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The NVIDIA GTX 900 Series Performance On The Open-Source Nouveau Driver

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  • The NVIDIA GTX 900 Series Performance On The Open-Source Nouveau Driver

    Phoronix: The NVIDIA GTX 900 Series Performance On The Open-Source Nouveau Driver

    With the in-development Linux 4.6 kernel there is the long-awaited NVIDIA GeForce GTX 900 series accelerated support atop the open-source Nouveau driver. While it requires using NVIDIA's signed binary blobs for the firmware, the support is now working. Here are some benchmarks on several different GTX 900 Maxwell graphics cards comparing the open-source driver performance to what's offered by NVIDIA's proprietary Linux driver.

    http://www.phoronix.com/vr.php?view=22992

  • #2
    I might sound like a dick by asking this, but doesn't the whole situation with Nouveau mean that NVIDIA has their cake and gets to eat it, too?

    They force the Open Source community to rely on "Signed Firmware Blobs" (which sounds an awful lot like a proprietary driver to me) and still keep their hardware internals mostly secret and closed, and they abstract away anything else and leave it to the community to implement - which is mostly being done by volunteers (The Nouveau team), for free.

    In fact, the "Signed Firmware Blobs" are completely counter-intuitive to the reasoning behind Nouveau: An Open Source Driver for NVIDIA Video Cards.

    Does NVIDIA's choice not pigeon-hole Nouveau as an "Open Source Wrapper" rather than a Driver?
    Last edited by wodencafe; 28 March 2016, 12:13 PM.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by debianxfce View Post
      As you see, nouveau is useless bloatware in the linux kernel. When customizing kernel , disable that first, nouveau will increase compilation time several minutes.
      Not really it is (and always has been) a bootstrap solution till you can install the real driver.
      Also, you have to admire nvidia's consistency, when nouveau looses, it looses soundly and across the board. Unlike amdgpu :P

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      • #4
        Originally posted by wodencafe View Post
        In fact, the "Signed Firmware Blobs" are completely counter-intuitive to the reasoning behind Nouveau: An Open Source Driver for NVIDIA Video Cards.
        Does NVIDIA's choice not pigeon-hole Nouveau as an "Open Source Wrapper" rather than a Driver?
        Well the firmware files are just uploaded on some co-processors on the gpu itself. Most of the driver still runs on the CPU and do most of the work. Only gpu internal things like context switching/video decoding and encoding is done on those co-processors.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by bug77 View Post

          Not really it is (and always has been) a bootstrap solution till you can install the real driver.
          Also, you have to admire nvidia's consistency, when nouveau looses, it looses soundly and across the board. Unlike amdgpu :P
          please don't feed trolls, won't ya?

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          • #6
            Originally posted by debianxfce View Post

            Sorry that a fact hurts nouveau developers feelings. We have 3 nvidia users here, no use for nouveau ever. I did even try it with 8400gt, but boot was slow and graphics corrupted. So if a display driver is not ok for office use, it is really bad.
            I will never use binary only blob crap. New kernel, xorg, etc? Wait for their binary only update. Want to do GPU driver and architecture research and development? Out of luck. Want to run on PowerPC, UltraSPARC or ARM64? Good luck either.

            Binary only driver are cancer in the open source world.

            I'm thankful to all the nouveau developers for being able to use 3D acceleration on my G5:
            http://t2-project.org/hardware/workstation/Apple/G5/

            Everyone who wants binary only blobs can go back to windows.
            Last edited by rene; 28 March 2016, 01:11 PM.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by debianxfce View Post

              Sorry that a fact hurts nouveau developers feelings. We have 3 nvidia users here, no use for nouveau ever. I did even try it with 8400gt, but boot was slow and graphics corrupted. So if a display driver is not ok for office use, it is really bad.
              What have you done to help with this?

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              • #8
                Originally posted by debianxfce View Post

                Sorry that a fact hurts nouveau developers feelings. We have 3 nvidia users here, no use for nouveau ever. I did even try it with 8400gt, but boot was slow and graphics corrupted. So if a display driver is not ok for office use, it is really bad.
                Don't despise small beginnings. Nouveau is making progress, one step at a time. For many cards, the Nouveau driver is quite usable for everyday activities and some gaming. I had an old dell 270 desktop with nvidia card, and when I first stated using it, I needed the binary blob. After a few years, ubuntu started using the Nouveau driver by default, and I was pleasantly surprised to see the 2D performance was much snappier with the Nouveau than with the binary blob.

                is there a case for the binary blob? Sure, a hard core gamer with the latest Nvidia card is going to want to run the binary blob, no question. Someone like me who mostly works, but sometimes plays some 3D FPS like nexuiz or openarena etc, will find the Nouveau driver ideal. It's great to have a choice.

                Different strokes for different folks

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by rene View Post

                  I will never use binary only blob crap. New kernel, xorg, etc? Wait for their binary only update. Want to do GPU driver and architecture research and development? Out of luck. Want to run on PowerPC, UltraSPARC or ARM64? Good luck either.

                  Everyone who wants binary only blobs can go back to windows.
                  Finally some criticism of Binary Drivers that goes beyond philosophical arguments.

                  I agree with the spirit of this post, but when the alternative driver isn't as stable or powerful, it's forced the community to ask themselves which they value more: freedom for their hardware / software, or the best performance from their hardware / software.

                  Seemingly, these two sentiments are incompatible in NVIDIA's business world, and the dissonance between them has really created a crisis in the open source, tech enthusiast community.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by wodencafe View Post

                    Finally some criticism of Binary Drivers that goes beyond philosophical arguments.

                    I agree with the spirit of this post, but when the alternative driver isn't as stable or powerful, it's forced the community to ask themselves which they value more: freedom for their hardware / software, or the best performance from their hardware / software.

                    Seemingly, these two sentiments are incompatible in NVIDIA's business world, and the dissonance between them has really created a crisis in the open source, tech enthusiast community.

                    right, I also use the nvidia driver for some games where nouveau is really bad, but I also try to figure out why that is. for some games nouveau already achieves more than 70% performance and this is fine, where for others it is only around 30%

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