Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 6th Dec 2005 13:23 UTC, submitted by Michael Larabel
Graphics, User Interfaces Here is a test concerning NVIDIA SLI on Linux (in this case, OpenSUSE 10.0 OSS). "With our previous article that we published moments ago, demonstrating the performance of the GeForce 7800GTX 256MB under Linux with the 1.0-8174 Rel80 drivers that were finally released today, there's no disputing that the Windows XP NVIDIA ForceWare users can generally see a significantly higher frame-rate with the same hardware components, in addition to other features that aren't yet supported by the proprietary NVIDIA Linux drivers. However, how do NVIDIA's initial Rel80 Linux drivers (1.0-8174) fair in the world of Scalable Link Interface?"
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halfmanhalfamazing
Member since:
2005-07-23

I understand their want/need to keep things secret, but at the very least they should be willing to open up the documentation for chip families that go back a few generations.

I highly doubt there are many secrets left in the TNT2 or Geforce1 families that they would be too worried about at this point. Even the Geforce2 family. I'd think that ATI has surpassed any of the advances in this family with the R5xx series, considering that ATI works with the OSS community on drivers for chips all the way up to R2xx chips.

This is the reason why I own a FireGL 8800. It's the fastest card that I know of that has OSS drivers. When ATI or someone else releases specs on a family of chips with greater performance, I'll upgrade.

Edited 2005-12-06 21:32

Reply Score: 5

edwdig Member since:
2005-08-22

nVidia will never release driver code, as all cards share the same unified driver source.

As to documentation, that's only going to create more hassles than it's worth for them. Very few people would go out and buy a GeForce 1 if nVidia released documentation for it today. nVidia stopped making them long ago, and they aren't going to start producing more now for the couple people that might want one. They probably don't even have documentation in a suitable form to give to people trying to write a driver from scratch. To make the docs useful to people, they would have to assign engineers to the task of providing support, which isn't very likely to happen considering it won't bring in more money than it would cost.

Reply Parent Score: 3

halfmanhalfamazing Member since:
2005-07-23

I don't expect them to release code, and didn't even mention that.

---------that's only going to create more hassles than it's worth for them.-------------

Supporting more families of cards = less hassles? It seems as if they were supporting less families that would mean less hassles. Let the OSS community have the hassles if it wants them that bad.

---------nVidia stopped making them long ago, and they aren't going to start producing more now for the couple people that might want one.------------

That's the point. It's not about them producing more. I doubt anybody thinks they will. It's about those who already have them getting support from the community. You know as well as I do that nvidia isn't gonna support these cards forever, but it's in their best interest for some sort of support platform to be available in case people decide to use these cards.

----------They probably don't even have documentation in a suitable form to give to people trying to write a driver from scratch.------------

Unlikely. They can make a tremendous driver for these cards but don't have good documentation? Sorry, but these two just do not go together.

-----------To make the docs useful to people, they would have to assign engineers to the task----------

No they wouldn't. They could do this to increase the effectiveness and timely manner in which these drivers could/would be created, but the lack of nvidia engineers would not result in zero driver development.

Reply Parent Score: 3

segedunum Member since:
2005-07-06

I understand their want/need to keep things secret, but at the very least they should be willing to open up the documentation for chip families that go back a few generations.

Well, very, very few people are ever going to consider buying chips that are several years old because they have specs, documentation, and potentially, open source drivers, and companies like nVidia will never provide support, engineers and resources in doing that. From their point of view it is a loss-leading exercise and it just isn't economically viable. They won't do anything like that simply out of the goodness of their hearts.

nVidia's drivers have a unified base as well, so it would be pretty difficult to crowbar all of the relevant stuff out of there for people to use without giving stuff away about all their hardware.

This is the reason why I own a FireGL 8800. It's the fastest card that I know of that has OSS drivers. When ATI or someone else releases specs on a family of chips with greater performance, I'll upgrade.

Well, I admire your stand on that but I hate to point out that you're the exception rather than the rule.

Reply Parent Score: 2

halfmanhalfamazing Member since:
2005-07-23

---------very few people are ever going to consider buying chips that are several years old because they have specs, documentation-----------

It's not about people who are potential buyers. These cards have been bought and sold and are nearly completely out of the marketplace.(from nvidia's standpoint) The only ones left are either in production machines or collecting dust at some mom-n-pop-shop awaiting a home.

----------and companies like nVidia will never provide support, engineers and resources in doing that.----------

I'm not calling for any resources of any kind besides the docs. The OSS community has proven many times it has the resources. Just give up the docs, we'll be happy to do the rest. Being as these families are a few gens back, there shouldn't be any secrets left for nvidia or whoever to hide.

-----------Well, I admire your stand on that but I hate to point out that you're the exception rather than the rule.--------------

Yeah, I know. And I also realize that the DRI has only recieved a majority of docs, not full docs from ATi. Which is fine. A mostly complete OSS driver is still better than the closed source ones provided.

Given XGI's announcement, my next card may very well be a volari.

Reply Parent Score: 1

Wrawrat Member since:
2005-06-30

Regarding your title, a GPL policy wouldn't do much good. To my knowledge, X.org is released on a BSD-like licence. Of course, X11R7 is going to be modular, but reinventing the wheel once again when the documentation could be useful for many platforms would be a waste of time.

As for not releasing the specs for their older chips... Why would they? They want you to buy their current chips. Sure, it would be useful for many people, including myself. After all, I still use a GF4 Ti4200. Still, they are a corporation with shareholders, not a charity. It's all about money and keeping control on their products while avoiding potential lawsuits for stepping on some patents or exposing a workaround to a copy protection (TV out with Macrovision comes to mind)... Same for ATI, by the way. (Un)fortunately (depending from which point of view you are looking), it's not engineers that are running enterprises.

Reply Parent Score: 1

halfmanhalfamazing Member since:
2005-07-23

---------Regarding your title, a GPL policy wouldn't do much good. To my knowledge, X.org is released on a BSD-like licence.--------

Ok. They need a work-with-the-OSS-community policy.

---------As for not releasing the specs for their older chips... Why would they?------------

Because smaller companies such as XGI are talking about it. Even if they don't do it for another year this is a good way to gain marketshare.

The last thing nVidia(or ATi, whoever) wants is more competition.

--------They want you to buy their current chips.---------

I know. I know I'm not a majority, but I know there are alot more linuxheads like myself who would very easily switch to XGI for the OSS driver. And nVidia knows this. They've been happy to have *the* card of the linux community, thanks in part to the amount of effort they've put into their driver. If I were recommending a card to a friend, I'd definately say nvidia first. But let XGI take the OSS route and they'll become the first choice for many.

Linux might not have much marketshare now, but it keeps growing.

-----------Still, they are a corporation with shareholders, not a charity. It's all about money and keeping control on their products while avoiding potential lawsuits for stepping on some patents or exposing a workaround to a copy protection----------

I know. That's why I don't expect them to open a new card family's docs. They have legitimate reasons to protect their shiny new IP. And if XGI became a bigger player I wouldn't expect them bother with it either.

Apparently it's just me.

Reply Parent Score: 2