Back during CES 2008 we reported that NVIDIA may be plotting an open-source strategy (according to a NVIDIA partner) as the ATI/AMD camp has been on a spree with releasing NDA-free specifications to the OSS community and supporting two open source drivers (Radeon and RadeonHD). Since then, Intel has also joined this open bandwagon by releasing the G965/G35 programming documentation in full (2D, 3D, video, everything) even though they have already have a reliable open-source driver.
Following the open letter to NVIDIA at OpenTheBlob.com that takes aim at NVIDIA's lack of a reliable open-source driver, now out is a letter geared for NVIDIA's board partners (ASUS, Dell, BFG Tech, etc). This happens to be based off of a strategy I discussed before for frustrated ATI customers prior to the new driver code-base. If you're interested in taking a stand for an open NVIDIA, the page with links and a sample letter can be found here.
Late last month NVIDIA had unveiled the GeForce 9600GT graphics card as direct competition to the AMD Radeon HD 3850 / 3870. This new PCI Express graphics card still isn't supported by the latest official driver (169.12), but it's been reported to work (at least partially) when using the Tesla 171.05 driver. There is now, however, limited open-source support for this card.
Just four days ago the OpenTheBlob.com letter to NVIDIA requesting open-source support was published and it already has in excess of 5,000 signatures. Most of these signatures are also accompanied by comments, after hitting the front-pages of Digg and Reddit. Congratulations to the community with 5,000+ signatures in just four days, and hopefully the rumor pans out and NVIDIA will see the mutual benefit in an open-source strategy.
For those interested in seeing official open-source support from NVIDIA or open specifications, there is an open letter for open drivers to NVIDIA at OpenTheBlob.com. With both AMD and Intel now supporting open-source X.Org drivers and releasing specifications/documentation, the community is looking for the same (if not more) from NVIDIA. Keep in mind, last month we reported at Phoronix that NVIDIA may be developing an open-source strategy. This open letter to NVIDIA (and where you can leave your signature/comments) can be found here.
This morning NVIDIA has introduced their first GeForce 9 graphics card, with the introduction of the GeForce 9600GT. The NVIDIA GeForce 9600GT isn't the new high-end graphics card, but rather their next-generation mainstream graphics card that is designed to compete with AMD's recent Radeon HD 3850 and 3870. The NVIDIA 9600GT (G94) GPU is built on a 65nm process, 64 stream processors, 650MHz reference core clock, 1800MHz GDDR3 reference memory clock with a 256-bit interface, two dual-link DVI connectors, and is a PCI Express 2.0 part.
Earlier this month it was revealed that NVIDIA Corporation would be buying up AGEIA Technologies, which is the maker of the PhysX SDK and the PhysX PPU (Physics Processing Unit) hardware. That same day we had then asked the question whether is NVIDIA buying AGEIA good for Linux? (The responses.) AGEIA had produced a PhysX software SDK binary for Linux but have never released a Linux driver to enable the offloading of these physics calculations to their PPU hardware.
It was announced this afternoon in a laconic press release that NVIDIA will be acquiring AGEIA Technologies. AGEIA is the company behind the PhysX SDK and their Physics Processing Unit (PPU). NVIDIA's hopes for this acquisition is to offer GeForce graphics cards in the future that are packed with PhysX technology for in-game physics rendering and is a complement technology to NVIDIA's CUDA. CUDA is NVIDIA's Compute Unified Device Architecture for writing algorithmic code to be executed on the GPU with its massively parallel capabilities.
We're still working on finding out more details on NVIDIA's open-source strategy, but in minor open-source news, there are two updates now available for the xf86-video-nv (a.k.a. "nv") driver. The xf86-video-nv 2.1.7 update is for those using X.Org 7.2 or later, while xf86-video-nv 2.0.3 is for pre-X11R72. The nv 2.1.7 driver update adds support for the GeForce 8800GT and Quadro FX 3700, improved load detection, and a couple of fixes. The 2.0.3 release has a few more changes back-ported from the xf86-video-nv 2.1 series, including new GeForce 8 desktop/mobile product support. The release announcement made by Aaron Plattner can be read on the X.Org mailing list.
According to an AIB partner, NVIDIA is planning an open-source counterattack against ATI/AMD. Since this past September, AMD has been increasingly open-source friendly with their Novell partnership to deliver the RadeonHD driver and releasing open specifications. We have received information that NVIDIA is reportedly planning an increased open-source presence. Does this mean a cleaner "nv" driver? Open specifications? Jointly working with the Nouveau developers? Open sourcing part(s) of their blob? It's not known just yet.
For those impacted by the 100% fan speed bug present in the NVIDIA 169.07 Linux driver, there is now a community fix for this problem. NVClock 0.8 Beta 3 has been released, which (among other changes) addresses this driver bug. The major changes in NVClock 0.8 Beta 3, since it's Beta 2 release in July 2006 is GeForce 8 support, rewritten low-level GeForce 6/7 overclocking back-end, added BIOS PLL table parsing for the GeForce 6/7/8 generations, GeForce 7 AGP support, NV-CONTROL OpenGL settings, and GeForce 6 bug-fixes for pipeline modding and faking the Quadro. NVClock 0.8 Beta 3 can be downloaded from its project web-page.
Prior to NVIDIA porting CoolBits over to Linux back in 2005, the only way to overclock your NVIDIA graphics card was using NVClock. NVClock has been developed as a third-party open-source utility by Roderick Colenbrander and hosted at SourceForge and LinuxHardware.org. NVClock is accessible via the command-line as well as Qt and GTK interfaces. In addition to just overclocking the core and memory frequencies on NVIDIA graphics cards, NVClock also allows for some graphics cards to do pipeline soft-modding, enabling temperature sensors that have been disabled, OpenGL tweaks, and fan-speed adjustment. However, it looks like this project has faded away and that we may never see the final release of NVClock v0.8.
In addition to sharing that we are approaching a point in the Nouveau development where a stable 2D release with EXA and X-Video support is in sight, the Nouveau Companion 30 also mentioned that the NV50 work is "seriously understaffed." Fortunately though, today there were nine git commits for the xf86-video-nouveau driver that improve the state of open-source NV50 support. These commits include code cleanups for the NV50, a new wrapper, and a few renamed functions. You can checkout the latest Nouveau source-code from the git repository at FreeDesktop.org.
Yesterday NVIDIA had introduced their Enthusiast System Architecture, or ESA for short, which is designed to be an "open" technology geared for computer enthusiasts to monitor and control in real-time various PC components. NVIDIA hopes that ESA will become an industry standard for real-time monitoring and controlling of such devices as PC power supplies, motherboards, and even water cooling systems (along with many more PC peripherals). A number of companies, such as Dell and ASUS, have already pledged to adopt this standard. Among the many variables that you'll be able to keep track of through the "Enthusiast System Architecture" are internal air-flow dynamics, voltage/current fluctuations for power supplies, and adjusting the pump speed for a water cooling system. This royalty-free standard is built closely around the USB HID class specification, but will NVIDIA be supporting the Enthusiast System Architecture on Linux?
We reported last week after the launch of the GeForce 8800GT graphics card that a new NVIDIA Linux driver is imminent. This new 8800GT-supportive driver didn't make it onto the Internet last week, so it looks like the new Linux (and likely Solaris and FreeBSD) driver will be released this week. This graphics driver is considered a high priority item by NVIDIA. Once this driver is released, we hope to deliver GeForce 8800GT benchmarks shortly after the software launch.
Yesterday the Santa Clara folks released the GeForce 8800GT graphics card. This PCI Express 2.0 compliant graphics card supports 112 stream processors, has a core clock of 600MHz, shader clock of 1500MHz, and a reference memory clock of 900MHz. The NVIDIA 8800GT also packs 512MB of video memory. NVIDIA has designed the GeForce 8800GT to deliver "awesome power" at a price of under $300 USD.
NVIDIA's Aaron Plattner has pushed out a new update for their open-source 2D "nv" driver. This driver, not to be confused with Nouveau or their binary blob, removes unused headers and fixes two GeForce 8 series (G80) bugs. The first G80 bug corrected is for un-wedging hardware if the BIOS left it stuck and the second one fixes LVDS detection on certain laptops. This new version is xf86-video-nv and is at version 2.1.6. The release announcement for this 2D driver is available on the X.Org mailing list.
It was just yesterday that we at Phoronix told you to be on the lookout for a new NVIDIA Linux driver. Well, a new Linux driver is now available. The NVIDIA 100.14.23 display driver features improved hotkey switching support for some Lenovo notebooks, improved modesetting for Quadro GPUs, fixed a problem with Compiz after VT-switching, and improved interaction with Barco and Chi Mei 56" DFPs. The improved mode-setting affects the Quadro FX 370, FX 570, FX 1700, NVS 320M, FX 570M, FX 1600M, NVS 290, NVS 140M, NVS 130M, NVS 135M, and FX 360M. We do not yet know if the NVIDIA 100.14.23 display driver fixes any of the issues that were brought up in the 100.14.19 display driver. Once we know more information or have benchmarks to share, we will pass them along. If you need technical assistance, stop by the Phoronix Forums. The NVIDIA driver can be downloaded from the NVIDIA website.
It was exactly a month ago that NVIDIA had released the 100.14.19 binary display driver for Linux and Solaris. While this release had corrected the GeForce 8 performance problems, this release wasn't entire positive as some bugs were left unfixed and some new issues had appeared. However, if NVIDIA sticks to their release cycle, we should have a new NVIDIA Linux display driver out very soon. This week is almost over, but next week is a likely target for NVIDIA's next Linux display driver release. NVIDIA has yet to cooperate and tell us anymore details, but once learning any we will pass them along. Meanwhile, AMD's October Linux driver -- the much anticipated fglrx 8.42.x -- should be out within a couple of days.
Last week NVIDIA presented the new 100.14.19 Linux display driver, but NVIDIA had also quietly released two new legacy drivers. The NVIDIA 71.86.01 and 96.43.01 releases basically offer X.Org 7.3 compatibility and support for the latest Linux 2.6 kernels. A few other fixes also made their way into these two legacy Linux driver releases. The NVIDIA 96.43.01 driver corrected a TV-Out corruption problem on some GeForce 4 GPUs, notebook problems with incorrect EDIDs, and power management support on some GeForce 4 notebooks. Both the 71.86.01 and 96.43.01 releases do also fix a nvidia-installer bug. These software releases are designed for their older generations of graphics processors that are not supported by the new mainstream Linux binary graphics driver. The FreeBSD and Solaris legacy drivers have also been updated as well. However, the mainstream FreeBSD driver remains at 100.14.11 instead of 100.14.19. As always, grab these latest drivers for your hardware out of your distribution's package repository or from NVIDIA's website.
It has been 80 days since the last NVIDIA Linux display driver was released. The NVIDIA 100.14.11 display driver was released back on June 21 and now we are in the middle of September... This is a very long time without a new driver release considering that there are a number of serious bugs and regressions in this release. Last year the average time between NVIDIA releases was calculated and the number was 70 days. This year we have had even more driver releases than in the past and we've went basically the summer without a new binary release from NVIDIA. We were told that there would be a new NVIDIA binary release this past Thursday, but obviously that didn't happen. Perhaps this week? A new NVIDIA display driver is imminent and will hold X.Org 7.3 support and is expected to correct a number of the GeForce 8 problems. With this extended time between releases, NVIDIA could have a surprise or two in the driver too. We'd also expect that new NVIDIA legacy releases will come about for X.Org 7.3 support and fixing some of the bugs on the older NVIDIA hardware. This week is already very busy with the X Developer Summit going on where AMD will be releasing their new ATI R500/600 open-source driver as well as the specifications and it's very likely that the new NVIDIA 100.xx.xx series driver will meet the world in the coming days. What do you hope NVIDIA's new driver adds or fixes? Tell us in our NVIDIA forum.
X.Org 7.3 is being released today and with that said there will be issues for those of you who immediately jump on the X.Org 7.3 bandwagon and depend upon the proprietary display drivers. For NVIDIA users, there will be a compatibility issue with the ABI for X.Org 7.3. The latest mainline drivers (i.e. 100.14.11) will not run unless you pass the -ignoreABI argument. The NVIDIA legacy drivers will run without the ABI option.
Another security problem has crept up with NVIDIA's binary blob display driver for their GeForce and Quadro graphics cards. When the NVIDIA Linux display driver is installed with Gentoo Linux, poor file permissions are used with /dev/nvidia*, which could result in compromised software or even damage to your NVIDIA hardware. The latest NVIDIA Linux display driver (100.14.11) is not affected but v100.14.09 does contain the potential problem. You may recall last year that the NVIDIA Linux driver had another security exploit that could allow attackers to execute code locally or remotely with root access. That problem was around since 2004 but was fixed in the 1.0-9XXX driver series.
It's going on two months since NVIDIA last released a new driver for Linux, Solaris, and FreeBSD (v100.14.11). However, be on the lookout for a new NVIDIA driver for their alternative operating systems in the near future. A talkative penguin says the new driver could be out as soon as this week but with X.Org 7.3 coming out later this month, it's safe to assume the driver for sure will be released within the next four weeks. As far as the changes go you can expect to see a number of GeForce 8 fixes, including the performance problems that have recently plagued this flagship series. This may also mark the end of the NVIDIA 100.14.xx series. Find out more on the Phoronix Forums.
For those of you using the NVIDIA 100.14.11 display driver with the Linux 2.6.23-rc2 kernel, a community written patch is available so that the driver can install and function properly. NVIDIA's next driver to come out later this month or in September will integrate the Linux 2.6.23 kernel fixes. There is also another patch available to use a Xen 3.0 Linux kernel with the NVIDIA 100.14.11 driver.
In addition to the Linux 100.14.06 graphics driver, NVIDIA has also made available an updated 100.14.06 Solaris driver for x86 and x64. The changes for the Solaris driver are the same as the Linux and FreeBSD versions: improved notebook support and fixed assorted minor bugs. The Solaris 100.14.06 driver can be downloaded directly from NVIDIA. Discuss this driver in the Phoronix Forums.
If you've been planning on using a NVIDIA GeForce 8500GT or another GeForce 8 family GPU for a HTPC/media center, think again. NVIDIA has no definite plans on supporting XvMC with their Linux display drivers for the GeForce 8 series. The lack of XvMC, or X-Video Motion Compensation, support in the GeForce 8 series is not a bug but NVIDIA's Ken Spencer has stated: "There are no definite plans at this time to provide XVMC support for the 8000 series graphics cards". You can see more information at NvNews and discuss this lack of support in the Phoronix Forums.
This morning NVIDIA has rolled out the latest GPU in the GeForce 8 series, the NVIDIA GeForce 8800 Ultra. The new Ultra GPU is slated to be 10 to 15% faster over the current flagship GeForce 8800GTX. The GeForce 8800 Ultra is equipped with 768MB of video memory, 128 stream processors, 612MHz core clock, and 2160MHz effective memory clock. Product availability is scheduled for May 15 with a price tag of approximately $829 USD. The current NVIDIA Linux and Solaris display drivers do not support the GeForce 8800 Ultra, but you can expect new display drivers surfacing later this month. Head on over to NVIDIA's Press Room for the G80 Ultra press release.
Hitting the web moments ago was a new NVIDIA Linux display driver. However, this happens to be the legacy driver and not the mainstream driver that everyone has been on the look out for. This new legacy driver at version 1.0-7185 supports interaction with newer Linux kernels, improved compatibility with newer versions of X.Org, and new NVIDIA artwork. The new NVIDIA mainstream Linux/FreeBSD/Solaris driver should be available through nZone shortly (perhaps tomorrow). For more information on the 1.0-7185 driver see the 32-bit and 64-bit pages.
This morning NVIDIA introduced the GeForce 8500 and 8600 series graphics cards. These cards are the budget DirectX 10 components to the higher-end GeForce 8800 GTX / GTS. The NVIDIA GeForce 8600GTS is coming in at about the $200~229 USD price point while the 8600GT will be selling in the $150 range and the low-end 8500GT coming in at $89. These new cards support PureVideo HD technology, Scalable Link Interface (SLI) on the 8600 series, Shader Model 4.0, and much more. All of these products should be on sale at your favorite online retailers starting May 1. Phoronix will be covering the NVIDIA GeForce 8500 / 8600 series shortly under GNU/Linux and Solaris. There is no new NVIDIA Linux driver out today, but you can expect a new release shortly. The press release for these new graphics cards is available from NVIDIA Corporation.
497 NVIDIA news articles published on Phoronix.