Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 25th Dec 2006 19:58 UTC, submitted by Michael Larabel
3D News, GL, DirectX "Nouveau is a community project that is working on producing open-source 3D display drivers for NVIDIA graphics cards. Nouveau is not affiliated with Nvidia Corp and is an X.Org project. While this project is still far from being completed, for this holiday special we are sharing some of our first thoughts on this project from our experience thus far. We would like to make it very clear, however, that the Nouveau driver is no where near completed and still has a great deal of work ahead for the 3D component. This article today will also hopefully shed some light on the advancements of this project so far."
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Admirable effort but ultimately flawed
by tomcat on Tue 26th Dec 2006 19:07 UTC
tomcat
Member since:
2006-01-06

Obviously, since NVidia isn't going to give away its IP in the form of source code, it makes sense for developers to try to work around the problem. However, I think it's reasonable to remind everyone that getting the current crop of cards working may be useful now, but NVidia isn't exactly going to stand still, technology-wise.

The technology will continually evolve and, since NVidia is actively writing drivers for Windows, it stands to reason that reverse-engineered drivers on Linux will lag newer drivers on Windows by a considerable margin. Debugging video chips isn't easy. It takes time. And resources.

I'm not pointing this out in order to discourage the creation of NVidia drivers. Rather, I think it's a BETTER IDEA to encourage NVidia to distribute a binary driver for Linux. Having the source code seems, to me, more of an ideological limitation than a practical one. The kind of limitation that really doesn't discourage driver innovation and availability on Windows.

How do you encourage NVidia to write Linux drivers? Simple: Make it worth their while from a financial standpoint. I'm suggesting that you pay them to do so. I'm quite sure that the mere suggestion of financial incentives will provoke an outcry from the more ideologically-driven folks who will throw around words like "purity" and "independence" and "philosophy". But you can't fully expect a profit-motivated organization to put philanthropy ahead of the bottom line, and you're never going to keep up with the forward pace of innovation, if you're constantly reverse-engineering.

So compromise. Set up a lab which works with all major video card manufacturers on behalf of Linux. Fund the effort. Raise funds. Hold bake sales. Whatever. Just do it. You'll be much happier, in the long run. Because once you get NVidia and others to release binary Linux drivers, it just becomes that much easier to get them to write subsequent versions.

My two cents. Feel free to disagree.

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