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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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.

It will evolve for a while longer, but not all that much. Eventually the evolution will slow to a point to where it is easy to track with open source software; even if nVidia doesn't want to participate in that effort. As an example, look how easy it is to create open source drivers for new IDE or SATA chipsets. The level of innovation in that area has just settled down and the differences between implementations are minor and easily handled by open source software. The same thing _will_ happen in the 3d hardware area as well. Just need some patience.

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.

Of course people who don't care about free software are able follow that path if they choose.

For people who understand and desire the long term benefits of removing themselves from the mercy (and continued existence) of software support from a hardware vendor like nVidia, it makes a lot of sense to support the creation of open source drivers.

After all, look at just how much open source software offers today. The "pragmatists" would have quit long ago telling everyone to "compromise" and just use binary windows because it was crazy to duplicate all that functionality in free software. Thankfully, nobody listened to them back then either. ;o)

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