3D video drivers

Bryan Sant bryan.sant at gmail.com
Thu Feb 17 16:40:37 MST 2005


On Thu, 17 Feb 2005 16:15:27 -0700, Levi Sorenson <lsorenson at novell.com> wrote:
> Does anyone have opinions about the future of video drivers for Linux?
> 
> -Levi Sorenson

I have one.  Vendors are unlikely to open their video drivers.  A good
portion of a video card manufacturers design secrets exist within the
driver.  Heck some vendors (ATI and nVidia) have specific code in
their drivers so they perform faster (sloppier) on popular 3D
benchmarking software.  If they open the source to their drivers A)
Their competitors will understand more about their hardware
architechture (aka trade secret) and B) They will be exposed as the
cheating dogs they are (or remove the performance cheating code and
look really bad in benchmarks).

I'm all for open-source but I don't know how I feel about this
situation.  On one hand you have OSS advocates saying "Open your
drivers!  We want your code to be supported in the standard Linux
kernel.  And we'd like to compile your driver for non-PC systems,
thank you very much.  What's that?  It might affect your profit
margins and competitive edge in the market?  Well you should have
thought about that before becoming an **EViL** profit motivated
corporation."  And on the other hand you have VGA card makers saying,
"Ya.  Linux is cool and we really want to support it, but I don't want
to open our secret driver code and have our technology ripped off by
nvidia.com.tw."  Noice the Tiwan extention.

I think nVidia's Linux drivers have found a good balance, but I think
it's rediculous that you MUST have a full GCC development environment
on your PC to update your drivers (granted they do pre-compile for
*some* platforms about 8 years after they release a driver).  But
according to Linus, RMS, and others, nVidia might as well be Satan for
not giving their driver away.

I just want UT2004 to look pimp on Linux...  nVidia's drivers make this so.

-Bryan



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