Kernel 2054 breaks nvidia.ko loading

Mike A. Harris mharris at
Fri Mar 17 08:43:18 UTC 2006

Chris Chabot wrote:
> Tell me which card can also power my 24" display and allows play games at
> 1920x1200 resolution decently under windows, supports Vista, and also has
> OSS support and I'll put it on my shopping list before you know it!

I'll try to tell you that sometime in the next 2 weeks if possible.
Well, minus the "supports Vista" part, as I don't care about Vista, and
will avoid ever using it for as long as I can (hopefully forever).

I'm planning on buying 2 24" DFPs very soon, maybe even in a few hours.
Once they arrive, I expect to get a fairly good idea of which OSS
drivers support them well.  ;o)

> However as the situation exists, its either
> 1) Live with poor performance, but feel warm & fuzzy about pure a OSS system
> (that is, if you don't use flash, etc) or
> 2) Have a good performing system, but know you will be facing nvidia/ati
> closed source driver installing
> For me the choice was VERY simple.. I'm actually quite happy that both ati
> and nvidia supply drivers for linux (this used to be very different back in
> the days and I feel grateful that they do now), and it makes both my linux
> desktop snappy and responsive with my current hardware (SLI NVidia 7800GTX
> btw), and everything else very workable under windows.
> While I love idealism and conviction (and have my fair share of these too!),
> please no one try to tell me that I have to give up my Vista compatibility,
> my ability to play games at high resolution, for your disliking of closed
> source kernel drivers.

Of course you don't have to give up proprietary drivers.  That's
entirely your choice.  There is no one single answer for every
single person, simply because different people have different
usage scenarios, different "MUST_HAVE" requirements, different
"WOULD_BE_NICE" requirements, price considerations, compatibility
with other OS considerations, yada yada ad infinitum.

These video card/video driver flamewars always go full throttle
mainly because many people refuse to believe there can legitimately
be more than one "right" opinion on the issue, and that everyone
should change their minds to think in a single manner.  That is
just crazy however, as everyone has their own individual requirements,
and also their own areas which they are willing or unwilling to

It isn't reasonable for anyone to expect everyone to think in one
single unified manner about this.  Debating about it is thus
irrational.  ;o)

> Binary drivers are here to stay,

I would certainly agree with you that it /currently/ _appears_ that that
is the case, but I wouldn't go so far as to make any long term claims of
that nature.  We simply don't have a crystal ball, and can't predict
the future.  We can make hypothesis based on where things stand now,
and where things appear to be going in the future, but nobody knows
for sure wether binary drivers will always exist and be required by
some people.

On top of that, the kernel itself is making it more and more difficult
over time for binary drivers to continue to exist.  The global market
for Linux systems increases every single year, and covers more and more
different markets, both mainstream and niche.  It isn't outside of the
realm of possibility that there could be a "breaking point" at some
point in the future, where hardware vendors (not restricted to video)
decide that OSS is the better way to go, for their own reasons.

Hopefully over time, we will continue to show more and more vendors that
OSS drivers really are the better way to go, and that they decide to
spend the time and effort to resolve any hurdles in the way (legal,
or otherwise) to solve the problems.

Will that ever happen?  I think it will in some cases, and perhaps not
in others.  Some companies may vanish and be replaced by others, perhaps
others which are more OSS friendly.

Nobody really truly knows what the future holds.  Well, not unless they
have a set of Palantir.

> if idealism could make them go away they
> would've stopped existing already;

Ideology alone wont convince everyone, I'll give you that.  But ideology
isn't the only reason to have OSS software.

> But the reverse is true, people see that
> with those drivers their desktop feels faster, and they will keep using them
> for that very simple reason, no matter how hard you shout at them.

Absolutely.  But what's wrong with that.  ;o)  The only thing I'll be
shouting at them is "Sorry, unsupported drivers." if and when they file
bug reports.  Their system isn't on my desktop, so it doesn't matter to
me a heck of a lot what they personally decide to use.  ;o)

> The only real alternative to the closed source drivers that *I* see for *MY*
> computer (of course this is always about personal choice..) is open source
> drivers that fully support the latest nvidia & ati hardware, then it would
> be a no-brainer decision to use the OSS ones. But as it stands now (both ati
> & nvidia not releasing a lot of specs at all) that's quite unlikely for a
> while more.

Nvidia hasn't ever released specs since the Riva TNT cards, and even
those very ancient specs are limited.  ATI hasn't released specs since
the 2D-only R300 specs a couple of years ago (at least that I'm aware

Specs are only one small piece of the puzzle though, which are required
in order to have the level of support which one might expect - such as
the support you see in other operating systems.  It'll be at least
several years until that can even be entertained IMHO.  I think the
first thing that needs to happen before anything else, is for Linux
desktop market share to actually be visible on-radar, and climb to
a significant enough amount.  While efforts continue to improve Linux
in this area, it's still going to be a couple of years yet before
things are what I'd call "on-radar".  And during that time, there's
also a fair bit of chicken-and-egg going on.

> (Much like the reason why I'm using a closed source flash plugin, show me an
> suitable alternative, and I'd use that instead)
> So until then, closed source drivers it is!

Sure, for you that is a solution that seems to work.  By all means use
it if it works for you, but know what the caveats are as well.  :o)

Mike A. Harris  *  Open Source Advocate  *
                       Proud Canadian.

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