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Debian & The FSF Launch A Linux Hardware Database

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  • Debian & The FSF Launch A Linux Hardware Database

    Phoronix: Debian & The FSF Launch A Linux Hardware Database

    The Free Software Foundation and Debian have hooked up to help free software users in the search for finding Linux compatible hardware... In a different approach from the other Linux compatibility lists and hardware databases, they are only promoting hardware that doesn't require any proprietary software or firmware...

    http://www.phoronix.com/vr.php?view=MTc4MzY

  • #2
    H-Node?
    sounds like a porn site..

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    • #3
      Sounds useless.

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      • #4
        http://h-node.org/wiki/page/en/Discover-your-hardware

        If the video card works

        Install rss-glx by means of the package manager of your distribution or compiling it from source and try some screensavers (for example Skyrocket or Solarwinds). Check if you can play the screensaver (and/or if you can play it smoothly)
        If the 3D acceleration works

        Try to enable compiz
        lol....
        Michael Larabel
        http://www.michaellarabel.com/

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        • #5
          Originally posted by phoronix View Post
          Debian & The FSF Launch A Linux Hardware Database
          Debian didn't have anything to do with this - yet. h-node has been around for ages, but Debian users were specifically excluded from submitting data (because it's not a FSF-endorsed free distro). All that's changed is, users of Debian main (without non-free packages) are now allowed to contribute. That means it should get more users, and get much better over time.

          It's really lacking data right now but it seems like a good idea: advice for anyone looking to buy / put together hardware for a GNU/Linux system, so that it works with the most reliable, best maintained - free - drivers. FSF seem increasingly interested in endorsing hardware.

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          • #6
            Sooo... who wants to write new FOSS Radeon firmware?

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            • #7
              Firmware on ROM or generated by the card should not get a pass

              AMD gets put at a disadvantage because their firmware loads from disk and can be replaced or even left out to run a small card in 2d only (good enough for an IceWM laptop, etc). Intel includes firmware on the chip, which hopefully can't be maliciously changed but cannot be audited either. Nvidia generates firmware at runtime. Thus nobody that I know of is making a GPU that can run 3d acceleation while using only open code that can be audited as source.

              OK, next question: which is easier-writing open source firmware for AMD, or auditing the existing firmware at the binary level? Is it even possible to hexdump Intel's on-chip firmware? Older versions of Nouveau did not generate "on the fly" firmware from the card, now they do to allow the cards to operate correctly. Is that code auditable or is Nvidia getting a pass for their firmware not being a file on disk?

              For most users-even on encrypted systems-this has not been a cause of problems other than just plain firmware bugs open programmers can't fix, but there are security levels at which this unauditable code is a risk. The obvious example would be communication with the next Snowden-level whistleblower.

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              • #8
                I guess I'll stick with my unsupported Geforce 570 GTX since it's running flawlessly for now.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Luke View Post
                  Thus nobody that I know of is making a GPU that can run 3d acceleation while using only open code that can be audited as source.
                  Of course by that logic, no one's making any such CPU's either. (At least not Intel/AMD.) They all require microcode, which is very much closed.

                  Originally posted by Luke View Post
                  Is that code auditable or is Nvidia getting a pass for their firmware not being a file on disk?
                  The full source is included in the kernel (look for .fuc files for nvc0+... the nv50 firmware is generated on the fly based on the card units available). Note that all this firmware is responsible for is switching rendering contexts -- it needs to save all pgraph engine state to a buffer and load new state from memory. It's only tangentially related to 3d acceleration itself. (Although obviously an important bit of card operation.)

                  The video decoding firmware is more complex and there is no open-source version of it at this point.

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                  • #10
                    With being driven by user data, the quality of each listing isn't too useful. Some AMD graphics cards shown are listed as "works with 3D acceleration" but in reality with these modern GPUs there is still the closed-source AMD firmware blobs needed for hardware acceleration. Their graphics card listings also don't cover matters like video acceleration, power management, and other functionality. There's also NVIDIA graphics cards listed as working although they're next to useless until the Fermi/Kepler re-clocking support is furthered along.
                    A rather true compatible hardware would be an Intel CPU only (no AM/NV graphic cards and AM CPU). I wont buy a notebook with an external AM/NV GPU/CPU. With upcoming 14 nm Intel CPUs their integrated GPU is getting faster again. I only don't know how good their OpenCL is utilized by Beignet to a theoretical maximum. I'd like to see integer performance improvement for crypto in their future CPUs. Then there would really be no need -- for me at least -- for AM/NV hardware. I don't care what happens to AM/NV as long as they are not really supporting FOSS. We all know how bad they perform with FOSS drivers.

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