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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tux68
Member since:
2006-10-24

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)

Reply Parent Score: 5

tomcat Member since:
2006-01-06

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

I strongly disagree. Specialized processors (such as video) and their specialized memory subsystems have outpaced standard CPUs by a wide margin -- to the point that companies such as Intel are feeling left out in the cold (see recent OsNews article about Intel trying to buy talent for its own video processor campaign). If anything, technology development is going to accelerate, not slow down in the years ahead. You simply can't compare the pace of innovation in video cards versus IDE/SATA chipsets. It's night and day.

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.

Face it: You're inevitably dependent on nVidia -- regardless of which direction you go -- because you won't get software to reverse-engineer unless they prosper. So you might as well admit that you're dependent and work with them rather than try to keep up with copying their technology. Plus, you get a hand in telling nVidia and others what YOU think is important, rather than having Microsoft set the agenda.

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.

Apples and oranges. It wasn't necessary to reverse-engineer anything to produce Linux.

Reply Parent Score: 1

tux68 Member since:
2006-10-24

I strongly disagree. Specialized processors (such as video) and their specialized memory subsystems have outpaced standard CPUs by a wide margin -- to the point that companies such as Intel are feeling left out in the cold (see recent OsNews article about Intel trying to buy talent for its own video processor campaign). If anything, technology development is going to accelerate, not slow down in the years ahead. You simply can't compare the pace of innovation in video cards versus IDE/SATA chipsets. It's night and day.

It's not night and day at all. There is only so much you can do with 3D hardware. There's only so many things you can add to the mix to help, there's only so much hardware you'll _ever_ need. Much of the reason for the constant flow of newer video cards is for performance reasons. A time will come when there is simply enough performance that newer cards won't be as necessary or introduce nearly as much change.

Think of cars for instance. Yes, year after year they introduce slightly new features and design shapes. However, do you have to relearn how to drive a car each year? It is the same in computer technology.

There's absolutely no reason to believe that 3d hardware is so special that it will evolve forever and ever at such a rate of speed as it does today. Eventually it will slow down and pose a much slower target to track.

Face it: You're inevitably dependent on nVidia -- regardless of which direction you go -- because you won't get software to reverse-engineer unless they prosper. So you might as well admit that you're dependent and work with them rather than try to keep up with copying their technology. Plus, you get a hand in telling nVidia and others what YOU think is important, rather than having Microsoft set the agenda.

No, we won't be dependent on nVidia, they're not the only hardware vendor. If they go out of business we'll have open source drivers that will continue to work with the hardware they produced while they were operating. Even if they signed a deal with someone to exclusively support their operating system (say Windows for example), we will still have our open source drivers. It puts us in the drivers seat; that's really the point.


Apples and oranges. It wasn't necessary to reverse-engineer anything to produce Linux.

Sorry you're just simply wrong here. Many drivers in Linux were reverse engineered from Windows and other OS drivers.

Edited 2006-12-27 06:59

Reply Parent Score: 5