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

People also said that the limit of requirements for RAM, or CPU cycles, or hard disk space, or portable storage size, or screen resolution, or whatever has been reached. They said that all time, and were proven wrong every single time.

You're right of course, but they made the mistake of specifying a specific quantity. You say yourself you can see a limit 50 years out, maybe it's a 100. But that really wasn't the main point: the exponential _rate_ of change will diminish just as we see Moores law starting to taper off in the CPU realm.

However in the shorter term there's lots of reason to believe the situation will improve even in the face of many advancements in the performance of 3d video cards. Much in the same way that CPU's continue to perform better and change large parts of the underlying silicon while maintaining an instruction set that hardly changes at all. Similarly, there is every reason to believe that even while video card performance will continue to improve, and offer VR etc, the underlying programming interaction with the card won't need to change nearly as much.

But no matter what the technical challenges, doing the best we can is a better option than begging nVidia for a binary blob we have no control over ourselves, and then praying they don't get bought up by Microsoft etc.

As an aside, once a community developed open source driver exists, it removes many of the reasons nVidia has given about why they can't provide an open source driver themselves. Perhaps they will have a change of heart and offer patches here and there where they can. But we'll never create the conditions for that to happen if we just accept the status-quo.

It's a great project with lots of reason to think it will ultimately succeed, even if some people think we should give up before really getting started.

Reply Parent Score: 1

tomcat Member since:
2006-01-06

You're right of course, but they made the mistake of specifying a specific quantity. You say yourself you can see a limit 50 years out, maybe it's a 100. But that really wasn't the main point: the exponential _rate_ of change will diminish just as we see Moores law starting to taper off in the CPU realm.

Nah. That's a prediction that you're basing on vapor. Air.

Reply Parent Score: 1

tux68 Member since:
2006-10-24

Nah. That's a prediction that you're basing on vapor. Air.

Nope, basing it on experience. Look at televisions, computers, any number of technologies. As they mature the rate of change just diminishes. Face it.

Reply Parent Score: 1

Morin Member since:
2005-12-31

> You're right of course, but they made the mistake of
> specifying a specific quantity. You say yourself you
> can see a limit 50 years out, maybe it's a 100.

No I didn't say that.

> But that really wasn't the main point: the exponential
> _rate_ of change will diminish just as we see Moores
> law starting to taper off in the CPU realm.

But Moore's law only deals with transistor density. The number of processor architectures still grows, and even more so when the transistor density comes to a halt. And it's the number of different architectures that demands for different software to interface with that hardware: drivers.

> Similarly, there is every reason to believe that even
> while video card performance will continue to
> improve, and offer VR etc, the underlying programming
> interaction with the card won't need to change nearly
> as much.

The CPUs are ISA compatible because the market demands so - nobody would buy an incompatible CPU for his computer at home. In contrast, the different graphics cards are already ISA incompatible, and incompatible at register level. Just try a graphics card with a driver that wasn't written for it. Currently, nobody demands that they are compatible, and as long as the vendor distributes the drivers with the hardware, that won't change.

Just note how the whole Nouveau project deals with writing additional drivers for incompatible graphics cards, and *NOT* with making the cards compatible.

> It's a great project with lots of reason to think it
> will ultimately succeed, even if some people think we
> should give up before really getting started.

Correct. But don't delude yourself into thinking that Nvidia will only produce compatible cards in the future, and that the aim of the whole Nouveau project is to write drivers for a few cards and everything will be fine.

Reply Parent Score: 1