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Graphics Upgrades Windows Hardware Linux

Nvidia Removed Linux Driver Feature For Feature Parity With Windows 237

Posted by timothy
from the leveling-the-playing-the-field dept.
RemyBR writes "Softpedia points to a Nvidia Developer Zone forum post revealing that the company has removed a specific Linux feature as of the v310 drivers due to the Windows platform. A BaseMosaic user on Ubuntu 12.04 noticed a change in the number of displays that can be used simultaneously after upgrading from the v295 drivers to v310. Another user, apparently working for Nvidia, gave a very troubling answer: 'For feature parity between Windows and Linux we set BaseMosaic to 3 screens.'"
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Nvidia Removed Linux Driver Feature For Feature Parity With Windows

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 05, 2013 @05:46AM (#45043095)

    It makes everyone equal with Windows.

  • Thus: (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Zanadou (1043400) on Saturday October 05, 2013 @05:51AM (#45043121)
    "We have altered the deal; pray we do not alter it again."
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by mcgrew (92797) *

      What deal? The only deal would be between Nvidea and Microsoft, who I'm sure paid a princely sum to hide one of Windows' various deficiencies.

      MS must be sacred shitless of Linux, especially since Linux-Android is kicking its ass in the phone and tablet market. MS has a long way to go to match Linux's and Linux's distros' feature sets.

      • Re:Thus: (Score:4, Informative)

        by mysidia (191772) on Saturday October 05, 2013 @08:13AM (#45043513)

        What deal? The only deal would be between Nvidea and Microsoft, who I'm sure paid a princely sum to hide one of Windows' various deficiencies.

        Why do that, when you control the Windows logo rules?

        Windows must have a preferred status; features available to Windows users must surpass the list of features available to users of competing platforms; that is, as a condition of applying Windows logo certification to a qualifying hardware product, Hardware must have an experience or supported featureset on Windows that exceeds the user experience on any competing operating system.

        • Re:Thus: (Score:5, Insightful)

          by L. J. Beauregard (111334) on Saturday October 05, 2013 @08:57AM (#45043755)

          Now ask again why we need antitrust laws with teeth.

        • by devent (1627873)

          Could you give the source of your quote?

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by mysidia (191772)

            This is not a quote. It is an implication; that behind closed doors, between vendors, there is an "arrangement" MS requires, and if they refuse to comply --- MS has the stick of refusing logo certification to their product ---- if nVidia doesn't get the Windows Logo; then neither do any of the hardware builders or OEMs using nVidia components; therefore, they are likely to ship someone else's hardware instead, so they can get the logo.

            Some of the Logo certification requirements [microsoft.com]

            As for multiple

            • Re:Thus: (Score:5, Insightful)

              by Raenex (947668) on Saturday October 05, 2013 @12:29PM (#45045389)

              This is not a quote. It is an implication; that behind closed doors, between vendors, there is an "arrangement" MS requires, and if they refuse to comply --- MS has the stick of refusing logo certification to their product ---- if nVidia doesn't get the Windows Logo; then neither do any of the hardware builders or OEMs using nVidia components; therefore, they are likely to ship someone else's hardware instead, so they can get the logo.

              In other words, you made up a phony quote that looks like it's copied straight from a real policy and got modded to +5 Informative, when instead it's just speculation on your part.

              • by mikael (484)

                It's well known that for 18 years (at least since 1996), that Microsoft doesn't want OpenGL to offer features that DirectX doesn't have. Some companies would be required to put the "brightest graduates" on DirectX projects rather than OpenGL ones - that's from interviews and direct employment.

              • Well from experience Microsoft has secret contract terms like this that repeatedly come out after years of competitive interests being shitcanned on support from hardware vendors or OEMS. So while this exact term may be made up, it most certainly EXISTS in their contracts... Because that's Microsoft's MO.

            • I'm certainly no fan of Microsoft or Windows -- you can check my posting history to see that -- but it strikes me that the WHQL requirements could have a good reason and such an exception shouldn't be granted. In particular, it makes sense to me that the OS should be able to see multiple GPUs separately so that it can manage them itself.

              I may not entirely know what I'm talking about, but I get the general impression that the real issue is that X delegates too much responsibility to the driver, and that the

            • What advantages does Nvidia get by it's hardware carrying the Nvidia logo? Why do they care?

        • Re:Thus: (Score:4, Insightful)

          by mgiuca (1040724) on Saturday October 05, 2013 @09:40AM (#45044091)

          I'd love to know whether that's a real quote from the Windows logo rules. Unfortunately, a Google search for the text returns only one result: this comment. [Citation needed]

        • Seriously, Does MicroSoft need 3rd party vendors to make their "user experience" better than their own operating system? I'm sorry, let me rephrase that: Do hardware drivers make the user experience so much better? That must be one crappy operating system then....
          • Do hardware drivers make the user experience so much better?

            Yes.

          • by Kwyj1b0 (2757125)

            I'm sorry, let me rephrase that: Do hardware drivers make the user experience so much better? That must be one crappy operating system then....

            Funny. If I read just this part of your comment, I wouldn't know whether you are criticizing Windows or Linux. This whole article is about hardware drivers affecting user experience!!

          • by mysidia (191772) on Saturday October 05, 2013 @10:50AM (#45044613)

            I think WHQL certification is mostly MS' way of pressuring component vendors to implement new features they want. For example; UEFI secure boot / OS signing, and preventing OSes such as Linux for booting, or providing TCPA / TCPM (Trusted Computing Platform Modules).

            But that's not all. there are plenty of features. Whatever MS requires or forbids will be extremely influential, as computer manufacturers Want to be able to advertise their product using the Windows Logo; and they are required to use only Windows logo certified components in their systems, so a hardware vendor not getting the stamp of approval on their product can be harmful to their business.

            MS will use their leverage to do what they think will improve the number of people buying their product --- that includes improving their user experience, or diminishing the user experience of old operating systems, or competing vendors' OS.

            For example: making new hardware no longer compatible with XP or Windows 7 would be a win for them, because it encourages more sales of Windows 8.

            The WHQL [microsoft.com] requirements are full of lists of features that must be supported and features that must not be supported by hardware.

            In the former category; they list supposed business justifications, and it's all about user experience.

            For the latter category; these are limitations of Windows, and the hardware is not allowed to have support for features outside of Windows' limitations.

            In the middle category; there are features hardware vendors must ask for permission to implement; that is probably the safest category for MS to use to pressure vendors --- just withhold permission, until they agree to 'off the record' conditions.

        • by DAldredge (2353)
          Where is that from?
        • by Teun (17872)
          So what stops nVidia selling a not dissimilar card without this feature and with a penguin logo instead?
          • by mysidia (191772)

            So what stops nVidia selling a not dissimilar card without this feature and with a penguin logo instead?

            You're asking the wrong question. What benefit do they get by selling a not-dissimilar piece of silicon with a penguin logo instead? (And is that benefit greater than the cost?)

            The cost of marketing and selling another product can be significant; especially, if they have to make sure the driver for the penguin logo product won't work on the Windows logo product.

            I imagine most OEMs such as Dell,

      • by H0p313ss (811249)

        Whoosh [imdb.com]?

        • by mcgrew (92797) *

          No, I know where the quote comes from, it just wasn't applicable. Vader made a deal, Nvidea made no deal with Linux. Their only deals are with Microsoft, who are probably the Vader here (Darth Ballmer?).

          • by H0p313ss (811249)

            No, I know where the quote comes from, it just wasn't applicable. Vader made a deal, Nvidea made no deal with Linux. Their only deals are with Microsoft, who are probably the Vader here (Darth Ballmer?).

            That's kind of the point, most of the time the opensource world does not get to make deals with corporations. You take what they dole out and then you thank them for it.

            I don't like it, and I'm hoping it doesn't last, but it does seem to be the reality.

            In the ideal world our esteemed colleagues at Redmond will continue to screw themselves over and the world will turn slowly to Linux and all the hardware vendors will start playing ball, and there is some indication that has been the gradual trend over the pa

      • "kicking its ass"? About a $900,000,000 write down because of m$'s tablet demand.

        I would say that the CEO of m$, and the CEO of Apple will be dusting off their resumes soon. Why Apple's CEO? The Samsung Wrist Phone...
        • by H0p313ss (811249)

          Why Apple's CEO? The Samsung Wrist Phone...

          Are you kidding? I'm guessing the conversation around the bong was more along the lines of:

          ".... so dude... we managed to convince our competitors, the pundits and the market that we'd make a stupid fucking watch right?"

          *giggles*

          "... I know right ... and now Samsung have actually tried to compete with the damn thing .."

          *more giggles* *at least one board member falls off his chair*

          "... oh man ... I can't wait to retire and write this up... they'll never believe this shit..."

  • QA (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 05, 2013 @05:55AM (#45043135)

    I bet it's just for the test cases.

  • SteamOS (Score:4, Interesting)

    by BenJeremy (181303) on Saturday October 05, 2013 @05:59AM (#45043151)

    I wonder how this will affect SteamOS, since the Steam Machines are nvidia based. Maybe Valve will start throwing their weight around to get nvidia to offer better Linux support?

    • by DragonTHC (208439)

      They already have. I don't remember reading anything about SteamOS being completely opensource.

      • Re: SteamOS (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Jeff Woods (3381459) on Saturday October 05, 2013 @06:49AM (#45043259)
        Valve stated that SteamOS will be open source. Even their prototype beta hardware will be open and hackable.
        • by Luckyo (1726890)

          Their "prototype beta hardware" is off the shelf stuff.

        • by Raenex (947668)

          Valve stated that SteamOS will be open source.

          I've looked, and found no reference for this. On their SteamOS [steampowered.com] page, they hint at it but it's nebulous:

          "Cooperating system

          Steam is not a one-way content broadcast channel, it's a collaborative many-to-many entertainment platform, in which each participant is a multiplier of the experience for everyone else. With SteamOS, "openness" means that the hardware industry can iterate in the living room at a much faster pace than they've been able to. Content creators can connect directly to their customers. Users c

        • The OS will be based on open source stuff, but I don't think it's enterity will be open source, since Steam includes DRM, and DRM+Open source don't go hand in hand.

    • by _merlin (160982)

      Considering it's a console that plugs into a TV, I don't think this matters much at all. Valve's definitely been throwing their weight around demanding better performance and fewer bugs, though. nVidia Linux drivers have been performing better with every release.

      • Considering it's a console that plugs into a TV, I don't think this matters much at all. Valve's definitely been throwing their weight around demanding better performance and fewer bugs, though.

        That or the fact that of the four eighth-generation consoles available now, all three run AMD graphics. PS4 and Xbox One have essentially the same AMD APU, and Wii U is reportedly built on a Radeon HD 5000 [wiiudaily.com]. Only the OUYA console has NVIDIA graphics, and that's the same Tegra 3 that's in the first-generation Nexus 7. Perhaps this is NV's attempt to redeem itself to gamers who say OUYA doesn't count.

    • by sadboyzz (1190877)

      Meanwhile as of 3.11 the kernel "radeon" driver is already fully functional, complete with power management and KMS support.

      Frankly I'd wager nvidia has already lost on Linux, even though it may currently appear they are still the preferred platform with their higher quality binary driver. But binary drivers have a very limited future on Linux, especially such a critical one as the graphics driver. AMD may have a shitty binary driver, but the "radeon" driver is miles ahead of "nouveau", and once they start

      • by Kjella (173770)

        once they start seeing the signs on the wall it will be a simple matter for them to put in a little effort and make "radeon" the best graphics driver for gaming on Linux

        Or a lot more work, from what I gather one of the key differences between the radeon driver and the catalyst driver is that they've created a ton of behavior profiles to fit different workloads and they're continuously working to update them and providing even more specific ones tuned to the individual game. That takes a lot of manpower and a rather complicated driver infrastructure, while the open source driver has gone for a much simpler "jack of all trades" acceleration. Last I was really paying attentio

  • by DJ Rubbie (621940) on Saturday October 05, 2013 @06:04AM (#45043161) Homepage Journal

    Anyway, if i'm right, optimus support under linux is not on par with windows.
    Are you nvidia going to fix optimus on linux, or "for feature parity" are you going to make the optimus support worse on windows too?

    Directly quoting someone from that thread because this was exactly what I was thinking of.

  • nouveau (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sqr(twg) (2126054) on Saturday October 05, 2013 @06:17AM (#45043179)

    All this time I've been pissed at the nouveau [freedesktop.org] drivers that came as default with my linux distribution. "NVIDIA's drivers are working perfectly" I thought. "Why the hell are you building something not as good, just to make it open source?"

    Now I know.

    • Re: nouveau (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Silly RMS and his free software. He is starting to look quite a bit more insightful, decades after he started his public campaign.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Starting to? He looked insightful from the start to anyone with similar insight. What you mean is that it's taken decades for you to start realizing some of the things he's been preaching for so long.

        Or perhaps, some of RMS's decades-old insights have become obvious now.

      • by cpghost (719344)
        RMS was always insightful. We were just trying to cut corners by being "pragmatists". We fully deserved what we got out of this consumerist, passive stance. Oh, not all of us (Theo, are you reading this?), but most of us deserve to be hit by a clue bat every now and then.
    • by razman47 (3358879)

      It still lacks critical features like proper power management, which means cards using Nouveau tend to have reduced lifespans compared to the binary drivers which actually control the fans and voltages properly.

      Nouveau is a good idea and should be encouraged, but there's no fucking way I'll touch it even if NVIDIA treats Linux like a second-class citizen. And honestly, if you aren't used to being treated like a second (or after OS X, a third-class citizen) on the desktop computing world, you haven't used Li

      • Yes, it's not as good as it should be. Fortunately, NVidia has opened up a lot more specs so the last missing bits for may features and "irky bugs" in Nouveau can finally be dealt with. It's still not enough to build a fully featured just-as-fast driver, but in the last few months, significant changes were made in how NVidia treats the open source community and so far, Nouveau driver developers have been happy with what they got. It's not finished, but at least it's getting in the right direction.
      • It still lacks critical features like proper power management, which means cards using Nouveau tend to have reduced lifespans compared to the binary drivers which actually control the fans and voltages properly.

        Can you back up the statement that it actually reduces lifespan or it's just a wild conjecture? Indeed nouveau lacks support for voltage and fan control by default, but it leads to it using lowest frequency for GPU which doesn't require much fan management. I wouldn't expect degradation of lifespan.

    • by cpghost (719344)

      Now I know.

      It's much more difficult to hide an NSA backdoor in nouveau than in the closed-source nVidia blobs. Just so you know more.

  • They removed basic customizable anaglyph support from both after I detailed how you could hack 3D support into Left 4 Dead and other games.

    And I'm still an Nvidia fanboy.

    • by Blaskowicz (634489) on Saturday October 05, 2013 @06:44AM (#45043247)

      I used that feature on a Geforce 2MX to try it out, a good while ago. No idea what you mean by "hacking" 3D support, you only had to press a hotkey to enable Stereo 3D in any game or app (with or without great results, but at least it's working or trying to). Five year laters I tried shutter glasses on Geforce 6/7 (too bad FSAA wasn't working, as I had to run at 640x480 or 800x600 on the old CRT to play with stereo).

      Anaglyph was really shit though, it fucks your color vision (after using it for a hour your eyes or brain compensate, if you look away from the screen and close one eye, one eye sees in red and the other in blue! to this day my right eye seems to see in a warm tint and the left eye in a cold one)

      • That's normal. I remember as a child (long before I ever encountered anaglyph glasses of any kind) amusing myself by switching from one eye closed to the other, which would slightly change the tint of what I saw.
        • by Talderas (1212466)

          Thank god. It was bothering me that I was seeing this and yet when I described it to others no one knew what they hell I was talking about.

      • by mcgrew (92797) *

        Anaglyph was really shit though, it fucks your color vision (after using it for a hour your eyes or brain compensate, if you look away from the screen and close one eye, one eye sees in red and the other in blue! to this day my right eye seems to see in a warm tint and the left eye in a cold one)

        That's not the Anaglyph driver, that's physics and biology and is an artifact of the red-blue method of "3d". You'll get the same effect watching an old 3d movie from the '50s with the red-blue (more like bluegreen

        • Indeed, the complaint was more about anaglyph than the driver per se. You don't even need a driver, you can look at stuff right from image search results. The comments about blood flow in the eyes from other posters are damn interesting too, this means there are probably no long term effects.

          About shutter glasses, they don't deal with colors and theoretically would not affect them. They darken the picture and give an unwanted blue tint, but that's because the LCDs are far from perfect. With the old style PC

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by mysidia (191772)

        to this day my right eye seems to see in a warm tint and the left eye in a cold one)

        This sounds like a multi-million$ lawsuit.

      • to this day my right eye seems to see in a warm tint and the left eye in a cold one

        There's no biological reason why this effect would last more than ten to fifteen minutes.

      • by Waccoon (1186667)

        My eyes do that naturally and I've never used any of those red/blue glasses. It's normal for your eyes not to see the same colors.

        My big beef with cheap, TN panel LCDs is that the viewing angle is so narrow, my left eye sees different colors than my right eye. I have to use a good IPS display just for everyday work or I get a stereographic-induced headache. Forget resolution -- I'm pissed it took so long for affordable IPS displays to hit the market.

    • by HiThere (15173)

      And I'm still an Nvidia fanboy.

      Why?

  • by lapm (750202) on Saturday October 05, 2013 @06:47AM (#45043253)
    Nvidia still dosent get it.. Reminds me of now famous Torvalds quote from video where he send hes regards to Nvidia..
    • by whoever57 (658626)

      Nvidia still dosent get it.

      Nvidia gets it alright. They just don't agree.

      In this case, I think that Nvidia is using driver capabilities to sell new chips. What happens is that the chips are designed with a certain feature set, but the driver does not enable all of them. Later, "new" chips are released, but the only real change is a change to the drivers, which now unlock features already in the prior chips.

  • The real reply (Score:3, Insightful)

    by EmagGeek (574360) <<gterich> <at> <aol.com>> on Saturday October 05, 2013 @07:19AM (#45043345) Journal

    "In order to sell more video cards, we set BaseMosaic to 3 screens."

  • by wbr1 (2538558) on Saturday October 05, 2013 @07:20AM (#45043349)
    It's our party and we'll fuck you if we want to, fuck you if we want to.
  • A new law (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mattr (78516) <mattr AT telebody DOT com> on Saturday October 05, 2013 @07:49AM (#45043427) Homepage Journal

    For any people with free time, how about starting a PAC to get a new law passed that would require hardware manufacturers to provide full specifications of their products to consumers in a standardized format? It could be used not only for open source developers (rights of the consumer to use purchased gear as he or she sees fit) but also could be used to guarantee and verify all provided functions and that there aren't any additional spyware functions included. Conceivably it could be used in a software / firmware binary verification program too.

    • we don't follow our existing laws - and you want to create new ones?

      there is a law against NSA spying on citizens but they do it anyway.

      besides, you can't get the gov to sign any laws that tie their hands on spying. and spyware, whether corporate or governmental is not going to be outlawed. that would interfere with, well, business and government! at least the current bad behavior of those two.

      the time when government stood up for consumers' rights was 20 or more years ago. the last few decades, well, n

    • get a new law passed that would require hardware manufacturers to provide full specifications

      This is analogous to patching bad code with more bad code instead of fixing the bug. The reason there is so little competition among video card manufacturers can be found in the patent system and corporate liability law.

      Fix the real bugs.

    • by plazman30 (531348)
      How about you start a Kickstarter project to create a 3D graphics card as good as Nvidia that will have it's hardware fully documented and driver source always available. If you build it, Steam will come.
  • Come people think! Why would they do that? I'll bet you anything that it makes development easier not do have a special feature just for the Linux market tested only on Linux. Companies do not spend any more than is necessary especially if the feature in question is not driving sales.
  • by stoicio (710327) on Saturday October 05, 2013 @09:51AM (#45044159) Journal

    1.) Go to the Nvidia site and search for 'Linux' and then surf all the linux related
    pages on thier site.

    2.) Send an email to technical support and ask why you can no longer use all the monitors on your desktop.

    3.) Buy an AMD/ATI card , send them an email to let them know why. Let AMD know you are using Linux and why.

    4.) Send your old Nvidia card to Nvidia head office for RMA in protest by mail. (Write it off)

    • 4.) Send your old Nvidia card to Nvidia head office for RMA in protest by mail. (Write it off)

      That may be a good moral stance, but it's not a fix. nVidia has already said they don't care about the linux multi-head users - sending them a small amount of e-waste isn't going to change that.

    • by cpghost (719344)
      Let's see: you use an overblown proprietary binary blob that contains who-knows-what in times of overall NSA spying, and you dare complain that this binary blob has lost one tiny bit of functionality w.r.t. Windows' binary blob? Don't worry, the main functionality of this nVidia blob (NSA backdoor?) is still fully functional.
      • by H0p313ss (811249)

        Let's see: you use an overblown proprietary binary blob that contains who-knows-what in times of overall NSA spying, and you dare complain that this binary blob has lost one tiny bit of functionality w.r.t. Windows' binary blob? Don't worry, the main functionality of this nVidia blob (NSA backdoor?) is still fully functional.

        Nvidia has never been a perfect partner to the opensource world, however your tinfoil hat is too tight son, it's clearly cutting off the blood flow to your brain.

        • by cpghost (719344)
          Well, I was (partly) joking, but what makes you think those binary blobs are backdoor-free? That's just a belief, isn't it? Point is: there's no way for nVidia to restore confidence other than to provide the full source. As a matter of fact, I do work in IT security and I'm seeing more and more companies here in Europe avoiding those binary blobs like the plague. Even more so since all this Snowden publicity. Now, does nVidia's driver contain a backdoor? If your corporate secrets are important to you, it is
          • by H0p313ss (811249)

            And I was being a little flippant.

            Yes, any binary that you don't have the source to is a potential security hole.

            But it's like worrying about people wearing bombs in their shoes, you're focusing on the wrong thing.

    • by H0p313ss (811249)

      Ah if only I had not already commented on this...

      So I'll point out that step 4) should include a cover letter that clearly documents your actions in 1), 2) & 3)

      Step 5) would be to document the above and any responses from NVIDIA somewhere in public on the web.

      No profit here, but much satisfaction from righteous indignation.

  • I've been running NVIDIA hardware with 4 monitors for over a decade. So, maybe there is an issue with win7/8 and multiple GPUs? In the past I would even mix/match the GPU's because the windows multimonitor support is (was?) part of the OS. I remember packing multiple PCI (not e) boards into the same machine. Lots of combinations worked but not all of them.

    So, as another user on the nvidia forums pointed out it sounds like BS.

    That said, running single screen configurations with linux/Xinerama has been proble

  • Just thought I'd post that our kickstarter goes live on 10/9 for an LGPL graphics core. It is a complete 2D/3D Verilog implementation. The current version is PCI based and runs on Altera/ Xilinx or ASIC. 100% clean and synthesizable Verilog. We have a number of stretch goals that bring new features, generic interfaces so you could run on a PCIe FPGA board or an SOC part. The ultimate stretch goal would be a Unified Shader design.

    We have pictures and will have video from the FPGA board on the kickstarter sit

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