Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 14th Mar 2011 18:59 UTC
Talk, Rumors, X Versus Y And over the weekend, the saga regarding Canonical, GNOME, and KDE has continued. Lots of comments all over the web, some heated, some well-argued, some wholly indifferent. Most interestingly, Jeff Waugh and Dave Neary have elaborated on GNOME's position after the initial blog posts by Shuttleworth and Seigo, providing a more coherent look at GNOME's side of the story.
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RE[7]: F**k this shit!
by nt_jerkface on Wed 16th Mar 2011 18:12 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: F**k this shit!"
nt_jerkface
Member since:
2009-08-26

nt_jerkface good question.


It was a rhetorical question that both you and I know the answer to. GPU drivers are the big stinking elephant in the room and there is also the reality that most hardware companies would prefer to write a proprietary binary driver for a stable interface.

The way I put is that closed source driver makers wanting to use kernel space are like carrying possible drug using gear into an airport and trying to refuse having you ass and other private areas inspected. Basically inspection should be expected.


Why not let users decide? The security paranoid can use basic open source drivers and everyone else can use proprietary drivers.

Like most defenses of the Linux driver model you ignore problems resulting from that model that users continually face.

The user-space interface is only mostly stable. Every year you defend the Linux driver model and every year a new Linux user gets some trivial device broken from an update and goes back to Windows or OSX.

There is no Linux distro that can be trusted to auto-update itself along with a typical desktop application suite and a basic set of peripherals. No Linux distro has a reliable record. Linux would have far more than 1% if the people at the top were concerned with building a system that finds a balance between the needs of users, open source advocates and hardware companies. But Linux is designed by open source advocates with little regard for users or hardware companies. Linus doesn't want proprietary drivers in his precious kernel and will gladly sacrifice marketshare to achieve this goal.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[8]: F**k this shit!
by smitty on Wed 16th Mar 2011 18:42 in reply to "RE[7]: F**k this shit!"
smitty Member since:
2005-10-13

Why not let users decide?

They do decide. They decide to update to a new kernel/distro every 6 months rather than sticking with LTS/Enterprise distros that freeze the API for years and test out binary drivers extensively. Users choose to decide that's not important to them.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[9]: F**k this shit!
by jbauer on Sat 19th Mar 2011 12:50 in reply to "RE[8]: F**k this shit!"
jbauer Member since:
2005-07-06

"Why not let users decide?

They do decide. They decide to update to a new kernel/distro every 6 months rather than sticking with LTS/Enterprise distros that freeze the API for years and test out binary drivers extensively. Users choose to decide that's not important to them.
"

No, they decide to avoid open source desktops.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[8]: F**k this shit!
by oiaohm on Wed 16th Mar 2011 23:45 in reply to "RE[7]: F**k this shit!"
oiaohm Member since:
2009-05-30

"nt_jerkface good question.


It was a rhetorical question that both you and I know the answer to. GPU drivers are the big stinking elephant in the room and there is also the reality that most hardware companies would prefer to write a proprietary binary driver for a stable interface.
"

This in fact shows how little you know. GPU driver itself is two halfs. One to prep code for GPU and one to control where GPU takes and places memory.

The code prep is in fact in most case a speed boost if in userspace. The fact that GPU can be got to write back anywhere in memory the memory management controls are critical to be in kernel space.

Nvidia of all things has code prep and memory management in kernel space. The result is a more unstable more harmful driver than what it should be. Since bugs in processing instructions for GPU can crash the complete kernel. Worse the processing instructions for GPU could receive anything from user-space. Processing for GPU is a highly complex operation its very much like running a compiler in kernel space not wise at all.

Would giving up the secret to memory management to there GPU really expose there trade secrets no it would not. Since that information is already known.

Remember I said there are some items that are not suitable. Closed source memory management is one of those things since that can create secuirty flaws so simply. What you need to be in kernel space is normally items that need to be 100 percent audited to have a secure system.

ATI/AMD, VIA and all other Video card makers have accepted the fact that the memory management of video cards and processing for video cards should be split. Nvidia is the only hold out. Nvidia GPU drivers on Windows Vista and 7 are also not design to the MS specs requesting the two parts split either.

The elephant in the room is not GPU drivers. It is Nvidia and its for all OS makers not just Linux. Instructions given for stability of OS are not being obeyed by Nvidia.

Very little really needs to be in kernel space and what ever is not required in kernel space the driver makers can keep closed source as much as they like. Mostly stable is not true at all.

Besides the mainline Linux kernel is only lacking distribution support to have the Longterm kernels provide a kernel abi that closed source drivers can use. Yes distributions not messing with longterm kernels and agreeing to use the same compiler.

Userspace API provided by the Linux kernel is a work around to the lack of cooperation from lots of distributions. It also provides increased stability in many cases.

Simple fact of the matter nt_jerkface you don't know the topic and every argument you have had is a dead end. Not based on facts of the situation. Each time you are going to lead to particular parties doing the wrong things on all platforms.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[9]: F**k this shit!
by nt_jerkface on Thu 17th Mar 2011 01:43 in reply to "RE[8]: F**k this shit!"
nt_jerkface Member since:
2009-08-26

This in fact shows how little you know. GPU driver itself is two halfs. One to prep code for GPU and one to control where GPU takes and places memory.


That's irrelevant. It needs kernel space access which is the point.

Nvidia of all things has code prep and memory management in kernel space. The result is a more unstable more harmful driver than what it should be.


You make this claim and yet it is widely agreed upon that Nivida has the best (proprietary) drivers for Linux. Go to any gaming forum and you will see a consensus that Nvidia is the way to go. BTW the "just open yer specs" excuse is no longer valid after AMD did this and the result was not high quality video drivers from the community.

Since bugs in processing instructions for GPU can crash the complete kernel. Worse the processing instructions for GPU could receive anything from user-space.


Like I said before the kernel could be designed to accommodate both open and closed drivers. Provide a stable interface for binary drivers that cannot run entirely in userspace and let users take the risk if they want. It's called a compromise, something status quo defenders like yourself don't seem to understand. But again how dare I question the resounding success that is Linux on the desktop.

Processing for GPU is a highly complex operation its very much like running a compiler in kernel space not wise at all.


And yet NVIDIA and AMD engineers want to do it. This reminds me of Greg telling hardware card companies what their needs are instead of asking them. A wise OS development team builds a kernel around the needs of partners that can add value to the platform. Linux is designed to be hell for hardware companies that want to write binary drivers. Most companies want to write binary drivers and be able to provide the latest version directly to users. That is the disconnect.

ATI/AMD, VIA and all other Video card makers have accepted the fact that the memory management of video cards and processing for video cards should be split. Nvidia is the only hold out.


Split which still requires kernel access.

Mostly stable is not true at all.


That is BS, are you going to tell me that userspace drivers never get broken? If a company writes a proprietary userspace driver, how long can they expect it to work? How many years? Oh but let me guess, your solution is for them to open source it so they don't have to risk getting it broken. Back to the endlessly looping defense for the current model which is really just anti-proprietary.

1. You should open source your driver
2. You don't have to though, we have a stable user interface.
3. Oh I see you have learned that the userspace interface is only mostly stable and there is no guarantee that your proprietary driver will even last 6 months. GOTO 1.

There is also the support lag problem which you haven't addressed. With Windows and OSX video card companies can release a new driver overnight. With Linux it can take months to get accepted.

At the end of the day the Linux driver model is not designed to accommodate hardware companies. It imposes expectations of them that do not exist in Windows or OSX. This is not a wise strategy for platform that has such a small marketshare. It would make more sense to at least accommodate the needs of hardware companies temporarily and then push for open drivers at a later date. But Linux is not about strategy or marketshare so its fans will have to accept its niche status on the desktop while MS and Apple delight in its limited ability to compete.

Reply Parent Score: 2