seen the benefit of a similar system, that you've described here called AtomBIOS... A similar system to provide blue sky would be ideal, and would still allow for an entirely open source infrastructure. It would easily satisfy all of your customers who have mistakenly claimed that they need a closed driver, and would also satisfy the vast majority of other users who will need the open driver.

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    • #22
      I dont think it is no. I think that everything that an open source driver needs, can be made available. Everything else can be dropped completely. You'll save time money and talent by doing so.
      Just to be clear, are you saying that you feel we could successfully compete in the workstation market even though we would no longer benefit from all the work done on the OS-independent proprietary code, and even though our performance and features would be significantly lower as a result ?

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      • #23
        Well I think especially this site hyped the ATI open source drivers a bit too much. Of course those drivers can be used for compiz and games with low performance needs, but for demanding games/apps these drivers are not designed as they are way too slow. I guess thats the common misunderstanding - even when new cards are supported by those drivers a gamer will not be happy with em. Same applies for workstations of course.

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        • #24
          Originally posted by bridgman View Post
          Just to be clear, are you saying that you feel we could successfully compete in the workstation market even though we would no longer benefit from all the work done on the OS-independent proprietary code, and even though our performance and features would be significantly lower as a result ?
          No, I'm saying that most of what you call "features" is actually bloat and it doesnt really matter anyway. You can provide all the functions needed for the open driver and drop everything else, and it would be adequate for everyone.

          If you wanted to provide more advanced "features" in a proprietary sort of way, then they should be implemented in firmware.

          OK, lets take my situation as an example. I work for a company that handles a medical management software for it's clients. Most of these are family doctors and dentists.. We deploy the software to several hundred workstations on the network using a linux thin client. I personally would never under any circumstance consider deploying the closed driver on any of these workstations. They all use a fairly simple GTK interface and run on the various open drivers depending on which chip they have.

          I'd guess that at least 90% of your linux workstation market share is made up of configurations very similar to my own.
          Last edited by duby229; 06-24-2008, 06:36 PM.

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          • #25
            Ahh, I think we have different uses of the word "workstation" here. For your type of applications I agree open source drivers are fine, and would probably be my preference as well.

            When I say "workstation" I'm talking about the FireGL / Quadro business -- big honkin' CPUs, big honkin' graphics, specialized CAD applications, ISV certification requirements, multiple 30" monitors and buyers who carry SpecViewperf around on a USB key

            Using firmware for proprietary stuff is problematic because the graphics drivers typically need a *lot* of CPU power when running demanding applications, and adding that kind of general purpose processing power to a GPU raises the cost quite a bit. We have simple processors and firmware on a modern GPU today, but nowhere near enough processing power required to host the drivers on-chip, particularly for features like Crossfire.

            That said, this problem gets easier with every process shrink so I'm not saying it can't be done in the future, just that we don't have a way to make it financially viable today.
            Last edited by bridgman; 06-24-2008, 06:50 PM.

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            • #26
              Originally posted by bridgman View Post
              Ahh, I think we have different uses of the word "workstation" here. For your type of applications I agree open source drivers are fine, and would probably be my preference as well. When I say "workstation" I'm talking about the FireGL / Quadro business -- big honkin' CPUs, big honkin' graphics, specialized CAD applications, ISV certification requirements, and buyers who carry SpecViewperf around on a USB key

              For most other applications today the open source drivers should be fine.
              Even here your talking about OpenGL. Which the open driver will be 100% compliant.

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              • #27
                I think the people who talk about proprietary firmware are forgetting that many have a moral objection to that too. They want 1.silicon 2.FOSS

                Also, I think we're not looking at graphics cards anymore really as one entity, they're another processor-- with some video output stuff and sensors and clocks and whatnot.. and the same applies to the drivers.

                We're going to start seeing gallium backends for blender's renderer, mplayer and such, DirectX, you name it.. and proprietary drivers are always slow to take new things like that into account. The problem with proprietary drivers over something like flash is that they form the foundation of your experience with all your other software. They can make WINE crash, they can screw up KDE4's compositor, they can bork goodness knows what else, and it's always the corner cases that get ignored, as if you're not /supposed/ to be using your hardware that way.

                I'm always the corner case, see.

                And we're seeing all kinds of paradigm convergence where the only coherent way things can happen properly is by being open... by keeping everything open, we keep it flexible, and can continue to make life more awesome for people with hardware long unsupported by the manufacturer.

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                • #28
                  Originally posted by Kano View Post
                  Well I think especially this site hyped the ATI open source drivers a bit too much. Of course those drivers can be used for compiz and games with low performance needs, but for demanding games/apps these drivers are not designed as they are way too slow. I guess thats the common misunderstanding - even when new cards are supported by those drivers a gamer will not be happy with em. Same applies for workstations of course.
                  what kind of performance are you seeing versus the closed driver?

                  as i understood it, the open drivers would be like ~80% that of the closed, that to me is perfectly fine.

                  I realize that these figures are probably not whats being seen today, but isnt that sortof the "plan" so to say?

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                  • #29
                    Originally posted by Redeeman View Post
                    if you know of such an effort, a sort of dedicated warfare against nvidia, please please let me know, ill happily support it
                    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.

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                    • #30
                      I'd be happy with anything above 90% performance, but probably not 80%...

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