Slashdot is powered by your submissions, so send in your scoop


Forgot your password?
Graphics Open Source Hardware Linux

Nvidia Drops Support For Its Open Source Driver 412

An anonymous reader writes "While Nvidia is not open-source friendly (despite public outcries over the years), they have traditionally supported the xf86-video-nv driver to provide basic mode setting support and other basic functionality. However, with the 'Fermi' and future products, even that open source support will cease to exist. Nvidia has announced they are dropping this open source support for future GPUs and really ending it altogether. Nvidia's recommendation is to just use the generic X.Org VESA driver to navigate their way to so that they can install the proprietary driver. Fortunately there is the Nouveau project that provides a 2D and 3D video driver for Nvidia's hardware, but Nvidia fails to acknowledge it nor support their efforts in any form." David Gerard points out that Nouveau is going into Linux 2.6.33.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Nvidia Drops Support For Its Open Source Driver

Comments Filter:
  • Re:Bad move.... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Sir_Lewk ( 967686 ) <> on Friday March 26, 2010 @06:58PM (#31633788)

    They are not discontinuing support for their proprietary driver, just their open source driver, which has always been crap. If you want good 3d performance you can still use (and always should have been using) their proprietary driver.

    I know, I know. You were just making a crack about how nobody uses linux...

  • by JoeBuck ( 7947 ) on Friday March 26, 2010 @07:01PM (#31633828) Homepage
    By this point, Nouveau beats the old nVidia open-source driver, so everyone would want to run either Nouveau or the proprietary nVidia driver. There's no real reason to support the obsolete, limited xf86-video-nv any more (though it's not going away).
  • by stoanhart ( 876182 ) on Friday March 26, 2010 @07:15PM (#31633990)
    I don't understand why people are upset about this. Linux isn't being treated any lesser here; in fact, this is the same strategy they have on Windows. If you stick an nVidia card into an XP machine with no drivers, you get VESA which you use to go to to download the real drivers. Sure, Vista/7 ships with drivers, and so could Linux if the GPL didn't prohibit it. Besides, Nouveau is better than nv, so the driver is redundant.

    This decision has no impact on games or on people using 3D software as the parent has suggested in his comment, since the nv driver had no 3D capability anyways. Development is continuing on nVidia's high quality 3D driver. There is no reason to vote with you wallet.
  • by malloc ( 30902 ) on Friday March 26, 2010 @07:18PM (#31634020)

    When did you last actually try using an intel card? I bought a new laptop in December, Intel X4500 inside, running Ubuntu 9.10.

    It has suspended/resumed flawlessly for three months.

    Last night I plugged it into a projector, click the Display settings, it auto-detected the new projector (listed by name even) and enabling output was a single click. Options to extend desktop or mirror it worked without problem.

    Again, have you actually tried any this lately?

  • by h4rr4r ( 612664 ) on Friday March 26, 2010 @07:30PM (#31634130)

    Nouveau driver will work for those folks. The only reason they are killing nv it seems is because the Nouveau driver is actually better than nv.

  • by TeXMaster ( 593524 ) on Friday March 26, 2010 @07:36PM (#31634182)

    Video support in is one thing, but NVIDIA cards are also used for high-performance computing via the CUDA environment. OpenCL (a potential alternative to CUDA) is mentioned as being part of Nouveau, but CUDA is a well-established solution.

    So what's the status now of HPC with NVIDIA cards?

    Exactly the same as before: you use the proprietary driver, like you had to do before this annoucement anyway. And in fact, Linux has been supported better than Windows as an HPC platform by nvidia.

  • by Bruce Perens ( 3872 ) * <> on Friday March 26, 2010 @07:50PM (#31634316) Homepage Journal

    Let's not forget that nVidia sued, then purchased at a discount, then killed 3Dfx, the first company to create a fully Open Source stack for 3D hardware. You can still find their "Glide" stack, there's a Debian package for it, but the hardware isn't produced any longer.

    Intel and ATI find this a worthwhile market, especially because the technical workstation market is insisting on Linux and supportable (meaning Open Source) full-performance drivers for all hardware. Gamers are a useful market but not the only market that 3D vendors play to these days.

    If you asked me what was the reason for this, I'd guess it was collusion.

  • by Zerimar ( 1124785 ) on Friday March 26, 2010 @07:56PM (#31634378)
    The 2.6.32 kernel fixes the HDMI TV detection for 720p resolution on intel chips. Everything else works great for me in intel world (using Gentoo x64 stable).
  • Re:Bad move.... (Score:4, Informative)

    by icebraining ( 1313345 ) on Friday March 26, 2010 @08:06PM (#31634456) Homepage

    Actually, AMD has released many programming specifications and sponsors the Free radeonhd drivers. []

  • Re:ok, Im confused (Score:3, Informative)

    by MtHuurne ( 602934 ) on Friday March 26, 2010 @08:18PM (#31634572) Homepage

    There are 3 drivers for nVidia cards:

    • the "nv" driver, which only does 2D and is open source; this is the one for which support is being discontinued
    • the "nvidia" driver, which does 3D and all other bells and whistles, but is not open source
    • the Nouveau driver, which does 2D and is starting to do 3D too; it is being written based on reverse engineered info without any help from nVidia

    Since Nouveau is becoming mature enough to be the default nVidia driver in distros now (Fedora was the first, as far as I know), it is not really a loss to see support for the "nv" driver dropped.

  • by Yaa 101 ( 664725 ) on Friday March 26, 2010 @08:45PM (#31634808) Journal

    Probably litigation costs due to patented stuff they use inside their products. It's probably easier and cheaper to have a few people developing their closed source stuff instead.

    But don't ask me, I am just a simple Linux user...

  • by Hadlock ( 143607 ) on Friday March 26, 2010 @08:52PM (#31634876) Homepage Journal

    In addition to lftp's post, there is probably some technical neophyte product manager in charge of driver development who is on a knife's edge of losing his job after his team fried all those video cards a couple weeks back with a faulty driver release. I would imagine the maneuvering went something like this: "Well the reason we released a shit driver is because we've got our team having to support the open source stuff. If we didn't have to support that, we could devote more resources to completely testing our drivers before release." The other side benefit is the driver development manager doesn't have to compete against "free" to make linux drivers anymore. That makes him more important to the company, and removes a potential threat from his job.

  • by ozmanjusri ( 601766 ) <> on Friday March 26, 2010 @09:45PM (#31635422) Journal
    Mono is safe. Stop spreading this BS.

    Microsoft has a history of trying to sell Linux-relevant patents to trolls and of using third-party proxies to attack Linux.

    Microsoft has not changed its hostility towards Linux or open formats. Mono MAY be safe, but don't use it for infrastructure projects. Don't encourage the use of Microsoft-sponsored formats or protocols.

    Mono is best used as a solely Windows compatibility tool.

  • Re:Bad move.... (Score:5, Informative)

    by h4rr4r ( 612664 ) on Friday March 26, 2010 @09:46PM (#31635428)

    The ATI drivers are coming right along and the intel ones are pretty darn good these days.

  • Re:Bad move.... (Score:5, Informative)

    by hairyfeet ( 841228 ) <bassbeast1968 AT gmail DOT com> on Friday March 26, 2010 @10:41PM (#31635960) Journal

    When was the last time you used them in Windows...1997? It certainly hasn't been since they were bought by AMD, because ever since AMD took over their drivers have been solid as a rock. Hell I am typing this on a quad core AMD with a 4650 and an ATI TV Tuner, and damned if even the TV Tuner isn't stable as hell, and those things are NEVER stable!

    So I would say give them another try. You can buy a 4xxx series card for under $50 (I bought this 1Gb 4650 for $36 after rebate) and the thing is quiet as a church mouse and gives me a real nice picture and hardware accelerated everything. you really can't beat the "bang for the buck" in the AMD camp these days. And since AMD is releasing the full specs [] I'm sure the AMD drivers will get nothing but better in Linux.

  • by nitehorse ( 58425 ) <> on Friday March 26, 2010 @11:30PM (#31636374)

    Nah, NVIDIA gutted their QA department about a year and a half ago and the people they still had afterwards have been overworked. It's not like the Linux driver team was the only group that completely failed to catch the fan control problem, so it doesn't make any kind of sense that this decision would be tied to that fiasco. The more disturbing part (to me) is, this isn't even the first time that fan control regressions have made it into shipping drivers. But this time the regression caused the fans *not* to spin up properly, as opposed to spinning up too much.

  • Because almost always, the 3D stuff comes along for the ride, when you get a couple dual-link DVI ports strapped to it.

    (And, sometimes, 2D stuff can lay on the 3D acceleration hardware.)

    Even ATI's current server 2D discrete graphics chipset, the ES1000, is basically just a die-shrunk version of the Radeon 7000, which was a solid low-end PCI/AGP 3D graphics card when it came out.

  • by MBGMorden ( 803437 ) on Friday March 26, 2010 @11:51PM (#31636500)

    It's not just CAD work either. With Compiz 3d acceleration speed matters in regular desktop. Also, modern Nvidia graphics cards allow the majority of video codec rendering to be offloaded onto the video card's processor. Personally, prior to adopting a modern Nvidia card for my Linux system, ALL video had tearing and other problems. Not major, but noticeable next to a Mac or Windows. On a new Nvidia with VDAPI enabled, my playback is fine.

    The old "Go Matrox if you just want to use desktop stuff!" became inaccurate 8 years ago.

  • by TheSpoom ( 715771 ) <slashdot AT uberm00 DOT net> on Saturday March 27, 2010 @12:23AM (#31636714) Homepage Journal

    Sure, Vista/7 ships with drivers, and so could Linux if the GPL didn't prohibit it.

    What part of the GPL prohibits shipping a completely separately licensed binary with it? Ubuntu's graphics are more encumbered than the GPL and yet they ship on the CD.

    Now, nVidia's license, that's a more likely reason.

  • Re:Bad move.... (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 27, 2010 @12:57AM (#31636978)

    I think you may be the only person on earth who re-installs his OS just because of a new kernel.

  • by Hooya ( 518216 ) on Saturday March 27, 2010 @12:59AM (#31636986) Homepage

    I bought a Matrox. I think it was a Parhelia. Can't quite recall.

    I had heard "buy Matrox" all along since around 95 when I first started with linux. well long story short: it's an urban legend. To be sure, the 2D on those cards are just awesome! Sucks for 3D but the 2D is just gorgeous.

    However, their support for linux is just plain shoddy. At the time I was using the card, their driver wouldn't work for that particular model. someone was providing some patches to get the thing to work. but just barely. I wish they supported it better. I would love to use that card - I don't have much use for 3D. But I simply can't. Using nvidia now since it came with this computer. but would love to use Matrox. just can't.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 27, 2010 @06:02AM (#31638046)
    Lawyers' costs.
  • by makomk ( 752139 ) on Saturday March 27, 2010 @08:29AM (#31638632) Journal

    The open source 3D support is here now, for everything except the latest generation of cards. (That's due in the next few months.)

  • by impaledsunset ( 1337701 ) on Saturday March 27, 2010 @08:44AM (#31638702)

    This is incorrect. I own an i740 graphics adapter and, unfortunately, it is unsupported: []

    There's a driver for the card, but it's 2D only, and hasn't been improved in any way for the last 10 years or so. Of course, the card 3D performance is so weak that software acceleration on a modern CPU would probably be faster, however I was hugely disappointed when I wanted to get some 3D acceleration on one of my old Pentium 2 PC. And if you want a cheap card with no 3D or unusable 3D and free drivers, I'm pretty sure there are better options available.

  • Re:Bad move.... (Score:3, Informative)

    by hairyfeet ( 841228 ) <bassbeast1968 AT gmail DOT com> on Saturday March 27, 2010 @09:42AM (#31639046) Journal

    But I thought the open source way of doing things was better, isn't that what we always hear on Slashdot? What is it that the FLOSS advocates are always saying over and OVER and over? "Release the specs, we'll take care of the rest"?

    Well they have released the specs, so the ball is in your court now. But the GP was spreading FUD by saying even the Windows drivers don't work with ATI cards, which I called him out on because since being bought by AMD their drivers have been nothing but stable and as a PC builder and repairman I move a lot of ATI product. In fact ever since Bumpgate I have sold nothing but ATI cards and since the "bang for the buck" has gotten so high I have moved to selling AMD builds exclusively and my customers couldn't be happier with stability and performance.

    But from what I understand the open source driver [] is coming along quite quickly and you can go up to the 4xxx series now and considering the fact that you can get 4xxx hardware for under $50 it won't cost you hardly anything to try it out.

If I have seen farther than others, it is because I was standing on the shoulders of giants. -- Isaac Newton