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Re: Nvidia drivers

On Mon, 2 Apr 2001, Bill Crawford wrote:

>  Has it occurred to you that if there was more documentation and
> source available, someone outside NV might have a chance of tracking
> down the problems?

There's a small chance of that, yes, but since the system just locks up
without any trace... be kind of hard really.

I should try to isolate the problem by trying different kernels (with
different configurations), different versions of X, maybe even a different
WM... but time, time, I just don't have enough of it.

>  This is like saying that car builders will be ripped off if they
> tell people how do drive them.

Err..., not in the slightest. What your saying is the same as "This is
like saying that hardware makers will be ripped off if they tell people
how to use their hardware."

If car makers give out the full specs to their engines, EMS, etc. etc. then it's conceivable that
"borrowing" would take place. It's the unfortunate reality and before that
changes, vendors will be wary of releasing their IP and relinquishing
their rights to it.

If we're going to go down this route, we would need to insist on totally
"open hardware" ie. every single bit (npi) in your computer, including
monitor and peripherals, would have to be fully documented with full specs
released to everyone.

>  ATI have given enough to several DRI developers to enable them to
> write and debug drivers.  From off-hand remarks on the dri-devel list
> it appears they are even good enough to document know hardware issues
> so they can be worked around in drivers.

I asked if ATi and Matrox have released the *full* specs and documentation
to *all* their products (as that is what is being demanded of nVidia). The
answer to that was "no".

> > Something with even less support than nVidia's products?
>  Come again?

No vendor-supplied binary driver.

>  Bugs in the G400 driver have been fixed by folks with documentation.
> It's quite unlikely anyone with those docs could recreate the G400 --
> but they have been able to write a driver that is now extremely stable
> and fast enough for me to enjoy Quake 3 and Unreal Tournament on a box
> that is not exactly blazing in performance.

That's good.

>  The Matrox driver is working very well.  The DRI developers have
> cured all the show-stopping issues I have had with it.  Apparently
> the NV drivers are still triggering lock-ups for some people.  I
> have watched a seasoned sysadmin here struggle to get the NV drivers
> installed and working on a machine ... and read release notes which
> clearly demonstrate some of the problems caused by trying to put
> out binary drivers for Linux, such as the differences between the
> different distributions.

nVidia cards are temperamental beasts, not just on Linux. Never could get
the GeForce 2 GTS here to run in a Tyan Tiger 133 board.

>  On the other hand, for my G400 at home, I can compile either the
> current DRI CVS tree or XFree86 trunk, install, and start X up.  It
> now works beautifully.  Quakeforge is playable at 1600x1200x32.
>  I know from following the DRI development mailing list for the last
> year that they were able to get to this stage because they had some
> documentation.  I also know that changes in the Linux kernel were
> tracked within days.  This would not happen at all quickly with a
> binary-only driver distribution.

Well, they had *some* documentation. That doesn't qualify as *full*



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