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Open source drivers for graphic cards?
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janne



Joined: Wed Sep 07, 2005 7:45 pm
Posts: 18
Location: Sweden

PostPosted: Wed Sep 07, 2005 7:52 pm    Post subject: Open source drivers for graphic cards? Reply with quote

I'm going to buy a new graphics card soon. Some time ago I read something about different vendors having different attitudes to open source. I would like to support a vendor that has a positive attitude to Linux. (Itś my money.)

What I need is a card with very good 2D performance (really sharp and stable).
I prefer a card with PCI express interface if possible.
Recommendations?

/Janne
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Gordon
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Joined: Thu Apr 07, 2005 6:01 pm
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 07, 2005 7:55 pm    Post subject: RE: Open source drivers for graphic cards? Reply with quote

There are now some PCI express cards out there with the nVidia chipsets on them. nVidia have been very good with driver support for their chipsets on AGP cards. These give good 2D and good 3D (OpenGL) performance. It may be worth looking at cards with nVidia chips.
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alloydog
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 07, 2005 7:58 pm    Post subject: RE: Open source drivers for graphic cards? Reply with quote

First look at the version of X you will be/are using. In a lot of cases, XFree86 and X.org support the same graphics adpaters, and for the ones they don't you can still get basic VGA operation - You will porbably restricted as to what resolution and colours are possible, and whether hardware acceleration is availble.

Both groups publish full lists of what adapters are supported and how full the support is.

For cards that have problematic support, that is the manufactures will not release any details and no one has been able to work something out, sometimes the manufacture themselves will provide the necessary driver modules.
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linuxgirlie
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 07, 2005 7:59 pm    Post subject: RE: Open source drivers for graphic cards? Reply with quote

nVidia all the way, never let me down, have a 5600fx at the moment am just about to upgrade to a 6600gt they have the drivers etc or they come with bought additions for example mandriva. Just remember its not the card your buying its a chipset, for example if you go to www.dabs.com/uk (the best in my opinion) you can get a dabs value really cheap, which is the exact same as a more expensive card...
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nelz
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 07, 2005 10:40 pm    Post subject: RE: Open source drivers for graphic cards? Reply with quote

The nVidia drivers are not open source though. Some people have a problem with this, but it was the only way nVidia could release Linux drivers that give the same performance as the Windows ones. Some of the 3D code is proprietary, licensed from another company, so they are unable to release the source.
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janne



Joined: Wed Sep 07, 2005 7:45 pm
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Location: Sweden

PostPosted: Thu Sep 08, 2005 6:51 am    Post subject: RE: Open source drivers for graphic cards? Reply with quote

Thank you for your replies.
I have experience with Matrox and ATI cards under Linux and they work good enough for me. I had a nVidia card a few years ago but it was not sharp enough for 1600x1200 resolution. The explanation I got from my supplier is that the nVidia card was a good 3D card but not very good for 2D.

I have checked both www.x.org and www.xfree86.org but couldn't find any compatibility lists. Maybe I didn't try hard enough?

Both ATI and Matrox have drivers for Linux but the big question remain, which company is most Linux friendly? I realise that my action in this case will make very little difference in the graphics card market but if all of us try to buy the products with the best Linux support things will change.

/Janne
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alloydog
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 08, 2005 8:20 am    Post subject: RE: Open source drivers for graphic cards? Reply with quote

You need to go to the respective Release notes and then to the section titled "Video drivers":
XFree86
X.org
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janne



Joined: Wed Sep 07, 2005 7:45 pm
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Location: Sweden

PostPosted: Thu Sep 08, 2005 9:17 am    Post subject: RE: Open source drivers for graphic cards? Reply with quote

Thank you!
I will check.
/Janne
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nelz
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 08, 2005 11:01 am    Post subject: RE: Open source drivers for graphic cards? Reply with quote

I would say nVidia are the most Linux friendly. They have their own drivers for Linux, which they update frequently, what more could you ask for? (apart form the source, which is out of the question).
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alloydog
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 08, 2005 2:02 pm    Post subject: RE: Open source drivers for graphic cards? Reply with quote

Was it SiS who ripped of Thomas Winischhofer's drivers & posted them on their own site without any sort of credit to him?
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linuxgirlie
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 08, 2005 7:52 pm    Post subject: RE: Open source drivers for graphic cards? Reply with quote

Agree with nelz, Nvidia is the most linux friendly, I havent had a problem once with upgrading my driver, I dont particularly care about it being open source and understand the reasons so they do ok in my books Very Happy
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pau1ie



Joined: Tue Jun 21, 2005 3:56 pm
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 08, 2005 8:30 pm    Post subject: RE: Open source drivers for graphic cards? Reply with quote

I believe intel graphics chips have open source drivers. My wifes PC has integrated graphics with an intel card and that works with a default kernel. I have an nvidia card, but I intend my next graphics card to have open source drivers, even if it is more expensive or performs less well, because I believe it is important to encourage industry to open source drivers. Also you may not realise that your kernel will not be supported if you use Nvidia drivers, as they install a kernel module which has the capability to do pretty much anything including corrupting memory used by other kernel modules, and since the source is not available there would be no way of fixing it.

Its a difficult problem though, please post what you decide in the end.

PaulH
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linuxgirlie
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 08, 2005 8:41 pm    Post subject: RE: Open source drivers for graphic cards? Reply with quote

I dont think intel do open source drivers, because your pc works with intergrated graphics doesnt make it OS it could just be that someone wrote a driver for it.....sorry if I got the wrong end of what you were saying?!
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pau1ie



Joined: Tue Jun 21, 2005 3:56 pm
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 08, 2005 8:47 pm    Post subject: RE: Open source drivers for graphic cards? Reply with quote

Linuxgirlie: I think you're right - they dont release open source dirers themselves, but they release enough specs for people to do drivers even of 3d bits (Tuxracer works on it). If anyone knows a company that does open source drivers for their own graphics cards that would be even better.
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linuxgirlie
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 08, 2005 8:54 pm    Post subject: RE: Open source drivers for graphic cards? Reply with quote

I was just reading about one will get back with the address........
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