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  • X Devs Drop NVIDIA Auto-Config Support

    Phoronix: X Devs Drop NVIDIA Auto-Config Support

    Sparking a heated Sunday afternoon debate, NVIDIA's Aaron Plattner had commited a trivial change to the X Server that resulted in several key open-source X developers becoming disgruntled. Ultimately, this NVIDIA-spawned patch ended up being recalled just hours later. This aim of this patch was quite simple...

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

  • #2
    It'd work out nice for a new user who wishes to use the binary NVIDIA driver to play games or use Compiz, but does it teach them anything about free software?
    Ya it does teach something, it teaches that some FOSS developers don't give a crap about end users and can be petty to the point one wonders if they are adults.

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    • #3
      A more general solution is needed: They should just make a place in some config file where you can specify driver priority. That way distros can decide whether to make it prefer nvidia over nv or not.

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      • #4
        I'm behind the X devs on this one. It seems they agree with the attitude of the Kernel developers and the community at large. If you value convenience over Freedom, use Windows or Mac OS X. On the other hand, if you value Freedom and control over your own computer, use GNU/Linux. If you are willing to sacrifice your Freedom and accept distro's shipping binary drivers enabled by default, then you don't even deserve the privilege of being a GNU/Linux user.

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        • #5
          I have been getting more and more aware about the system wide instabilities these binary drivers can cause, particularly on an up-to-date environment, so I can now further understand why the aversion to such drivers. However, I do not think the kernel and X developer's "strong-arm" tactics are of much help either.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by hubick View Post
            I'm behind the X devs on this one. It seems they agree with the attitude of the Kernel developers and the community at large. If you value convenience over Freedom, use Windows or Mac OS X. On the other hand, if you value Freedom and control over your own computer, use GNU/Linux. If you are willing to sacrifice your Freedom and accept distro's shipping binary drivers enabled by default, then you don't even deserve the privilege of being a GNU/Linux user.
            Freedom? What happened to freedom of choice? The freedom of flexibility? The freedom of options? Freedom is absence of interference from an individual by the use of coercion or aggression, what the Xorg devs are practicing there is totalitarian rule. It's no longer "free as in speech".

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            • #7
              Originally posted by deanjo View Post
              Freedom? What happened to freedom of choice? The freedom of flexibility? The freedom of options?
              Choice? Flexibility? Options? Fine, make the fglrx binary driver work with my Fedora 9 kernel and X.org! Oh wait, you can't, because it's proprietary unfree crap, and we are beholden on our corporate overlords to bestow a new binary blob down upon us from the heavens.

              You are so short sighted you are willing to pay for lift tickets so you can ski down the slippery slope of proprietary unfree crap right back in to the arms of the vendors controlling what you can and can't do. The rest of us can see where this path leads.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by hubick View Post
                Choice? Flexibility? Options? Fine, make the fglrx binary driver work with my Fedora 9 kernel and X.org! Oh wait, you can't, because it's proprietary unfree crap, and we are beholden on our corporate overlords to bestow a new binary blob down upon us from the heavens.

                You are so short sighted you are willing to pay for lift tickets so you can ski down the slippery slope of proprietary unfree crap right back in to the arms of the vendors controlling what you can and can't do. The rest of us can see where this path leads.
                Wouldn't it be nice if everybody could have it their own way? Both proprietary driver lovers and haters, neither forcing their way on the other...

                Sure, the nVidia guy was wrong to try to force a preference for the binary driver on everyone. But doing the reverse is just as bad. I don't want a preference against the binary driver forced on me.

                So why not just make it configurable? Let each distro/user decide for themselves.

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                • #9
                  I agree with the developers. When a user uses X he or she probably will assume that any graphical related issue is caused by the X server. When filing a bug report or just trying to blame someone it will always be the X guys. If a distro by default installs binary blobs which have problems with newer version of X the x.org guys take all the heat for nvidia or ATI problems.

                  The other issue is with the recent advances in FOSS drivers both on the Intel and ATI front NVIDIA is the only one not officially supporting a FOSS driver. Why allow them to have a special exception?

                  Personally I think the best solution would be that when X detects multiple drivers for something it asks the user which one to use and gives the pros and cons of each.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by hubick View Post
                    Choice? Flexibility? Options? Fine, make the fglrx binary driver work with my Fedora 9 kernel and X.org! Oh wait, you can't, because it's proprietary unfree crap, and we are beholden on our corporate overlords to bestow a new binary blob down upon us from the heavens.
                    Oh wait, it has NOTHING to do with X system because of their unwillingness to help accommodate anybody that does not see 100% their way even though they are given the solutions in a open manner to make such accommodations. Thank you for proving my point. It's a good thing you bought ATI, I mean hey you can always run RadeonHD without issues can't you?

                    You are so short sighted you are willing to pay for lift tickets so you can ski down the slippery slope of proprietary unfree crap right back in to the arms of the vendors controlling what you can and can't do. The rest of us can see where this path leads.
                    I can see both sides of the equation, unfortunately the blinders are firmly upon you.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by StringCheesian View Post
                      So why not just make it configurable? Let each distro/user decide for themselves.
                      Because the argument was about which driver to prefer when there was no configuration? If the user has told X which driver to use it will use that one, but when they haven't there will need to be a default.

                      I'd say that regardless of any open-source versus binary-blob arguments, a driver shipped with X itself should have a higher priority than one that isn't. So similarly, I would expect the "nv" driver to be preferred over the "nouveau" driver, until Nouveau is shipped with X.

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                      • #12
                        nvidia has made a lot of workarounds around xorg-server to have their drivers work the way nvidia wants. that was just one of them.

                        i think it's only natural that xorg team considered nvidia's behavior a bit too invasive, and perhaps dangerous for people running unstable X snapshots. still there could be more reasonable solution to the problem, but unfortunately nothing good comes to mind.


                        I mean hey you can always run RadeonHD without issues can't you?
                        haven't tried radeonhd, but xf86-video-ati works like a charm for me, thank you. i tried fglrx yesterday and my pc totally locks up after 2 minutes of watching video (regardless of resolution/codec/format/player).

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by doclivingston View Post
                          Because the argument was about which driver to prefer when there was no configuration? If the user has told X which driver to use it will use that one, but when they haven't there will need to be a default.
                          Right, and I'm saying make the default configurable so that each distro can be different. Maybe Sabayon might prefer nvidia in the absence of xorg.conf, while Debian might prefer nv in the absence of xorg.conf. Like that.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by doclivingston View Post
                            I'd say that regardless of any open-source versus binary-blob arguments, a driver shipped with X itself should have a higher priority than one that isn't. So similarly, I would expect the "nv" driver to be preferred over the "nouveau" driver, until Nouveau is shipped with X.
                            100% Agree.

                            Originally posted by StringCheesian
                            Right, and I'm saying make the default configurable so that each distro can be different. Maybe Sabayon might prefer nvidia in the absence of xorg.conf, while Debian might prefer nv in the absence of xorg.conf. Like that.
                            Reply With Quote
                            The default is already configurable: After all Xorg is FOSS and thus every distro is free to apply nVidias patch if they want to. That's the better way to do it anyway, since Git users probably don't want to use nvidia because of the ABI changes (as was mentioned in the mailinglist-discussion).
                            Last edited by Zhick; 07-21-2008, 04:54 AM.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by hubick View Post
                              I'm behind the X devs on this one. It seems they agree with the attitude of the Kernel developers and the community at large. If you value convenience over Freedom, use Windows or Mac OS X.
                              I value convenience over Freedom and that is why i use Linux (Ubuntu to be precise). So i don't see much sense in what you've wrote.

                              Also, actions like that keep Linux behind Windows. How can new users think of it as a user friendly OS if it chooses not only the completely unreasonable path of doing things (if I've installed the damn nvidia driver that means i want to use it - end of story, it's just logical thinking) but it acts simply against the user making it harder to do the basic things of today's world.

                              Originally posted by hubick View Post
                              On the other hand, if you value Freedom and control over your own computer, use GNU/Linux.
                              Control over my computer? If we all believed in that the only Linux distro in use would be Slackware (or we'd be using LFS). I want my computer to work, I'm through with looking at an OS as a kind of toy that i sit and mess around with, because someone thought it'd be nice to use the FOSS driver instead the one I've installed and now i need to get under the hood. I have work to do and thus, when I have to make a new installation of Linux, I want it to be done fast and OOTB as much as possible.

                              Besides, it's not downloading and installing the driver against my will, it'll just use it because I've installed it. It's logical. And it's NOT taking away my freedom because I've already chosen to use the driver by installing it - now X would just make it easier for me to do so. What the X devs do however IS taking away my freedom of choice. It's like saying "we want you to use NV and thus you must do it. IF you want to do otherwise you have to go the harder path and mess with some options". Next time they'll shoot me in the head for "working against the great Free Software".

                              Originally posted by hubick View Post
                              If you are willing to sacrifice your Freedom and accept distro's shipping binary drivers enabled by default, then you don't even deserve the privilege of being a GNU/Linux user.
                              Oh yeah, that's what i love the most. That's exactly the kind of talk that makes people confuse OpenSource with communism. Use Free Software and only Free Software or we won't like you.

                              You're forgetting that most of the users WANT THE JOB TO BE DONE. Period. They don't give a damn and they never will because their object of interest is not the operating system or the philosophy around it - it's their work. The graphics, essay or spreadsheet they need to have done for yesterday. And no crappy speeches will ever change that. And we need those users. Some of us even are those users, even if some time ago, before really starting to work, we were like "open source and my OS are my life". Without those users Linux will never gain a reasonable market share. Even Vista won't help because normal people, those who want everything to just work OOTB, will go for Mac OS X. You think that'd be good because they're not worth of Linux? Then think twice. That way Linux will remain the forgotten realm of operating systems forever - for geeks without all the world's big apps and trying not to stay behind. But no games, no photoshop, no macromedia or whatever else.

                              Nobody forces you to use the closed driver so don't force me to use the Free one. It's as simple as that.

                              Btw. Distros will not ship with binary drivers by default ever. Not until the law in some countries changes. And even then i guess they won't - they'd give you a choice on the installation or right after it. Something like the Ubuntu's codec installation stuff. Or the Ubuntu's Proprietary Driver Manager.

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